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(FT5) New competition is coming from Nikon (Pro battle between Olympus and Nikon)


Image on top: The analogue Nikon S2 rangefinder (Click here to see it on eBay).

Sorry if I post a Nikon rumor on 43rumors but when we just got a “FT5” rumor about Nikon that will interest many 43rumors readers. One thing we were missing until today is a mirrorless pro system with advanced cameras that can compete against the best APS-C DSLR cameras. Now the same sources that usually are sending us top Panasonic and Olympus rumors now contacted us to say that both Olympus and Nikon will announce their PRO cameras in quarter two (Nikon will announce it in April)!

I repeat it, Nikon’s new system will not compete against the low entry Micro Four Thirds cameras like the GF2 and E-PL2. I posted a few more info about the future Nikon system here:

The good news for us Micro Four Thirds user is that usually competition brings better cameras for a lower price. Let’s hope Oly will announce something spectacular for a decent price ;)

P.S.: I would love NIkon to make a digital Nikon S2. That’s how I understand the “PRO” characteristic.

  • Wife

    Will be an interesting battle. I’m afraid Nikon will have the advantage in the US in that it can get products into stores where people can see, hold, and try.

    I wish Panny and Oly can get their m43rd products into stores more. So far I’ve only seen the EPL1 and GF1 in stores.

    • imo, nikon and canon already owned super solid stronghold everywhere in the world. they have famous about the photography quality in their line up in both camera and lenses.

      u can produce 1million camera stock everywhere the store, doesn’t mean ppl will buy it all. To conquer other market share segment, have to build super strong camera with attractive price to start build the own stronghold especially in this new segment-mirrorless. For instant, FB is a good example, its features everything that other sosial network/forum doesnt have. Put everything into one. you make yout way!

      • Wife

        Whoever said that just because “u can produce 1million camera stock everywhere the store,” people will buy???????

        LEARN TO READ. What I said is being in store will give Nikon an advantage.

        How hard is to understand?

        • lol apologies

          • oluv

            they are not in stock in the US because they can be sold more expensive in europe. here we have premium-prices, but still people buy them! so why would panasonic want to sell everything cheap in the US if they can sell them more expensive somewhere else?

  • Certainly an interesting turn of events. If this Nikon competitor includes an F mount + AF motor it could be a serious game changer. Of course, my expectations are much, much lower… since I’m pretty certain they’ve got too much worth protecting in the D7000 to risk cannibalizing sales by putting similar functionality in a mirror-less body. How knows what that might look like though…?

    • Compatibility with S-Mount lens perhaps… if they would still make that.

  • inteliboy

    Interesting. If Nikon play this right, with solid design and classic features (no gimicks!), they could really shove m43 into that “amateur” corner, whilst completely stomping on other companies tech like Sony’s nex and Fuji’s x100.

    I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner though… there is a reason why photographers worldwide drool over the m9/m8. There is nothing else like it on the market it…

    • Eric

      It is baffling to me why no one aside from Fuji has attempted anything like a digital Leica M. I don’t know a single photographer that doesn’t drool at the sight of an M. One could say the Olympus PEN is similar, but they feel like cheap toys compared to a Leica M, plus no built-in view finder. I won’t have to think twice about buying a mirrorless Nikon built to the standards of a Leica M or even he Fuji X100.

  • DonTom

    I think Nikon coming in at the Pro level will be good for all. It will mean more choice, more competition, and still guarantee a long life for the m43 format (the Pro market is at the small end of the bell curve).
    It will be interesting if “Pro” means weatherproofing, fast lenses, long battery life, and if they look to challenge the GH2 at video as well. It’s a big task to do all that in one hit.
    To be really successful, it will also need to be significantly smaller than their FF cameras, and lighter than their APSC cameras. Can they do all that with a higher res sensor than m43, still keeping the noise down? I guess we’ll see.

    • What if the nikon mirrorless work like another D90, stand long camera! curious what spec nikon will have besides the 24mp

  • very soon, rumor speak nikon mirrorless will release on apr before sony and naix7 is release after 2 month later.

  • Henrik

    Suddenly it feels like Olympus and Panasonic is way to late announcing such a product. It was inevitable I guess but I didnt think it would happen this early.

  • Canon & Pentax will jump to the mirrorless poll before end of 2011!

