Now that Canon has recently announced the EOS RP, is the next Nikon Z camera on its way? And if it is, where will it fall in the Nikon Z lineup of cameras? If rumors are correct, the next Nikon Z camera will most likely be aimed at an entry-level full-frame user. Perhaps called the Nikon Z5?
Numerous sites are reporting that a Nikon executive has confirmed that a new Z series camera is being developed for the entry level user. It appears that Nikon is going to follow Canon’s lead of offering a mirrorless full-frame camera to the entry-level community. With the vast majority of the photography community panning the Canon EOS RP, will this be an opening for Nikon to grab a share of the entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera market? Or will Nikon succumb to the same reviews as the Canon EOS RP?
For Nikon to reduce the development cost of the rumored Z5 and to separate it from the current Z6, the rumored Z5 will most likely be a stripped down version of the Nikon Z6. For example, will the rumored model incorporate an XQD card or shift to an SD card slot? Since the camera is being developed for entry-level users, the inclusion of an XQD card instead of an SD card would seem to be unlikely. With the cost of XQD cards and the extensive use of SD cards, it seems an entry level user would be more attracted to a Z5 with an SD card slot. And even though Nikon was widely criticized for only having one card slot in the Z6, I can’t imagine they will have two card slots in a lower level Z line camera.
Of course, the sensor is another place Nikon might separate the Z6 from the potential Z5. Using the same sensor as the Z6 would most likely be the most economical approach for Nikon, but this approach doesn’t provide an incentive for the consumer to spend more money to purchase the Z6. Of course, there is the chance Nikon could use the sensor from the D750 as a cost-saving approach and a way to distinguish the Z6 from the rumored Z5.
As with most lower level cameras that are modeled off of higher-end versions, the use of more plastic can be expected, especially in the body itself. Along with that reduced quality in weather and dust-sealing is to be expected. Perhaps a lower quality EVF might be in the offering for the potential Z5.
I wonder about Nikon and Canon’s strategy to offer full-frame mirrorless cameras that appear to be targeted at the mid and entry-level consumer. Is this a strategy both companies are pursuing so they don’t cannibalize their top-end DSLR market? Or do both companies feel their full-frame mirrorless technology is not ready to compete with the well established full-frame DSLR cameras? Perhaps a third possibility is move camera manufacturers are looking to entice new customers who are not DSLR users. Maybe Nikon and Canon want to start these new users off in the full-frame mirrorless technology and have them grow as Nikon and Canon improve and grow their full-frame mirrorless camera line.