Why make a small-sensor mirrorless camera?

There have long been rumors that Nikon would make a mirrorless camera with a roughly 2.7x crop, causing a degree of confusion about why it would base a system around a sensor so much smaller than its rivals. We can certainly see why it would make sense for Nikon. In this opinion piece we try to look at why the company might have made this decision. We are not saying whether we think it is the right or wrong move, just proposing what the company might have been thinking.

A lot of the company's recent success comes from its DSLR business. It also has a great many customers with significant investments in its F-mount system, who are unlikely to appreciate any sign that Nikon is anything less that 100% committed to the F-mount for high-end photography. If you accept that Nikon has to produce a competitor in the mirrorless market, you would also have to conclude that it would want to do so in a way that wouldn't risk jeopardizing its DSLR sales.

Bridging the middle ground

Producing a relatively small sensor mirrorless system provides a middle ground between compact cameras and DSLRs - precisely the kind of need that Panasonic, Sony and Olympus have been explicitly targeting. It's a market of people who would never buy a DSLR and (if they behave anything like entry-level DSLR buyers), probably won't buy other lenses either. Nikon is certainly making clear that it's aiming at Facebook shooters - people who enjoy photography but don't necessarily consider themselves to be photographers.

The 1" sensor allows the Nikon 1 system to fill a gap in the company's lineup without risking damaging its own DSLR sales.

Even with a sensor significantly smaller than the ones used by those other brands, a 1" sensor camera is still likely to offer better image quality than a high-end compact such as the P7100 can give, so representing an upgrade.

To put it in context, the Nikon 1 system's sensor is 4 times bigger than the one in most compact cameras and 2.5x bigger than the 1/1.7" type used in expensive enthusiast compacts. However, it is half the size of the sensor in a Micro Four Thirds camera and one third the size of the APS-C format used in most DSLRs. This is likely to mean more noise and less control over depth-of-field but the smaller, lighter lens elements should make it easier to make it to focus quickly.

The Nikon 1's 'CX' format sensor sits between the conventional compact camera sizes and those used in DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras.

Such a system should also have a distinct size (and potentially price) advantage over the larger sensor mirrorless systems (though the V1 and J1 are not as small, nor anywhere near as cheap as you might think they could be). Given the strength of the company's brand perception in some markets, this could work well for Nikon, even if the smaller sensor is likely to mean lower image quality at high ISO than its larger sensor competitors.

"What do you mean, this one has a smaller sensor?"

If bringing multiple sensor sizes into the mirrorless market ends up seeding customer confusion about mirrorless cameras' capabilities (especially in markets where such systems haven't yet become a success), this would only serve to benefit Nikon's DSLR sales.

Comments

Total comments: 285
123
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Sep 21, 2011)

what some people forget when they step into this discussion is.... when small sensors get better bigger ones will get better as well.
so a bigger sensor of the same technology will always be the better choice for image quality.

the question is... when is good good enough for the customer.
and i dare to say good is never good enough for the enthusiast.

ok the olympus 12 MP sensor is ageing but the next generation will see a new generation of sensors. a better and STILL bigger sensor then.

given that the nikon 1 system is not smaller then the E-PL3 .... i know what mirrorless system i would buy into.

5 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Sep 21, 2011)

my first thoughts.....

1) lenses are to slow
2) sensor smaller then m43
3) price to high compared to m43
4) body + lens to big compared to m43

who will buy it?
nikon fanboys and people who have no clue what other options are available.

9 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Sep 21, 2011)

price WAY TOO HIGH compared to a DSLR!!!

5 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Sep 21, 2011)

Several problems with Nikon's thinking.

With a decent lens on the front, this new camera will be no more pocketable than a Sony NEX or Micro Four Thirds camera.

The two main benefits of moving to an interchangable lens system are lower noise at high ISOs, and depth of field control.

Users put up with interchangable lenses. They don't really want them. That's why Pentax's novelty system will fail. But once you're resigned to them, it doesn't matter that much how big the camera is.

Sony has proved that smaller system cameras can complement your SLR range. There's no conflict if you pitch them right, even if you go for the high end (look at the NEX-7 and Alpha A77).

This new Nikon system seems to rely too much on the novelty of high-speed shooting. Most people just take regular snapshots in the end.