  • Great news, I’d wish they went ff

    • why not. I know that in some pro photo areas mechanical shutter is an issue. It could be a pro camera targeted at such applications.

  • Will Nikon make the same move as Panasonic and go for no IS in body?

  • Q: As I do not expect Nikon to move away from the F-mount, what’s the point?

    They would have to backup the new mirrorless body with new CDAF compatible lenses.

    Frankly, I have a problem imagining Nikon going that way. Or have they been producing CDAF compatible lenses without anybody noticing it? Or could it be that it is “mirror-less” in a sense similar to the Sony’s SLT line?

  • More rumors please! :D

  • Well Well, this niche is getting crowded. Leica, beware! (not really)

  • tobi

    Interesting news, hope that You can follow up with some additional, juicy details, Admin!

  • Tadeo

    I guess you have to consider some technical issues: the F-mount is based on a reflex system and all focal lenghts on lenses and its respective mounts are calculated for longer distances to the sensor. the locical-functional path is as sony and oly did, a new mount but offering compatibility with the existing ones by means of adaptors.

  • scott

    This is good. More people will pay attention if somebody like Nikon says its good enough for the pros. It will create more buzz and then people will investigate more. The more educated people are the better Olympus is. Olympus has great products but you have to do all the homework yourself to understand that.

  • twoomy

    I’m a long-time Nikon SLR shooter who is now a happy m43 shooter with a Panasonic GH2 that rivals the image quality that I get with my D300s. Nikon releasing a mirrorless system is very intriguing to me and will give Panasonic a run for their money in the high-end enthusiast market.

    What Panasonic needs to do to stay ahead:

    1. Stop talking about the GH2 as a niche camera. This is your flagship camera for heaven’s sake! Wonderful image quality, wonderful movie mode! Stand behind it and advertise; this camera is the bomb! Oh and make more than 15 of them, so more people can get their hands on them. :)

    2. Keep making interesting high-end glass. I didn’t buy into M43 just for the camera; I bought into it for the Pany 7-14mm, the Leica/Pany 45mm macro, and other specialty lenses like fisheye and primes. The 12-50mm will be a very welcome edition. Every company is making mirrorless cameras now, but if you don’t have anything better than standard consumer zooms (Sony, Samsung), you’re not going to get the enthusiasts.

    Competition is usually good, so I’m really curious to see where Nikon takes their line and how soon. Lenses, sensor size, resolution, features (weather-sealing), etc.

    • .+1

      • Mistral75

        if you don’t have anything better than standard consumer zooms (Sony, Samsung), you’re not going to get the enthusiasts.“.

        Whilst I agree with the general idea, I disagree as far as Samsung is concerned: have a look at 16mm f/2.4 pancake – 20mm f/2.8 pancake – 30mm f/2 pancake – 60mm f/2.8 macro – 85mm f/1.4. These lenses are definitely not “standard consumer zooms”.

        • twoomy

          True enough for Samsung. I guess I’m looking at this through my own needs as a landscape shooter, so I’ll tip my hat to them if I ever see a 10mm or 12mm prime or something high-end comparable to the Pany 7-14mm.

          • Mistral75

            A 12-24mm f/4 is on their roadmap for 2012, nothing shorter. This range would be equivalent to 18-36mm in 24×36 when a µ4/3 7-14mm is equivalent to 14-28mm.

        • Miroslav

          The problem with Samsung lenses is when we’ll actually be able to buy them, but at least they are doing something ( positively ) different compared to others.

          The ideal APS-C mirrorless system at the moment would have Sony bodies and Samsung lenses.

  • napalm

    my guess is Nikon will be testing the market with their mirrorless pro. if the reception is well, we’ll see the technology trickle down to their entry-level and soon most bodies will be mirrorless.

    Olympus said it right, the future is mirrorless. Seems like that future is just around the corner.

    • sam

      mirrorless makes sense, i’m still surprised that there is no electronic shutter in canikons pro cameras as this is one of the moving parts subject to a short life span.

  • Miroslav

    It doesn’t sound smaller and lighter than m4/3 to me, but let’s see what they can do. I see many pros and “pros” on various forums criticizing mirrorless systems and having no objections to their current gear, so where this Nikon system will fit in, I don’t know.

