What Will the Nikon Mirrorless Camera Mean?

What Will the Nikon Mirrorless Camera Mean?

All I’ll say, is that I owned the original a7 and it kinda sucked. Is Nikon going to get it right the “first” time? Or will next week's supposed announcement of the Z-series cameras begin a long cycle of trying to one up themselves while trying to keep up with the major mirrorless players?

I put “first” in quotes, because this isn’t Nikon’s first mirrorless camera. The a7 certainly wasn’t Sony’s first mirrorless camera. But both the a7 and the Z-whatevers soon to come next week, are forays into the unknown for buyers. The original a7 was riddled with small construction issues and functionality quirks like the first a7R’s awful shutter slap. Those problems didn’t exist in already proven cameras like the D810 or 5D Mark III. Nikon is now on the opposite end of the playing field, Sony and Fuji have had years to perfect their mirrorless cameras. Nikon is the newcomer. So what does this mean for Nikon?

They need to get it right. I’m confident that Nikon won’t, or really can’t screw this up, but there’s more to it than just having a good mirrorless camera. It needs to be a great mirrorless camera. Many Nikon shooters, myself included, also have or have completely switched to a mirrorless system. I’m a big Fuji fan myself. I have also enjoyed most every Sony I’ve had the chance to use in the last few years. Though I’ve never been impressed with Panasonic and Olympus, they don’t outright suck. They’re still good cameras in many respects. Four brands are posing major competition to the Nikon Z cameras, two of which have a significant and loyal user base that came from a lack of confidence or fulfillment with Nikon’s own cameras.

I really don’t know who the Z cameras are for. Does Nikon intend to draw people back in? Do they want current Nikon shooters to just have another option when they upgrade? Will they have people leaving Sony or Fuji or even Canon in droves because of some wild feature? No one knows right now. What I do know, is that they’re really late to the party. There are certain things that I’m sure Nikon will do well like ergonomics and build quality, two sticking points with other high-end mirrorless cameras, but will the image quality, autofocus, or video capability be enough to swing people back around? We’ll have to see. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the Nikon full-frame mirrorless camera means to you.

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27 Comments

Michael Jin's picture

Nikon will realistically only be competing with Sony and Canon as those will be the other companies doing FF MILC. Fuji is APS-C, the others except for Leica are M43, and Leica is in a different price range altogether and are off doing their own thing.

Spy Black's picture

There's going to be ripple effects on other mediums. The APS-C and M4/3 markets, are gonna have to up their game. This applies especially so to the M4/3 group, who've been sitting on a lot of ancient sensor tech for way too long. I love my E-M10 Mk II and GM5 street cameras, but I'd love to see significant advancements made in their sensor tech. Their processor end has been pretty impressive, even in these lesser models.

So I see the entrance of Nikon and Canon in to the mirrorless game as a kick in the ass to the other smaller formats.

I don’t think we will have to worry about the image quality of the new coming mount . It’s Nikon we’re talking about . However , I’m curious about the liveview AF and whether or not the camera has IBIS . Nikon doesn’t have to be way better than Sony they just have to be competitive in order to retain their user base . I’m pulling for Nikon , but if it sucks im getting the A7RIII.

The Nikon is likely going to be better than the original Sony A7, that is a given, it has to be. The issue with a Nikon Mirrorless is they are releasing with 3 lens, while DSLR users are complaining about Sony's lack of Mirrorless Native lens and they have multiple of more options + 3rd party.

michael buehrle's picture

i'm gonna pick up a cheap D4 or D5 pretty soon. thank you Nikon.

Simon Patterson's picture

I'm still waiting for the D3X to become super cheap here in Australia. So my advice to you is don't hold your breath. Good cameras seem to hold their value much longer than we often want, despite newer cameras coming along.

user-189304's picture

What will it "mean"?

Nothing. Your ability as a photographer and artist will not change, and the empty feeling in your stomach will remain when you stare into the void late at night.

John Dawson's picture

What does it mean? It means that Nikon will have a mirror-less DSLR.

I'm a Nikon shooter, and this hype has gone from interesting to really annoying very quickly. Sadly, the 23rd will only be the next groundhog day.

Francisco Eduardo de Camargo's picture

In fact Nikon with the launch of the D850 showed with great competence how to build a quality camera. I am a D850 user a year and I am super happy. I believe that the new mirrorless Nikon will maintain the same quality of the D850 which is great news. The ergonomics of the new cameras will undoubtedly be superior to those of Sony. The only big issue in these releases is the ability to focus, especially on video. It's wait and see what happens on August 23 ...

Mike Yamin's picture

Most people don't seem to know this, but the Nikon 1 cameras (now discontinued) were actually very, very good. Go ahead and Google the reviews... the sensor was too small for them to really catch on, but they had great autofocus and a high burst rate. I was very impressed with the one I tried and that was probably five or six years ago. I can only imagine what these Z cameras can do.

Christoph .'s picture

I'm confident it will be a good product and as a D800/850 user I could see myself upgrading through this path if the adapter is like using native glass in the future.

But this marketing campaign is about 2-3 weeks too long. It's not that big of a deal and while I still care about it, its just frankly annoying now to drag it out like this.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Funny thing is, that this marketing campaign is also heavily driven by the community.
Nikon just releases some short teasers and blogs and forums go nuts over them to fill the gaps between to the next teaser.

Just check f-stoppers. Since the last teaser there were 4-5 articles about mirror less.

Zenza Rino's picture

For Sony users, like me, it means a lot. Competition is great at least for consumers. Sony will miss the days of making half-baked cameras in terms of ergonomics and weather resistance.