What will Canon do now? They can't ignore this market any longer. If they follow Sony's lead with APS-C sensors. Nikon could be in very big trouble.

1 upvote
VariableScope
By VariableScope (Sep 21, 2011)

I don't expect Canon to go for full on mirrorless. I think they will go for more compact DSLRs with pellicle mirrors like the Sony SLTs. Hopefully they will also introduce a great many smaller EF-S lenses to go along with those. Not to mention, I believe that Canon will likely aim for an enhanced video experience as a differentiation over their DSLRs. But I think Canon will wait and see Nikon's trials with their system first.

0 upvotes
SteveCooper
By SteveCooper (Sep 22, 2011)

from my point of view, if this product fails, so what? Nikon still has their DSLRs and lenses, and they still have their P&S line. They are "testing the waters" and certainly not "betting the farm" on this product line. If it does well, then good for Nikon, they have a new market niche, but if it fails, what have the really lost? They are still going to dominate with their DSLRs and lenses.

0 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (Sep 21, 2011)

At the current $600 and $900 prices, they can't compete.
They size of the body + lens is roughly the same as Olympus EP-3 and NEX-5N.
And the IQ is going to be much worse, no matter how fast those new V1 and J1 cameras can shoot.

It's all about the results. No matter how cumbersome the UI, or how fiddly the controls, or how fast the AF. If the final result is superior - that's what matters.

5 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

And how are you going to get results if you don't have a picture to work with from the beginning? IQ isn't the #1 factor to everyone. I'd prefer to have a fast small-sensor camera to a slow large-sensor camera. Everyone's needs are different.

0 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (Sep 21, 2011)

Bring that price down to $399 and $449, and they have a winner.
I expect the IQ to be roughly the same as Fuji's new X10 (which has a fixed zoom lens).

0 upvotes
Pyramides
By Pyramides (Sep 21, 2011)

But the people that don't care that much about sensor size, may just as well go for an XZ-1 with its 1.8 aperture lens (or for an XZ-2 with, say, faster AF).

It is interesting how much people here focus on the sensor size and pixel count and ignore lens aperture values. I mean *F3.5*?

1 upvote
ThorKre
By ThorKre (Sep 21, 2011)

"Such a system would also have a distinct size (and potentially price) advantage over the larger sensor mirrorless systems."

Would, could, should.

BUT IT DOESN'T. Look at the bodies, look at the lenses, look at the price.

No word about that in that "article"?

8 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Sep 21, 2011)

BRAVO!

My thougths exactly!
Sometimes seens like lately dpreview is looking more and more like advertising site then a critical and review one. What a pity! :(

1 upvote
Adrian Lewis
By Adrian Lewis (Sep 23, 2011)

You are forgetting the price Nikon pays to build it.
If Nikon can sell it for this much, but it is cheaper to make than its µft and APS-C rivals, guess what ... profitability is better! Pretty damn important for return on investment.
Even if they have to cut prices, cutting a fat margin can still leave Nikon with a healthy margin.

0 upvotes
GiPi
By GiPi (Sep 21, 2011)

Owning and heavily using Nikon's full frame DSLR (D700, waiting for the 800) plus 3 excellent 2.8 Nikkor lenses (24-70, 70-200 and 105 Macro) I frequently wish to have also a small but good-quality compact, mirrorless or whatever for street/fast situations. I'm totally confused by the increasing selection and wonder what are Pros like you doing? What is the best mini-companion in your view? Or is it wise to wait a little longer (always is, unfortunately...)? Thanks, Giora

0 upvotes
DonTom
By DonTom (Sep 21, 2011)

I'm not a pro, but m43 currently has the best choice of lenses. Your current lenses will be too bulky and slow on the Nikon 1, so I wouldn't bother taking that into consideration. If you prefer zooms, wait a bit for the new "X" lenses from Panasonic (12-35, 35-100mm), which will match your current set-up. Or get the Olly 12mm & 45mm and Panny 20mm primes to give yourself two distinctly different outfits. Which body? GH2 if a built in EVF is important, otherwise go for whatever tickles your design senses!