  • Robbie

    Nikon is a great company but that does not necessarily translate into success when they enter the mirrorless market. It kinda disgusts me when everybody’s been talking as if the Messiah is here LOL

    • napalm

      it’s not a messiah thing, but more of market acceptance. being one of the giants, when Nikon makes a move, people will surely notice. right now, even with it’s popularity, mirrorless is still an unknown to most people.

      • napalm

        and yeah, their coolpix digicams are far from great… so not everything they do is good either

  • FRED

    …sounds like Panasonic pro body is a must and leica also will be great.

  • Eric

    Great news. The more competition the better. I love having options.

    • dabn

      And I hate having options. Give me one good camera, that fits my needs and i am happy for years!
      But with every single release of a new mirrorless I have to think about which fits better to my style.

  • MikeS

    Glad to hear that it’s not going to be an interchangeable-lens Coolpix. I hope Nikon will break the trend of having an initially meager lens lineup, either by having *good* legacy lens support (e.g. AF-D) or by giving us more than a kit zoom and a prime.

    The market certainly needs shaking up – between GH2 shortages, NEX domination, and slow/disappointing developments from Olympus (fisheye adapter? really?) – maybe Nikon can inspire the others to get their collective act together.

  • FRED

    …looks like Canon supremacy in video is almost over , if It’s not already the case they will have to react;and also the end of APSC DSLR in few years if the full frame is democratized!!!!!!!!!!!! well they re so greedy in 5 yrs I guess.But Pana and olympus were somewhere right in this,even if nobody believe it at the time!

    • I read canon spokeman said “no EVIL” , it made me think back past few years when seagate CEO said “no SSD” and emphasis its hdd drive, after few months what exact seagate did is opposite what the CEO said lol will canon be the next…

      • He-He, of course they will, sooner or later. But I doubt it will happen this year.

    • sam

      This is good news I bought a GF1 so I could also use old AF-D and AI-S nikor lenses alongside the great 20mm f1.7 – cost out the equivalent canikon body and lens and it is a simple decision to go with GF series, the added benefit of mounting almost any lens with an adaptor was also very important, and sustainable.

      I’m interested to see what lenses they make for it – if it is APS-C there may be no reason to make a new mount, I hope any new lenses are not gelded, aperture control on lens is great to use.

      • Eric

        I’d prefer a new mount. The N mount was designed to cover full frame with a mirror. I assume this camera won’t be full frame, and it obviously won’t have a mirror. They might as well take advantage of that and reduce the size. A smart adapter could be used for N-Mount glass.

      • Voldenuit

        It would be silly of them to reuse the old mount, as the F-mount’s 46mm FBD would mean any body using said mount would have to be as thick as a SLR, negating the benefits of doing away with the mirror box.

        It will be a new mount, and a new lens lineup. There will probably be adapters for F-mount lenses, if not by Nikon then surely from the 3rd party manufacturers.

  • Ron S

    Leica already makes a mirrorless camera that bests any aps-c DSLR. It’s just that the M9 is not price competitive. Nobody makes better lenses than Leica too. I look forward to seeing what the other companies come up with this year.

    • Chris

      The Leica M9 is still based on legacy technology. What makes EVIL so great is that you see EXACTLY what is going to be captured on the sensor.

      I’d argue that Zeiss, Pentax, and Mamiya make lenses as good if not better than Leica. Every lens manufacturer has gems in their lineup, though.

  • wow, the picture look awesome! so classic!

    • It is classic :D

      And they could make small enough normal full frame lenses for those cameras back in the days before they beat rangefinders in the market with SLR.

  • Oly and Panny need to get there cameras in mainstream stores where people can see and touch them

    Competition is good yes, but if competition takes large market share and less revenue comes to “our” companies, that’s no so good for “us”

    I hope Oly and Panny have strong plans to counter this hit or at least brace for it, which im sure they do

  • Guys,

    You cannot imagine a ‘PRO’ mirrorless system unless having a focusing technology at least as fast, intelligent and reliable as Panasonic cameras (specifically GH2) currently have.

    Moreover, the only mirrorless camera (doesn’t count the ‘stillbirth’ SLT serie) which has nearly pro performance characteristics at this time is GH2.

