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
hiplnsdrftr
By hiplnsdrftr (Sep 22, 2011)

The frustrating thing is that Nikon has aimed low rather than aiming high.

So rather than offer serious photographers an alternative to a GF1, NEX-7, Fuji X100, NX200 or EP-3, Nikon is offering a big, expensive alternative to the P&S market.

And honestly I am not thrilled with any of the "serious" cameras I gave as examples, except maybe the GF1 which is discontinued and the X100 which is utterly unavailable. Therefore, it would have been nice for Nikon to swoop in and really nail a great design of an APS mirrorless camera.

Unfortunately, Canon will likely aim low as well.

2 upvotes
apil_ua
By apil_ua (Sep 22, 2011)

Now my hopes for a mirror-less natively-nikon-F-compatible camera has died.
Have to start thinking of switching to another mirror-less lens system :(

4 upvotes
Soo Yee Seong
By Soo Yee Seong (Sep 22, 2011)

I feel it is positioned nicely in between the compact and the DSLR.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

I feel it is positioned nicely in between the compact and a trash heap.

2 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

yeah, so basically it's the worst of both worlds...too big to pocket and not good enough for real work

0 upvotes
CosmicHeretic
By CosmicHeretic (Jun 5, 2012)

Exactly my thoughts Dan. This is why all the ICL type cameras will always be niche products. The APS-C DSLR is the sweet spot in price and performance and close to FF performance at much lower cost of ownership. I have read several forum comments by pro's using the D7000 exclusively for shoots while their D700 stays unused in their bag.

0 upvotes
Joesiv
By Joesiv (Sep 21, 2011)

I think Nikon just legitimized micro fourthirds and their smaller than APS-C sensor. I think Panasonic and Olympus should be happy. Especially now that they have a more robust lens lineup, some even being smaller than equivalent Nikon 1 lens'.

Seems like Nikon's system has some thought behind it though, not just a me too, but some serious R&D thrown in there in terms of the features. Not sure why they'd change the flash mount though :S

0 upvotes
Timothy Stark
By Timothy Stark (Sep 21, 2011)

The target market Nikon wants to attract is not represented by the readers of DPR.

I sold cameras as my first job, Nikon sold Nikkormat 50 F2 kits at a rate of about 150:1 of the F2's. This is the same market plan, updated.

Everyone who uses a Nikon D whatever and has a bag of lenses knows 20 people that don't. Onlookers who ooh and ah at the shots pouring from skilled photographers only need to know: they can buy a NIKON with interchangable lenses that is small and expensive.

Noticed the demise of the independent camera shop? They aren't needed anymore. Nikon, Canon, whoever has an enormous, global and free sales force known as "enthusiast photographers".

I use a 5D with old Contax glass, and a Pentax DS with either an M mount 28 2.8, or a 300 4.5 F*. I do not own a single Canon lens and I get asked about cameras all the time.

Nikon understands nodern marketing by spheres of influence and I'm certain they will sell boatloads. Just not to me and at least 137 other DPR readers!

7 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 22, 2011)

I suspect you may be proved right.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 22, 2011)

Tim, how can you compare?

I still have my nice black Nikkormat FTn & 50mm f.2.0 lens - and it still takes great pictures. That camera at least had the same "sensor" size as the F2 (got one of those too) and was built almost as well. The 50mm f.2.0 lens was also one of Nikon's sharpest lenses.

Nikon may sell boatloads of these cameras - but they certainly don't stand in a similar relationship to Nikon's "pro" DSLRs the way the Nikkormat did to the F2.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

no, that was yesterday...besides, both of those cameras used the same sized film. Now we have the internet. People talk. Do you think someone is going to pay that much for a camera without doing a tiny bit of research first? Unless Nikon quickly makes better 1 cameras, this idea will fail.

0 upvotes
shutterhappens
By shutterhappens (Sep 21, 2011)

If nikon pick the smaller sensor because it results in a noticeably smaller camera/lense and lower cost, I'd say they made a good choice. But due to the overhead mechanics and electronics, this system with 2.7x crop factor is not significantly smaller than the 4/3 systems. So I'm more inclined to buy the 4/3 system with the larger sensor.

I hope when Canon enters the mirrorless large sensor camera market, they are not as timid as Nikon.

