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Nikon FF (and DX) Mirrorless rumours/ announcements

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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 18:20   #1
Chosun Juan
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Post Nikon FF (and DX) Mirrorless rumours/ announcements

I wanted to start a dedicated thread for announcements/ discussion of Mirrorless developments by Nikon in FF (and related DX) formats.

Rumours have it that we could see this range later in 2018 comprising a new mirrorless system with new mount, lenses, and adapter for legacy lenses.

It looks to be a different sort of an animal than you might expect. It looks more like a rangefinder style of layout rather than the hand filling ergonomics of a DSLR. Also, even though Nikon has a Patent for curved sensor technology, these look to be flat plane sensors.

In fact rumours have it that the FF and DX will use versions of the D850's 45.7 MP sensor and the D500's 20.9 MP sensor respectively. So a rather evolutionary type of revolution! :)

Exact details are still in flux (well at least for the public), but some more information so far can be found here:
http://thenewcamera.com/tag/nikon-mirrorless/
https://m.facebook.com/NikonFFMirror/

Personally I think Nikon has missed a trick by not going straight to the curved sensor and a different dedicated mount with even shorter Flange Focal Distance and new range of corresponding lenses which could have been even smaller and lighter. I would think a curved sensor of 63 MP (9720 x 6480) would have been a very nice start :)

Of course, as all the lenses announced so far are small and fast, 36mm f1.2, 52mm f0.9 (jeepers! :) , and 24-68 f2.8-f4 , then perhaps they are suitable for a small rangefinder style form factor with the flat plane sensors bringing this to market quickly. This could give Nikon a toe in the water and experience to then develop the main curved sensor Mirrorless with full fat DSLR style ergos later ........... do folks agree/ disagree?, or have some other information?

Here's what I said on the Canon 600mm f4 DO thread in relation to it:-
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
..... Nikon is in a bit of danger of being left in the dust lens-wise by Canon .....

The Canon 200-600 f5.6 is also on the horizon. If this comes in at the 100-400 L II level of IQ with a fluorite objective and weighs 2.27kg (5lb) or less, then it could drag a lot of traffic away from the Tammy/Siggy 150-600 triumvirate and the Niki 200-500. It could blitz them market wise if it meets these criteria and can marry up to a competitive, class leading 7D Mk3 .....

As a minimum I would think Nikon needs to upgrade the 300 f2.8 pronto with Fluorite glass, next gen VR system, and class leading low weight to be competitive with an upgraded Canon IS III series.

A 600 f4 PF would be very nice .....

Though I wonder if Nikon wouldn't be better off also leapfrogging technologies and making the major step with a FF curved sensor mirrorless offering, and new dedicated range of smaller, lighter, high performance lenses purpose designed for the high resolution sensors of the future.

Along with an eliminated mirror box and much reduced Flange Focal Distance this could offer length reductions of ~50mm or so and corresponding weight reductions, even before advanced composites construction and PF optical trains are factored into the equation.

A dedicated adapter (approximately TC size) which corrects for curvature and FFD spacing could see legacy lenses used on the new mirrorless format. An enticing prospect would be to incorporate Tele Converter magnifications (1.4x, 1.7x, and 2x) into the same adapter form factor. Simple, cheap, easy, small, light.

A similar suitably dimensioned and interfaced adapter could be used for the Nikon 1 series which should be updated with a V4 /J6 iterations.

There is no reason why Nikon couldn't use exactly the same curved sensor mirrorless FF 'body' to also house an APS-C format sensor offering as well, since essentially we get down to a very thin camera body which is AMOLED screen + room for hand and UI buttons sized in the height and width directions .... it might only be ~10mm deep not including a massive man sized full grip projecting forward at the side. The FF would have the option of a vertical grip option and corresponding increased battery capacity.

I can't see significant sources of competitive advantage for Nikon apart from this. The threats from Canon's lead in lenses, and the rapid progress of Sony/ Panasonic mirrorless offerings are too great. Not to mention ubiquitous computational Smartphone photography which threatens to swallow everything up to MFT level in several short years for most things short of ultra fast aperture, and long telephoto photography needs ......

I don't think a slow, historical evolution for Nikon is going to cut it .... shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic won't stop the ship from sinking ...... time for a bold move Nikon !


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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 10:13   #2
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Its going to be interesting, the only thing i would say ( and i could be wrong) i never find the New camera rumor site to be very accurate, unless it has copied the rumor from one of the other sites.

The die hard Nikon users are not happy with the prospect of an adapter for their current lenses i think they have to get over this if they want to use them,if new mirrorless bodies are made the core function must be to work with a new range of lenses first,hopefully Nikon can come up with an adapter with close to if not full compatibility.
This could be the delay point as far as Nikon is concerned, it would do them no good at all to leave the current range of lenses behind.
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 20:22   #3
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Unlike Canon, Nikon does not make its own sensors afaik. Also, Sony has explicitly said that they will reserve their best sensors for themselves first.