    I hardly think Nikon would manage to get even close in the near future…

    • Eric

      I would consider a Leica M9 a “pro camera” and it doesn’t have autofocus at all. There is more to a pro-grade camera than AF speed; especially when it comes to rangefinder-esque cameras. Even the lowly E-P1 had fast enough AF speed for me. I don’t do sports, shoot birds flying with a 500mm lens, or chase toddlers around. I do street, portrait work, and landscapes. I just need a camera that can focus in a decent amount of time, has great IQ, excellent manual controls, and built rugged enough to stand up to abuse.

      • spam

        M9 is certainly pro, but for a very limited number of people and limited type of photos, and lower prices wouldn’t fix that. If Nikon goes pro with a mirrorless then it wont be a rangefinder model. It would at least have to be D300 class in performance, including AF speed, focus tracking and long tele support. Things that no rangefinder can do.

        And I agree with kesztió, that it’s difficult to believe that Nikon can get that level of performance (IMO they need better than GH2 focus tracking) from a mirrorless camera.

        Anyway, interesting rumor. Last Nikon mirrorless rumor i recall was smaller sensor than APS-C and (presumably) an entry level model. Both the old rumor and this one makes sense though, an entry level model wouldn’t be as risky and would let Nikon test the technology on consumer level cameras, but it’s really on the prosumer and up that Nikon excels with dSLRs so they just might go for a high(er) enf model.

        • Eric

          I still don’t understand why it needs D300 AF performance. If they can match the GH2 speed then great, if not oh well, that’s no deal breaker for me. If the IQ is as good as the D7000 and built as well as the D300 all in a package the size of a Nikon S2 then I will get it and make it my primary camera regardless of it’s AF speed.

          People that need that kind of speed know what they need and will simply use a D7000/D300/D700/D3. Besides, most people that need blazing AF speed are sports and wildlife photographers. Seeing as how those two subjects usually require large telephoto lenses they’d be better served buying a heavy camera like D300 anyway so it will balance the lens better.

          • spam

            The reason it need D300 AF performance is the pro designation (if that’s what is launched). I agree that some/many people might not need that performance, but you don’t expect any major weaknesses in a pro level body, and AF speed is clearly a pretty important feature.

            On the other hand, if they go for a really compact and more entry level model then it’s easier to accept some compromises.

      • I’ve always considered Leica a brand for enthusiasts – who have A LOT of enthusiasm! :D

        No would argue that Leica is top-notch. But assuming “pro” is short for “professional”, i don’t think a lot of photographers could build their career around a camera without autofocus, no matter how well engineered it and its lenses were.

        I realize there are always exceptions. I wish I saw more people supporting themselves off of street photography and landscapes. Sadly, all the professionals i know shoot weddings and chase toddlers. That’s why i’ve never considered going “pro”.

        • juavel

          Before the autofocus existed lots of photographers did career, and one is still able to check how great their work was. I wish that today´s newspapers pics had this quality (Sam Hood pics in this lib).

          Also in fact some very good wedding photographers still shoot film with manual focusing lenses in some situations, either 35mm or medium format. For my test weddings shouldn´t be donde with long teles and AF, but closer to the people.

          AF can be a must when using tele lenses with randomly moving subjects where pre-focus can´t be used, and even that, the MF override button is a must for when the AF becomes crazy. Shooting wide angles with proper light the fastest AF is called pre-focusing or hyperfocal.

  • TempTag

    An Olympus pro m43 camera with IBIS and built to the similar specs as their E3 or E5 would be hugely appealing to many GH1/GH2 owners and other folks who have made an investment in m43 and 43 lenses…

    • TempTag

      ..and I would be happy with stills only model that has no AA filter (or a very weak one)

  • gekopaca

    Admin, do you think Nikon will make a “DSLR-like” (as GH1-GH2) or a “rangefinder-like” (as Fuji X-100)?

    • scott

      If they are smart it will be “dslr-like” if it is a pro model

      • Eric

        Really? Why do you say that? A DSLR-like form factor would be a huge negative to me unless it’s shaped like an old Nikon FE.

        • dabn

          Full ack!