2 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Sep 21, 2011)

The size ratio of CX to DX seems to be the same as going from DX to FX.

I like this line of thinking by Nikon.. Small, Medium, or Large.

Now, onto better CX lenses (need pancake zoom) and mirror less DX/FX cameras!

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

I'm sorry Goldie Locks, that porridge is COLD!

2 upvotes
exifnotfound
By exifnotfound (Nov 5, 2011)

Regardless of the fact that Nikon don't want to hurt their DSLR sales (we assume). Another fact remains that they just aren't that great at producing small cameras.
Just look at their Coolpix cameras compared to Canon or even Panasonic...
I shoot Nikon DSLR and I wanted the '1' to be great, somehow though, I knew it wouldn't be.

What gets me is that everyone has seen the huge popularity of the X100 yet no one has even attempted to match it. Instead they release compacts with interchangeable lenses.
What's the point in going to the trouble and expense of collecting lenses for a tiny sensor? If the X100 had an ICS, (or another body like it) then that would be something... and something that actually would threaten DSLR sales.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
tlinn
By tlinn (Sep 21, 2011)

I really hope Canon takes a different approach. Sony has the right idea, using an APS-C sized sensor; but they apparently don't employ anyone who knows anything about noise reduction. Canon could completely take over this market segment by creating a competent system with a large sensor.

Hopefully, Nikon's effort falls flat—not because I dislike the company but because I dislike the idea that they could have done better but didn't because of marketing considerations.

7 upvotes
HSway
By HSway (Sep 21, 2011)

That’s exactly what they do, or more precisely, they are brave enough to do. As it made sense to me when the news about 2.7x came out. Nikon is giving some space to the mirror-less camera within their system but not letting it influence the system. For now. I think the Asian market may receive it positively. But in general, there is a long row of question marks. Market is big and growing. Nikon preferred to concentrate on Nikon for whatever reason and count on surviving of small dslrs that will keep their appeal. Will Canon see it different? I wouldn’t be surprised. But it seems to me they mostly know of each other’s steps far better than we do. So it’s possible Nikon has gone this way knowing that they know – and yet they went. In any case, Nikon could have done greater threat to other, bigger sensor mirror-less brands than their new system and products are suggesting, for sure.

Hynek

0 upvotes
h holland
By h holland (Sep 21, 2011)

For me the biggest disadvantage from small sensors is the wide depth of field these sensors create. That may be useful in photograping landscapes but it's definetely a disturbance in portraits. It's difficult then to photograph people with a blurry background. Larger sensors can give more depth of field with closing the diafragma and are convenient for both kinds of photography but otherwise small sensors don't have this flexibility. So these cameras are surely not for me and a bit of a dissapointment from a typical camerafactory like nikon. They could have shown more guts.

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 22, 2011)

Please. Larger sensors give you *less* depth of field, not more. A narrow or small depth of field is what you want to isolate the subject from the background (or blur the background) in portraits.

You also get your blurry background by *opening* the diaphragm not by closing it down.

0 upvotes
canonluber
By canonluber (Sep 21, 2011)

PLEASE Canon, remember the glory of your rangefinder days. Put out something you can be proud of.

6 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

PLEASE CANON PLEASE!!!!

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

PLEASE CANON PLEASE!!!!

1 upvote
Blake Willis
By Blake Willis (Sep 21, 2011)

Interesting concept. Lots of potential. Glad they didn't try to overdo the MP count (*ahem* Canon). 10mp in this sensor size should give some pretty nice results if they give it the same high-ISO love juice as their APS-C cameras.

Wake me up when someone ships f/2.0 or faster primes for it.

Oh, & a stabilized macro lens.

1 upvote
matt_nnn
By matt_nnn (Sep 21, 2011)

I quite like the sensor size. So my favored sensor size DX will receive enough attention in the future. An the CX might be an alternative to a "large sensor" compact.
And I think a "good enough" exists. Otherwise more people would buy FX and not DX. And with rising image quality the CX might be enough in the future. Because how large will you print? I have a 60x90cm print from my 6MP D70, which I quite like...

1 upvote
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

uh, no...I don't own an FX body because I can't afford one!

0 upvotes
SF Photo Gal
By SF Photo Gal (Sep 21, 2011)

It doesn't excite me, but consider it wasn't all that long ago that a 10mp sensor was a really big deal. We don't know now good the sensor is, and if the IQ/DR/ISO results are reasonable, it could be a success.