So Nikon would have to splash out some serious $$ to an independent fab such as Tower to create a curved sensor and then also throw more money at the new lenses that this requires. There is no money for such an ambitious effort, Nikon is not doing well financially, hit by declining industrial and consumer optics sales. Small steps is all Nikon can afford, so expect to see an adapter.
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Old Friday 15th December 2017, 00:52   #4
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I'm not holding my breath. Nikon has had problems with recent new cameras and with totally different technology I wouldn't touch one till its been out at least a year. I have had two Panasonic mirrorless cameras and I am not a fan of EVF's. I don't think I will switch I have too much invested in lenses.
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Old Friday 15th December 2017, 08:23   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonmike View Post
Its going to be interesting, the only thing i would say ( and i could be wrong) i never find the New camera rumor site to be very accurate, unless it has copied the rumor from one of the other sites.

The die hard Nikon users are not happy with the prospect of an adapter for their current lenses i think they have to get over this if they want to use them,if new mirrorless bodies are made the core function must be to work with a new range of lenses first,hopefully Nikon can come up with an adapter with close to if not full compatibility.
This could be the delay point as far as Nikon is concerned, it would do them no good at all to leave the current range of lenses behind.
Mike, All the rumours seem to be pretty much the same content ....

I don't think it's exactly very clear what Nikon is going for here, other than it will be FF, and 'based' on the existing sensor in the D850 (or Sony AR7iii).

What is mooted so far is a really strange cat
It seems to be a type of chassis in the mould of the Nikon 1 V3, ie nothing like hand filling DSLR ergonomics.

In fact it all seems quite bizarre.

The only thing of any logic is as Etudiant has said, that they will use existing sensor templates to get to market quickly, since perhaps an entire new generation of curved sensor mirrorless kit is beyond them financially at this point in time.

They will have a new mount with shorter Flange Focal Distance.

This will necessitate an adapter ...... and if "The die hard Nikon users are not happy with the prospect of an adapter for their current lenses" I would suggest they would be a lot less happy without it !

What I find puzzling is exactly who they think their customers will be ? and what will this mirrorless format offer that a DSLR doesn't (or that other competitor mirrorless offerings don't) ?

This is what Nikon have stated: (I've misplaced these source references, but they are statements from Nikon themselves which I will paraphrase)
1. There is no need to hurry a revolution in the next 5 year timeframe - profitability can be maintained with high end products.
2. Strong/leading IQ will be a core feature of Nikon business going forward.
3. Long telephoto capability will be another core feature of Nikon business going forward.
4. Strong/uncompromising EVF performance will be a key feature of Nikon Mirrorless business going forward.


Companies don't always follow through on Patents filed (sometimes using them to strategically block competitors) , but the ones filed by Nikon are interesting to say the least ..... !

There is:
a kind of mechanical shutter assembly,
a mount adapter unit replete with pellicle/translucent mirror and dedicated focus sensor https://nikonrumors.com/2017/09/03/l...s-camera.aspx/
a hotshoe mount for detachable EVF unit,
and 4 lenses.

It's these lenses that I understand the least.

There are:
24mm f1.8 https://nikonrumors.com/2017/09/14/n...in-japan.aspx/
36mm f1.2 and 52mm f0.9 ! https://nikonrumors.com/2017/09/07/n...s-lenses.aspx/
and 24-68mm f2.8-f4 https://nikonrumors.com/2017/07/27/n...hot-shoe.aspx/

Some of these lenses are massive !

The 36mm f1.2 being ~150mm long, and the 52mm f0.9 being ~250mm long !! ....... I don't know who these unwieldly beasts would be aimed at ?!

Similarly, hooking a 5 or 600mm f4 supertelephoto lens up to this rangefinder style format FF Mirrorless body would be a similar illogical ergonomic mess.

Curioser and curioser



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Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 21:52   #6
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Well God bless Nikon and the interesting part will be how they manage to screw this up. I have a Panasonic G7 and 4 lenses which I use only when I may want a record of something and photograph is a secondary purpose. Tomorrow may be a good example. There Is a Snowy Owl On the Outer Banks about three hours from where I live. With Binos, my 884 and my biggest tripod I'm not going to carry seven or eight pounds of lens and camera. If he's close enough that the 100-300 will handle it great but the purpose is to see the owl.
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Old Saturday 30th December 2017, 00:45   #7
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How Nikon could still not have a serious mirrorless camera in 2018 is beyond me. This is but one among many valid criticisms of them.

