Would you buy a larger-sensor Nikon mirrorless?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by wt21, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    Just Monday morning ramblings while I wake up. Still drinking my first cup of tea :)

    If Nikon released a larger-sensor mirrorless system, would you be interested? (by "larger sensor" here, I mean with nothing smaller than an APS-C sensor, and preferable full frame or both options).

    I know Nikon has been hurting, but I was wondering what my gripes are with Sony, and the answer is -- I never trust their dedication to the craft. I think it's always bottom line first.

    So, I thought who could do this?
    • m43 -- wonderful system, but sometimes you just need a bit more than the sensor delivers (I don't see Oly going outside of m43. Unsure about Panasonic)
    • Sony -- great backs, but limited commitment to the needed lenses. Main interest seems to be in churning new bodies. Also, I really do believe the super-short flange-back distance is hampering their lens development. The best lens experience on Sony is the one where the lens is fairly sizable or it's an adapted lens.
    • Fuji -- great cameras and lenses, but not everyone's cup of tea, and some x-trans debate (and old sensor tech). AF always seems a step behind. But they do seem dedicated!
    • Canon -- always, always, always leads from the rear. If you don't mind getting things a few years later than everyone else, then Canon is for you! (note -- I'm a former frustrated Canon user)

    So, I picked Nikon because they --
    • seem free to use the best sensors (as opposed to Canon),
    • have an extensive lens catalog and 3rd party support,
    • seem to have nailed mirrorless AF with the 1 system,
    • appear quite dedicated to the space, and what photographers want,
    • because they could launch a NEW system, they could learn from the mistakes of the others (e.g. not such a short flange distance)

    They would need to, however, offer the same excellent manual lens focusing aids that Sony provides.

    Maybe they don't have the funds to launch such a bid or maybe the are too afraid of killing their DSLRs, or what have you, but speculatively, would you be interested? I would!
  2. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    Being a Nikon user for 20 years, I would have bought a Nikon mirrorless camera if I could fit Nikkor lenses and flash as an extra. Instead went Olympus and would not want a smaller sensor.

    Nikon should not be affraid of losing part of the dSLR market, it is happening, even if still on small scale, but they should be able to keep the overall margin with a better mirrorless system, instead of seeing it drop bit by bit.
  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    It's really interesting that short flange distance seems to be a hindrance for Sony, but not for Fujifilm (FWIW, Fuji's flange distance is marginally shorter).
  4. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    Didn't realize their flange distance was shorter, but their lenses tend to be sizeable (remember, they are APS-C if you compare to the FE lenses). Maybe the X-trans can take the incidence of light better? Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about? (probably the latter). Or maybe Fuji is just better at making lenses than Sony?? (yeah, that's probably it!!)
  5. bluzcity

    bluzcity Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 24, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    I have Olympus M 4/3, Fugi XE2, and a closet full of Canon gear. My favorite camera to shoot based on function and IQ is my Canon 5D MKII. But it is bulky and heavy, even with a few primes. I would buy a good quality Canon mirrorless if it shined in function, quality, and weighed something akin to the Rebel series. And yes I require a built in VF. I know you asked about Nikon but to me the greater issue is when the big two, or if the big two, will get in the game in a serious way. I have about 5 years until retirement. I'm hoping something will come along so I can snag a purchase before I quit making a little spare change.
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    If Nikon released a full frame mirrorless camera that worked as well with their whole catalog of F-mount lenses (going back to at least AI), I'd give it a good hard look. But I might not buy it given how happy I am with my DF. First of all, I have trouble imagining being that much smaller and the lenses would be a wash, so I wouldn't be doing it for size or weight, which I'm already perfectly fine with on the DF / D610 / D750. So it would have to be better all around features/performance. I'm really agnostic on the tradeoffs between EVFs/live view and OVFs - I like both of them a lot. So that probably wouldn't do it. So I don't know what I'd see as a compelling reason to either switch back to mirrorless or add one to the DF I have already.