The name Nikon carries a lot of instant credibility and it gets a lot more retail shelf space than Panasonic or Olympus.

0 upvotes
boho
By boho (Sep 21, 2011)

if nikon is not able to challenge itself, it may just be the beginning of the end.
I don't try to be sound like some kind of "Oracle of Delphi", but I would bet that nikon is not going to be, what it used to be in ten years from now, if it doesn't dare to challenge itself.
I just feel sorry for them.

"We think it makes a lot of sense for the company"
yes! maybe! but you are supposed to understand the customers point of view and stand by it.
I fully agree with MP Burke. Is just spin. Spin from a company designed to serve the customers and bought by the sellers in order to increase their selling. I just have not a clue why I still check it out.
sorry dpreview boys! don't take it personally. is definitely not.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 21, 2011)

It's an opinion piece explaining what we think Nikon's logic is. We're not saying we agree with it and I stressed that it appears to make sense 'for the company' because I'm specifically not writing from the consumers point of view.

It's not spin, it's speculation.

In the review, it's the consumer's point of view we'll be considering.

2 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Sep 21, 2011)

Sony and the 4/3 camp must be jumping for joy over the fact that Nikon is putting an inferior mirrorless system into play. How well it sells will depend a great deal on the price point. The camera had better be under $500 with lens (or even less) because people who spend over $500 on a camera know darn well the difference between a small and large sensor camera.

3 upvotes
canonluber
By canonluber (Sep 21, 2011)

How disappointing for Nikonians. A toy camera. Would have thought about switching if it had been APS-C. Thought Nikon and Canon would come out swinging, instead Nikon has skirted the issue. Sony will continue to dominate the enthusiast market, probably the other markets as well. Hope Canon has more sense. PLEASE SOMEONE IN CANON TELL THE EMPEROR HE HAS NO CLOTHES ON!!

5 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

switching is something they probably don't want you to do, so that's why it is what it is...I see a move to Sony if Nikon doesn't up their game especially in the video department

0 upvotes
Dan4321
By Dan4321 (Sep 21, 2011)

The only problem is it isn't what it should be. Equivalent lenses should be (in theory) smaller than micro four thirds, but they aren't. In the end, it's the size and the images that the cameras create. Legacy doesn't sell cameras, mirrorless requires a whole new set of lenses to take full advantage of it and people aren't going to buy it for just the Nikon name.

0 upvotes
raztec
By raztec (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon is the anti-thesis of Apple. Instead of bold new ideas, the guys at Nikon are like a bunch of old folks trying to protect the pile of gold they are sitting on with paper mache distractions.

Every since Nikon's long hold to go full frame I had my doubts about this company's future. For the life of me I can't figure out who is making the decisions at Nikon because they keep doing things which tick off a lot of photographers.

Just a couple small examples: the 95% viewfinder in the otherwise excellent D700?? and the small sensor and no RAW in the potential LX5 and S95 killer, the P300??

And now we have a johnny-come-lately half hearted attempt at a mirror-less camera that is already a has been. My god these idiots at Nikon just keep getting dumber.

If I wasn't so heavily invested in their lenses I'd have switched long ago. And now I definitely will be. If I wasn't so heavily invested in their lenses I'd have switched long ago. And now I definitely will be.

6 upvotes
JosephScha
By JosephScha (Sep 21, 2011)

There must have been a spirited argument at Nikon about whether the "Nikon" logo went on the top left of the body, as for Nikon compacts, or on the viewfinder bump similar to its placement on the DSLR's prism. (And what a style-free bump that is on the Nikon 1 - the logo would have improved it).

It's clear that the "put it where the compacts have it" argument won. I don't think I'm reading too much into that decision to say that probably fits with their goals for this camera. The shape of the viewfinder bump - which I think they went out of their way to reduce the similarity to a DSLR shape - is another indicator. This is trying to avoid being a mirrorless DSLR equivalent (as micro 4/3 clearly is, equivlent to Oly DSLRs at least), it is trying to be a very high end compact with interchangeable lenses.

At least Nikon's marketing message is consistent and clear so far. Will be interesting to see if there are lots of people it appeals to.