        • scott

          Pros are not going to look at the back of the camera. Its easier to hold the camera steady when you have the camera closer to your body. The rangefinder like style is cooler but nowhere as functional. I could be wrong but there are too many situations where the screen on the back of the camera just isnt bright enough, and why would you want to add a gadget to look through? seems like the slr style has its reasoning for its design. Get rid of the mirror and you can add other things or just make the camera lighter. I personally dont want my camera any smaller. Good glass is always going to be heavy and you need the system to balance.

          • Eric

            Who said anything about not including an EVF? I assumed just the opposite. I’d just prefer it be positioned in the top left corner ala the Fuji X100. Pick up an Epson R-D1 or Voigtlander Bessa sometime. My Bessa R3A was absolutely the best camera body/form factor I’ve ever owned.

            And no, good glass isn’t always be heavy and large. If you use nothing but f/2.8 zooms then yeah, the lenses will be large. Primes however are not. Phil Borges for example only uses primes for his portrait work. I know if I were trekking out into the wild as a National Geographic photographer I’d much rather carry something the size of Fuji X100 then I would a D3 if it could produce similar results and stand up to the abuse.

        • BK

          I think for their first mirrorless system, Nikon cant afford to be really bold, they have to give their SLR base warm fuzzys, that while its different its the same.
          So my total pull it out of my rear guess is that it will difficult to tell the pro systems mirror and mirrorless apart unless you look close.

  • Sounds like a big camera.

    • @ scott :
      ” The rangefinder like style is cooler but nowhere as functional.”

      There’s few many photographers who don’t think like you :
      – Josef Koudelka
      – Gilles Peress
      – Henri Cartier Bresson
      – Sebastião Salgado
      – Ralph Gibson
      – Annie Leibovitz
      – Robert Doisneau
      – Raymond Depardon
      – Marc Riboud
      – William Klein

      and few others…

      • Voldenuit

        I thought Salgado shoots with a Leica R8? Or did – he may have moved to an M camera, but that would probably be because the R line was discontinued.

    • pdc

      Right on Scott. This blog is too much influenced by those in love with the PEN/E-Px. I want Nikon “Fx” build-quality and sized camera with all the functionality of a GH2,on which I can use all FF glass via adapters, I want a high IQ sensor, high-resolution EVF and a high-resolution tilt/swivel LCD for focussing on a tripod.

      • scott

        I am sure there are a few more that would disagree with me. You listed 10 whole photographers. They already make cameras that fit there style. I dont think the basic design of the camera is going to change. It just works the way it is. Could somebody come up with something that will blow our mind that is just as functional without a vf or evf? Probably but not likely. Its sortof like the design of a car. Not much else you can do with it. You can make it sexier, you can make it look more powerful but it still going to have a couple doors, windshield etc

      • You’re right, Salgado told me (15 years ago) he was working with R system (e.g. for the oil wells in fire pictures in Koweit), but in the same time I saw him shooting with M cameras (I was his assistant for few days); currently I don’t know what he’s using.
        Sure, SLR VF are useful (I’ve got a GH1 and I’m very happy with it, specially for video), but for street photo, or every sort of working you need to be connected with your subjet or your environnement, IMO decentred VF is better.
        Personnaly I’m really much more “excited” shooting with my Epson R-D1 than my “boring” GH1 – that’s why I’m waiting for RF-like cameras from Nikon, Pana, etc.
        The buzz of Fuji X-100 on the web seems to show that a lot of pros and “prosumers” are waiting for the same thing than me.

  • I hope it will be build like a Nikon S3… if Nikon think like Fuji (old style fashion) it would be so great!!!

  • cor – wow!

    Would be great if Nikon joined the m43 mount!

  • Grant

    I also hope it has an FE style body. Preferably all black lol. Also hoping for FX and stunning IQ. D3s or better. To me, Fuji got almost everything right with the x100… Except for the non-interchangeable lens deal they got going on.

  • So, how is Nikon going to do this:
    – FX with F mount (too big?)
    – FX with a New mount +/- rangefinder (kills Leica)
    – DX (as above)
    – join m43 … we can dream :)

    I rambled more here:

    • > Mirrorless is about smallness. Non-starter!

      The rumor states specifically “Pro body”. IOW, size does matter here and bigger is better.

      I think they would go with F-mount.

      BTW, what the D-mount? I thought even the Nikon’s DX/APS-C cameras were using the F-mount. Or?

