In the mean time, I found these images that will definitely set your hearts pumping (at least I have…) Nikon is going to release a new retro-looking camera to steal some fashion conscious photographers. I personally believe that this market has been revived by the highly successful Olympus Pen cameras and the subsequent OM-D series. Sony has taken the similar approach with the A7 series, it is indeed a retro-kind-of looking camera. Since Sony hasn’t got anything in its short photographic history, it couldn’t have anything that they can refer to. Though if any photographers who are in my generation will know that Sony is in fact Minolta before it got acquired by the TV manufacturer.
So the latest big boy who is entering the market is Nikon. I am not here to talk about the specifications because nothing is firm until these cameras are announced. Though I want to share the images I’ve found.
First, from what I can see, they come in two flavors, the very fashionable silver chrome and a very street-friendly and stealth black. Both look like they are from the 80’s Nikon FM series. The pentaprism housing is virtually identical! I used to own a FM-3a and it was one of my favourite manual cameras of all time. I am so glad that Nikon has chosen this path. I do indeed love the two-tone top housing, metal with leatherette covers. Judging from Nikon’s reputation, it’s going to be a very well built camera (especially when I noticed that “Made in Japan” wording).
Secondly, it does look like it’s smaller than the usual Nikon DSLRs, with tightly packed dials and button layout. In terms of flexibility and usability, I think it will be quite good as there are plenty of buttons that can be customized. As you would have expected, it has the FM series’s dials. The film speed dial has changed to ISO selection dial and the exposure compensation lies on top just like the FM-3a used to be. The shutter speed dial also in the same place. Both dials have lock buttons to prevent accidental changes. Shutter button also has a threaded hole for use of traditional cable release that you can get for under £10 instead of buying proprietary electronic releases. Then there is the small dial at the front and I suspect that’s a aperture selection dial or function dial since they use auto lenses without aperture control on the lenses themselves.. Mode dial is now a very tiny thing at the corner of the camera, though it’s not lockable (strange). Finally, there’s the tiny LCD screen just to tell you the setting of your camera and number of shots made or remaining, and the battery level (just enough to let you know your camera is ok and to your needs).
The back is a familiar DLSR layout so I don’t need to say too much and I guess any current Nikon users will found themselves right at home.
Finally, I noticed one thing when I saw these images, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lens is rather retro-looking too (looks just like the Ai-S series). As this is going to be a FX camera, I wonder if Nikon is going to launch another series of lenses with retro housings? I have no idea but it seems reasonable to do so as such good looking camera needs matching lenses (just like the Olympus OM-D and Pen series, their lenses are just gorgeous!). But it does seem rather odd that if they are going to have two versions of 50mm 1.8 lens in the FX line up, that surely will add costs to the production.
Now there you have it, the very good looking retro Nikon for today’s digital photographers. I wonder who else is going to join the party? Canon??? Even I am a big Canon user, I found that they are a little slow to respond these days. Yes, they still make fantastic gears but I hope they won’t be doing what Sony did with their TVs back in the 90’s. They need to explore other areas. Their Canon M mirrorless cameras already a disaster and way too late to the party while the M4/3 and Sony dominate the market. Nikon’s 1 series doesn’t fare too well either but this… this super retro chick FX camera surely will help Nikon capture some image conscious bunch. Sony, you may have the kick ass A7 series, Nikon’s DF is going to counter punch you! Canon next? We will just have to wait and see. I hope so but this is truly exciting, at least for those who are waiting for something rather special (look wise).
Just to end this blog with Nikon’s latest teaser video.
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