New Nikon and Pentax mirrorless rumors!

A long time ago we posted the rumor that Nikon would use a 2,5x crop factor sensor for their new “Coolpix Pro” mirrorless system. Now a second independent and well known externals source (Nikonrumors) confirmed that the system will have a 2,6x crop sensor (not 2,5x): “the difference between 2.5x and 2.6x is probably because of different rounding“. But Nikonrumros also got one more info: “According to the rumor, three new lenses will be introduced at the time of the mirrorless camera announcement: one wide pancake and two zooms.” To bad that the announcements have been delayed. As Thom Hogan said: “The electronics companies in Japan still aren’t sure what they will and won’t be able to produce in the near term.

P.S.: I know many of you will laugh at the “PRO” suffix for the mirrorless Coolpix camera. But you know…marketing rules the world!

One more news about the Pentax mirrorless system. Raphael Mabo (Dpreview forum) said that “If Pentax makes a mirrorless camera, it won’t be K-mount.” Sounds reasonable…

  • Kosta

    The size of the sensor is enough for good IQ and really small body & lens , for me is the best compromise for small size with IQ!

    Sorry for my English

  • Don Pope

    All I hope is that it has a built-in viewfinder.

  • Will

    Smaller than the 4/3rds system? This is DOA, unless the price is *also* smaller than the 4/3rds system (and the Sony NEX).

  • FD

    The initial thought is that noise will be hard to control but then again if the noise handling of some of their DSLRs is anything to go by I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to keep noise at least in line with what we are seeing from the m43 cameras

  • Dani

    I agree with Kosta.
    I’ve been wondering for a couple of years why nobody is producing sensors between 1/1.6” and Four Thirds / aps-c in size.
    I think that something in between could be a good compromise for those of us who are not crazy about shallow depth of field but want good image quality in a compact system.
    A sensor of that size would also allow one to use a greater range of third-party c-mount lenses with less problems than with the m43 and Nex systems.
    This article in dxomark shows how the latest 1/1.7” sensors have evolved faster than the base m43 sensors (that are still being used in current models), so I don’t think that iq, dynamic range and noise are only determined by sensor size. Imaging sensor technology is evolving and getting better every year. The link:
    I just hope they will focus on dynamic range and iq in general, and not the resolution wars… and that they bring out prime lenses rather than zooms, since one of the advantages of using smaller sensors is compactness.
    I’m glad about this announcement and I hope the rumor to become real.
    I wonder who would produce the sensors, Nikon itself or some other manufacturer that would sell them to Nikon? Is Nikon currently producing any type of sensor?
    There are some features I’d love to see implemented in this (and every other) system:

    1. The peaking mode manual focus assist that Sony seems to be implementing on the next Nex cameras (and firmware updates for the existing ones), and also seen in some Canon dslrs using the Magic Lantern firmware:
    That’s the best manual focusing aid I’ve ever seen, if it is as reliable as it seems on the video (and I suppose it should be if it’s based on the data from the sensor level, real-time).

    2. I’d like one button (or assignable button) to switch between “exposure simulation live preview” and “autogain/framing live preview” modes for the screen, since both are useful in different situations.

    3. I’d like to see a new mettering/exposure mode which I would call “highlight priority exposure”. This is how I imagine it:
    -The photographer sets an aperture with one dial, and with the other dial (or after pushing the dial if the camera only has one) he sets a ratio (percentage) of aprox. allowed white (clipped) pixels (from the total number of pixels the image has).
    For example, if you set 0.8%, it would mean you allow an exposure that gives you an image with 0.8% of its pixels clipped, or if you set 0% you would get an image with no pixels clipped (this would be useful if you don’t want to burn the cloud in the sky). Of course you would loose information in the shadows, but I prefer that than loosing the highlights.
    -The camera would set (and update real-time as the light changes) the appropiate shutter speed. If you dialed a greater ratio for clipping, the camera would set a longer shutter speed and viceversa.
    This example was assuming an aperture priority preference. Of course you could do the same thing setting an exposure time and clipped ratio, and let the camera set the appropiate aperture. (“aperture/highlight priority exposure” and “shutter/highlight priority exposure”)
    I think this is one of the benefits of non-dlsr cameras which read light on the sensor at all times, not only at the moment of taking the picture. New ways of calculating exposure can be used, analyzing the real light that hits the sensor, since it is already hitting it before the shot.

    What do you think? Do you think it would be useful?


    • Miroslav

      “peaking mode manual focus assist that Sony seems to be implementing on the next Nex cameras (and firmware updates for the existing ones), and also seen in some Canon dslrs using the Magic Lantern firmware”

      Fantastic! This should be implemented in every interchangeable lens camera.

