Rumor: Nikon Planning to Release a Camera Featuring Sony’s 50MP Medium Format CMOS Sensor


Mirrorless Rumors has caught wind of a strange-but-exciting rumor from a trusted source: namely, that Nikon has a medium format camera based around Sony’s much-lauded 50MP CMOS MF sensor in the works, and could be debuting it as early as this year’s Photokina.

For now we suggest you load up on the salt on this one, as the trusted source says only that he ‘heard’ of this camera, but it would explain why Nikon filed a patent for a 100mm f/2.5 medium format lens last September.

It would also steal some serious thunder from Canon, who is expected to debut its 7D replacement at the trade show and has even been rumored to be considering an MF camera of its own.

  • Adam Sanford

    I’m not buying it. The sensor is not the missing piece for the ‘Big 2′ to get into MF — it’s the glass. Such a system as it will require an entirely new stable of lenses, and that’s a massive investment.

    As such, it makes much much much more sense for Canon/Nikon to buy an MF company and rebrand it.

  • Kyle Sanders

    It would make a kind of sense if they where planning on making an MF single lens body, such as the Fuji G690 series. Given the rapid slope of price increase as digital sensor size goes up from the Fuji X100 to Sony’s RX1, however, extrapolating out a near 645 sized sensor system would seem to be prohibitively expensive.

  • Michal Rosa

    “It would also steal some serious thunder from Canon” – why? The two cameras have obviously different targets. It’s just so juvenile to make it “Nikon vs Canon”.

  • Bello Russo

    What the hack is going on with Canon, It’s like Canon is depressed and doesn’t want anything at all. Where are good news? Since first 5d there was nothing interesting with Canon. Sad.

  • headshots Los Angeles

    Great point. Nikon already has too many lens formats–fx, DX and mirrorless, and the only one that is really a full line is fx lenses. The last thing Nikon needs is another lens format to deal with

  • Rob Dickinson

    A Nikon rumour stealing thunder from a canon rumour? wow. MF is a small market and an expensive one to get into , I just cant see either bothering, they need to fix their lower end product ranges and business model.

  • Lauren

    What this means is there is a FF Pentax on the horizon. Pentax finally gets the 35mm FF sensor from Sony – like the D800/D810, and Nikon in return, has to flex their muscle by putting pressure on the 645z. This is pure intimidation directed towards Pentax.

  • Matthew “fotomatt” Lit

    Yes, true Adam…but there is so much money to be made in photography. It would clearly be a worthwhile investment for new photographers to make.

  • John

    Dream on… (I left Pentax for Nikon long ago… there will never be a Pentax FF, it’s an old joke now…)

  • Gav

    However it pans out. It is clear that Sony rules the MF market. Their sensor is finally bringing MF to the masses…

  • Lauren

    Yes, it’s old. Yes, people laugh. Just because it’s old and people laugh, doesn’t make it a joke. A joke can make people laugh or be designed to ridicule. Old ridicule is what it is. Pentax has more MF (not counting 6×7) glass than Nikon, so who is laughing now?

  • Martin Kunert

    You’ve never shot with a 1Dx.

  • Martin Kunert

    Should Nikon wish, all they would need to do is build a MF back. All the lens and bodies are already on the market. If they did that at a reasonable price, I’d jump for it.

  • wilmark johnatty

    I dont know about stealing thunder – but i bet they stole all the sensor oil. Seriously you have to wait for the “X”10 model as in the D810 and D610.

  • John

    And Nikon has by far more customers than Pentax will ever get, even though they don’t have an MF camera… Pentax has MF stuff, indeed, though it’s the heritage from the 67 and 645, it was a smart thing to make the 645D, wonder why they skipped FF, if they’d released that instead of the 645D they would’ve been in a completely different position today…

  • Leighton DaCosta

    Exactly, they could market a “leaf/Aptus/IQ” type of back that has an Xpeed “X” processor and pair it with the 645DF+, (as pictured) which takes almost any MF back…

    Another option for nikon…which is to “kill” the DX line… (which I think they would before killing off mirrorless). At this stage of the game, With the D610 out there and the Df, They could possibly introduce the white unicorn, the D400 with the A7S sensor inside of it for 1800, put it in the same body as the D610/Df and only produce the D5k/3K bodies, with the existing lenses on the market.

