Nikon Confirms Full Frame Mirrorless


In a press release delivered July 25th, 2018, Nikon has confirmed that the long rumoured Nikon Mirrorless is coming.

This is a full frame mirrorless camera with a brand new lens mount, not a continuation of the old and sadly less than successful Nikon 1 family.  The Nikon 1 family used a 1 inch CX sensor and despite delivering excellent overall image quality was plagued by customer dissatisfaction and invisible marketing and sales support. 

The announcement does not specify pricing nor release dates.  It does state that the bodies of the new line will be full frame, what Nikon calls FX and that it will use a new lens mount, and therefore include a new lineup of Nikkor lenses.  An F mount lens adapter has also been announced to be coming to allow owners of current Nikon lenses to use them on the new cameras.  No date expectations were set for the mount adapter.

Nikon claims not to be taking its eye off its existing line of DSLR cameras and says it will continue to develop them, so look at this announcement as a forking of Nikon's photographic path.  

The announcement is almost entirely devoid of facts, and directs interested people to sign on to a mailing list to receive updates.  There is a video called Pursuit of Light, that the image above was captured from and it's entirely content free.  Pretty and perhaps aspirational, but no content.

In recent years, particularly outside North America, mirrorless cameras have seen substantial growth at the cost of falling DSLR sales.  initial expectations would be that mirrorless would be less expensive (nope) and would weight a lot less (less, but not as little as was speculated) have not been entirely accurate particularly when pro grade fast lenses come into play.  Full frame glass is full frame glass and it's heavier than optically slow glass of any mount.

It has been rumoured for some time that Nikon and Canon had been holding back on mirrorless to avoid cannibalizing their DSLR bread and butter, and the data suggests that these decisions have made it easier for Sony, Lumix, and Olympus to do eating for them.   This is good news for Nikonistas, although I and other industry watchers feel that a native F mount would have been preferred.  That doing so would have been a serious engineering challenge is not lost on anyone.  Regardless, I do not see Nikon owners enthused about buying new glass to enable the mirrorless body, and I am hopeful that the F mount adapter shows up the same day as the new body so as not to annoy existing Nikon owners.

Other analysts have espoused the perspective that if a buyer of a Nikon mirrorless body needs all new glass, why would that buyer not look at all the options, including the excellent Sony full frame mirrorless lineup that has been around long enough to be proven.  Perhaps they will, although in my experience, I find that Nikon owners are intensively brand loyal, moreso than other owners so time will tell.

For more information