New Nikons: another rumour

Started Sep 15, 2007 | Discussions
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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 49,844
New Nikons: another rumour

I have a friend who works for Renesas Corporation, and he was talking to me about the development work they do with Nikon. He returned from a trip to Japan recently, and let me know some of the things going on. I'm not sure how much credibility to put on what he said - he doesn't follow photography, but since two of the four camaras ohe described were clearly the D3 and D300 he's got something right., The other two cameras are very interesting.

They seem to be the top end FX and low cost enthusiasts' FX which everyone has been asking for, but they seem to be coming out in a form completely different from what anyone expected. Both seem to be rooted in a homage to Nikon's past.

The high end camera is designed as a prestige camera to outdo anything Canon have. Target price will be $10000 at least for the lowest spec model, and it's aimed at studio and scientific work, as well as those who just must have the best. It is the modular camera that people were speculating on - Nikon couldn't make the cost equations work for the D3 which had to compete with the 1DIII, but with the price ceiling removed everything's up for grabs. The body shares the D3 AF and shutter, but almost evrything else is new. Several sensor modules will be available, including one with the D3 sensor, another 'well above 20MPix' and both will be available in monochrome. Another interesting option is a 6 MPix FX sensor which will allow ISO 51200 native (don't know whether monochrome or Bayer). Nikon's new non Bayer sensor will also debut on this camera. The viewfinder system is interchangeable, with both electronic and optical options, at least one with a style that harks back to the Photomic head. The base camera body is apparently quite small, but gets bigger when all the options are added. FPS depends on pixels, it will run at 9FPS with a 12MPix sensor, or 5-ish with a 24MPix, but there is a grip with an extra EXPEED processor, which doubles the frame rate (mirror up only above 12FPS). In camera processing is, apparently almost completely user configurable (it was the details of this that my friend was involved in). The modular construction precludes proper sealing, so this isn't a PJ camera. Expect it to be released with an 'F' number rather than a 'D', either F7 or F7D.

The low end FX camera is supposed to come in at around $3000, using the present D3 sensor. Its cost means the cost of the body has had to be severely restricted - but Nikon has taken a radical solution to this to meet the price restraints without compromising quality - the camera is not an SLR, it's a 'digital rangefinder'. AF uses contrast detection off the sensor, so there's no mirror or AF assembly. Metering is also off the sensor. The direct view finder has an overlaid internal QXGA LCD which displays variable frame lines (thus allowing zoom lenses) and, if MF is selected, a 'digital rangefinder spot' in which the rangefinder image is taken off the image sensor, and thus operates with a diagonal split. It shares the XGA rear LCD of the D3/300, which is the preferred mode of operation for macro work and non AF lenses. This is not an F-mount camera. Originally it was to use an updated Nikon S-mount, but will actually use an electronic M-mount. This has no mechanical couplings, so although standard M-mount lenses will operate, focus and diaphragm are uncoupled. It will be released with a remounted version of the 45/2.8 pancake, and other 'NM' mount lenses will become available, perhaps modernised version of classic S-mount lenses. An adapter allows mounting of F-mount lenses, with full function only for AF-S lenses. The lens mount decision has been made to allow the camera to be very slim, and it is somewhat smaller in size than a Leica M8, but styled after an SP. The whole thing has been contracted out, probably to Cosina. It has an 'S' series name, maybe SD or SP-D. There's also a rumour that the same camera will be released by Sony/Zeiss, badged as a Contax (having sorted out the wrangle with Kyocera).

As I said, my pal is not a camera nut, so didn't think to ask about detailed feature set, but if they're OK, for me the SD sounds like a brilliant camera, even if the F7 is way out of my reach, or needs. Would anyone else consider a camera this radical?
--
Bob

Robert Bedwell Senior Member • Posts: 1,304
Re: New Nikons: another rumour
1

If any of it is true your friends job is in danger. Not only that but the company is in violation of non-disclosure agreements. I can't imagine a company like Nikon not requiring their vendors to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Slough Senior Member • Posts: 1,809
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

It is curious that your friend is not a camera nut, and yet he knows so many technical details.

I am not competent to comment on the validity of your posting, but the rangefinder sounds strange. If we assume it uses the Nikon F mount, it would still need the mirror chamber. And the mirror and prism do not add much to the price.

One alternative might be that they will produce a rangefinder using the old Nikon rangefinder lenses. But then the lens to sensor distance would be small and they would be back in the territory of the Leica M8 and have similar problems with sensor vignetting.