3 upvotes
HBennis
By HBennis (Sep 21, 2011)

Not only the sensor is small, but the whole line up (body + lenses) is fugly. The color options put me off actually.

In my opinion this is a big miscalculation by Nikon = #FAIL at least for photography enthusiasts.

As someone has said in the comments: Sony is showing the path to the future.

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

We'll know, if Nikon suddenly has no stock of these backward cameras. Maybe it's a rouse!

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Sep 21, 2011)

i believe the article but this would not take Nikon anywhere against the m4/3 competition, only as higher option above the 1/1.7" cameras.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

I liked my S90 BETTER! It was pocket-able. Yet, I sold that; for better Image quality. This isn't a better camera, or system (or price).

0 upvotes
MP Burke
By MP Burke (Sep 21, 2011)

You give a nice positive spin on the use of a smaller sensor here. Another way of spinning it would be to say "Nikon doesn't want to compete with the established heavyweights (i.e. Sony and Samsung) in the APS-C mirrorless arena".
The principal reason for the choice of sensor is presumably to avoid cannibalising dslr sales, but the big problem with such a small sensor is that they need to make specialised wide and ultra wide lenses: the crop factor renders APS-C wide angles useless.
A few years ago, when I was looking to replace my 28-200 equivalent zoom compact with an interchangeable lens system, one of my priorities was to obtain a lens at least as wide as the 20mm superwide I had for my 35mm system. I would have viewed an interchangeable lens system which covers the same focal lengths as a superzoom compact as a waste of time.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Sep 21, 2011)

So as other mirrorless models and brands eat into DSLR sales as a whole, Nikon seeks to protect their DSLR sales by offering a product that seems not-too competitive with the products with which DSLRs are competing?

This either pure marketing genius or a speculative swing and miss, dpreview.

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

It depends who you think the audience for mirrorless is. If it really is the compact upgrader (as Panasonic and Sony keep telling us), then this system might not be the disaster many commenters are assuming.

However, if they're wrong, and the market is concerned about sensor size and absolute IQ...

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Sep 23, 2011)

...been through this before. We are.

It's real simple. People can see. The days of noisy sensors, and unbalanced cameras, are history.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

There is a major problem, price.

0 upvotes
Richard Fossum
By Richard Fossum (Sep 21, 2011)

No matter how much I like Nikon, this is a huge #FAIL.

The whole point of skipping a true compact camera, is to achieve sharp results above ISO400 for a A3+ print.

They should have sacrificed the D3100 and D7000 sales to sell a mirrorless camera with a decent size sensor. You're competing with the Sony NEX-7, an APS-C 24mp camera, that will clean up and downscale to an extent that makes the V1 RAW's look like the sound of a screaming baby at four o clock in the morning. We have not seen the files, but we know it.

New bells and whistles? Forget it, Nikon, we're photographers. We don't want to change photography forever. You should have brought cake to the advanced and demanding amateurs, the professionals and the artists. Instead you brought dry bread and thin butter to sell by the ton.

You are late to the party, and you don't get to play your music.

7 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Sep 21, 2011)

I Will come back to this page after Canon launches its mirror less cameras (if they ever) and compare what they have to offer. Also, we shall see the image quality here at DPR.

0 upvotes
shademaster
By shademaster (Sep 21, 2011)

Don't understand the market niche... it seems like luxury P&S and NEX/NX/μ4/3 completely squeeze Nikon out at both ends... no room in the middle.

Their standard prime pancake is only f/2.8. I'd rather have the s100 with 2x smaller sensor but 2.0 times the light (at widest). That's the same photon count. S100 would EASILY fit in my pocket and is much cheaper. Who cares if the sensor has more area (unless there are noise issues due to high density on the luxury compacts). Am I missing something? Are they going to wedge on "bigger sensor is better sensor" marketing without talking about available lenses? Does the S100 (and other luxury P&S) really narrow down at standard zoom range. Or do they expect people to use (big) F-mount lenses?

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

This is very interesting for the development of ML systems from the big 2 (C/N). Nikon likely decided to wait technology to mature further before going with APS-C, then with FF, but that will eventually happens. I don't agree so much with the "protecting APS-C dslr line" argument. I think both EVF and PD/CD sensor AF are still not at the level PD AF is ifor some applications, so it's wise to start this line. Another point, given that miniaturization is already attained here, maybe Nikon will keep the F-mount and flange distance when they go from mirrors to ML, thus keeping all legacy system working, important from their userbase POV.

