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New Nikon Mirrorless Body Details Revealed | The Design Looks Familiar

By Kishore Sawh on August 9th 2018

“We are preparing for the next 100 years by leaping into a new dimension. The new mount is Nikon’s response to the challenges of the future.”

That was the main line delivered in the last Nikon teaser video; one of many videos we have been and will be continued to be served by Nikon is recent behavior is any forecast of the future. It was regarding the move to a new mount, and in the teaser released today we have a closer look at the body, to which they have said:

“All the expertise Nikon has acquired over the past 100 years has been poured into this camera.”

That may be true, and there is no question that in that time Nikon has whittled away over each incarnation until they figured out how to make an excellent camera – and there’s a legion of people over the past century who would vouch for that. But as inarguable as that is, it’s also inarguable that from what we have seen, the new Nikon mirrorless looks to have drawn significant design inspiration (or bares significant similarities) from two other non-Nikon cameras: The Leica SL, and perhaps most of all the Fujifilm X-H1 – if not quite as elegant as those.

The Leica, of course, embodies the Bauhaus design ethos that Germany and Leica is so known for. It’s beautiful, handles extremely well, has a top LCD and is clean of distraction. Similar to Sony cameras, there is less a focus on manual dials, but the larger footprint of the Leica does make it a more comfortable unit.

The Fuji, on the other hand, is also a bit boxy, but along with the top-plate LCD has many physical areas of the camera with which to interface, and the Nikon is more akin to this, and that’s not a bad thing. Fuji mirrorless cameras may feel like plastic toys at times, but you can’t fault them for making a camera that doesn’t interface well.

Of course, Nikon has always been about ergonomics and given the fact Nikon has no new tech of their own that we know of, it would make sense that the main leg they’ll be standing on is precisely that. The Nikon is very likely going to make ergonomics their primary selling point. Will it be enough to overthrow the A7III? Who knows, and some of that will depend on price and lens adaptability. Given the fact cameras with more physical dials are more expensive to make it does seem unlikely it will be able to best the A7III on price though.

Only a few more weeks to tell, and probably eleventy-gazillion more teaser videos to analyze.

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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. Matthew Saville

    Considering how the almost unanimous response to the D500 and D850 was, “it just WORKS, and feels great to hold” while still being extremely versatile, feature-packed tools which accomplish any job with ease be it action sports or serious landscapes, (Something most Leicas can’t claim) …I’m betting that this Nikon will be a nearly perfect home-run right off the bat.

    Sony has come a long way since the original 7-series, nearly 5 years ago now, and that’s a very good thing because they had a long way to come, to get to the mk3’s of their design. The cameras are indeed amazing now, at least as far as features and performance are concerned. They still have a ways to go before they can claim to have fully mastered the art of ergonomics, interface design, and intuitive customizability.

    Fuji has done many great things with regards to both ergonomics and usability, and it is clear that they’re doing the best job of all at tapping into a long and storied history of camera design while simultaneously embracing hot new technology and interface dilemmas that we have simply never faced before.

    In other words, it’s hard to fault Sony for struggling to figure out how to arrange menus and things, when half the stuff they’re putting into their cameras is brand-new tech anyways! It’s like Nikon and Canon are the schoolyard 2nd-graders making fun of a 1st-grader who can’t figure out a Rubik’s Cube while they themselves have never even touched one.

    I can’t wait to read the next chapter, in which we see the looks on the 2nd-graders’ faces when the 1st-grader hands them the Rubik’s Cube and says “have fun!”

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    • Kishore Sawh

      The D850 though is, as I’ve said, a caveat camera. They advertised it as 9fps, but it isn’t. You need to buy a grip for that with a specific battery. The cost for that? near as makes no difference $1000. So really to get the advertised specs of the D850 it costs $4300, not 3300, and with added weight and inconvenience. Then you have to have 2 different battery types, and 2 different chargers. How does that make any sense? Classic afterthought and engineering failure.  

      Then there’s no IBIS – so lots of MP and nothing to stabilize it with, meaning you have to bump up shutter speed a lot or ISO etc. Why? – to stick with Nikon’s business model of selling lenses with updated IS?

      Then you cant transfer data from the XQD in-camera to a computer via cable, and most people don’t have a computer or peripheral with an XQD reader, so you need one of those too. So while ergonomics are great, and they are, the Nikon D850 is a $4300 camera with considerable inconveniences. 

      And to use a USB3 to Micro-B for tethering? I’ll take USBC please. There’s jut nothing about the D850 that lends itself, to me anyway, to helping me get the shots I want with the most ease and certainty. Not compared to something like an A7Riii. So no. I don’t know if Nikon will hit a home run off the bat. Will it sell like hot cakes? Sure, but popularity is not always a measure of quality/value.

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  2. adam sanford

    Ah the Leica SL.  When you like everything about the Leica Q but want to make it heavier and more expensive.  (Jump to 1:11 in this clip.)

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