2 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Sep 21, 2011)

Street or fast situations ? Take a fuji FX100. Fixed F2 35mm equiv lenses, great low ligth, cool design and hybrid viewfinder. Or the V1 with the adapter, so you can reuse your lenses. But does anyone knows if the adapter "adapt " the crop factor too ? Because a 24~70 multiply by almost 3 is a different lense.

1 upvote
ag0176
By ag0176 (Sep 21, 2011)

I fear time is approaching when we would see the slow demise of the Dino that Nikon is becoming. Over priced Camera systems & Lenses, being sold more on hype and brand value than actual performance and Value-for-Money justification. No real innovation has come out of Nikon portfolio over the last decade, and most of the new product introductions have been me-too offerings at a higher price points.
This new format will not offer the potential for performance and IQ on par with the products from Sony/Samsung/Panasonic/Olympus, primarily because of the smaller sensor size chosen by Nikon. We all know that Nikon does not manufacture its own sensors, and depends on other fabs for the developments in sensor technology. I fail to see what ground-breaking innovations can Nikon offer with a smaller sensor to wean away enthusiasts from Sony et al;
More pros now use Canon than Nikon, and soon serious enthusiasts may start getting attracted away from Nikon.

6 upvotes
DonAndre
By DonAndre (Sep 21, 2011)

First, Pros have favored Canon for a while already and actually some are going to Nikon because of the D3 and D3X that eat into the Canon 1D. You didn't see many photojournalists with a Nikon 5 years ago, nowadays there are more. So Nikon's strengthened that.

Second, the Nikon 1... What's a Pro got to do with it? They're certainly the least targeted audience. Targets are casual people that would turn to a G(F/H), Pen, or NEX instead.

> No real innovation has come out of Nikon portfolio over the last decade

That's the most bs sentence I have ever read. The D3/D300 combo were an absolute innovation at their time. The D3 was extremely well received in the Pro world. The D90 the first DSLR with video. Nikon built a compact camera that allows to project images onto a wall. That's another innovation. I don't know where on the moon you live...

2 upvotes
JonathanJK
By JonathanJK (Sep 21, 2011)

The sensor size diagram should be at actual size no? Otherwise you don't understand how small they actually are.

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Sep 21, 2011)

and how do they do that on different monitor sizes?
how do they show it on a tiny mobile phone display for example?

think.. then write....

7 upvotes
Ron007
By Ron007 (Sep 21, 2011)

Like you will really be able to tell them apart on a monitor with 182 ppi?

1 upvote
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Sep 21, 2011)

I bet it's simpler than that: the ultra-high-speed sensor in Nikon's 1 probably cannot be scaled much larger than this size due to power issues. It is also product differentiation. Finally, a small sensor also allows smaller new lenses and makes shockingly fast telephotos out of current fast lenses -- which a lot of parents need to take photos of their kids performances.

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Sep 21, 2011)

sorry but where are the lenses you speak of?
the ones i see are big and slow...

3 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Sep 21, 2011)

AND EXPENSIVE!!!

3 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

Come on people, he's talking about current F-mount lenses! A 50mm 1.4 would become a 135mm 1.4. An 85mm 1.4 would become a 230mm f1.4 The 70-200mm 2.8 would become a 190-540mm 2.8

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Bart Hickman
By Bart Hickman (Sep 21, 2011)

1" will be a hit. Out-flanks micro 4/3 and takes customers who want small (which is obviously most of the micro 4/3 market). Perfect bridge to 1.5x if an enthusiast wants to move up gradually. The IQ won't be what matters here since it'll be good enough (far better than enthusiast compacts.) They key to success will be everything else--ergonomics, focus speed, video quality, price.

1 upvote
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Sep 21, 2011)

A few questions:
1. How does it exactly "out-flank" m4/3? Size is very similar between the two with normal lenses, you know. Try an EPM-1 with a Panasonic 14-42 X pancake. THAT is small.
2. If IQ will not matter, why bother getting an interchangeable lens system? Remember these lenses are slow, so not really a change in IQ from compacts.
3. What sort of video quality on a 1" sensor?
4. Price?!? They're pretty damn expensive - at launch anyway.

1 upvote
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Sep 21, 2011)

"...not really a change from ENTHUSIAST compacts..."
I stand corrected.