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (Sep 21, 2011)

...is still liked to offerbetter image quality...

Spellcheck is such a simple thing to do.

0 upvotes
GeorgeD200
By GeorgeD200 (Sep 21, 2011)

Wow, you get one point for finding a mistake. Plus 3 bonus points for pointing it out to the rest of us. What's your lifetime score up to? You are keeping score aren't you?

5 upvotes
phototransformations
By phototransformations (Sep 21, 2011)

I see I'm in the vast minority here, but I like the idea of this camera. It seems to me it will be a real alternative to m4/3, primarily because the lenses appear to be significantly smaller. Yes, it would be good to have a set of small, fast primes or a faster mid-wide to mid-tele lens, and I'm probably not a customer until such lenses exist, but I think this is a cool idea, particularly if the F mount adapter is not priced through the roof and allows existing Nikkor lenses to work without AF or metering limitations.

0 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Sep 22, 2011)

Smaller than the 14mm Panny or 14-42mm w/electric zoom coming out, I don't think so...

1 upvote
keysmith
By keysmith (Sep 21, 2011)

small sensors means smaller lenses. Why didn't they make a brighter KIT zoom lens (like f2.8), it wouldn't be alot biger.

Smaller premium compacts (s95, lx5, XZ1) come with bright lenses (f:1.8) to keep ISO low and compensate their inability at high ISOs.I wish Nikon had done the same. Bright lens would mean lower ISO and better bokeh witch would be a balance for the smaller sensor. I hope they will make a bright zoom lens in the future..

2 upvotes
luqingyu
By luqingyu (Sep 21, 2011)

I am astonished by the last sentences of the article, is it an explanation from nikon?

3 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Sep 21, 2011)

"you also have to conclude that it would want to do so in a way that wouldn't risk jeopardizing its DSLR sales."
that is only true if there is no competition.
Mostly, ppl don't go to stores and say:
"Let's see which Nikon i shall buy today?"

2 upvotes
Skip M
By Skip M (Sep 21, 2011)

I disagree that this path will work to Nikon's advantage. Many consumers are getting wise to the sensor size issue, and most people work on the "bigger is better" principle, anyway.

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

I doubt that (people are wiser to sensor size issue). People will look for alternatives, prices, etc. The Nikon brand has a lot of recognition and is widely distributed, so people will see these cameras. If the AF works as they say, that could bring a lot more customers from the typical compact. Why this and not a Panny or Oly or Sony? That we will have to wait and see, it's not written in the stars yet.

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 21, 2011)

So they would ask the salesperson, "what's the difference between the Nikon and the Olympus?" To which the salesperson replies, "Oh the olympus has a bigger sensor for better image quality and a better lens selectoin".

There, no more confused buyers.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 21, 2011)

Salesperson? That is only likely to be true in camera stores. What about non-specialist electrical retailers or online purchases?

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

People will read reviews and see comments such as these. This will steer them far away from this system.

0 upvotes
lapdog99
By lapdog99 (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon 1 looks like a "spray and pray" pocket camera with sensor envy. I'll stick with Sony and LX5 for now

0 upvotes
Lawrencew
By Lawrencew (Sep 21, 2011)

Trouble is with what at the end of the day are still relatively large lenses it is still no more pocketable than its larger sensor rivals.

4 upvotes
GodSpeaks
By GodSpeaks (Sep 21, 2011)

Soooo, the logic here is that Nikon went with an extra small sensor... to protect their DSLR sales?

Mega FAIL.

Sony is showing the path to the future.

6 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 21, 2011)

And the path to the future is a $1200 compact body with relatively large primes?

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

What are you talking about? The Sony NEX line starts out at $499.

0 upvotes
dmanthree
By dmanthree (Sep 21, 2011)

All I can say is that this camera isn't for me. I'll stick with the NEX. It might be nice as a step up for P&S users, but I doubt anyone who is accustomed to the IQ from larger sensors will buy a camera with such a small sensor.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

I may. The NEX feels very weird IMO, maybe except for the 7 which I haven't held in my hands yet. I like the GF1 design, but Panny seemed to have dropped that in favor of more basic designs. The Gh/G line is too large already, better a D3100 then.