At this juncture I'm not that keen for a curved sensor (maybe I need to learn more about that whole concept). I'd just like to see Nikon do a better job showing that they are listening to us. I'm still a Nikon customer but I've really lost confidence in them. When I think about the best lenses, I no longer think of Nikon first. Of course they still have some great lenses but generally I think they are overpriced and often equaled or beaten by offerings from say, Sigma or Zeiss (manual focus). And because I have invested in those lenses, I definitely want an adapter of some kind to let me keep using them if I get a Nikon mirrorless body.

These last 3 goals listed by Chosun are encouraging for bird photographers:
2. Strong/leading IQ will be a core feature of Nikon business going forward.
3. Long telephoto capability will be another core feature of Nikon business going forward.
4. Strong/uncompromising EVF performance will be a key feature of Nikon Mirrorless business going forward.
The EVF is one of the most important parts of mirrorless. A really good EVF has so many advantages. The EVF on my Olympus rig for bird photography makes me want to use it all the time. I really like the ability to quickly zoom in and make sure I'm nailing the focus, sometimes using focus peaking.

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Old Saturday 30th December 2017, 16:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opticoholic View Post
How Nikon could still not have a serious mirrorless camera in 2018 is beyond me.
The Nikon 1 had the potential to be a "serious" mirrorless camera. If we forget the awful marketing and the high prices, it was a superb system. Maybe not for the general photographer, but definitely for birders. If any evidence were needed, Stirr's blog provides many fine examples of birds in flight etc.

You mention the good EVF of your Olympus EM-1. The Nikon V3's optional viewfinder offers the same number of dots. During the last "Cyberweek" special sale the Nikon V3 was sold for Euro 499 including two lenses (10-30mm and 10-100mm). If Nikon had offered a V3 + EVF for Euro 499 back in 2014, we would not need to talk about other mirrorless Nikons.

The Olympus EM-1 is excellent, its better IQ beats the V3 for most purposes. But for birding, the V3 is still a competitive choice. If we forget for a second that the 1 series is discontinued...
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Old Saturday 30th December 2017, 20:21   #9
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Originally Posted by HermitIbis View Post
The Nikon 1 had the potential to be a "serious" mirrorless camera. If we forget the awful marketing and the high prices, it was a superb system. Maybe not for the general photographer, but definitely for birders. If any evidence were needed, Stirr's blog provides many fine examples of birds in flight etc.

You mention the good EVF of your Olympus EM-1. The Nikon V3's optional viewfinder offers the same number of dots. During the last "Cyberweek" special sale the Nikon V3 was sold for Euro 499 including two lenses (10-30mm and 10-100mm). If Nikon had offered a V3 + EVF for Euro 499 back in 2014, we would not need to talk about other mirrorless Nikons.

The Olympus EM-1 is excellent, its better IQ beats the V3 for most purposes. But for birding, the V3 is still a competitive choice. If we forget for a second that the 1 series is discontinued...
HermitIbis,
Yes, you make several very good points. The Nikon 1 system surely is (or was) a "serious" system. Many times I considered getting one of the Nikon 1 bodies for digiscoping with my spotting scope. And I would have given it serious consideration for other bird photography too, but by the time it came along, I had already committed to a Nikon DX body + super telephoto. I just couldn't ever quite get past my dislike of several "features" of the Nikon 1 platform. One of these was sensor size with pixel density that I thought put some limitations on image quality. But of course you're right: Thomas Stirr proved it can be used very successfully. Heck, people take "serious" images using phones with much smaller sensors that put me to shame. However I do not think I was alone in wishing for many years that Nikon would give us a mirrorless ILC with a larger sensor, especially after micro-4/3 and Fuji and Sony systems were growing so large and interesting. But it just seemed that Nikon didn't care what so many of their own customers were saying.

Which brings me back to the need for Nikon to do better listening. I do see signs that they might be improving on that: The Nikon D500 is basically exactly what I had been wanting (for 18 years). They have put out some nice new FX lenses in the last couple years that have been long awaited by many. Also some smaller things are positive steps, such as making the bodies more similar in their control layout... The new D850 is identical in its layout to the D500, plus it takes the same battery size/charger. But there are still several more changes that many people have been wanting a long time. At the top of that list for me is
  • new mirrorless bodies, hopefully both full frame/FX and DX - I think the rumors are right; at least one of these if not both will arrive in 2018. I think they must use a brand-new new lens mount (and therefore roll out some new lenses and a lens road map). But also I think they must include a robust, weather-sealed adapter to support all the legacy F mount lenses (sorry Chosun, I can see this new curved sensor patent is a bold innovation that makes a lot of sense, but I still think Nikon needs a mirrorless system that supports all the legacy lenses... It's hard for me to imagine Nikon introducing both a new curved sensor mirrorless and a conventional flat sensor mirrorless... Maybe they could do it if they only committed to a brand-new lens mount for the curved sensor system and for the conventional mirrorless system they just stick with the F-mount--with an inappropriately long flange distance... I don't know).

