Nikon Announces Nikon 1 Mirrorless Cameras

...with a proprietary hot shoe. Oh, and a teeny tiny chip, too. It'll take your DSLR lenses, with only a 2.7x crop factor.

Really, Nikon? Clearly this thing is not a replacement for a DSLR. But what does it compete with? I use an iPhone (and a Canon G-series) for everything else.

Really hard to understand what they were thinking on this. My thoughts pretty much echo those of Charlie Sorrel at Gadget Lab.



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Blogger the hammer said...

I just read the same article. DOH! I don't get it! Especially at the proposed price point.

September 21, 2011 11:14 AM  
Blogger kshep said...

I was delaying the purchase of a micro four thirds complement to my Nikon DSLR until this announcement, and now I'm just confused. Other than the ability to swap lenses and some video gimmicks, how is this better than a Canon S95, S100, G10, G11, G12 or Nikon P7000? I think they've handed Canon a huge gift with this: they can sit back, judge market reaction, and consider their own mirrorless, potentially four thirds compatible, HD video-capable offering that could replace the Gxx series as the defacto DSLR companion. I know I want to see what Canon does in response to this.

September 21, 2011 11:17 AM  
Blogger chappers said...

Well personally, I have spent a fortune on Canon equipment and have finally got a pretty decent setup so I would like time to stand still as far as new cameras and lenses are concerned. From now on, I only want to hear about equipment being 'not worth it.' So if the new thing is cameras without mirrors and you say it nothing to go rush out and buy then to be honest I'm happy. : )

September 21, 2011 11:18 AM  
Blogger nicander stephanus said...

Clearyly Nikon here is eye-ing the market. Although given that Canon haven't made any announcement of this mirrorless trend, it would be expected to be one in near future.

Theres several roads that Canon could take: the mirrorless, the retro X100 alike, or nothing at all - they eyeing for something in hollywood market and much more video.

Nikon in this case cannot avoid this anylonger as I feel that thery're losing in pocket market area. S95 winning, G12 winning. I see less and lesser Nikon pocket-camera alike these days.

September 21, 2011 11:18 AM  
Blogger Tim F said...

The '1' line is clearly a broadside aimed directly at the Pentax 'Q'. Pentax has had the interchangeable-lens gimmicky small prismless (ILL-GIMP) market to itself for long enough.

September 21, 2011 11:19 AM  
Blogger chris said...

i'd like an affordable digital camera that i can attach m-mount lenses to.

September 21, 2011 11:21 AM  
Blogger BCphoto said...

I can tell you what they were thinking about this. I saw an interview where some CEO was answering questions. And hes said the folowing: Honestly our own market research shows that this is a very small market. In our questionaires to clients, no one mentions mirrorless at all. In fact the only people asking us about mirrorless is the press. We only did this because we felt like it would hurt us in the press if we refused to make one.

I just wish I still had that link somewhere handy.

September 21, 2011 11:21 AM  
Blogger bkhl said...

Looks like a response to the Pentax Q system. Wheras Pentax Q actually seems like a usable supercompact system usable by pros, this does not strike me as an impressive counteroffer.

September 21, 2011 11:22 AM  
Blogger Xay B. said...

I feel like they should trying to work on their camera's video capabilities instead of this.

September 21, 2011 11:24 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

I love the Star Trek picture.

Did you see the price on that camera? Nikon must be smoking some good stuff is all I have to say...

September 21, 2011 11:28 AM  
Blogger skyMyrka said...

The whole thing is pretty exciting for me for one reason only: pink lenses. Not to use, but to own. Won't have to insure them either for obvious reasons, and hey, wonder what the resale value on those will be eventually (:

Other than that, it's a great marketing gig for nikon.

September 21, 2011 11:29 AM  
Blogger Gage said...

I'm with you David....REALLY NIKON?! ...REALLY?!

September 21, 2011 11:31 AM  
Blogger Tazmania said...

When I heard mirror-less I was thinking they would introduce something like a digital ranger finder and leverage their DSLR tech. Think the guts of a D7000 in a ranger finder body without the mirror and pentaprism. That way I could use my lenses, flash, accessories on a smaller body.

But this thing? I can only image the R&D time and $$$ wasted that could have been put to better use.

September 21, 2011 11:32 AM  
Blogger rossjlennox said...

I'm with you, David... I don't get it. The proposed pricing looks astronomical - and the results will be noisy when compared to even old dSLR tech such as a D40 or similar, which could be picked up for buttons in comparison. Add to that that the crop factor will make most existing lenses, if not quite useless, certainly at the long end for most purposes. All that said, I'm sure Nikon have done their market research and there will be people who buy this. I just won't be one of them.