It does not make sense to me, though I may be wrong.

bobn2
bobn2 OP Forum Pro • Posts: 49,844
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Slough wrote:

It is curious that your friend is not a camera nut, and yet he knows
so many technical details.

Admittedly, some of this is my interpretation after asking him questions.

I am not competent to comment on the validity of your posting, but
the rangefinder sounds strange. If we assume it uses the Nikon F
mount, it would still need the mirror chamber. And the mirror and
prism do not add much to the price.

Read my post, it doesn't use the F mount. I think the mirror and prism add considerably, otherwise low cost cameras would not resort to pentamirrors. It's interesting whether the market would have taken to a pentamirror in a $3000 camera.

One alternative might be that they will produce a rangefinder using
the old Nikon rangefinder lenses. But then the lens to sensor
distance would be small and they would be back in the territory of
the Leica M8 and have similar problems with sensor vignetting.

This is something on which I have no information - but I might speculate that the full coverage microlenses are less angle dependent, and that the spend some of the DR doing digital vignetting correction (as do Leica)

It does not make sense to me, though I may be wrong.

So might I, I just passed on what sounded interesting to me.
--
Bob

bobn2
bobn2 OP Forum Pro • Posts: 49,844
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Robert Bedwell wrote:

If any of it is true your friends job is in danger. Not only that
but the company is in violation of non-disclosure agreements. I
can't imagine a company like Nikon not requiring their vendors to
sign a non-disclosure agreement.

I did discuss this, he doesn't seem too concerned, as long as I don't identify him - there's a number of people who know this, apparently. Maybe he's going to a new job. BTW, this is not a vendor, it's the supplier of many of the chips in the camera.

-- hide signature --

Bob

xpherion Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

some more linfo about renesas technology

http://resource.renesas.com/lib/eng/edge/11/special02.html

-- hide signature --
n057 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,141
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

bobn2 wrote:

I have a friend who works for Renesas Corporation, and he was talking
to me about the development work they do with Nikon.

Don't you think it will be easy for Renesas to know who it is that spilled out the beans?

And for Nikon to be upset that one of their partners leaks information about their future plans?

Do you think your friend will still be a friend once the news are spread all around the world?

-- hide signature --

JC

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Slough Senior Member • Posts: 1,809
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

n057 wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

I have a friend who works for Renesas Corporation, and he was talking
to me about the development work they do with Nikon.

Don't you think it will be easy for Renesas to know who it is that
spilled out the beans?
And for Nikon to be upset that one of their partners leaks
information about their future plans?
Do you think your friend will still be a friend once the news are
spread all around the world?

-- hide signature --

JC

If true, then Renesas might soon no longer be a supplier to Nikon.

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,393
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Slough wrote:

I am not competent to comment on the validity of your posting, but
the rangefinder sounds strange. If we assume it uses the Nikon F
mount, it would still need the mirror chamber. And the mirror and
prism do not add much to the price.

I'm not sure what you mean here. But let me take a guess and you can confirm.

1. The only advantage to use F mount is to use current lenses
2. F mount lenses require a certain distance from film plane
3. This distance is to allow for the mirror box on SLRs.
4. Once you have created the mirror box, including the mirror itself is low cost
5. Rangefinder advantage is compactness. Mirror box negates that.

So you could put an F mount on a rangefinder but "why" is what you are saying?
--
Mike Dawson

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bloomoose
bloomoose Veteran Member • Posts: 3,222
Thanks, Bob for the information ...

... sounds very interesting, the digital rangefinder at 3.000 with FX sensor. I understand that this producst is in development and might never be realised, though.

The modular body sounds familiar, I remember I read something about that at bythom.com ... the price sounds rather steep.
--
greetz, pam

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bobn2
bobn2 OP Forum Pro • Posts: 49,844
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Slough wrote:

n057 wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

I have a friend who works for Renesas Corporation, and he was talking
to me about the development work they do with Nikon.

Don't you think it will be easy for Renesas to know who it is that
spilled out the beans?
And for Nikon to be upset that one of their partners leaks
information about their future plans?
Do you think your friend will still be a friend once the news are
spread all around the world?

-- hide signature --

JC

All say is that my contact isn't too concerned - he doesn't think he can be easily identified, there are a lot of people in the know. I've had similar information (not in the camera field) from the same source before, and it was correct. I can't speak for his motives, but as I say, he's not worried, even about it being posted.