At this juncture it seems to me that the new mirrorless cameras are critical for Nikon's very survival, or at least the most important priority to remain competitive and stop leaking customers to their competitors... Chosun you wondered what Nikon could possibly do to compete or differentiate themselves from all the competition... I don't think they really need to offer anything revolutionary. I think what Steve said is more important, namely they just need to not "screw it up." As long as they can match or slightly improve upon what the competition already offers, and do it well, they will be back in the game.

Apart from the new mirrorless systems, under the category of listening to us, my own personal Nikon wish list would also include the following.
  • finally give us a less expensive 400mm lens alternative. My preference would be a 400mm f/4, maybe with PF / diffractive optics... hmmm... built in teleconverter? Ok now it is getting too expensive... But without the teleconverter I still think they could come in way under the current price of the 400 f/2.8. 400 f/5.6 would be nice too.
  • update the 200mm macro - good grief this thing is an antique! I'm sure it is still a very good lens but it's long overdue now for an update.
  • give us some new high quality DX lenses for pete's sake! Even just 2 new DX primes would a be nice step.
  • improve the SnapBridge app, or maybe just roll out a completely separate, more advanced app for enthusiasts
  • continue to develop more flexible and sophisticated automatic focus bracketing - On the new D850, Nikon calls this "Focus Shift" (dumb name because that term also describes something completely different and undesirable)... This one might be a specialty feature, not highly desired by the masses, but I think this is a potentially very useful feature to greatly improve resolution/depth of field, especially for macro but all telephoto applications (including bird photography), especially in combination with electronic shutter.

Dave

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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 15:33   #10
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Originally Posted by opticoholic View Post
How Nikon could still not have a serious mirrorless camera in 2018 is beyond me. This is but one among many valid criticisms of them.

At this juncture I'm not that keen for a curved sensor (maybe I need to learn more about that whole concept). I'd just like to see Nikon do a better job showing that they are listening to us. I'm still a Nikon customer but I've really lost confidence in them. When I think about the best lenses, I no longer think of Nikon first. Of course they still have some great lenses but generally I think they are overpriced and often equaled or beaten by offerings from say, Sigma or Zeiss (manual focus). And because I have invested in those lenses, I definitely want an adapter of some kind to let me keep using them if I get a Nikon mirrorless body.

These last 3 goals listed by Chosun are encouraging for bird photographers:
2. Strong/leading IQ will be a core feature of Nikon business going forward.
3. Long telephoto capability will be another core feature of Nikon business going forward.
4. Strong/uncompromising EVF performance will be a key feature of Nikon Mirrorless business going forward.
The EVF is one of the most important parts of mirrorless. A really good EVF has so many advantages. The EVF on my Olympus rig for bird photography makes me want to use it all the time. I really like the ability to quickly zoom in and make sure I'm nailing the focus, sometimes using focus peaking.

Dave

Attachment: Olympus E-M1 (16 MP), 300mm f/4 + 1.4X teleconverter, 100 percent crop.
Dave,

I don't think Nikon necessarily needs to be in the mirrorless business 'per se'.
What they need is to be profitable. They need to be profitable now, and have a strategic roadmap that will take them into greater future profitability. As I paraphrased in an above post, Nikon themselves don't see the need to hurry a revolution for up to 5 years ... although if they take the incremental Mirrorless approach I really don't see them achieving much for quite an outlay.

As HermitIbis has said, they already had a 'serious' MILC system, though one that was a bit overpriced, and hamstrung in performance and compatibility terms. I also think they messed up the weight/ ergonomics mix to have the worst of both worlds. I would like to see them resurrect the CX system and fix it up without limitation.

They need to do Mirrorless right, and they recognise that perhaps EVF's that don't quite match all the capabilities of an OVF has been a weakness in Mirrorless, and something they said they will focus on.

Product Strategy wise they are in a bit of a mess (apart from their high end DSLR's - D500, D850, D5, and even the D7200 and D750 occupy sensible market spots). Certainly their back-end modularity of the complete sensor and product range and business efficiency is a bit of a mess. This article explains their disadvantage to Canon in this regard quite well. http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/...rs-update.html

The future is no doubt Mirrorless, but I think we (and Nikon) truly need to ask 'what' are the advantages of Mirrorless that consumers want -- and -- that outperform DSLR's .....