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 21, 2011)

Personally, I can agree with all this to an extent. Nikon has no need for an alternative to it's successful DX line, which is evolving smaller, faster bodies and a wider selection of lenses year by year, unless that alternative is the higher quality FX line that has proved too expensive to make mainstream for some time now.

No, Nikon needs more to differentiate their mirrorless line in something other than large sensors, remembering that a lot of the potential market for such consumer mirrorless really won't care what technology is behind the camera, so long as it has a noticeable speed and quality improvement to their compacts, without requiring ungainly weight. It's not lost on me and perhaps marketeers that a lot of the people buying into smaller DSLRs don't really need quite that much quality and certainly will use them less than expected due to the bulk, but they do need their effectiveness at getting the shot, which most compacts with a decent sized lens can't always manage.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Sep 21, 2011)

"seeding customer confusion" seems an added benefit of nikon's corporate decision for the 2.7x crop. Marginally superior to premium P&S's in noise and bokeh potential. Vastly inferior to P&S in size & zoom range, and to NEX & NX in most else. Expected from a brand earning its margins from its past designs and outsourcing its risks (sensor R&D, electronics) to Sony and others.

Despite hopes for APS and even FF-based ILCs, neither nikon nor canon are willing to risk their DSLR products. Ditto for the m43 camp, having their own niche to defend.

Who will drive the APS and FF ILC designs? Sony and Samsung. If the former can improve its lens design, and the latter its image processing (JPG engine, de-noising) and brand recognition - then canikon's survival will depend on their legacy system/lenses and optical viewfinder appeal to old farts like me. Mitch

5 upvotes
Geoffrey Kitt
By Geoffrey Kitt (Sep 21, 2011)

I don't know why we are all obsessed with sensor SIZE. It is sensor performance that is important. I expect in the future we will see smaller sensors with the capability of today's full frame sensors. We are not there yet, but Nikon's and Pentax's decision to launch small sensor ILCs might be the start of a new direction which will focus R&D on getting better performance from small sensors. After all, the computer industry has managed to put processing power that would have filled a large room fifty years ago into your smartphone today. And nobody is now saying that we need bigger computers!

1 upvote
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 21, 2011)

Exactly- look how the 16mp D7000 outperforms it's D70 older brother. As nanotechnology develops, the is no reason why better, smaller sensors can't emerge, so long as sharp enough lenses can be made for them. This is just the beginning of CX and it already appreas to have good image quality. The potential for miniaturizing even long of extremely wide lenses and being able to have top-notch quality due to the small amour of glass needed could be unprescedented.

But for all this, I think APS-C is still the best size/performance compromise for our present moment. Nikon could well make a 'Nikon 2' series using such a sensor, presumably with all the new technologies in the Nikon 1 and autofocusing their F mount range. Whether they will or not may depend on how successful NEX is at creating a 'prosumer' mirrorless user base.

0 upvotes
Roman Stedronsky
By Roman Stedronsky (Sep 21, 2011)

You might be right... but now we are far away from the future you described.

1 upvote
Sinsear
By Sinsear (Sep 21, 2011)

We are all obsessed with sensor size because there's a direct correlation between sensor size and performance. Of course, in the future, we will see today's full frame performance in sensor sizes of 1/2.5"; BUT, the full frames of that future will be far superior. There's a reason why supercomputers still exist that fill an entire warehouse, and why desktops are not obsolete: and that is, no matter how fast a laptop may be, the larger sized object will ALWAYS be faster/better. Fujitsu K, the fastest supercomputer in the world, which came online several months ago, is being used for advanced biological and physics modeling. Try doing that in a netbook.

3 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Sep 21, 2011)

so you guys think only small sensors will envolve?

whyt you gyus forhte is that when small sensors get better bigger ones will get better as well.
so a bigger sensor of the same technology will always be the better choice.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

Een though it's true that larger sensors will always show the best performance at a given technology, the gain has decreased fast. The D7k perfromance is just a bit below that of a D700. Then there's the issue of speed. Maybe it's not so easy to make things fast enough at this point for the sensor AF or the high video rates. So, calm down a bit, the m43's sensor technology is still behind that of APS-C, this 1"sensor could well be pretty close to m43 at this stage. And lenses, well, this is just the start, check how m43 started or even NEX now, the offering in nothing close to dslrs. Finally, this is a trial for the eventual movement towards ML in all formats, that will come sooner or later.