    But if they come out with an entirely new system that did NOT fully exploit their existing base of lenses, I can't imagine why I'd have any interest in it...

  7. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Top Veteran

    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Nikon is slowly losing me. I've still use their DSLRs where they make sense for me - low light, AF-C focusing sports. I LOVE the Nikon Df and will never part with it, even if I only own the 50/1.8D lens to shoot with it.
    The majority of my work can be handled quite well with the Olympus OMD kits I've built.

    Now, if Nikon can do the following, then as Ray said - I'd give them a good hard look:

    1) have an APS-C or 135 size sensor with great low light performance (Df or better performance), 18-24mp is just fine
    2) be able to translate the AF performance they have in the 1 system into new camera
    3) Have good (my preference)ergonomic controls, similar to the DSLRs we have now or retro-esque (fuji-like) with exposure control dedicated dials.
    4) be fully backward compatible with AF-S type F-mount lenses via an adapter
    5) create a new mount specific for mirrorless (not c-mount obviously) that will allow for the build of smaller lenses
    6) Be fully Nikon CLS compatible
    7) Minimum full featured video functions full 1080p with 24/25/30/60 (not 100% needed - but would be nice to have)
    8) Come out with an equivalent FOV 24-70/2.8VR and 70-200/2.8VR new mount zoom lenses and 24/35/50/85 f/1.8 prime lenses (eq. FOV) from the get go. This will give new adopters with no Nikon glass a place to pick up and run.
    9) New lenses cannot be the same price as the Nikon PRO zooms, they must be at least 1/3 less expensive.

    An easy way to look at it, is give me the best of micro four thirds mixed with the best of Fuji X, Nikon RAW and JPG files with Nikon 1 system camera AF performance.

    Even with all that, they would need to really blow away the performance I am getting with the Oly EM1 and EM5 Mk II, Oly PRO zoom lenses and primes.
  8. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I know comparing APS-C to FF lenses is not fair, but still — Fuji's 18-55mm lens is about the same size as Sony 18-55mm kit, but it's both much faster (almost a stop at the wide end and a full stop at 55mm) and far superior optically.
  9. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    The Fuji kit is indeed a much better and faster lens, but I also remember it being bigger and heavier (310g vs 214g according to DPR Side by Side Comparison: Digital Photography Review Also, that was Sony's first effort.

    Still, no doubt Fuji is likely better at building lenses than Sony.
  10. lenshacker

    lenshacker Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    Does this count...

    15630096868_2d3304d9d5_o.jpg Nikon_SP by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    If Nikon brought out a Digital S-Mount RF, in a heart beat...
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  11. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    I'm currently happy with mu43. I do this for my own amusement so I can wait for their sensors to improve. Some mu43 stuff is similar in size to the FF version, but the lenses are always smaller and you can put together a really small sized system if you want.
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  12. Fullframe mirrorless is kind of the only way for Nikon at this point.
    They already have a 1inch sensor mirrorless "system" at the cheaper(?), smaller end of the spectrum... Their DX lens lineup has been lacking for quite some time. So full-frame seems the only option - especially if they want to compete with Sony...

    Would I buy it? Probably not.
    M43 offers most of what I need (small, weatherproof, mostly a joy to use, a good enough sensor). And when they eventually release a new sensor, my collection of lenses (that kind of have no match in other systems at their size and price) will be "upgraded" in one go :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
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  13. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Nikon 1 lenses are indeed tiny, but cameras are not meaningfully smaller than Micro 4/3 or even APS-C cameras. And as for the price, Nikon 1 V3 is ridiculously overpriced, as tend to be other Nikon 1 cameras. Lenses are indeed rather inexpensive, except for 32/1.2 which is once again very expensive.
  14. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    I might. It would have to have an advantage over a DSLR with similar glass (whether new glass or AF with current F mount glass).