As the technology improves, there will be advantages around EVF's, advantages in getting rid of the size and weight, complexity and cost of OVF prisms, mirror boxes, separate AF sensor and attendant systems, and mechanical shutters once global electronic silent shutters evolve. This allows a smaller flange distance saving more space and weight. Also you can have in-body IS too.

However these changes are somewhat incremental, and they almost invariably come with messed up ergonomics as implemented by the competition.

Bigger gains can be made with curved sensors - most importantly these will allow lenses without field flattening elements, saving weight, cost, and length in the lenses, more transmission, and an even shorter still flange distance, all thus moving the centre of reduced mass handily rearwards. You basically end up with a camera body something approaching a thick smartphone in dimensions and place a big DSLR-size hand filling grip on the side to fix up the ergonomics and store a sufficiently large battery.

If Nikon is going to modify/redesign a whole range of lenses, it may as well reap the full benefits and have market leading products that are unmatched.

Critically important. The issue of legacy lens compatibility can be dealt with through fully functioning adapters. Basically TC sized that would convert flatish plane output of existing lenses to match the curvature of the sensor and the correct flange distance. It would be smart to have a comprehensive range of them to also incorporate 1, 1.25, 1.4, 1.7, and 2x TC multiplication, or 0.7x reduction (speed booster) as well. These will be the key. This will buy them much needed financial breathing space to spread over greater time the investment in new lenses. It will also make more sense and help usability for a DX version rolled out in parallel.

Similar to you I think at least 4 new lenses are required yesterday!
a 400 f4 PF
a 600 f4 PF
a 200-600 f5.6 with FL glass, 2.27kg, $2K
an updated 300 f2.8 with FL glass and lightened to 2.27kg.


Chosun

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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 04:37   #11
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Critically important. The issue of legacy lens compatibility can be dealt with through fully functioning adapters. Basically TC sized that would convert flatish plane output of existing lenses to match the curvature of the sensor and the correct flange distance. It would be smart to have a comprehensive range of them to also incorporate 1, 1.25, 1.4, 1.7, and 2x TC multiplication, or 0.7x reduction (speed booster) as well. These will be the key. This will buy them much needed financial breathing space to spread over greater time the investment in new lenses. It will also make more sense and help usability for a DX version rolled out in parallel.
Let me make sure I understand you: You're suggesting a new curved sensor format with a set of native lenses PLUS an adapter that sort of reverse engineers the optics of conventional lenses? i.e., Conventional lenses often have many complex elements to create a flat distortion free image on a flat sensor so the adapter would have to "undo" that with more glass elements? It seems too defeat the the 2 biggest advantages of the new format (fewer lens elements needed allowing smaller lenses). You're taking a big lens not designed for the format and forcing it to work by adding an adapter with yet more glass making it yet bigger... Unless I'm missing something, that sounds crazy. I see big advantages in the brand-new curved sensor format, but adapting old conventional lenses to it just does not make sense to me.

Dave

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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 07:45   #12
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Let me make sure I understand you: You're suggesting a new curved sensor format with a set of native lenses PLUS an adapter that sort of reverse engineers the optics of conventional lenses? i.e., Conventional lenses often have many complex elements to create a flat distortion free image on a flat sensor so the adapter would have to "undo" that with more glass elements? It seems too defeat the the 2 biggest advantages of the new format (fewer lens elements needed allowing smaller lenses). You're taking a big lens not designed for the format and forcing it to work by adding an adapter with yet more glass making it yet bigger... Unless I'm missing something, that sounds crazy. I see big advantages in the brand-new curved sensor format, but adapting old conventional lenses to it just does not make sense to me.

Dave
Yes, that's pretty much what I am suggesting.
It is not a first logical choice, but a pretty good plan B that makes every existing lens compatible immediately. If you were going to use a TC anyway on your flat plane lens, then the additional length and weight penalty would effectively be minimal.

The Flange Focal Distance of the new curved sensor may be as little as ~10mm or so, thus saving about ~35mm in length over an F mount.

Say you had a current 600mm f4 for your D5, D850, D500, or whatever. If you add a 1.4xTC, that's another 25mm length, and 190g added to the rig. If you add a 2xTC it's an additional 48mm length and 330g.

The adapter I am suggesting would convert the flat plane output of current high end lenses to a curved output that suited the curvature of the new curved sensor. Maybe a 2nd grade of adapter would also need to be made available to suit the existing lenses that exhibit more field curvature.

In concert with these adapter functions you would also include traditional teleconverter magnifications inside, 1.25x, 1.4x, 1.7x, 2x, and you would also include no net magnification (1x), and reduction versions (0.7x speed booster) as well. I'm not entirely sure of the optical engineering detail, but it may be possible say to have such an adapter in 1.4x say for the current size and weight of a 2x for example. So in any case where you would be using a TC anyway, you could use one of these new adapters adding no net ĺength and just a small amount(100g or so) of weight.