September 21, 2011 11:33 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Their high end model has a price point around the Fuji X100, which has an enormous (in comparison) APS-C sensor and a standard hot shoe. I don't get it, either. (I shoot a DSLR or an SD1000 if I don't want to carry a camera, so maybe I'm not in the target market, but I can't figure out what that is.)

September 21, 2011 11:37 AM  
Blogger Spotpuff said...

I agree the camera system has a lot of misses.

In my opinion the price is too high and the lenses are garbage. Not having a pancake f/2 lens for that system is dumb; they're falling into the same trap the other mirrorless camera makers have in that the lenses make the system too large.

I'd be happy with a small normal prime at f/2 and a normal nikon hotshoe for the sb400/remote flash trigger. But this is a bit of a miss.

I don't understand the decision to launch with such mediocre lenses either.

September 21, 2011 11:44 AM  
Blogger Andrew L. said...

I don't get it either.

What I really want is something that is better than the Fuji X100 - in better I mean, fix all the annoying issues with the firmware.

Keep the access to the manual controls, keep the APS-C size sensor or bigger.

I want something that is akin to a modern digital range finder without paying Leica prices. Fuji got close, but still not there yet.

Other than jumping on the bandwagon of wanting to have a mirrorless option on the market, I have no idea what Nikon was thinking.

September 21, 2011 11:45 AM  
Blogger junyo said...

What they were thinking was "smaller lenses than m43 or NEX with a larger-ish sensor than point and shoots". Which probably would have been and okay deal were is not for the slow prime and the new m43 pancake zooms and if the whole shebang were $150 cheaper.

September 21, 2011 12:05 PM  
Blogger Kurt Jürgen Lindner said...

#NikonFail Should start trending sometime today.

September 21, 2011 12:12 PM  
Blogger Dave-Keller Photography said...

I for one am very excited about this announcement! Now that this is finally behind us all maybe Nikon can focus their attention on their real cameras and give us all the D4/D800/D400 news we have all been waiting for. SOON, please Nikon.

September 21, 2011 12:30 PM  
Blogger steelworx said...

If Nikon had made it a retro styled camera like the X100 I feel that it would have been a far more attractive option but as a bland box, it misses all marks in my book. This is just my first impression, and after playing with one I may change my mind.

September 21, 2011 1:01 PM  
OpenID modifiedphoto said...

$900 for THAT? You'd be better off buying a D7000 which can actually take good "professional" quality pictures, has a larger, better 16mp sensor and far more ISO range. Sure, it's not as "compact", but these look like they would be odd if not difficult to handle with anything but the smallest of lenses attached. At least I wouldn't be bound to drop a D7000 with a big lens. And a 2.7x crop factor makes all but my 14-24 F2.8 lens pretty much into a super-telephoto. (And considering the size of that lens, it would practically dwarf the camera.)


September 21, 2011 1:16 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Unbelievably bad!

Why couldn't they just give us a digital Nikon SP instead? An optical finder would be fine. They already have the mount, and they could shrink it a bit with an APS-C sensor. Yes, the market would be small, but at least Nikon could hold their heads high!

September 21, 2011 1:19 PM  
Blogger Jumpthesnark said...

The sensor is tiny, the lenses are slow and the design is so form-over-function that I can't stand it. I like a camera with knobs and buttons that click so I know what exposure changes I'm making without taking my eye from the viewfinder. The camera body is so smooth and featureless there's nothing to grip - I know I'd drop the thing. Maybe a retro camera like the X100 makes more sense to me because I have a retro mind.

September 21, 2011 1:21 PM  
Blogger Masden said...

Dont Worry David, i was at the annoucement in Paris, and an Nikon sales manager told me that Nikon will sell an hot shoe adapter for their SB900 and cie.

See my post here (in french but can be translated)

September 21, 2011 1:21 PM  
Blogger anchorite said...

As soon as the first sensor size rumors came out I lost my faith on the Nikon's mirrorless cameras, but now I'm even more disappointed when I saw the price tag. No way I would pay that amount of money for a camera with a IQ worse than micro4/3...

September 21, 2011 1:21 PM  
Blogger Wally Brooks said...

It sure looks like the Nex 7 is the place to be except for lack of a great lens lineup, at least so far. Misses for me are a new hot shoe so my SB 800/900 wont work except for CLR and my pocketwizards are worthless. To use it forces lots of new gear purchases which takes me back to the Nex 7 except for a limited lens line up.....and the circle goes round n round...

