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“Nikon Coolpix Pro”. Is that the name of the upcoming Nikon mirrorless system?

The image of the mirrorless hoax from April 1th 2001

Exactly ten years ago on April 1th someone invented the nice fool’s day hoax camera you see above. He named the camera “Nikon Coolpix Pro“. The creator of the hoax will be suprised to hear that ten years after Nikon could use the same name for their REAL mirrorless system that will be announced in April! According to one of our new sources Nikon will announce a small sensor mirrorless system based on the current but with interchangeable lenses! This is an unconfirmed rumor and it has yet to be confirmed by trusted sources. The only prove that backups the rumor is the fact that Nikon fulfilled many patents of a mirrorless camera using very small sensors (Example: Patent 20090167927 at freepatentsonline). The sensor could have an approx 2.5x cropfactor.

A small step back:
A month ago a trusted source told us that Nikon will announce a “PRO” mirrorless system in April. If the “Coolpix Pro” rumor is correct than we might did the mistake to think the system would feature at least an APS-C sensor. So will Nikon fool us and simply use smaller than m43/APS-C sensors and call it PRO because it has a lens mount? As one of our friends told us: “having such a small sensor invalidates the PRO naming ;~)“.

A few months ago Makoto Kimura from Nikon said that “We want to propose a domain that is different from SLRs and compacts. We want to create a new market.”. Let’s see if that new tiny sensor mirrorless system will become popular…or not!

Reminder: Also Pentax will launch a small sensor mirrorless system in March (Click here to read more about it).

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  • Dwight

    So- Pentax and Nikon are both planning small sensor cameras that will be announced at about the same time. Any chance they are sharing the same lens mount?

    I would be interested in such a system for two reasons:

    It would actually fit in a pocket- something m43 will never do.

    And, super-telephotos could be small and cheap. A 100mm f/2 would fit in a coat pocket and be better than 500mm+ equivalent. You could take it on a casual hike and still do serious bird photography. (or sports, or…)

  • David on Formosa

    This may not be as strange as it sounds. The smaller sensor size would mean the bodies and the lenses could be kept smaller. It would also be cheaper to produce too. It would also mean clearer differentiation between DSLRs and small sensor mirrorless in product ranges.

    • Rob

      I haven’t done the research, so the appeal of a system may be there. But why call it Pro?

  • mirrorless

    I already have a small sensor camera.. mobile phone.

  • pdc

    The reach and success of a 2.5x crop factor mirrorless system all comes down to how much the different market segments are willing to compromise on IQ. This is not different from the days of film cameras. If you wanted to make images that are stunning in their detail and color saturation you needed a larger film area. Enthusiasts settled on 35mm as the best compromise, and as film got finer grained and faster, their images got better. My bet is that the Nikon and Pentax ILCs (if the rumors hold true) will find the same place as 110 did in the past. Enthusiasts will settle on 4/3 or APS-C systems, and the pros will stick with FF DSLRs until such time there are FF ILCs. It is all good.

  • LGO

    Such a lens would be of great interest to many Nikon owners. If Nikon can source a 10mp 2.5x crop sensor with the same capabilities as the Nikon D7000 sensor and encased this in a small body with matching pancake lenses, then this will be a big hit.

    The ability to use Nikon’s flash and the ability to adapt Nikon’s existing Nikkor lenses to this body make it almost irresistible to Nikon’s dSLR owners.

    A 85mm f/1.4 mounted on a 2.5x crop body with an F-mount adapter will provide an angle of view of approx. 212mm with a DOF of f/2.5 and an operational aperture of f/1.4. I finally have a micro-sized and light weight alternative to my D700 and 200mm f/2.0! :-D

    • chris

      your math sucks..
      the crop is x2.5
      crop 2.5 means you lose 2 ƒ stop and a half in terms of dof.. so your 85mm ƒ1.5 would be like a 212mm ƒ3.4 ; P

      • chris

        actually both our math sucks lol.. 2.5 crop is not 2 1/2 f stop loss in bokeh.. it must be somewhere between 2 f stops and 2 1/2 f stops..

  • EE

    OMG what a fucking boondoggle this is going to be.

  • Olivier

    “My bet is that the Nikon and Pentax ILCs (if the rumors hold true) will find the same place as 110 did in the past.”…in the museum of silly ideas, next to the APS?

  • Harold GLIT

    I do not think the question is fair
    if a 1/2.5 is tiny , what would you call m4/3rds . the difference might not be that much

    and what would you call cameras with 1/1.6″ or 1/1.7″ sensor super tiny ??

    and the ones with 1/2.33 sensor super super tiny

    I think there is a lot of bias editing in the last postings


  • cloudsorghosts

    I agree that this system could be extremely interesting, provided features creep down from the DSLR side rather than up from the Coolpix side, which given Nikon’s recent strategy is certainly not assured. Also agree that calling this a “small sensor” which would not compete with m4/3 is a bit shortsighted. If m4/3 has a 21mm image diameter and the Nikon has 17mm, we’re talking less than a 20% difference in total sensor area. We’re still talking nearly 4x the sensor size of high end compact cameras, so depending on the quality of the sensor it could produce very good results.