0 upvotes
DonTom
By DonTom (Sep 21, 2011)

Sensor size does make a difference in depth of field, there is a trade-off there no matter how good other aspects of the sensor are. This difference is amplified without wide aperture lenses.
Personally, I think the DOF vs. portability issue is the only question a buyer will need to ask themselves once sensor and lens design is more mature.
For me, m43 gets it about right, especially right now. If Nikon brings out faster and smaller lenses it will compete well. The difference between the 1" sensor and 4/3 is about the same between 4/3 and APSC, which many of us are comfortable with. Choice is good!

0 upvotes
RedValley
By RedValley (Sep 21, 2011)

(Shallow) DOF and diffraction limit are two things favoring the big sensors.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

@DonTom: "Sensor size does make a difference in depth of field, there is a trade-off there no matter how good other aspects of the sensor are. This difference is amplified without wide aperture lenses."

But that argument has been used again and again against m43 and in favor or APS-C and FF. Stange now to use it in favor of m43 against CX. It's all a mater of choices. If the AF in this system is really qwhat Nikon is saying it is, to me that's the big news. Of course noise will be more than APS-C and the 3200 rate shows. But maybe noth that far from m43.

0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon never wanted to bring this camera to market but was forced under competition. Nikon mainly concentrates on its DSLR sales.

This release is more of a public demand from Nikon.I personally would like to purchase the D3100 in place of the J1 or V1.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon is 3rd in compacts, behind Canon/Sony.

0 upvotes
Fabio Amodeo
By Fabio Amodeo (Sep 21, 2011)

Sorry. I meant Sony and Samsung shares

0 upvotes
Fabio Amodeo
By Fabio Amodeo (Sep 21, 2011)

Where can I buy Nikon and Samsung shares?

0 upvotes
semorg
By semorg (Sep 21, 2011)

This camera will be a failure! The size is not much smaller than a SLR and loses any advantage when comparing it to the u4/3 or sony NEX systems. Anyone buying it, is an enthusiast. They have options from buying one of the many U4/3 systems, NEX, etc. And if they are looking for a compact camera, why not just get 1/7 camera and not worry about carrying lenses.

I don't know why dpreview feels this product makes sense. I think it makes no sense as implemented. This whole notion of anything with larger sensor would be damaging to their SLR business makes no real sense. Their assuming consumers are either nikon users or not photographers at all. The reality is these people will be choosing a different system all together.

3 upvotes
raizans
By raizans (Sep 21, 2011)

another 1 bites the dust.

sorry, could not resist.

if the sensor delivers practical, significant improvements in dynamic range and noise compared to a p&s, i'd be willing to consider it. the price seems a bit high and the lenses seem fairly large for the sensor size, though.

6 upvotes
Tom Davenport
By Tom Davenport (Sep 21, 2011)

Only question in my mind is who will be the bigger fool. Those investing in the system or Nikon stock?

6 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Sep 21, 2011)

IMHO this form factor present a real challenge to the S100 / LX5 / XZ1 camp. And to a lesser extent the M4/3. It go back to the old questions. How good is good enough for all the cry for Image quality and how compact is compact enough.

The Pentax Q and the Nikon 1 is 2 way of looking for new ways to do things and this is good news to all of us. I wish them success

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 21, 2011)

But it ISNT compact. Not like the Q.

3 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Sep 21, 2011)

I think 2,5x the typical LX5 or S95 sensor can potentially be enough for really good images. In toher words they should today be able to achieve at least the IQ that Olympus had over 2 ago with their 12MP sensor.
If they take it further and dmand less money for it and make the system and lenses a bit smaller than the competition then this could be the golden middle ground IMHO. If they just did it to no jepardize their DSLR sales that would be another story.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

If tech is same as in D7k's sensor, it'll be between D80 and D90 in IQ, where, I think, is about where Oly is now. Panny is further ahead, so this is likely about 1/2 to 2/3 stop behind Panny, if you compare G3 to D7k. Are is slightly more than half that of m43, so the difference, at same tech, should be one stop overall. But if Sony makes it, likely it uses latest technology.