The beauty of this is that it makes every lens compatible from day 1.

Look at how slow Nikon has been to flesh out the DX lens range. This allows them to launch with just a few key select lighter and shorter new curved sensor lenses, and a solid road map to redesigning the whole range.

The whole range of lenses is going to need to be updated anyway for a couple of reasons.
1. Competition - Canon arguably has a better lens line up in some areas, and has even lighter than current refractive big whites on the way, a 200-600mm f5.6 zoom (which I hope has a fluorite element), as well as the fantastic new diffractive 600mm f4 to add to the existing 400mm f4 .....
2. Even if a flat sensor mirrorless debuts they will need new lenses for the shorter FFD, and adapters for existing lenses.

All in all it is rather interesting and not entirely clear what is going to happen.

Their top end DSLR's seem to be doing really well, even increasing in profitability according to CIPA figures. The entry level DSLR's not doing well volume wise. Connectivity and transfer/uploading performance, and video is key for the selfie generation who are the natural entry level customers, and logically this is where mirroless could find a home. However the rumours have high end D850, and D500 sensors being used.

A full range of lenses is one of the key strengths of both Nikon, and Canon, but also an area where every manufacturer struggles to provide a comprehensive offering.

Certainly lenses designed for curved sensors offer tangible benefits in reduced weight, reduced length, and better balance - but will Nikon jump fully into this ??

Curiouser and curiouser .....


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Old Friday 5th January 2018, 05:39   #13
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Some lens patents

https://nikonrumors.com/2018/01/04/t...d-sensor.aspx/
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Old Friday 5th January 2018, 22:19   #14
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The circles of confusion seem to vary...


Maybe they are confusing the competition with a lot of patents as usually?

But I guess mirrorless is the future for 95% of cameras.
Probably 100% in the consumer segment.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 02:58   #15
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Quote:
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The circles of confusion seem to vary...


Maybe they are confusing the competition with a lot of patents as usually?

But I guess mirrorless is the future for 95% of cameras.
Probably 100% in the consumer segment.
It certainly is a shotgun approach to product direction !

I note that Canon also has patents around curved sensors .....

DSLR's will hold their dominance until such time as Mirrorless can offer as accurate focus tracking performance (and hit rates) AND process the amount of data generated quickly enough (and dissipate all that heat) AND have EVF performance equal OVF's in raw terms AND match the complete lens range AND ecosystem.

I don't think Nikon will try and tackle the Sony A9 first up, but rather come in at the (pro)sumer and consumer levels with a small body rangefinder type packaging.

I really would like to see them go the full whack curved sensor top level MILC with DSLR ergonomics and complete lens range plugging the important gaps I mentioned in above posts - sooner rather than later. This is the only way to get a significant March on the opposition. Merely 'matching the hatch' will get them in the existing game, but that's a crowded pool to be in .... as opposed to a new, bigger pool.


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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 15:24   #16
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Thumbs up Curved Sensor Advantages

A very interesting paper titled:
"Highly curved image sensors: a practical approach for improved optical performance" https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/ful...3010&id=367160

The solid mechanics of stress analysis of curving sensors from flat CMOS substrates at the start, would be heavy going for non engineering types, but curving existing flat sensor components can be done, and the speed of production is nearly at commercial rates.

(I 'm not sure Nikon could have this ready in sufficient market quantities to launch in 6 months, but it actually looks a viable technology very soon. It may be pioneered in the smartphone arena first, and likely you could have one in your hand in a year or so .....)

The rest of the paper goes into the optical benefits. The savings on length aren't dramatic, but the savings on element count, cost and weight are ! :) All of this with superior image quality too

The patented super fast Nikon lenses may be relatively long, but don't assume they will be commensurately heavy too - they won't ....

Imagine a FF 63MP or so curved sensor flagship Mirrorless with a purpose designed 600mm f4 PF .... it could be >D5 performance, at A9 + speeds all at about ~2.7kg (6lb) total rig weight ! ...... that's about half a (D5 + 600 f4) setup now

I really can't wait ...... :)



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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 17:03   #17
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DSLR's will hold their dominance until such time as Mirrorless can offer as accurate focus tracking performance (and hit rates) AND process the amount of data generated quickly enough (and dissipate all that heat) AND have EVF performance equal OVF's in raw terms AND match the complete lens range AND ecosystem.

I don't think Nikon will try and tackle the Sony A9 first up, but rather come in at the (pro)sumer and consumer levels with a small body rangefinder type packaging.

Chosun
The lenses already exist. Just get rid of that slappin' and flickering mirror in the Nikon/Canon cameras and it's done. Digital lens corrections. Smaller body size would even out a huge battery. And phase detect AF on sensor is not a problem any more.