    One of the things that brought me to m4/3 for personal stuff is the size and weight. Fuji with it's lenses that have been truly designed for APS-C is really the only other system that I have considered. There have been a few articles about Nikon vs Canon vs Sony size and weight comparisons. The difference is less than many think it would be. Here's one article that uses the A7II and D750 (basically the same sensor) for example:


    If you want a short cut to the results:
    The total weight difference between the Sony A7II, the Nikon D750, batteries, and 9 equivalent lenses is a whopping (Camera: 112 grams/4 ounces + Lenses: 195 grams/6.9 ounce) 307 grams or 10.8 ounces. That is less than the weight of 2 bananas. Yawn…
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  15. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    Good article. Yeah, many of the Sony lenses (past the APS-C ones) are large, heavy and expensive. I have the 70-200/4 and I don't think it's any smaller than the Canon 70-200/4

    BUT I have actual, workable real live view, and there are many times I have shot overhead with the a7. For me real AF in live view is important. That's not even to speak about MF on legacy lenses, which is hard (for me, anyway) on a DSLR. Though admittedly I haven't touched anything newer than a Canon 6D or a Nikon D750.

    But if I want small, the 28/2 FE lens can attached to the a6000 and give me something really workable and compact. So, it's a more flexible all around system.

    (one reason, btw, I decided to get out of m43 was just so I can stop being confused by different system controls -- I'm presently all Sony with an RX100, a6000 and a7)

    That's why I was looking at who could possibly really step in here. Nikon seems like the right one, since a) they have yet to invest in a large sensor mirrorless yet, so they aren't throwing anything away, b) they have DSLRs and a family of lenses you could use along with a new system, and c) they might be crazy or pressured enough to try it (Canon never seems pressured by anything).

    And Nikon might be more dedicated to the space, and take things like lenses, flash, firmware updates and longevity into more serious consideration (though I won't mention QA as both Sony and Nikon have had their issues).

    Now, if Panasonic suddenly launched a FF lineup, with compatibility with m43, that would be intriguing (I know this has been rumored, but I have a hard time believing it will happen).
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  16. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    Real, workable AF in live view would be nice. I had hopes with the tilt screen on my D750, but......
  17. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    After the Nikon 1 and Df I doubt Nikon really is knowing what their costumers want or where the innovation lies. Sony and Olympus are here a step ahead at the moment.
    Don't misunderstand this: I love my Df and from time to time I use my J3 again. But the Df was not the thing Nikon promoted (as a digital successor of analog pure photography) and the Nikon 1 System is a crippled thing.
    When there would be a further mirrorless camera of Nikon there seems to be 3 posibilities in my opinion:
    - a APS-C system instead of the actual DSLRs DX
    - a crippled camera who is no danger for the existent DSLR systems
    - a very expensive FF sensor camera like a second Frankenstein Df :)

    Personally I've found my trinity in the AF area: Df with Sigma 35 Art, A7 with 55mm/1.8 and Fuji X with 90mm/2
    and a lot of adapted lenses. So I could easily wait for some moves of the yellow ones.
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  18. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    The 70-200 with LV on the a7 with FF is literally one of the biggest reasons I'm all Sony now. I needed that combo, and everything else followed (that and the fact that I use the RX100 a lot). Pretty sneaky Sony.
  19. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    The more the better, but Canikon is holding onto its roots esp when the camera market has been shrinking for a while...

    Short flange has some advantages also, eg here is small Contax g lenses on Sony... Each lens cost $200-400 and has phase detection af/IBIS with A7 II/A7r II + techart adapter... Add a CV 15mm for the wide side and you are covered, eg similar size to m43 small primes... You can also add a Minolta af glass eg Beercan Minolta 80-210 f4 costs $90. As Steve said, it all depends on what you choose... Each system has pluses/minuses, small/big, cheap/expensive, fast/slow lenses... It is good to have all these choices now compared to 5-6 years ago.

    Phase Detect Autofocus with Carl Zeiss Contax G lenses on the Sony a7R II

  20. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    How good is the contax af in terms of speed and ability to lock on?