    Also, MF glass, can be made in limited runs, similar to the 135DC f/2. Which would create limited availability.

    IF they REALLY want to attack Pentax though… the big thing would be for Nikon to come out with Leaf Shutter lenses and a sync of at least 1/1000s

  • Leighton DaCosta

    And @adamsanford:disqus you are correct… I would think IF anything for them to either partner again with Fuji to produce a Nikon body that takes Fuji glass, or kick it up a notch, and shake hands with the Devil… a Leica mount MF around the $8-12K mark.

  • Halfrack

    There isn’t a good reason to do this. Nikon isn’t making money with their current line up so let’s throw a hat into a market that is more profitable per camera, but sells as many cameras in a month as Nikon sells already every 5 minutes. The level of commitment to a new mount is huge, and the expectations on the glass are much higher than anything that 35mm has seen.

    For those thinking partnering with Fuji is an option – they’re already in bed with Hasselblad (the GX645AF is the H body, and they make all the glass for Hasselblad).

    Phase One and Hasselblad are already owned by VC’s who may be looking to enhance their holdings, and Nikon is at almost half of its high last year. Someone buying Nikon to put in with the rest of their holdings is much more likely.

  • 馬茂源

    You’ve never shot with a D4S

  • Antonio Lopez

    you have never shot with magic lantern…

  • Gvido Mūrnieks

    In my opinion this is a risky, but smart move, from Nikon.
    Here’s why: Canon and Nikon didn’t risked jumping into mirrorless market, when it showed up, and it blew right into their faces, when mirrorless market exploded. Currently, main beneficiaries are the ones, that risked and jumped into mirrorless market first.
    Now, when Pentax just released their first “reasonably” priced MF camera and Sony is making one – it is a clue, that MF could be the next big thing, just as mirrorless.
    So, it would be too risky for CaNikon, not to risk and not jump into MF.

  • Ron Hendriks

    Mirrorless MF with short flange distance.

  • MattSuibhne

    Pentax FTW!

  • John

    Milking cash from their APS-C bodies with “special editions” by adding on to the price for a new color/skin… Interesting strategy, no thanks. (Ex. Pentax owner, jumped the train to Nikon tired of waiting for that FF body that wont come, never looking back again, love my Nikon digital bodies!!)

  • Chris PC

    but I have and the 1dx is not worth the price difference, which the sales numbers demonstrate. the 5d has better resolution, all the 1dx really has is a better fps rate. they need to step up with a new sensor to get the 1-series moving again.

  • luiz barbosa

    A mirroless APS-C or FF with F-mount would sell more units.I would buy one.

  • MattSuibhne

    I feel you. I love my K-3 but really would like to go FF. MF is too much camera for me. Maybe this will be the year of the Pentax FF. Probably not!

  • superduckz

    If the quality of the D800 doesn’t do it for you and you simply must invest tens of thousands of dollars more for the incremental increase in quality then you simply exist on a different plane than the rest of us mere mortals. How’s the weather there?

  • Dvorak Qwerty

    Nikon has been making Panavision’s 70mm lenses for a few decades now. I’ve sometimes wondered why they haven’t put that expertise to work in their own products. Maybe now they finally will.

  • Dvorak Qwerty

    My understanding is that the optical elements for the MF lenses used for the 645D/Z were manufactured even before Pentax was sold to Hoya. Now that they’re owned by someone else, one wonders if the optical engineering experience is still around, never mind the expertise that comes from tweaking toolsets by keeping your production lines spinning.

  • Leighton DaCosta

    Great points… I think it would have to be a Leica/Mamiya mount to make it a strong contender without them making their own lenses.

  • ms

    Leaf Shutter please!!

  • Mike

    MF isn’t all about IQ.