Curved sensors is probably most suitable for small sensor/simple lens systems like iphone etc.?

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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 23:40   #18
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A very interesting paper titled:
"Highly curved image sensors: a practical approach for improved optical performance" https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/ful...3010&id=367160

Chosun
A very interesting paper indeed, with prototypes at 1/2.3" and APS-C sensor sizes. Even more interesting, the researchers are working for Microsoft, not any of the big camera shops or semiconductor houses.
Presumably that means the technology may become very broadly available, unless there has been some exclusive arrangement already agreed. But there is no indication that volume production has been arranged at this point.
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Old Sunday 7th January 2018, 02:58   #19
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The lenses already exist. Just get rid of that slappin' and flickering mirror in the Nikon/Canon cameras and it's done. Digital lens corrections. Smaller body size would even out a huge battery. And phase detect AF on sensor is not a problem any more.

Curved sensors is probably most suitable for small sensor/simple lens systems like iphone etc.?
True Nikon has a substantial lens range, and they certainly will be a key part of plans going forward, though they are a little compromised for flat sensor mirrorless (not taking advantage of length reductions due to reduced FFD). Also phase detect AF on sensor is not yet quite to the standards of the very best DSLR's (D5). Though as Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, and even Nikon itself with the "1" series has shown, they certainly are the equal or better of the lower entry level DSLR's (D3xxx, D5xxx).

For curved sensor mirrorless the existing lenses are even more compromised for length, weight, speed, cost, and performance (once the necessary adapter is used of course) compared to a native purpose designed curved sensor lens according to the paper I posted above. I said in a post above that a flat->curved/ combination TC adapter would be a good plan B, but in light of the optical design detail in the paper, I would have to change that to plan C. Certainly better than nothing, but not fully capitalizing on the significant benefits that curved sensors allow.

It will be interesting to see where curved sensors appear first. According to the paper, sensor size is not a consideration - it will be a question of quality, yields, speed, volume, and cost and capacity equations for designers, fabricators, and/or clients. There are multiple, multiple applications across many industries, from consumer imaging to machine vision and everything in between.


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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 04:34   #20
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New rumor today:
https://nikonrumors.com/2018/01/11/n...distance.aspx/

And LOTS of comments/discussion down below the rumor.

I like the curved sensor concept but my guess is that won't be the main big Nikon mirrorless announcement this year. I simply can't imagine wanting to adapt my F mount lenses to a curved sensor ILC. I think the image quality compromise would be too great. But that's mostly an intuitive gut feeling; I could be wrong. On the other hand, using my F-mount lenses with a simple "F to Z" adapter for a flat sensor mirrorless... I have no problem with that as long as the adapter is done right.

My guess is that curved sensor cameras will first be introduced as small "all in one" fixed lens cameras for enthusiasts, way smaller than a DSLR, and also a bit smaller than competing flat sensor mirrorless options, but with equal or better image quality (and far better IQ than any phone).

Dave

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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 09:09   #21
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A camera like the Ricoh GR would likely be ideal for a curved sensor.
Also faster wide-angle lenses where you would be able to make the lens smaller and lighter. For telephoto lenses probably not that much unfortunately.

But maybe nano-pillar lenses is the future, when we get tired of lugging around with our favorite fresnel lenses.

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/20...w-in-one-point

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...omaterial.html

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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 13:45   #22
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A camera like the Ricoh GR would likely be ideal for a curved sensor.
Also faster wide-angle lenses where you would be able to make the lens smaller and lighter. For telephoto lenses probably not that much unfortunately.

But maybe nano-pillar lenses is the future, when we get tired of lugging around with our favorite fresnel lenses.

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/20...w-in-one-point

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...omaterial.html
Metal? lenses, Mental! lenses, or even Meta lenses - they're all a way off as yet, even in the research realm .... whereas curved sensors have been prototyped, the manufacturing principles proven, and resolution advantages tested and confirmed.

Meta lenses don't cover the entire visible spectrum of light wavelengths yet, and then there is the question of transmission, and focal lengths etc. No doubt an exciting future, but we will see widespread curved sensors first.

Perhaps a multi-camera (4-8) meta lens equipped smartphone with computational photography may be the first application we see for meta lenses .....

The advantages of current lens design techniques specifically for curved sensors show advantages in reduced lens counts (hence weight) across all focal lengths from wide-angle to super-telephoto.

I think a large (FF, APS-C) curved sensor (stacked BSI) ultra compact physical size fast fixed lens camera, or even wideangle zoom would make a nice high quality street camera. Also, a curved sensor (stacked BSI) and purpose designed lens would be fantastic for something like the Sony RX10 IV format.


