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A New Nikon Mount? Yes Please & APS-C Would Seem Sensible For The Moment

By Kishore Sawh on January 18th 2018

At SLRL we’re not really ones for rumors. So often they end up being nonsense or flat out fabrications that covering them is senseless. They’re water cooler talk at best. However, Nikon Rumors published something recently which we found worthy of discussion, and it’s about a new Nikon mount. But again, it’s a discussion stemming from speculation.

We know (because they outwardly said so) that Nikon has its focus set on ‘professional’ mirrorless cameras (whatever that means), and it would make sense for their first offering to land this year. So, that all lends a bit more weight to this notion of a new Nikon mount, and in addition, last July when talks of the D850 were surfacing, I published a piece on what I thought Nikon needed to do and a new mount was one of them. Perhaps this is it.

At this juncture it’s being referred to as the ‘Z-Mount’ and the alleged numbers are compelling. What’s being reported is an external diameter of 49mm and an extremely short flange focal distance of 16mm. To put this in perspective, Olympus’ numbers are 44mm OD and 20mm FFD; Canon EF-M is about 46 to 18, Sony is about the same, and most interestingly Fujifilm is about 44 to 17. That’s particularly interesting given the murmurs of a Nikon and Fuji affiliation that were floating around in the past year.

Keep in mind this is still just a rumor, but seems like a plausible one even if the final figures aren’t solid. It’s still an interesting idea to develop a mount with Fuji, or at least one which is easily Fuji adaptable because it would mean Nikon’s mirrorless would be taken seriously from day one with a bevy of lenses available, and in place of the Fuji X-trans sensors there’d be something more Nikon, and thus more broadly appealing.

A Nikon mount in the vein of this spec would rally the screams of self-proclaimed purists, but who cares? Nikon should realize by now that who they need to please aren’t the 35 and up year-olds but those coming after, who really give less a damn about what the company used to mean as much as what it does now.

Many have argued and will continue to do so, that Nikon shouldn’t change their mount given how long they’ve kept it and the field of lenses they have for it, but I could never see how keeping it was really an option. It would seem sensible that they should adopt mirrorless and strive to integrate that tech into their DSLRs to buy them years of DSLR development and sales, essentially going the Sony A and E mount route.

And if they did go the Fuji-adaptable route it would be a boon to Fuji would move more lenses (similarly to how Sony moves more sensors when in a Nikon body) and X-series users adore Fuji’s ‘special X-Trans sauce’ anyway so it wouldn’t necessarily cannibalize X-series sales.

And speaking of cannibalizing sales, Nikon’s DSLR sales wouldn’t necessarily be hurt either, because if they went with the Fuji option it would mean an APS-C body, allowing full frame to remain the purview of Nikon’s DSLRs.

That’s a helluva lot to extrapolate from a rumor, I give you, but it isn’t out of left field and it’s about the most exciting news regarding Nikon in years.

Source: NikonRumors

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tomas Ramoska

    I hope nikon will make different mount for aps-c mirrorless cameras to keep size small. But for full frame cameras they can use the same F mount I don’t mind  bigger size for Pro mirrorless 

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  2. Matthew Saville

    I feel that if Nikon is smart enough and bold enough to include an F-mount adapter with EVERY camera they sell that is even just one step above the super-beginner level, (like, a mirrorless D3400) …then they’ll have no problem with lens offerings for either an FX or DX mirrorless system.

    Sony’s third-party AF compatibility woes are not as good of a metric as Canon’s EF-M system is. And the EF to EF-M adapter allegedly offers incredible autofocus on the latest dual-pixel AF cameras like the M5 or M6 or whichever it is…

    Looking at the more exotic Fuji primes and zooms, they’re not that much lighter or smaller (and certainly not cheaper) than their equivalent-aperture full-frame competition. Take the Fuji 56 1.2 for example. Its DOF is still no shallower than a Nikon 85mm f/1.8 on full-frame, and yet it costs more than twice as much. Sure, the two lenses are total apples and oranges in every other respect, but the point is that Fuji’s APS-C kit is awesome, but I don’t know how envious Nikon actually is of it.

    Having said that, Fuji is one of the only companies to have ever offered a third-party body in the Nikon F-mount, and those cameras were well-loved among Nikon shooters back in the day. I know I’d be happy to once again have access to Fuji’s sensors in my Nikon environment!

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Fuji’s build quality is, in my opinion, superior to Nikon. The 56 1.2 for instance is very similar to Nikon’s 85 1.8, except that the Fuji is made of metal, has an aperture ring, and in my opinion renders better over all, better glass and such. I use Fuji and Nikon side by side, but they’re so different I can’t really entirely replace either kit. 

      I don’t really see the logic in Fuji partnering with Nikon. Fuji is a massive corporation, and their share in the camera market is growing – people are starting to respect the brand more as a prowess in the industry. Nikon could make an aps-c mirrorless camera, sure, but I don’t see the “pros” buying in. Otherwise Fuji would be exceptionally more popular .. the x-t2 is a phenomenal camera, it’s a true professional aps-c camera, has some amazing lenses (I much prefer the 50-140 over my nikkor 70-200 for instance) but still, not that popular with the pro market. So it’s either going to be a consumer mirrorless to beat Canon to market, or a professional full frame to take on Sony. I just can’t see them aiming for professional shooters with extremely expensive gear and trying to convince them the smaller sensor is worth the investment. And I can’t see Fuji helping destroy their position as king of the professional APS-c market. 

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    • Matthew Saville

      Stephen, also don’t forget what I mentioned about the *equivalence* of depth of field. The Fuji 56 1.2 is still “only” an f/2.-something ~85mm equivalent lens for full-frame, and the 50-140 f/2.8 behaves like a 70-200mm f/~4 would on full-frame. So if what you’re impressed by in the Fuji lenses is that they achieve both incredible build quality AND a lightweight package, …the reason is the discrepancy in DOF equivalence.  In other words, Nikon’s 70-200 f/4 VR is also incredibly portable, and Nikon could certainly make an 85m f/~2.2 that was built like a tank and yet still portable, if they wanted.

      But, there is something to be said for the APS-C sensor format, and its ability to offer “exotic numbers” like f/1.2 and f/2.8, even if they’re just numbers. I think that especially with lenses like the f/1.8 Sigma APS-C zooms (and the Tokina 14-20 f/2 DX) gaining popularity, a DX Nikon mirrorless system could indeed be seen as 100% professional. The image quality from the D7200 and D500 prove that DX is capable of both insane dynamic range (D7200) and incredible high ISO. (D500)

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for Nikon to do FX first, or both at the same time. But I’m also confident that if Nikon does “only” DX mirrorless at first, it won’t be the end of the world; they’ll offer an extremely professional product if they decide that is what the market wants, and they already know that the first question asked at any and every subsequent press conference will be “Is FX right behind?” …surely once the DX mirrorless cat is out of the bag, they’ll want to let the FX one out ASAP, too.

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    • Kristopher Galuska

      What they should do is make it apsc but then have a speedbooster in the included  F mount adapter. That way we could use full frame lenses as intended and have the option to use smaller apsc lenses when full frame isn’t needed. It’s the only way to give a real size advantage to the system while allowing full frame depth of field and light gathering when needed.

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