Another case for Nikon 2...

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beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 6,952
Another case for Nikon 2...

Several years ago, I previously wrote about this (and even years before that); but I still hope that Nikon chooses to think about building a handful of cameras with a smaller format that still share the Z platform--particularly now that we're seeing Olympus no longer supplying these.

Case in point: The skies have been particularly clear for me lately, and I thought I'd take a closer look at two of the brightest objects up there: Jupiter and Saturn. This doesn't involve any fancy equipment; but rather a Nikon 200-500mm F/5.6 and some of my various cameras.

Here are the results for some of the Saturn shots--these are OOC JPEGs, for which I generally use fairly basic settings:

To reiterate: these were all taken with the same, relatively cheap Nikon zoom lens, at the same focal length (500mm). The only difference is the cameras used.

And here are the cameras used, left-to-right:

  • Pentax Q
  • Nikon 1 J3
  • Nikon Z6

...which also happen to be the cheapest to most expensive (when new). We're talking several orders of magnitude

And in terms of megapixels (left-to-right):

  • 12.4MP
  • 14.2MP
  • 24MP

And in terms of sensor width (left-to-right):

  • 7.5mm
  • 13.2mm
  • 36mm

Here's a visual from

So the cheapest, lowest resolution, and smallest format camera produced the best results. And this will generally always be true when reach is involved.

Because it uses a smaller sensor, the Pentax is able to pack the highest pixel density by far (and also, generally more advanced sensor technology, relatively). Less relevant here, it also allows for a fast reading sensor. Contrary to popular belief, there are also no practical differences to shot noise, since the projection and enlargement is the same (this would not be true if I didn't crop--but of course, in that case, the projections would be different size as well).

This is similar to the idea that since the Z50 and Z7 have similar pixel density, they offer similar reach.

I'd also note that the smaller sensor cameras pack some interesting and rather unique features. For example, the Nikon 1 J3 can shoot 1200 FPS super slow-motion video, while the Z6 is 10x slower at 120FPS. Similar things could be true for IBIS--you could end up with gimbal-like smooth video if using the right lenses. This series of cameras could also be the new 2x teleconverter. For perspective, you'd easily be able to get the middle image quality, using the very compact 300mm F/4 PF.

So for me, I'd like to see Nikon concentrate less on DX (which I think is too close to full-frame) and more on an even smaller format, like an 21.3 x 12 mm sensor. A 16x9 native aspect ratio, while also being roughly 2x crop factor (vertically). And there's an easy name for this series: Nikon 2, representing the general crop factor, and being the spiritual successor to Nikon 1.

Now more than ever, this can make an ideal system for everything from vlogging, to reach, to ultra-slow-motion applications, using the absolute latest sensor technologies, years ahead of full-frame, and affordable for the masses.

So ultimately, I think Nikon could get full-frame Z owners to buy a complementary camera to go along with with the full-frame Z6 or Z7; and also a new set of lower-budget photographers and videographers.

That's all. Time for the bashing (and I'm guessing misinformation and misinformation) to begin...

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