But IMO this is the way Nikon sends a signal to their user base: we are moving forward, ML will eventually show up in larger sensors as well, when technology matches all aspects of the MB designs.

0 upvotes
costas ear
By costas ear (Sep 21, 2011)

From the available lenses i can say that i am dissapointed. These lenses should be much faster to produce decent photos.

I think that Nikon just tryes to be Olympus, but everything so far is in the wrong way.

First of all Nikon should start this project by building lenses twice as fast as the existing Zuiko's. With half the sensor, twice the speed of the lenses is needed for the same resoult.

Well, this thing also brings to light one simple truth:

m4/3's is the future!

I suppose that from now on, Oly's 4/3 sensor will have more than enough true detail, more than enough high ISO performance and more than enough dynamic range.

Well done dear Nikon, thanks a lot!

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

Let's see the DR of this sensor x the Oly's. And I bet faster lenses will eventually come.

0 upvotes
snoopybee
By snoopybee (Sep 21, 2011)

4/3 is the future? Why does it need to be based on the CCD size. I believe what you meant was "EVIL is the future" (for the low-mid end consumer segment)

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

no, APS-C is as small as I'm willing to accept!

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Sep 21, 2011)

If Canon goes the way of Sony... bigger sensor, smaller size body and lenses... Nikon is out on it's own... whatever customer base it can seize on an already dwindling market share... Sad.

The design itself, notably the flat front facade, lacks in-depth study and seem not well thought out... it's like a cardboard prototype. It does look like an unfinished, unpolished rush job.

Consumers deserve better than this, and they will vote by their purchases, horribly to other better camera designs.

3 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Sep 21, 2011)

Nikon seems to have gotten everything right but the price.

At $650 and $899 these cameras will have very little mass market appeal.

For certain, the Nikon faithful will buy them, but they won't lure many P&S users from other brands upgrading to this system, when M4/3, NX and NEX all offer $500 basic models.

However, I still applaud Nikon for producing a small ILC camera that should produce better IQ than the LX5/S95/XZ1 class. It's just unfortunate that it will cost consumers almost twice as much.

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2011)

Prices will likely drop fast, remember the price of the first m43 cameras?

0 upvotes
snoopybee
By snoopybee (Sep 21, 2011)

As most consumers have more than one cameras, I believe one thing in Nikon's mind is to keep the Nikon DSLR users by offering them an EVIL, rather than having them to enter into other brands.

1 upvote
WT21
By WT21 (Sep 21, 2011)

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

So, sink likely millions in R&D to "confuse" the CSC market, to drive sales to your DSLR? Really?? Stick to shooting brick walls and studio test charts, guys.

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

I'm not suggesting for one moment that's why they did it. But it's not a bad potential side-effect, from a Nikon perspective.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 22, 2011)

Yes - but, if you're right, aren't all those confused customers going to be as likely to buy a Canon or Sony DSLR as they are a Nikon one?

0 upvotes
WT21
By WT21 (Sep 21, 2011)

This is bad thinking. You don't build a product to "protect" your older lines. You can't "protect" your older lines through what you build, because competition will build the new and better option. You have to eat your own children, and build that new and better thing. You have to cannibilize your own lines. Also, Nikon could easily make an APS-C mirrorless system and DSLRs and keep commitment for both. If they're doing this 2.7 system, it wouldn't cost anything different to do an APS-C system. They should build an APS-C compact, and see which wins, and be on the winning side, not the losing side of a 2.7 system (not saying the new Nikon system can't win, but just the rational of "don't cannibilize your own business" -- especially in a highly competitive market -- is very flawed. This is why the editors of DPR don't run consumer electronics companies).

7 upvotes
snoopybee
By snoopybee (Sep 21, 2011)

Agree with you but this is the company's all time principal, right?
The don't have the best strategy in terms of innovation but this is which makes Nikon's success as well.

0 upvotes
Adrian Lewis
By Adrian Lewis (Sep 23, 2011)

You are right, but actually wrong.
Industry is littered with companies that faded away because they were afraid to cannibilize their existing product lines.
Companies that have the gust to cannibilize are rare. Although I'm not enamoured of Apple, the fact that they are prepared (for e.g.) to risk their laptop sales by pushing the iPad is a clear example of a company that doesn't fear internal reinvention.
Nikon clearly does fear it and I think this DPR opinion piece is pretty-much on the mark.