September 21, 2011 1:28 PM  
Blogger stan chung said...

I'm obviously not the target market.

IMHO it's for young teenage girls and boys to have.

The press needing these? Maybe in some situations.

Way to go Nikon. doublefacepalm

September 21, 2011 2:00 PM  
Blogger cabbiinc said...

This is obviously a counter reaction to Canon's announcement last year.
Someone needs to tell Nikon that just because you're trying to compete, doesn't mean you do the opposite.

September 21, 2011 2:22 PM  
OpenID blogwerks said...

Oy! The 2.7 crop factor wasn't what I hoped would come out. It might plug a hole in Nikon's lineup and, as Thom Hogan points out, no one else has an offering in this particular slot (above compact/point-and-shoot and below M 4/3), but this is not the shirt-pocket camera I'd carry around.

September 21, 2011 3:31 PM  
Blogger JDW NYC said...

I love my Panasonic GH2 and GF1. the GH2 shoots amazing video and with the recent firmware hack does near broadcast quality HD video. With the advancement of high quality hi-res electronic viewfinders, the mirror is a holdover from analogue technology and gets in the way of hybrid cameras shooting video. Getting rid of the mirror allows M4/3 hybrids to use continuous autofocus tracking while shooting video. The mirror also add a great deal of size and weight to the system.

The GH@ shoots still of comparable quality to Nikon's D7000 and produces superior video.

Japan has a huge M4/3 and mirrorless market. I know many pro-SLR shooters who have bought a GF1 or other M4/3 as a compact carry-around vacation camera. A D3 or a Canon 5D weights a ton and is always in the way when taking pictures is your secondary purpose somewhere.

I use my GH2 with off camera speedlights and other gear and I have taken great art photos with it.

Without knowing what Nikon's first mirrorless will be like, I personally think they are making a smart move. More compact mirrorless systems cameras better serve consumers who would otherwise be purchasing a Canon or Nikon SLR in the 500-700 range and not spend too much more on lenses and gear.

Meanwhile Panasonic will soon be coming out with the GF-Pro which will have higher quality sensor and controls than the GF-2and GF-3 and be geared to pros who want to shoot with a more compact M4/3 system.

September 21, 2011 4:25 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I believe this system was designed to compete with the sony mirrorless cameras, which have gotten quite a big following and market share. Nikon doesn't want sony to own this market share, hence the competition.

September 21, 2011 4:47 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

That sensor is just about half the image area of the micro 4/3rds. This looks like a misfire. A Fuji X100-like camera with interchangeable lenses and a hot shoe supporting their current flashes would have had me hopping with excitement and would have tied in nicely with their rangefinder heritage. I guess they picked J and V for the letters because this is really junior varsity. I do like the pink, though.

September 21, 2011 5:22 PM  
Blogger marcus said...

Rubbish announcement. Super disappointed because you KNOW that Canon is going to announce something HUGE and as a loyal Nikon supporter and user I was hoping for something worth saving for. This is not that thing.

September 21, 2011 7:11 PM  
Blogger iamlucky13 said...

I've known for a while from the rumor sites it was going to be a little 2.7X sensor. I've gotten over that. Nikon is trying to carve a niche. Thom Hogan pointed out something interesting about the size: it's 1 stop smaller (area-wise) than the M4/3 sensors, and 1 stop bigger than the G12's 1/1.7" sensor.

I knew it was going to be a consumer camera, too...but it still could have pulled double duty for some enthusiasts if done right.

However, forget about the multitude of other complaints. This is the Strobist site, right? Can you strobe with it?

Not really.

I don't see any nice way of triggering an off-camera flash with either model. Proprietary shoe means none of the existing radio triggers will work. I'm sure it doesn't have a PC jack.

There's always the option of using the onboard flash to trigger optical slaves...

...except the higher end model doesn't have an on board flash.

For $150 extra, you can get the shoe-mount flash, but it only has a guide number of 8.5 meters. This shoe mount is actually weaker than the pop-up flash on the D40. Thank goodness at least it spins 180 degrees around and 90 degrees up.

Unsurprisingly, the pop-up on the cheaper model is even weaker: 5 meters. The S95 has more power.

Worse, the synch speed on that model is 1/60 because of its electronic shutter (1/250 on the other model) - good luck achieving a decent fill ratio in direct sunlight when you're stuck sucking in 1/60 worth of ambient with no flash power.

