Nikon denies Nikon 1 system is dead, but considers higher-end mirrorless camera
September 22, 2016
(Above) Nikon Europe’s Jordi Brinkman (left) and Dirk Jesper at Photokina in Cologne, Germany
Amateur Photographer asked Nikon a question posed by forum user ‘DaveM399’ who wrote: ‘What’s the future for the 1 series, and will there be any CSCs based on DX or FX sensors?’
Nikon Europe product manager Jordi Brinkman replied: ‘We announced the J5 about a year ago and that model is doing really well – especially in the Asian market, we have more than 10% [mirrorless] share.’ He added that camera life cycles tend to be longer in the current market.
Asked to comment on a report by respected US website dpreview.com, which believes the Nikon 1 system is no longer in development, Brinkman said: ‘No, it’s not ending. Those are rumours. You can expect the J series especially to continue. This is really our mainstream model.
‘However, we are considering taking the strengths of Nikon 1 – which is speed, portability, movie capabilities – to maybe refine the concept… to fit better to the market need.’
Asked if this means a completely different camera, Brinkman added: ‘Well, it’s a concept we are considering. I cannot disclose exactly how, what and when…’
However, he denied this may sound like the end of the Nikon 1 system.
‘No, I am saying the Nikon 1 system is the 1 system based on the one-inch sensor and the 1-mount. That stays. But it doesn’t mean it has to stay the traditional camera as it is today.
‘So we are thinking how the concept, generally, could be changed [to] fit the market better.’
Asked if he meant a higher end camera, Brinkman said: ‘No, I’m talking about within the Nikon 1.
‘When you are talking about larger sensor mirrorless, this is definitely also a market we are officially monitoring in detail and we are really considering this segment.’
So, you are considering a larger sensor size? ‘I am not committing. But we are definitely considering how we could fit in this market and what would be the first, the best way to enter.
‘If we do enter this market then of course we need to bring our added value.
‘But we have great expertise as well; the knowledge we’ve created with Nikon 1 – with DSLR, optics; all those strengths put together. We are thinking what could be the best for us.’
Canon recently announced a high-end mirrorless camera in the shape of the EOS M5. Did this announcement from Nikon’s big rival serve to concentrate Nikon minds?
‘Actually, from our research what you can see is that people in these segments are not necessarily looking for mirrorless or DSLR,’ said Dirk Jesper, product manager for Professional Products and Product Planning at Nikon Europe.
‘They are looking for a specific solution. They don’t differentiate so much between mirrorless or DSLR, as long as it fits their needs. Of course, it’s [about] the price point as well…
Jesper stressed that a higher-end mirrorless camera is just one of the possibilities Nikon is considering for the way forward.
‘As you already pointed out, of course, we’re looking in all sorts of directions because we are also broadening our own line ups.
‘We see the imaging market diversifying more and more. Ten years back you had reflex cameras, compact cameras, a few medium- or large-format systems. That was it.
‘Now, you have all of that [plus] mirrorless, action cameras… smartphones – so the choice has become incredibly wide for consumers.
‘And we are looking [into] where we can find new fields of business, or add something to the market which adds benefits to the market and to the company.’
Asked if Nikon has a message for photographers who may be disappointed at the lack of a DSLR announcement at Photokina 2016, Jesper said: ‘Well, we launched three DSLRs this year: the D5, D500 and D3400…
‘If you look back at the history of Nikon, announcing two or three DSLR products is quite a lot in a year. Also, [this is] not so different from other manufacturers.’