0 upvotes
DonTom
By DonTom (Sep 21, 2011)

The name starts to make sense. Nikon 1, with a 1" format sensor (16mm diagonal). Not big steps for them to later bring out a Nikon "2" with a DX format sensor, basically double the diagonal (28mm or so), and FX as a Nikon "3" with a 43mm diagonal. Neat.
Makes sense from so many angles. New market from the P&S upgraders, neatly uses the vintage C_Mount glass for the enthusiasts, easy step up to DX and FX as the death of the mirror becomes inevitable.
Almost tempted to get one and some c-mount glass. Probably would, if the fast AF glass wasn't here for m43. But it is, so it's an easy choice to stay with m43.
But this will work really well for Nikon, now and in the long term. Good job!

2 upvotes
acassino
By acassino (Sep 21, 2011)

NEWS FLASH FOR NIKON: if you are afraid of being your own best competition SOMEONE ELSE will be your best competition.

26 upvotes
RubberDials
By RubberDials (Sep 21, 2011)

Well said.

0 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Sep 21, 2011)

Agreed - its kind of a short term strategy... unless they have a 'proper' mirrorless being developed in the background which will be release 'if required'

0 upvotes
Ron007
By Ron007 (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon is crumbling under pressure. Its like someone is forced to open his mouth to speak. He doesn't know what to say, so he utters some garbage. This looks like Nikon wanted to do "something new". No idea what it would be. So here you have, Nikon 1.

4 upvotes
thanhuy
By thanhuy (Sep 21, 2011)

Not interesting at all. I've been waiting Nikon to come out APS-C mirroless but now I will jump over to NEX. This is totally wrong step for Nikon

6 upvotes
synp
By synp (Sep 21, 2011)

5 years from now, cameras will not have mirrors. Even the high-end.

Both APS and FX will go through a transition similar to the 4/3 --> m4/3 transition, that will include an adapter and some new lenses.

We were hoping Nikon would start the transition now, rather than introduce this. The target audience would benefit just as much from a non-interchangeable lens camera with a sensor of the same size.

6 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

Technology is likely still not there for larger sensor high speed AF from sensor. This is technology tryout in many senses. ML APS-C from Nikon and Canon will be next, my guess is within 2 years. Canon may jump on it first.

1 upvote
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

5 years? no way...if the body were any smaller, my SB-800 would make it way too top-heavy. I don't know if they're gonna be able to cram that much fire-power into a small flash. I like how my D300 feels in my hands. It's just the right size (for me)! How do you propose we get a live view without a mirror? An EVF? No way!

0 upvotes
pandaleo
By pandaleo (Sep 21, 2011)

So they release these cameras to protect their DSLR market? Totally not make sense. Sony with NEX is now growing in market share. And now Nikon is wasting the resources to produce these kinds of camera, which is not attractive in price, size of quality when compared to M4/3 or NEX. If they want to protect their DSLR market share, please make good body and lenses, not the cameras like these.

2 upvotes
DonTom
By DonTom (Sep 21, 2011)

Beautiful body for c-mount lenses, should be no vignetting at all. This will also be Nikon's ticket into the video market. Watch the price of good vintage c-mount lenses go up!

1 upvote
roblarosa
By roblarosa (Sep 21, 2011)

So much for proof reading. a Roughly what?

"There have long been rumors that Nikon would make a mirrorless camera with a roughly , causing a degree of confusion about why it would base a system around a sensor so much smaller than its rivals."

0 upvotes
maljo@inreach.com
By maljo@inreach.com (Sep 21, 2011)

I have zero interest in this camera.

Where is the full frame mirrorless?

0 upvotes
Graystar
By Graystar (Sep 21, 2011)

It makes no sense to introduce a camera that offers no compelling reason for its purchase. DOA.

0 upvotes
nickthetasmaniac
By nickthetasmaniac (Sep 21, 2011)

"It doesn't make sense for Nikon to do anything that might jeopardize its DSLR sales."

That would make sense if Nikon existed in a vacuum - the only high-performance camera manufacturer in the market.

But it isn't, and the existing mirrorless companies are rapidly bridging the performance gap (although they're not there yet - give it a couple of years...)

If Nikon doesn't cannibalise their own dSLR sales, then NEX/NX/MFT are going to...