Simon Patterson's picture

I don't think Nikon are late to the party in the slightest. I think the timing is just about perfect.

Sony have only very recently progressed the tech to create genuinely competitive pro level FF mirrorless cameras. Mirrorless ILC camera sales have only just caught up to 2012 levels.

Nikon (and Canon) waited until the tech caught up and the general market (not just the early adopter segment) was ready to take FF mirrorless seriously. That time has only just arrived.

Now Nikon is about to cash in on the market that Sony has created for them. Canon will likely do the same. To me, that's not late, that's simply doing business the smart way.

Eric Salas's picture

To wrap this nonsense up..

The community and YouTube sensationalists are all claiming this camera will surpass the Sony version, despite the “engine” being a downgraded version of the camera they are subconsciously wanting and asking for.

Nikon has time and time again proven to be behind in autofocus (the place Sony actually shines the most) and now is telling their target market to use an adapter... the same thing people say keeps them from jumping to Sony. “There are no lenses” “adapters are slow” “lenses are expensive” yada yada.

If you want to buy the “new” Nikon. Know you’re buying a tuned Sony camera with limited lenses and relying heavily on adapters for slow Nikon lenses. Also, know you can just buy a Sony camera that now has the lenses for mirrorless after 6 years of getting blasted for the same thing.

Why buy a Nikon now? Because the brand means more than the performance despite claiming the performance isn’t up to par. Plain and simple.

Poor Sony fanboy. What's you're problem if Sony is so great and Nikon so bad?

Eric Salas's picture

I don’t have a problem with it if Nikon releases a camera that is good, that’s a good thing for everyone.
My complaint is that all the “problems” people have been screaming about with Sony cameras are now going to be a Nikon problem.

Call me a fanboy all you want; I jumped from Canon 4 years ago and they haven’t done a damn thing to bring anyone back.

Nikon AF behind? Are you high?

Eric Salas's picture

How could they not be when we’re talking about their first mirrorless FF camera that hasn’t been released yet and we’re all speculating on the actual specs it will have when it’s released...

Nikon and Canon are behind. That’s not an opinion; neither company has released a mirrorless camera worth anything. Know anyone using a Nikon 1 or a Canon M50... me either

I've used a Nikon 1 and the AF worked great. The Nikon 1 system was pretty good other than the sensor size. Nikon 1 was probably their beta system for testing.

Canon M series is the #1 mirrorless system in Japan not Sony.

I'm actually look to buy Either a Canon M50 or Nikon J5 camera just to hiking with.

Eric Salas's picture

Good luck with those. I don’t oppose using those cameras but the features available are still behind Sony’s crop sensor cameras. The m50 was bashed everywhere but is a good camera if you want a crop sensor under a grand.
Put the m50 vs the a6500 and you have a clear winner in all categories.
Personal preference is worthless to argue. Use what you want but the numbers and reviews don’t lie.

James dewet's picture

I am glad I am not going to waste money on either the Z mount or changing to another brand. Let they Hype continue, the craving for the next best thing, while most people already have the gear that is much more than they would ever need. I am not talking about those who need the absolute top end technology and breakthrough that only the latest can offer. I don't even understand half of why this technology is so crazy good. I don't resist change, but the big question is how will you benefit from it. Everyone have their own reasons and justification. For me, there is no value add in ML. Not even the "magic" EVF. I can live with all the other benefits but just give me a ML Camera with a OVF.

I don't get the all the hype? I shoot Nikon and my cameras still work. I like Sony Cameras but I don't trust Sony as brand. If Nikon or Canon don't get it right the first time my DSLR will still work.

Everyone is acting like the sky is falling if you don't switch to Mirrorless.

The buttons :
I am sure Nikon has great engineers and a fine engineering policy that makes Nikon absolute reliable brand.
But i am very frustrated from the the lack of buttons on the camera body as shown in the teasers.
Buttons is a must.
In Audio system it still the sweet heart .
In the camera I will just remind of how much could be problimatic if not time wasting to have functions as touch screen.
1- it will always need an extra steps . Times wise.
2- what if photographer is wearing gloves ?
3- with our smart phones we have problenthe finger size. It could drive one crazy if it happened while shooting in a critical situations.
4- if the mobile screen is wet we lose the touch screen and will not function as expected ,will jam, so in case of the camera we could be shooting nature or in humide or rainy or snow conditions. Wr dont want to lose the touch.
5- once digital video cameras had external hards that were operated by single button which do multi tasks. It was like click twice fast ,or one long click ,or three clicks...
That was total idiotism . Specially with grey display panel.

So I hope the fellows in Nikon are aware of that

The sensor cleaning
It is like going to mars while we have pailing stacks of troubles right at the door step.
This little but annoying issue need to be invested in for finding serious solutions.

mirrorless is a visual concept not only technical.
In old days the large view camera was, conceptually speaking, a mirrorless.
Later
The.medium format , it was mirror ,but the viewing waist level was a whole different way to view the world.
The same with range finder compared to slr.
So it is missing a kind of big shortage talking about mirrorless against the dsler . Just based on sense of competitors...

Mirrorless means freedom of the body from the camera.
So the screen is a fatal part in putting any design.
That is what hasselblad missed when thought if rigidity in their design. We not buying horse shoe . We buy camera that functions.
Articulating big screen is a must.

Christopher Eaton's picture

For me it means that Sony owners can now shut up and focus on their own cameras and stop what abouting Nikon and FF mirrorless. I assume that my future will eventually have FF mirrorless in it, but I just bought my second D850 and am in no hurray to move on from my DSLR cameras. I don't want a smaller camera. I don't want a camera that doesn't have a dedicated WB button as these appear to lack.

Now, get off my lawn.