Summary-Analysis of Nikon rumors

While Summer heat (in the Northern hemisphere) starts to have a heavy influence on our dreams of holidays and on our ability to think clearly, we are more and more to wonder what Nikon is preparing us: The launch of the Nikon D7000 is now far in the past in mid-2010, the entry-level range is well stocked with the D3100 and D5100 now really available on the shelves. But, in the highest part of the range, everything seems calm on the Western front for the yellow logo Japanese brand. But there is nearly no reliable, solid, trustful information.

So, can we try and build a summary of what is known and what the Nikon-lovers must know and understand if they are waiting for their next dream photo camera?

The first thing to notice is clearly the way Digital SLR photo cameras ran one after the other in the Nikon range of cameras. I dare say that I borrowed a camera Timeline built by Wikipedia (See below). This historical approach based on the record of launch dates allows to better perceive how Nikon usually operates:

  • Entry-level photo cameras replaced at high frequency
  • A much quieter Pro-level range
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2
Professional Flagship D2X D2Xs D3X
D2Hs D3 D3S
Compact D700
D100 D200 D300 D300S
Consumer Advanced D7000
  D70s D80 D90
Mid-range D50 D40X D60 D5000 D5100
Entry-level D40 D3000 D3100

It is immediately clear that the pro photo cameras are about to be replaced with new models, if only because of the age of the current cameras:

  • 3 years for the D3x
  • Nearly two years for the D3s
  • 3 years for the D700
  • 2 years for the D300s

From this poiint, rumors are flaring up quite naturally (just look at how many wrong rumors we collected about the Nikon D400).

But the rhythm seems to speed up with the various announcements seen recently on Facebook, NikonRumors, PCHome (China), (China too), and a few others.

We long considered as certain that Summer 2011 would see the simultaneous launch of two pro cameras at Nikon, but the Japanese tsunami totally changed the landscape for a company whose main pro camera manufacturing plant was in Sendai (nearly exactly at the center of devastation in March). Nikon quickly reacted and decided to move its manufacturing resources to Malaysia. The latest news tell that machines are now humming with the people you relocated (with the help of special supporting bonuses) and the “Made in Malaysia” production is nearly here (with the same quality as in Japan).

Nikon D4

On the other hand, it seems that it transformed the Marketing calendar that Nikon had built in January 2011. All the rumors were concentrating on a Summer with a Nikon D4 and a Nikon D400 (successors to the D3 and D300s). But in the recent weeks, everybody seems to be sharing an expectation of Nikon D4 and Nikon D800 (successors to the D3 and D700). I could not seriously confirm this change but it seems that it could have been dictated by the need to optimize resources leading to something like:

  1. Two Full Frame cameras in September 2011 (according to NR, it could even be August)
  2. A D400 in January 2012

the only problem of this scenario: The Nikon D800 is supposed to use the Sony digital sensor being readied to power the Sony A99 which should not appear before the end of 2011 (or even the first quarter of 2012).

So, it is still possible that the rumors heard here and there are going to be corrected by facts and that in September 2011 we’ll see a Nikon D4 (with a specific sensor designed exclusively by Nikon with a “pro” label) and a Nikon D400 (with an APS-C sensor shared with the Sony A77 -or slightly modified- and an “expert” label).

Nikon D400

  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor from Sony
  • ISO 100-51,200 (ext. ISO 102,400)
  • New AF
  • Continuous shooting: 9 fps
  • Full HD video
  • In-camera GPS?
  • Two SD cards

Nikon D800 or D700s

  • 18 MP FF/FX CMOS sensor from Nikon
  • ISO 100-102,400 (ext. ???)
  • Same AF as D700 or D3
  • Continuous shooting: 9 fps
  • Full HD video
  • CF + SD cards

Nikon D4

  • 18 MP FF/FX CMOS sensor from Nikon
  • ISO 100-102,400 (ext. ???)
  • New AF?
  • Continuous shooting: 10-15 fps
  • Full HD video
  • CF + SD cards


One response to “Summary-Analysis of Nikon rumors”

  1. Canon 600D Avatar
    Canon 600D

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