15 upvotes
pocoman
By pocoman (Sep 21, 2011)

Exactly... well said.

0 upvotes
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Sep 21, 2011)

Excatly +2

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 21, 2011)

I'd agree, but a couple of years is a long time in cameras. Maybe Nikon is prepping another mirrorless system for that moment? Don't forget the other entrants lack such a large DSLR user base to look after.

Mirrorless technologies would have to clearly overtake DX for Nikon to start pointing their user base in that direction. In terms of (especially bright) lenses it's still no contest and it will be a while before many people completely switch to mirror less, just as a tablet is still an accessory to a laptop.

0 upvotes
DirkL
By DirkL (Sep 21, 2011)

The Nikon CSC makes sense. Nikon DSLR users looking for a compact second system will look into it, as well as P&S upgraders, in the latter case the Nikon brand and marketing will give some extra help over m4/3.

For me, as a m4/3 user, it is not worth to consider at the moment though. Inherently, the larger m4/3 sensor has a better IQ as well and the m4/3 lens lineup is much larger. I especially miss fast glass which would compensate for the smaller sensor in the Nikon CSC system.

But I will definitely be watching what Nikon and others will do in the CSC field in the years to come.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

I'm a D300 shooter looking for an all-in-one, and I have absolutely no interest in the 1 system. The Sony NEX system is mighty attractive though.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Gadget Intelligence
By Gadget Intelligence (Sep 21, 2011)

This makes no sense. It is at least as large as the Sony NEX 5N and a tad heavier. If you want to use it as an enthusiast would - i.e. with fast pancake lenses (when the manufacturers finally get around to making them) - the advantage you are suggesting Nikon has is just not there.

0 upvotes
elai
By elai (Sep 21, 2011)

Samsung NX already has 2 good quality pancakes available (20/30mm), a 16mm coming up soon.

0 upvotes
djsphynx
By djsphynx (Sep 21, 2011)

First sentence seems to be missing something... roughly what?

1 upvote
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Sep 21, 2011)

fixed! Thanks.

0 upvotes
rayman 2
By rayman 2 (Sep 21, 2011)

I also own a Sony Nex system and the Nikon F mount system
and I am eagerly looking foreward to getting my hands on that system..
As a pro I know what it means to mount a 2.8 300 mm lens
on a 2.7x sensor and getting 800mm (equivalent to 35mm)
focal length with ultra fast autofocus and 60 frames per second
with a 16000th of a second electronic shutter......
F 2.8 !!!!!
and an image quality of about a D200 that was considered good enough for pros a few years ago....and still is if you limit to an A4
(or 11x16) size.
Thats good enogh for most journalist uses...

3 upvotes
batholith
By batholith (Sep 21, 2011)

Well said, Rayman. Exactly so. Am gonna be looking out for lenses...

0 upvotes
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Sep 21, 2011)

Great that DPR does the opinion thing here! A mature and wise decision to get opinions going, I really like that! Thanks all at DPR. This gives room for other sounds also. Personally I completely disagree for now. Nikon IS NOT in a vacuum as nickthetasmaniac said above. The competitors are lurking in the NEXT (sic) room like predators to gain momentum and market share. For the casual shooter (99% of the entire market), the apsc and mft mirrorless market is a mature upgrade from compacts already. And this happend overnight, in 2 years! For me the Nikon 1 system is 2 years late to the game and no gamechanger. Secretly I hope Nikon does very well with this! And Nikon survives and thrives. But economics are all about getting it right in time for the right market and stay in charge. Pro's are in a somewhat special niche. They are ,05% of the market. Only when we see pro's shooting Nikon 1 along the lines or in major events there will be spin off.

2 upvotes
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Sep 21, 2011)

And please DPR, this calls for a nice drawing to get a grasp at the different sensorsizes. That would be most informative.

1 upvote
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Sep 21, 2011)

This looks strangely attractive: http://www.dcresource.com/images/news/nikon_092111/DSC_0085.jpg

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 21, 2011)

Diagram? Good idea, Perry.

