2017 is Nikon’s 100th anniversary and we all have different expectations – usually a bit higher than normal, just because of the special occasion.
There are many speculations and rumors about what products Nikon will release in 2017. I decided to give you my view of what I WANT to see from Nikon on their 100th anniversary, and then what I THINK we are going to see, based on everything I have read, heard or watched so far. I will go with the details after the lists.
Things I want to see from Nikon in 2017
D850 – a D810 replacement
D900 – a D5 in a D500 body
Dm – a Df replacement
24-70mm f/2.8 E VR II
15-30mm f/2.8 E VR
Coolpix Z – zoom version of the Nikon Coolpix A
New naming nomenclature
Better AF for video
Things I think we’ll see from Nikon in 2017
Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR II
Now, let me start with the items from the first list:
D850 – D800 was a revolutionary camera and D810 is still one of the best DSLRs. In fact it is what I think D800 should be at first place, instead of having two iterations with and without AA filter (D800 and D800e). Besides the low-pass filter, D810 has several very important improvements. I will not go in details here, but some of my favorite are: it is more responsive than its predecessor (has newer image processor – Expeed 4), has the green tint in the WB fixed, has 9999 shots for time lapse (vs. 999 on D800), has full aperture metering during Live View for stills, has Highlight Weighted Metering, has better LCD and better battery life.
I enjoy shooting with D810 but since I bought D500 I see how much better it is in many regards. I would definitely like to see some of the D5/D500 features in the new D850. I will write a separate article about my D850 wishlist of features, but several of these features I’ll list here. I want it to have a joystick for faster moving of the focus point, new processor (Expeed 7), same or slightly more MPx (I really hope Nikon won’t go above 42-48 Mpx with this model), lower native ISO 50, better LCD – without too much noise when used in the dark (cracking the iso up and lowering the shutter speed), deeper grip (like d500), user control presets (U1, U2, U3) instead of the current menu banks, etc.
The overall idea is to be a refined D810 with same or slightly more MPx, improved low light performance, improved controls and menu, rather than revolutionary camera with 80+ Mpx. Such would suffer from a high iso noise and be sluggish in my opinion. Adn NIkon have to go back through the entire process of improving and fixing it in the next updates.
D900 – As much as I like to use D810 to shoot events – weddings, sports, and kids, it was never as good in my opinion as 5D Mark III/ IV or D500 in terms of responsiveness and ease of use. The lack of joystick, the Mpx count, the lack of touch screen were making it not optimal.
For that purpose, a D5-like camera in smaller but still professional body would be a welcomed addition to Nikon’s family. 20-24 Mpx with improved low light capabilities, joystick, 4k video and most importantly a better AF during video (a la Canon’s dual pixel AF), new user presets, new image processor, etc. would make this a perfect events and action camera, leaving d850 for landscapes, studio and architectural work.
Dm – Let’s assume that this is going to be the name of the Df replacement camera. There were rumors that it may be a mirorrless camera (this is where the m in the name comes from). To me personally it doesn’t matter if Dm/Df II will be mirorrless or DSLR, as soon as it keeps the same mount. I really would like not to purchase new set of lenses (similarly to what Canon did with their M series).
Many times I was about to click the BUY button and purchase the Df. I liked the idea to be a pure photographer’s camera, I liked the retro idea, and yes, it did raise some nostalgic feelings… However – not enough to make the purchase. Df had so many things that did not make sense. And the price was and still is so high.
Hopefully, Dm will fix these things and make it more Fuji X-T like, with lots of thoughts when designing it. I don’t need to get in details here – you can find so many Df reviews out there. I recommend the one from F-stoppers.
In general I want this to be my walk-around camera, which I would enjoy in me free time, using my fast Nikon primes.
24-70mm f/2.8 E VR II – I so much hoped the new 24-70 E VR will be an awesome lens, that outperforms the current one. In most of the cases it is. But in exchange for center sharpness and size. These are important things to me, and I don’t feel like buying the E version over my G.
I would like to see Nikon taking a step to replace it with a new version very soon. This is probably the most used Nikon lens from all professionals and enthusiasts, and NIkon should put all their efforts to make this lens “perfect”. And they don’t have to do much – some added sharpness, squeezing the size a bit, or keep the size and make it a f/2 lens instead.
15-30mm f/2.8 E VR – I’ve owned the 16-35 f/4 and I was happy with it, but when I purchased the D800 this lens showed its resolution weakness. I did not like the results coming out of it, so I sold it and purchased the 14-24. There is why they called the 14-24 f/2.8 a legendary lens. I love its sharpness, size, and rendition. However, I would like to be able to use filters on it. I did purchase the Lee system and tried it several times, but there was a light leak from the corners of the image, sun reflections, etc. It didn’t work for me. As 16-35 is due to upgrade, why not Nikon doing a good one – make it a f/2.8 lens as Canon’s equivalent, then move the length a bit (15-30mm) and add keep the VR. Me personally will but this lens any day and time for landscape, architecture, events, etc. And it won’t compete/overlap much with 24-70 in the 24-35mm range, as it is now.
