Nikon Confirms It’s Building Mirrorless Camera Gear That Raises the Bar

Nikon generated great deal of excitement this week when the company’s president stated in an interview that Nikon is working on a new mirrorless camera. Now the company has issued another statement confirming that it’s building mirrorless gear that will emphasis performance and quality.

DPReview reached out to Nikon for an official statement regarding the original interview quote (which was translated from Japanese), and here’s the comment they received from a spokesperson:

While details are confidential, we can say that we are currently developing new mirrorless products that build upon Nikon’s strengths, and offer the performance prospective customers expect, including the ultimate optics performance, image-processing technologies, strength and durability, and operation.

If you’re a Nikon shooter who has been longing for Nikon to release a mirrorless camera that can compete against the likes of Sony and Fujifilm, this latest statement should give you some hope.

Nikon is saying that an upcoming mirrorless camera will “offer the performance prospective customers expect” as well as include “ultimate” performance in areas such as optical quality, image processing, build, and usability.

When Nikon announced its 1 Series line of mirrorless cameras in 2011, many photographers were disappointed by the relatively tiny 1-inch CX format sensor, which has a 2.7x crop factor and is about 1/2 the size of Micro Four Thirds and 1/4 the size of the Nikon DX APS-C sensor.

A sensor size comparison showing how the Nikon CX format stacks up against others. Image via Wikipedia.

One way Nikon could build a mirrorless camera with “performance prospective customers expect” would be to use a APS-C or full frame sensor and allow Nikon photographers to more easily use their existing DSLR lens collections. Rumors were already swirling last year that Nikon was perhaps building a mirrorless camera with a “large sensor.”

There were also rumors in late 2016 that Nikon was quietly abandoning its 1 Series, which hasn’t appeared to have gained traction in the mirrorless camera wars. DPReview wrote at the time that they “believe the series is no longer being developed,” and no new 1 Series camera has been announced since. Existing 1 Series cameras are starting to become ancient as far as camera cycles go:

A timeline of Nikon’s 1 Series mirrorless cameras. Chart via Wikipedia.

With rivals like Sony unveiling large-sensor mirrorless cameras such as the full-frame a9 — which has received considerable attention and glowing sensor reviews — perhaps Nikon is finally ready to cannibalize its DSLR business by launching a true professional-grade mirrorless camera.