  • Chris

    Kosta, the Coolpix Pro hasn’t even been announced – how can you know if the IQ is good enough?! Plus I think that the lens is also vital. If the lens quality is poor then the system is poor, and I think the lenses won’t be that good. Nikon makes pots of money from its DSLR systems, and that would be threatened if it makes a Coolpix Pro that approaches DSLR quality. For very many people there’d be no compelling reason to upgrade to a big honking Nikon DSLR. Therefore I think that the Coolpix Pro won’t be that good- more aimed at the advanced compact market of LX3/XZ1/S95 etc. than aiming for DSLR quality.

    The outlook for m43 looks better, I think, because that is the highest level Panasonic is aiming at, and therefore it will produce its highest quality lenses for that system. Plus there are already lenses that cover you for almost every type of photography. Who knows how many lenses will be produced for the Coolpix, or how strong Nikon’s commitment to the system will be?

    Dani, I don’t think your highlight metering system would work- you can’t say you’re happy with 0.8% blown highlights unless you know that those highlights are in an unimportant area of the composition. You’d have to know exactly which 0.8% of the picture will clip and potentially reset the level of acceptable highlight clipping almost every picture you take… It’s much better to simply concentrate on improving dynamic range. Higher dynamic range -> fewer compromises to umm-and-ahh about-> more fun, all other things being equal!

    • Dani

      I imagine you could highlight the clipping areas with some color or zebra pattern in the preview.

    • Poch

      “Nikon makes pots of money from its DSLR systems, and that would be threatened if it makes a Coolpix Pro that approaches DSLR quality. For very many people there’d be no compelling reason to upgrade to a big honking Nikon DSLR.”

      I would disagree with this. This is sort of similar to FX aficionados lamenting over the the advent of the DX sensor. Look at the DX now, it’s nearing the FX in terms of performance (just look at how the D7000 broke the biggest draw of buying FX – ISO performance). But we don’t see FX getting cold. Full frame still has other advantages over APS-C and they can still cater to different users (though I have to admit that the gap is diminishing).

      Same would be true for m4/3 and DSLR. Besides, it’ll be a big disservice to all customers if they’ll enter the m4/3 and not make it the best that they can make it. In a business perspective, it also won’t make much sense. If I were Nikon’s CEO, I’d rather dominate in the DSLR and m4/3 than release m4/3 that will be eaten up by competition in terms of performance. Nikon’s headed in the right direction on this one if they improve on what current m4/3 caperas and lenses are lacking. Trust me, m4/3 won’t topple DSLRs.

  • Kosta

    Chris, i don’t want to replace my DSLR (D7000) with the Coolpix Pro, but i want to replace my premium compact Canon S90 with a small camera with better IQ than premium compacts (XZ 1 , G12, P7000, S95).

    For me the main thing is small size so i can have it always with me for snapshoots mainly

    When i will want to take ‘serious’ fotos i will bring my D7000

    (The m4/3 system is very good in IQ but is big size for my liking )

    Sorry for my English

    Regards Kostas

    • Jaur

      I agree completely, The only thing I wish to add is good manual controls that are not menu driven.

  • Mark

    Too bad about this not being a pro level camera. I was wondering if this would be the camera that brought me back to Nikon (I shoot MFT now). Given the small sensor size and I’ll make the assumption that it won’t use an F mount, proves that Nikon isn’t read to move too far from what it’s comfortable with in cameras.

  • Dani

    Mark, what is a “pro level camera” for you?
    I just read these two articles in, they are very interesting (at least for me):

    Also, I don’t see the point in a Nikon mirrorless with an F mount, the size of the camera would be more or less the same as their cheapest dslrs, and if they produce a mount with less flange distance you could always use F mount lenses using an adapter, as you can do with the m43, Sony Nex and Samsung NX systems.

  • Mark C

    Nikon ML sensor = 1 inch:
    The crop factor goes from APS-C = 1.5, M4/3 = 2.0 and Nikon ML = 2.6 which is an increment of approx 1.3X each step which may be deliberate. Now, if you work out the figures of relative sizes between APS-C, M4/3 and Nikon Mirrorless sensors the Nikon sensor size will be 1″. A nice round figure perhaps not just pulled out of thin air but determined by the best balance between lens size and sensor size.

    Simple mathematics says that the Nikon sensor is (1.5/2.6)x(1.5/2.6) smaller in area than APS-C or about 33% of the ‘light gathering’ area and hopefully Nikon won’t go crazy and keep to within the 12 -16 Mp range so expect about 1.5 stops inferior to APS-C and half of that compared to M4/3.

    Just some calculations – not intended to put camera in disfavour or otherwise!

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