0 upvotes
cberry
By cberry (Sep 21, 2011)

I don't think many of you understand the buying process all that well.
I'm a canon man and bought a G12 to replace a A95 - that's a huge upgrade. Now I'm thinking that if Canon came up with something like this, I'd have certainly considered it.
If you look at sensor size alone, this lashes out against the G12s and the micro 4/3s. A sensor refresh would bring it one step further to beating 4/3s but more importantly, people will have more confidence in the system being supported for longer.
The interchangeable lens market is a nice one to be in as accessories make a good portion of profits.
Bravo Nikon. The difference between enthusiast p&s and APS-C has been bridged successfully with features that joe soap will like.
Now for the proof of the pudding - no serious flaws...
cb

0 upvotes
Woland65
By Woland65 (Sep 21, 2011)

Another example of a company that fails to do the right thing because they are trying to protect their existing products. Long term this is always a failing strategy. I bet Olympus, Panasonic and Sony feel pleased today.

Nikons mirrorless will always be known as the system with not so good image quality as some other alternatives. There is currently no sign that this is significantly compensated by lower price, faster lenses, or smaller size. They will sell some, but this system will not be a success. Ten years from now this will be seen as a failure.

0 upvotes
lolopasstrail
By lolopasstrail (Sep 21, 2011)

Interesting that when we look at shots of the release, with a gaggle of press photographing the new Nikon 1, all the press photographers have their eyes pressed up against viewfinders.

Put a viewfinder in this thing, and I'll consider it.

This must have been an expensive launch. Nikon needs to hit a home run here, or it's out of the market.

0 upvotes
cnit
By cnit (Sep 21, 2011)

So for the last 6 or so years DPReview has been beating relentlessly on the small, noisy, bad IQ, low DR etc. sensor of Olympus 4/3 claiming that these were the inherent shortcomings of a small crop 2x sensor. Now that Nikon makes one that is even smaller, suddenly the smaller crop factor is full of advantages? Hahahahaha! Great
Seriously are you people an independent site expressing your own unbiased opinion of photographic equipment or a subdivision of CaNikon incorporating their marketing arguments in your reviews? Totally disappointing...

0 upvotes
olindacat
By olindacat (Sep 21, 2011)

A mirrorless camera that can be used as "B,C or D" cameras interchangeably when video is needed, such as indy filmmaking or weddings, etc., is handy. Having to invest in multiple lens systems bites for that type of buyer (me). And adapter that really works will be great, but will footage intercut well? Now, in terms of the niche where consumers buy these smaller sensor cameras. Market perception of Nikon being what the 'pros' use can influence a consumer, like by sister-in-law, etc. Making a min-pro-quality small camera is good, but making an expensive and not-so-impressive device like these in a market flooded by the same isn't going to help Nikon's cause. I'd never buy an older small Nikon camera, and now I guess I'll stick with Sony for them in the future.

0 upvotes
gordon lafleur
By gordon lafleur (Sep 21, 2011)

what a disaster. I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole. A smaller sensor than 4/3? gimme a break. Sony's going to blow you out of the water.
Nikon must have done market research, but it seems to me that the small sensor defeats the whole idea.
Give me fast small prime lenses and a large sensor. Fast autofocus and response sounds good, but I'll stick with my x100 for now.

0 upvotes
macjonny1
By macjonny1 (Sep 21, 2011)

Article seems more like someone who is here to serve Nikon rather than someone that realizes this is really a pathetic offer by Nikon.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 21, 2011)

The article makes very clear that this is what we think Nikon's logic is not what we think of it.

It's an opinion piece that explicitly says that we're trying to imagine Nikon's perspective, not staying ours.

0 upvotes
DonTom
By DonTom (Sep 22, 2011)

Good point. Every company needs its own strategy, and these are usually revealed in stages.
Richard, any chance of updating the diagram to include the 2/3 size sensor that Fuji is bringing out in the X10? Very relevant in the buying decisions of some.

0 upvotes
Pork Slinger
By Pork Slinger (Sep 24, 2011)

This reminds me of the Pentax 110 SLR. Great little camera not headed for greatness. For the Flickr/Facebook crowd a very nice Camera. For even a casual reader of DPReview a #Fail. Because there are Nikon fans who want a good IQ in a mirrorless format. A larger sensor will lead to them defecting from Nikon.

Canon has always been wait and see, never on the bleeding edge. It will be interesting to see what they offer.

0 upvotes
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