  • Toronto Product Photography

    many will say the higher mp is poop; its not. It gives you more DOF by allowing one to shoot further away and get the same detail. Awesome Nikon- I just hope my current lens system works on it… also hope it is more reliable than my D800: 7000 clicks and 4 service visits.

  • James

    I would be impressed if the current lenses are something you’d want to use on it.

  • James

    If nikon drops a MF camera, you can bet it will be competitively priced with pentax’s systems (think less than ~10k) then in a year or so canon will do the same ignite-ing a race to the bottom of MF similar to that of the Full Frame, and APS-C market.

  • James

    This is exciting, If Nikon drops a MF camera, you can bet it will be competitively priced with Pentax’s systems (think less than ~10k) then in a year or so canon will do the same ignite-ing a race to the bottom of MF similar to that of the Full Frame, and APS-C market.

  • headshots Los Angeles

    I’m all for Nikon killing the DX lens line and eventually DX cameras too, because huge drops in pricing for fx sensors have made the price gap pretty narrow.

    But apparently there is a loud and disgruntled minority group of photographers that would rather yell about how Nikon needs to focus more resources on DX lenses and releasing the mythical D400 for some reason

  • headshots Los Angeles

    Yeah that will happen at the same time Kate Upton shows up drunk and lonely on my doorstep ;)

  • Martin Kunert

    yeah, i have. 1dx is better.

  • Martin Kunert

    There are plenty of specs out there that demonstrate the difference. Just looking at build quality alone shows why the 1DX has a higher price point. Not everybody cares about those differences, but those who do, pay for it.

  • Leighton DaCosta

    The D400 lovers will be soo disgruntled like the D700 lovers were with the introduction of the Df, if Nikon were ever REALLY were to produce a D400.

    They want a D300s with “newer” stuff, but will complain no matter what comes out… If the money was in the a Pro DX Line, Nikon would produce it… But almost every pro who can “afford” it, eventually jumps ship to FX. The price difference between a D7100 and a D610, on the grand scale is REALLY small to introduce a “high end” DX or a “lower end” FX…

    Even the (I believe April Fool’s Joke) D9300 would be a replacement to the D7k line over anything else… to intro a more expensive DX body, and allow separation of the D5k/D3k lines.

  • Peteris Viksna

    There are so many things wrong with what you just said. Nikon needs to get their act together before they start committing to a new system/mount that would require a new line of lenses, it’s not as simple as jumping into mirrorless, not to mention the fact that the MF market itself is as someone already said “…market that is more profitable per camera, but sells as many cameras in a month as Nikon sells already every 5 minutes.”

    I see absolutely no reason for Nikon to try and jump into MF and there is nothing smart about it. People need to realize that something like MF can’t really become ‘the next big thing’ as opposed to mirrorless simply because almost anyone can pick up a mirrorless camera and know how to use it. There’s also the issue with the sheer size difference between the two. I honestly cant see Nikon doing this.

  • John

    Don’t hold your breath (you’ll get blue in your head and finally faint…).


  • MattSuibhne

    Lol. I think you are probably right. I may have to get a Sony A7 or something.

  • saywhatuwill

    From what I understand having a leaf shutter that’s 1/500 is hard enough, especially with the large mass of medium format lenses, so 1/1000 will be even harder.

  • Gvido Mūrnieks

    I used mirrorless as example, just to illustrate my point. I don’t think, that MF will be relevant, to average and advanced market.
    I believe, that if Sony releases MF camera, that in price can compete with 645z – it will fill a gap in market, between Nikon D800 and Hasselblad H5D.
    When it comes, to my look at digital photography’s future: I. think, that mirrorless will dominate beginner/advanced market, DSLR’s will have a place in action phtography and MF will be norm in studio work.

  • esolesek

    Great, It will be $7000 and won’t take any of my current lenses. Hey, Nikon, How about you make a solid camera like the F4 was? Bulletproof, an option for super long battery life, decent color in the shots, and small profile like the D5300 without being a neutered amateur camera, or being a $3000 model with oil spotting on the sensor? This company BLOWS these days.