Coolpix Z – I liked the Coolpix A. A lot. I also liked the new DL series. But… let’s face it – people now want a bigger sensor. Most of the time even m4/3 is a limit for such cameras. I personally find I’m not interested in purchasing a camera with lower than APS-C size sensor any more, for any type of shooting. You can get an amazing Fujifilm X-100F in very small factor, or X-T20 in interchangeable lens format, or Canon’s M5… why would you buy a slightly smaller camera with way smaller sensor?
I think the huge delay in releasing the DL series will make them almost obsolete right from their launch. They have to compete with cameras like Sony R100 series, with Fuji, and all Olympus and Lumix cameras which have a good lens lineup and reasonably sized sensor.
The way I see Nikon’s progress in this niche is to create a DX versions of the DL series. It would be hard to compete with X-100 series from Fuji, but a zoom version would be popular I think. Keep the small zoom range, make several options for the different lengths and speeds, and there you have it – a winner. I wouldn’t mind to see the A-series updates as well. And keep the A-Z series the smallest you can – to be the ultimate pocket camera, which can be picked over the cell phone.
New naming nomenclature – The way NIkon are naming their products is a real mess. Instead of keeping the number of the digits in the name (Dx, Dxx, Dxxx, Dxxxx) corresponding with the class of the camera, we have a D5 on top (one digit – Dx) then we have the Dxxx (the Dxx are missing in the chain, and were representing past APS-C cameras), then Dxxxx. But then we have Dxxx like D300 and D500 which are crop sensor cameras, and D610, 750 and 810 a full frame… And where will Nikon go from here? In few years they will use all available names and they will either need to repeat the numbers, or find a new nomenclature to name the cameras.
I had some propositions on several forums, but here is my idea in general.
Let’s use the mont as a distinctive criteria of what camera it is – FX, DX and CX.
Then use the numbers to distinguish the class – from one to 4 digits. Like:
FX x, FX xx, FX xxx, FX xxxx (FX1, FX10, FX100, FX1000)
DX x, DX xx, DX xxx, DX xxxx (DX1, DX10, DX100, DX1000)
CX x, CX xx, CX xxx, CX xxxx (CX1, CX10, CX100, CX1000)
It is NEW and SIMPLE. It DOES make sense, reveals which camera you are talking about, and there will not be any repetitions in the numbers if you start with this nomenclature. And… what a better time to start with the new nomenclature than the 100th anniversary??? ;)
Better AF for video – My last wish from the list is that Nikon finally come up with a better AF in video. I love Nikon, I even prefer Nikon colors in video. Camera like D500 has 150MBps compression, which is better than what most of the Sony cameras have (100MBps). BUT!
And this is a BIG BUT!!!
The AF during video is crazy – the worse out there. Always hunting, moving the lens elements back and forth trying to find the best focus based on a contrast. And it is soooo noisy.
Nikon’s AF during video is so far behind everyone – Sony A77 and A99 series, all mirorrless cameras, no matter of the manufacturer, and of course the Canon’s Dual pixel AF. I know that MF is an option, but I would really, really like to see something like the Canon’s Dual pixel AF on Nikon cameras. Soon! Very soon!
These are the things I would love to see from Nikon this year, but as I mentioned above, more likely it is to see different things. Here they are in the order I listed them above:
D5X – Rumors say a new MPx giant will appear this year – a la D3X. The new D5X could be easily in 50-100mpx range. I bet it will have a good price margin over D5.
D620 – If such camera appears, I don’t expect to be something revolutionary. It will probably have the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth features added, will have better ISO performance, same form factor, same buttons and layout, and will fill the lower niche of the full frame cameras.
D760 – This camera will either replace/combine the D600 and D700 series from now on, or will be Nikon’s fast action/events camera and It will sits between the D620 and D820. I still don’t know why Nikon jumped the numbers from D700 to D750, and how they will proceed from here.
D820 – Rumors say this will be the MPx beast in Nikon’s lineup. Something like 70-80 mpx range. Me personally, I hope this won’t be the case. I would rather prefer a D850 with the specs I mentioned above, rather than 80Mpx D820, but we will see what Nikon has to say about this.
D7300 – I expect this to be a minor upgrade of the current D7200. Added Bluetooth and Wi-fi probably, bu no dramatic changes.
Nikon DL – They are almost on the market. Several stores already have new arrival dates, so these cameras are coming officially.
Nikon Df2 – Not sure what to expect here, hopefully it will be thought better than the current Df. Come on, it’s Nikon’s year! Do it right this time!
Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR II – I expect a new replacement of the current 16-35mm f/4 – probably slightly sharper with better resolution to match the new upcoming high Mpx models.
One is sure, it will be an interesting year for Nikon fans. We can speculate, but as always – Nikon has the last word.