For a strobist, the G12 or P7100 are much more usable.

September 21, 2011 8:07 PM  
Blogger alexdpx said...

Nikon has had the history of favoring a smaller sensor over a larger one. Remember when Nikon committed to the DX format, even for the pro-bodies, while Canon was pushing the boundaries of full-frame sensors? As a result, many Nikon shooters defected to Canon.

We already know that size matters when it comes to sensors, at least. And yet again, Nikon is asking us to think otherwise. Well, sorry Nikon. I don't buy it.

September 22, 2011 1:38 AM  
Blogger James Cooke said...

I agree. At the very least Nikon should have allowed its DSLR users to pop a flash on these small cameras. That would give them an advantage over new users who have to buy a new flash/flashes. It would also have been an incentive for new Nikon users to try out their flash system and potentially move up to Nikon for their DSLR system as well.

I just wouldn't want to waste money on a flash I can't even use in a normal hotshoe......just when I thought Nikon were following trends like strobist. ..

September 22, 2011 5:27 AM  
Blogger Richard K said...

I'm going to disagree with almost all the other comments here and say that I think this has at least a chance of succeeding.

Certainly I wouldn't expect it to appeal to many/any readers of Strobist, or any other genuine photography enthusiast, but there is a simply huge market of "non-enthusiast" photographers who I think would be very tempted by this.

Go to any major tourist site (certainly in Europe anyway) and you'll see many, mainly quite young, mainly Far Eastern, people lugging around Rebels and d5000's with kit lenses, randomly snapping away at all and everything, many most likely not getting any better results than they'd get frm a compact at 1/5th the price.

So why do they do it? Because having a camera with a removable lens (even if they have never removed it and don't have a second one to replace it with anyway!) must make them that bit better (as people/photographers) than everyone without!!

Well, that's what I think anyway ;-)

September 22, 2011 6:52 AM  
Blogger Richard K said...

I'm going to disagree with almost all the other comments here and say that I think this has at least a chance of succeeding.

Certainly I wouldn't expect it to appeal to many/any readers of Strobist, or any other genuine photography enthusiast, but there is a simply huge market of "non-enthusiast" photographers who I think would be very tempted by this.

Go to any major tourist site (certainly in Europe anyway) and you'll see many, mainly quite young, mainly Far Eastern, people lugging around Rebels and d5000's with kit lenses, randomly snapping away at all and everything, many most likely not getting any better results than they'd get frm a compact at 1/5th the price.

So why do they do it? Because having a camera with a removable lens (even if they have never removed it and don't have a second one to replace it with anyway!) must make them that bit better (as people/photographers) than everyone without!!

Well, that's what I think anyway ;-)

September 22, 2011 6:53 AM  
Blogger Ludwig said...

Definitely, a mixture of the old S and the Lumix GF/Olympus PL would have been really fun (especially as the Nikon F bayonet is the oldest system which is still in widespread professional use, so using some kind of S-bayonet would have been consequent for Nikon known as "the guys with the old bayonet").
But by this, they would have probably cannibalized their own D3100 and P7100 models - as it turned out with the Olypmus E system, which got obsolete as a compact DSLR solution when the more compact Pens were introduced. So economically, the Nikon 1 is decent.
Well, there is even some kind of application were these dwarves (especcialy the V1) could be useful: If you attach the 70-200/2.8, you get a great 190-540/2.8. Together with the video and AF capabilities, that could be nice for wildlife filmers. And with a 200-400mm, you get some kind of 540-1080/4 mega telephoto for the price of a 200-400/4 ;-)

September 22, 2011 8:25 AM  
Blogger Ludwig said...

@ Richard K : I think, this is exactly the target group for this kind of cameras. But there is just one mistake about it: The cam is waaaay too expensive for most of these (young) folks!

September 22, 2011 8:27 AM  
Blogger Puggle said...

The Double Face Palm photo is hilarious!!

As for the Nikon 1, were they thinking?

I'd like to see the sales figures on it.

September 22, 2011 9:09 AM  
Blogger aK said...

if this were an Apple camera, people would run to stores to grab one. but its ... nikon hahahaha

September 22, 2011 11:14 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

with a 2.7X crop factor, some wildlife photographers will enjoy having 10MP right on their subject. Do the math on how many pixels you'd need on a full frame to crop that tight and retain that many pixels... 73MP! Place one of these on a 500mm lens, and 1350mm, with a 1.7x teleconverter: 2300mm. Smile at the little birdie!