If true, then Renesas might soon no longer be a supplier to Nikon.

I think they're both part of the same combine, so they are likely to go on working together, regardless of the actions of some employees.
--
Bob

dylanear Senior Member • Posts: 2,967
Thanks for the info, but...

While the high end pro body sounds fascinating, the range finder product sounds far fetched. An interesting product, but SO far out of line with the current product. If it worked with the old Nikon rangefinder lenses perhaps, or the F-mount, but all new lenses would not be likely at all. Why save yourself some trouble by making a simple rangefinder only to have to design and build all new lenses. Would be interesting competition to the Leica M8 I guess.

I for one want a simple, compact, slow if need be, but pro build and ergonomics FX SLR.

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Ronaldhogenboom Senior Member • Posts: 1,142
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Yes, nice. It sounds like someone has a really good imagination.

Don't get me wrong, it would quite something if they would cook something up like that but I can't believe it.

The FX camera we'll see first is a 5D competitor.

-- hide signature --

Amateur photographer. Defined as someone who makes no money with photography, but also as someone who takes no cr*p from people who do.

http://www.lookupinwonder.nl

BRJR Forum Pro • Posts: 13,641
Thanks, For The Link

xpherion wrote:

some more linfo about renesas technology

http://resource.renesas.com/lib/eng/edge/11/special02.html

-- hide signature --

xpherion:

Quite interesting.

-- hide signature --

BRJR ....(LOL, some of us are quite satisfied as Hobbyists ..)

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Slough Senior Member • Posts: 1,809
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

michaeladawson wrote:

Slough wrote:

I am not competent to comment on the validity of your posting, but
the rangefinder sounds strange. If we assume it uses the Nikon F
mount, it would still need the mirror chamber. And the mirror and
prism do not add much to the price.

I'm not sure what you mean here. But let me take a guess and you can
confirm.

1. The only advantage to use F mount is to use current lenses
2. F mount lenses require a certain distance from film plane
3. This distance is to allow for the mirror box on SLRs.
4. Once you have created the mirror box, including the mirror itself
is low cost
5. Rangefinder advantage is compactness. Mirror box negates that.

So you could put an F mount on a rangefinder but "why" is what you
are saying?

Correct.

Mike Dawson

OldMaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,813
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

The company is clearly bonafide enough...incredible amount of quite detailed information from some one who is not a camera nut!!

However, it all actually sounds plausible doesn't it. I doubt Nikon have enjoyed Canon's supremacy at the top end. They have cleverly marketed and outsold Canon quite substantially at the consumer end. It is about time they created some peerless product just to show they can...and they like to make cameras and not too bothered with photocopiers and general office equipment!!

They have always had a place in medical and research and were always highly regarded.

Whatever their plans I am certain we are going to see some superb and innovative product from them... the D3 sensor is indeed just the start.

As a long term Nikon user, all I can say is that I am glad I have not switched camps 'cos I suspect they have something actually not just special but dedicated to their professional users just around the corner.

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 21,717
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Dear Bob,

For the last 4 years I keep hearing from Nikon folks something like this: "Well...modular won't happen, at least not for many, many years" and this: "I know from our engineers that it is just not practical on many fronts"

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no text

TechAnimal Regular Member • Posts: 308
Iliah Borg vs. Julia Borg

Ok this is a bit off topic but i just have to ask, any connection between Iliah and Julia?

Petruska Veteran Member • Posts: 7,925
Nikon recent survey sent out...

about two months ago and confirmed here on this site by a few posters contained many questions on how one feels about a modular approach and interchangeable view finders. These two topics were heavily stressed throughout the survey so it sure looks like Nikon is heading toward the modular approach and makes a lot of sense to produce different levels of performance using one body and making maufacturing logistics more doable on a sigle body production line than trying to set up idividual lines for particular cameras. Plus costs should be lower overall and profit higher using the modular approach.

Ronnie T Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: New Nikons: another rumour

Too bad the FX in D300 body everyone is hoping for doesn't show in the radar. I guess Nikon doesn't want to position their models exactly right after Canons like the 5D. I'm sure though it will come later when D3 sales will start to taper off and D4 is about to be introduced.

That $10k camera will be a jaw dropping for the pros. If it is indeed true, Nikon is making a statement here that, if you are a pro, come back to Nikon.

Anything can now happen in DLSR world. Who would have thought that the D3 will be at 25,600? Bring on the 51,200 ISO!

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