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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 14:05   #23
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Metal? lenses, Mental! lenses, or even Meta lenses - they're all a way off as yet, even in the research realm .... whereas curved sensors have been prototyped, the manufacturing principles proven, and resolution advantages tested and confirmed.

Meta lenses don't cover the entire visible spectrum of light wavelengths yet,

Chosun
They do now (first article), but not one year ago (last article).

“By combining two nanofins into one element, we can tune the speed of light in the nanostructured material, to ensure that all wavelengths in the visible are focused in the same spot, using a single metalens. This dramatically reduces thickness and design complexity compared to composite standard achromatic lenses.”

“Using our achromatic lens, we are able to perform high quality, white light imaging. This brings us one step closer to the goal of incorporating them into common optical devices such as cameras,” said Alexander Zhu, co-author of the study.

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/20...w-in-one-point

Curved lenses in a DSLR will take a while.
Probably the DSLR will be extinct before that happens.


In a full-frame mirrorless, maybe in 5-10 years??

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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 14:31   #24
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New rumor today:
https://nikonrumors.com/2018/01/11/n...distance.aspx/

And LOTS of comments/discussion down below the rumor.

I like the curved sensor concept but my guess is that won't be the main big Nikon mirrorless announcement this year. I simply can't imagine wanting to adapt my F mount lenses to a curved sensor ILC. I think the image quality compromise would be too great. But that's mostly an intuitive gut feeling; I could be wrong. On the other hand, using my F-mount lenses with a simple "F to Z" adapter for a flat sensor mirrorless... I have no problem with that as long as the adapter is done right.

My guess is that curved sensor cameras will first be introduced as small "all in one" fixed lens cameras for enthusiasts, way smaller than a DSLR, and also a bit smaller than competing flat sensor mirrorless options, but with equal or better image quality (and far better IQ than any phone).

Dave
So it looks like flat FF sensor, maybe with DX to follow, 16mm FFD, and a relatively compact rangefinder type body .....

Dave, adapting F-mount lenses to a curved sensor via an appropriately designed adapter wouldn't necessarily see any loss in image quality (there might even be a small gain). There is a small weight impost, and I think with the type of body proposed, pretty compromised ergonomics for hand holding super-telephotos.

As far as adapting F-mount lenses to the Flat sensor Mirrorless 'Z' mount, I think that is something Nikon will get right .... there's no option really - they have to.

Smartphones currently handle everything bar low light, long telephoto, and high speed, and are always with you devices.

I think there is market space for Nikon with the outfits I replied to Vespo. They might even manage to expand the overall DC market slightly with such an offering. Evolution rather than revolution.

I'm not sure where curved sensors will debut - could be anywhere from low profit, high volume smartphone camera systems to high profit, low volume FF (or even MF) cameras and/or everything in-between ..... lt will be interesting that's for sure.


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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 15:43   #25
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They do now (first article), but not one year ago (last article).

“By combining two nanofins into one element, we can tune the speed of light in the nanostructured material, to ensure that all wavelengths in the visible are focused in the same spot, using a single metalens. This dramatically reduces thickness and design complexity compared to composite standard achromatic lenses.”

“Using our achromatic lens, we are able to perform high quality, white light imaging. This brings us one step closer to the goal of incorporating them into common optical devices such as cameras,” said Alexander Zhu, co-author of the study.

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/20...w-in-one-point

Curved lenses in a DSLR will take a while.
Probably the DSLR will be extinct before that happens.


In a full-frame mirrorless, maybe in 5-10 years??
Vespo, thanks - that's a better link - the one in your previous post ran into security certificate concerns for my phone.

Going to the source paper in the 'Nature' journal (abstract only available freely) makes me skeptical of the 'All' in "all wavelengths in the visible" claims ....
"We demonstrate diffraction-limited achromatic focusing and achromatic imaging from 470 to 670 nm." ..... that's a long way from the entire visible light spectrum of 380 to 750nm (though some define it greater or lesser ranges than this). It only represents 54% ..... so it's hard to see the claims for true white light (the violet light - 410nm - contribution would be missing, as would the deepest of dark reds). I think that might be a case of a looser defined effective claim and reporting exuberance.

At some stage in the future, phase detect on chip catches up to and surpass the DSLR's seperate dedicated phase detect AF system, and rolling shutter is solved to be no longer an issue in Mirrorless. Whether this happens before curved sensors reach DSLR's .... ? ..... probably. Though the hand filling pro DSLR ergonomics will live on.

I would say DSLR's would live on for circa~5years, while at the same time we will have curved sensor mirrorless with DSLR ergos long before that.

Either way while the transition ensues, the collective lens and mount catalogue's combinations and permutations will get a bit messy and/or limiting .... but likely both.


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