0 upvotes
LarryPhoto
By LarryPhoto (Sep 21, 2011)

That camera and a little pancake could replace my LX5, but I think not for now, as I have a NEX-7 coming. I do like all the special effects Nikon put in this one and hope some will blend into the replacements for the D700 and D7000, as I am a big Nikon Fanboy.

0 upvotes
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (Sep 21, 2011)

No one makes an affordable digital rangefinder. This new line should have been a Nikon SD in a micro 4/3 format. A small market, yes, but they would have had it all to themselves.

0 upvotes
brudy
By brudy (Sep 21, 2011)

If you really mean an m-mount camera with a viewfinder that's affordable, the NEX-7 is what you want. It's not a true rangefinder, but the closest we have. I'm still shooting my Epson R-D1 rangefinder, but the NEX7 will be mine.

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Sep 21, 2011)

«(and potentially price) advantage over the larger sensor», well that could be true in dreams: nikon its not honest concerning the price/sensor size relation of their cameras, Just compare Sony FF 24mp Vs Nikon D3 Vs the steal of nikon d3x!!! o_O
o
For me the other advantage would be SMALLER lenses, OR BRIGHTER ONES! or AT LEAST CHEAPER! Again none of that happens, NONE. What a shame, they deserve as much success with this as they had with their APS FILM cameras! When most brands asked the same money while giving LESS to consumers!!!

If only people would start buying it just because is "new", maybe they would learn the lesson! If only...

3 upvotes
Pangloss
By Pangloss (Sep 21, 2011)

Hi,
France (where I live) is probably one of the countries where mirrorless cameras have the least market share in relation to DSLR's. The reasoning here is that a DSLR, even an entry-level model, will always take "better" pictures than a mirrorless camera that costs about the same. Weight and size? Well, people here also seem to think that actually carrying a DSLR conveys an image of a better photographer, not just someone taking snapshots.
The D3100 is a best-seller here in France, and I think it (and any future Nikon models in the same market segment) will continue to be favoured by French consumers. The J1 and V1 will probably take their place on the mostly ignored shelves where the other mirrorless cameras sit.
Personally, I believe the last thing the mirrorless market needs at this point is yet another sensor size. It does confuse consumers, and yes it will hurt Panasonic and Olympus significantly because of this (but not Sony).

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Sep 21, 2011)

"carrying a DSLR conveys an image of a better photographer, not just someone taking snapshots"

That's actually something I consider an advantage of CSCs, I can happily snap away with my GF2 without intimidating anyone yet the pictures are just as good as someone using a "serious looking" camera.

2 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Feb 2, 2012)

Just as good? You may think they're just as good, lol.

0 upvotes
VariableScope
By VariableScope (Sep 21, 2011)

I don't disagree on the choice of sensor size. It fits well into the Nikon camera stables. But I think the first two cameras look a little underwhelming. They have a distinctly consumer look which may very well be Nikon's target market to protect DSLR sales. However the lens selection IMO is even more disappointing. One would expect either larger max apertures on both the zooms and primes or an even greater size reduction. Right now, Micro Four Thirds lenses look mostly the same size or possibly smaller than these 1 lenses. And if the rumors flesh out, there will also be some significantly brighter lenses by the year's end or new year's beginning.

2 upvotes
Ron007
By Ron007 (Sep 21, 2011)

My only complaint is that the bodies are too big for sensors this small. And yes, do they really mean to give f/3.5-5.6 lenses. I thought smaller sensor could allow us to produce incredibly fast lenses like f/2.8-4.0 at 500mm. Unless that happens, I don't see why a new sensor size and and new mount. Target are first time buyers of course! Nikon DSLR users need no apply. Just wait for the next announcement for the refreshment of DSLR line up.

5 upvotes
snoopybee
By snoopybee (Sep 21, 2011)

Yes, a bit disappointing with the new mount.

0 upvotes
Alphoid
By Alphoid (Sep 21, 2011)

I vote for us calling this "small sensor interchangeable" -- like the Pentax Q. I'm willing to call m4/3 large sensor, still. This is taking it a bit too far.

1 upvote
Total comments: 285
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