  • cloudsorghosts

    in addition: my fear, however, is that this will be marketed directly towards customers with compacts that had no desire to upgrade to DSLR, but might do so if they were offered better image quality in the same size package. This gives Nikon no incentive to offer DSLR equivalent specs (like Panasonic has been able to, not fearing weakening DSLR sales), rather focusing on getting segments of the lower end market in the habit of buying new lenses, then possibly upgrading to DSLR. Unfortunately that may be what Nikon has in mind when they refer to a “completely different domain” than compacts and DSLRs: a true “bridge” category that gives users “pro-style” options (i.e. lens choice) without attempting to compete with DSLR image quality or speed.

    • pdc

      That would be a good thing, as long as Panasonic goes the other way with the G3 (more professional features).
      The area of 17mm image circle diameter is only two thirds that of a 21mm diameter, so if this is what Nikon does, then Four Thirds gives you 50% more sensor surface area, and probably much better IQ.

  • chris

    if i would buy one would totally depend on lenses and price..
    this camera would only make sense with a couple of pancakes..

    14mm ƒ1.7 (35mm ƒ4 in full frame terms)
    20mm ƒ1.7 (50mm ƒ4 in full frame terms)
    34mm ƒ1.7 (85mm ƒ4 in full frame terms)

    those are the lenses I would consider to buy if size is smaller than sony nex or samsung nx(right now i use a nx100 +30mm ƒ2 when my nikon d300 is to big to take with me)

  • inteliboy

    I don’t understand. It seems so ridiculously obvious to me for Nikon to release a large sensor mirrorless camera line — even something akin to their legendary FM series.

    Just look at how much buzz the fuij x100 is getting, or how high sought after and drooled over the leica m9 is.

    Oh well.

    • EE

      Exactly. The desire for more FF compacts in the market is so obvious and so strong–that one may only conclude that the big 3 are in collusion; to not bring one to market.

  • Ruslan

    Yeah it’s not much a difference between 2.5 and 2 crop factor.
    The same can be said for 43 and APS but obviously, some people change their opinion when it comes to Nikon.

  • viCtor

    By using the available BSI-CMOS, The Coolpix Pro it sounds good, espeially for the Pro-sumer, and the enthusiast daily use.
    Wait and see the announCemnt.

  • Anu

    Neither Pentax, nor Nikon will release a tiny sensor interchangeable camera. It is just a silly rumour. Instead the sensor size will almost certainly be APC-C for both. There are three reasons for this:

    1. Image quality
    2. Upgrade path to full frame
    3. Availability of sensors

    Negatives of the ridicilous tiny sensor idea include:

    1. Lousy image quality
    2. No significant advantages over regular P&S
    3. Not much cheaper than regular mirrorless, yet much more expensive than P&S
    4. No upgrade path for the time whem all DSLRs lose the mirror
    5. No sane person would buy one other than to be a toy for kids

  • Peter

    The rumoured sensor is big enough (larger than 1/1.7″) for me to take an interest. But a sensor alone a camera not makes ;). Whether it will add something to the current available camera lines (small fixed size cams like the LX5 on the one side, 4/3 and mirrorless APS-C on the other) remains to be seen. It could be done I think, just give me
    * reasonably small (smaller than Panasonic GH2)
    * an (electronic) viewfinder in the body
    * a good “shake the dust from the sensor” system
    * image stabilization, preferably in the body (see next)
    * small, fast prime lenses; IS in the body would keep the lenses smaller and lighter (and cheaper)
    * don’t bother with in-body flash, but do make it compatible with the existing Nikon flashes (SB-400!)

  • Thelone

    Seems like Nikon and Pentax are taking the “mirrorless = compact” route, as opposed to the actual big three for which “mirrorless = DSLM”.

  • Danonino

    EE, never thought of that way! Of course the have decided together NOT to release small FF cameras because they want to milk the customers as much as they can with aps-c first.. Horrible..

  • Jake

    It’s all about marketing, you ask “would you buy a mirrorles camera with a tiny sensor?” And everyone emphatically says NO!

    But what would happen if we changed the question to “If Nikon relased a compact system camera with a much larger sensor than G12/P700/LX5 types, with lenses 25-50%smaller than the NEX lenses, plus the ability to use all nikon lenses through an adaptor, all this at roughly the same price of a g12, would you buy it?”

    If Nikon goes for the enthusiast compact/dslr backup market, and doesn’t price it too high for p&s upgraders, I think it could be a huge hit. I know I’d buy it.

  • dick ranez

    The world has enough small sensor mediocre interchangeable lens cameras. This looks like minimal differences from their current toy J1/V1. So what? If Nikon wants to get
    serious, give us a mid priced full frame rangefinder camera and lens set a’la the S2 and let it compete with Leica. Coolpix Pro my ass!

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