Not every item made by Nikon/Canon is targeted to you. Some folks are more into documenting what they saw, and these silly little things can do that job wonderfully.

September 22, 2011 12:27 PM  
OpenID pfarrell said...

My theory on the Nikon 1 is that they don't want to kill the low end DSLR models AND don't want to kill their compact and superzoom cameras. I think they are dreaming and wrong.

IMHO, a 4/3 mirrorless is the next generation enthusiast camera, and the cell phone is the next compact. This will take most of the volume out of both Canon and Nikon, so they will be holding off and will only change when they have been drug kicking and screaming.

I can understand why they are trying to do this, but I expect it will be like the HP WebPad, something rejected by the market.

I bet that they need the low end DSLR to support the engineering costs of the better and pro cameras. Without it, a pro DSLR would be really expensive (think Leica). In the late 1990s, Nikon was effectively out of the camera business, they were making all their money selling photo-lith gear in Silicon Valley.

September 22, 2011 12:28 PM  
Blogger Parabola said...

i think i'll keep my 30D.

September 22, 2011 4:30 PM  
Blogger Mark Davidson said...

Take a look at what Thom Hogan is saying and get some perspective.
This is not for enthusiasts. That doesn't mean it is a bad camera.
As usual people get exercised about one metric and pass judgement.

September 22, 2011 7:24 PM  
Blogger cream of beats said...

If the hot-shoe adapter that Masden mentioned is true, this might not be as bad as it initially seems. The price is still a deal breaker, but I can live with the crop factor. Might have to buy the 10mm lens for studio work, but a super telephoto out of a 200/300mm lens would be great for sports/wildlife photography. The price on these cameras shouldn't even touch $499 though.

September 22, 2011 11:11 PM  
Blogger BdgBill said...

You guys don't get it because you are all photographers. These cameras are not for photographers, they are for the people who think the Olympus PEN cameras are fantastic.

For me, there are cameras that require a camera bag and cameras that don't. If I'm going to lug a camera bag, I may as well have my DSLR. If I need a portable camera, I'll slip my S90 in my shirt pocket and go.

September 23, 2011 12:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Perrault said...

If this was half the price, had faster fps it might,maybe be a good alternative for a new newspaper shooter. The crop factor would render most lenses do-able for sports and then use the new lenses for regular lengths.

But alas, it is not those things.

September 23, 2011 12:18 PM  
Blogger MasterOfGoingFaster said...

People usually have two complaints about mirrorless cameras.

1 - Overall package is too big.
2 - Sensor is too small.

Assuming #1 and #2 are at odds with each other, Nikon has three options:
- Bring a ME-TOO product to market (DX or 4/3).
- Ignore #1 and use a FX sensor.
- Ignore #2 and design everything around camera size.

I see the Nikon 1 as a knock-it-out-of-the-park compact camera. If you think of it that way, it is pretty amazing. It may show us what they are working on for their next pro camera.

Now, if Nikon produces a FX mirrorless with an F mount, I'm sure all will be forgiven.

September 24, 2011 6:36 PM  
Blogger Gregoire said...

Every manufacturer of optical and/or electronic devices does their dumb move from time to time. And this is Nikon's moment to "shine"!! LOL

September 25, 2011 8:21 AM  
Blogger Michael Quack - Visual Pursuit said...

Nikon Germany has tested these two a few weeks before the release in our studio. We set up low contrast, low power tungsten light in Studio 1, and continuous AF happily hit it at 10 fps. Now imagine a housewife trying to nail her dog/cat/kids..... bingo! You have found the target audience, and I am sure this system will be a huge seller. No, I will most certainly not buy one myself. But I think what moms with cams will do with these babies in hands will shock a lot of people that are now belittling the system.

Just for comparison: My EOS-1D series body failed to nail AF at max fps in these conditions, not mentioning that it can't even shoot 10fps, let alone preroll and select the best shot out of a barrage of shots at 60fps.

September 27, 2011 4:06 PM  
Blogger Pixyst said...

I think there is something here that a lot of people seem to be missing. The technology Nikon has on these two little cameras is unprecedented in terms of autofocus speed, data throughput and image noise. Just imagine what the new high end DSLR's will look like with this technology. There is currently nothing close out there.

September 27, 2011 11:46 PM  
Blogger White Salmon Photography said...

Finally starting to throw the whole SLR paradigm on its ear. About time! Now, how about getting rid of the mechanical shutter and give us sensor that records in HDR...
whenever you're ready, We are!

October 05, 2011 4:39 PM  

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