Nikon Tease Development Of Full Frame Mirrorless Future

Statements by Nikon representatives at Photokina hint at further developments of full frame mirrorless camera technology in its future products.

Speaking with several outlets over the course of the event, Nikon’s European Product Group Manager Jordi Brinkman revealed how developments in mirrorless tech had shaped the company’s current outlook.

“When you are talking about larger sensor mirrorless, this is definitely also a market we are officially monitoring in detail and we are really considering this segment,” Brinkman said in an interview with Amateur Photographer.

This statement seems to be following moves by other manufacturers in trying to make the mirrorless market more palatable to pros using larger sensors, such as in the Sony a7 RII.

Brinkman specifically namechecked the Alpha series in a conversation with Camera Jabber on this same subject: “This is a growing sector, and the Sony Alpha 7 series is particularly strong. Those cameras bring innovation, a new level of technology. They’re faster, lighter, the autofocus and movie technology – they bring that kind of innovation that is demanded.” He added that full frame tech, though not actively in development at Nikon, “…is on our radar.”

It was when the subject of the Nikon 1 where things got a bit more confusing, both teasing major developments to that series while denying some specifics. “We are considering new concepts based on the Nikon 1 concept.” Brinkman stated in a report by Camera Jabber. “The advantages of Nikon 1 is portability, speed, movie capabilities. We’re thinking about how we can use its strengths for new concepts that fit better with the demand from the market.”

However, when questioned by Amateur Photographer if this meant that the Nikon 1 would warrant an increase in sensor size, Brinkman was quick to shut down such notions. “No, I am saying the Nikon 1 system is the 1 system based on the one-inch sensor and the 1-mount,” Brinkman said, “That stays. But it doesn’t mean it has to stay the traditional camera as it is today.”


The Sony A7 series is changing the stigma of mirrorless /Sony

He was also adamant that though they were looking at larger sensors for mirrorless development, the Nikon 1 was in no danger of disappearing. Speaking with Photography Blog, Brinkman stated that “the Nikon 1 system will definitely still be be around in the future – there are no plans to withdraw it from the market, as you can tell by our stand which has a large Nikon 1 area.” He went on to cite how the J5 model had achieved a 10% camera in some European countries as an advantage over larger sensor cameras.

Taken individually, the comments are a little befuddling but when looked at a sa whole they form a clearer picture. In the wake of some success from companies like Sony and Fuji, Nikon obviously see merit in developing something in the full-frame mirrorless mould.

We could hypothesise that rather than launch a completely new and untested product that may frighten off potential customers, Nikon would like to integrate larger sensor mirrorless tech with recognisable features from one of their highly profitable lines. This means that the new camera wouldn’t be a replacement of the Nikon 1 per se but an experiment on it.

The idea of such a Franken-Nikon is just supposition at this time of course but consider the words of Dirk Jesper, product manager for Professional Products and Product Planning at Nikon Europe. When asked by Amateur Photographer if the Photokina reveal of Canon’s EOS M5 had anything to do with this sudden interest in mirrorless upgrades, he responded thusly:

“Actually, from our research what you can see is that people in these segments are not necessarily looking for mirrorless or DSLR, They are looking for a specific solution. They don’t differentiate so much between mirrorless or DSLR, as long as it fits their needs.”

Make of that what you will.