      • From a quick search…
        >> It isn’t a mount. Rather, the electrical contacts for the AF lenses
        transmit distance (hence the “D”) information to the camera to allow it to
        do a slightly better job of metering. This information allows the camera to
        put emphasis on the area of the shot where the camera is actually focused.

        The D technology was introduced aroung 1990. All cameras made since then
        can take advantage of the D technology.

        So, D is merely a very slight modification to the Nikon F mount.

        Jim <<

      • Chris

        Why would they make a mirrorless camera that’s as big as their DSLRs? Why would they go with the F mount? They’d lose the mirror, optical viewfinder, and PDAF… what’s the beneficial tradeoff here if they don’t go smaller with this new camera?

      • sorry I was inventing a new mount … I’ll edit the blog post later:
        so, they go with their nikon F mount or join Leica M mount or make themselves a new mirror less mount (which i called D) or join m43. Nikon will surely attract followers and it would be wonderful to see them on m43 …. but I think they will make there own new mirror less mount and make an adaptor for old f mount lenses

  • safaridon

    I can’t get too excited or worried over this new news of a pending Nikon pro mirrorless camera especially if it is using a APSC size sensor and that is the only larger size sensor Sony is making aside from FF? That means the lenses are going to remain very big. Also 16 or 24MP sounds like large sensor?

    Whatever happened to all those rumors of a smaller than m4/3 ILS coming from Nikon?

    • Voldenuit

      Samsung NX is APS-C and the lenses are pretty compact.

      Heck, Leica M mount lenses are FF and pretty damn small as well (albeit without AF).

      If Nikon is targeting pros with this, we can expect lots of primes, and AF motors will be HSM, so the lenses (primes and zooms alike) might end up being smaller than consumer grade linear motor drive designs.

      The size difference moving to APS-C is not that great, and there is much more development on APS-C sensors than m43. This is a smart move by Nikon.

  • Tony

    Contemplate these words carefully… Nikon’s Liveview.

  • Cteve

    This is all very nice but where would a pro Olympus M4/3 or a Nikon APS-C Mirrorless stand in terms of prices? I think that it will be the key to many people making a shift to another brand or upgrading their gears. If it’s around let’s say 2000$ would that MANY people buy that? I mean, you invest 2000$ in a body with no lenses for it yet (Nikon) etc.

    So my question is, how much are those 2 cameras (body) going to be if the FUJI is around 2000$ and the M9 over 7000$ ?

    Maybe the price gap between those “Pro” cameras and a GF2 (GF1), GH2, Pen etc… will be too big for the difference in quality and people will just back-off and it will become just another Pro toy for those who have big money.

    • IMO you can’t have a good build quality for less than 1500-2000$ – body only, actually.
      It’s not a problem for pros photographers because it’s an investment regarding the money they can get with : I’m not a rich people, but 2000 $ is nothing if I can get 1000-1500 $ a month with that tool.
      Ad that’s what I’m waiting for – few great models of digital cameras, and not full of entry level toys.

  • Nikon should be launching this at an overpriced figure again, as usual :p

  • Exiting times. Please Nikon, just make us a digital Nikon S rangefinder camera. I know it will beat the shit out of the M9. And put ANY of the sensors since D3 in it, and it will be an extreme success! I´ll gladly pay up to $6000 for it, but only if you give me FF sensor and a good 28mm and 50mm.

  • George

    finally we can have a good small cam. I am sick of “out of stock” GH2s for over 3 months, i am getting sick of olys useless sensors.

  • broxibear

    Nikon should just do a deal with Leica and rebadge the M9…

  • Steve

    This rumor seems to contradict comments from Nikon’s director of R&D at Photokina.

    “He then asks that if Nikon was hypothetically willing to make a mirror less interchangeable lens system, would it be APS-C, considering the problem with size due to lenses used. He replies that going APS-C would only make things bigger and would detract from the F mount’s market value in terms of IQ and features. If the lens system and body are not smaller in total, the whole meaning of reducing size is lost. If it was up to him to make such a thing, a mount smaller than the F would be chosen”

    “When asked whether it is a concept that will appeal to people using such product for work (I guess he means a pro product) or more of an enthusiast type concept, he responds by saying that although it is not targeted towards people who use cameras in their work, some will look at this product as a really fun to use camera.”

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