Nikon rumors 2023
The Nikon rumors, understandably, revolve around the future of its mirrorless Z system, now that its DSLR development has been largely iced.
It is doing a commendable job of filling out the range, with the mighty Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab) at the top of the tree and last year's Nikon Z30 (opens in new tab) at the entry level position – even though the latter felt like a bit of a muddled prospect, as manufacturers struggle to understand what a "vlogging camera (opens in new tab)" really entails.
It is also taking a page out of the playbook of Pentax cameras (opens in new tab), releasing what are effectively special edition bodies – the Nikon Z fc (opens in new tab) and last year's Nikon Z fc Black Edition (opens in new tab), which are basically prestige versions of the Nikon Z50 (opens in new tab), and have been extremely well received.
So, what are the latest Nikon rumors as 2023 gets going?
Sony dropped a bombshell by announcing the 61MP Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab), and it appeared that Nikon wanted a 61MP warhead of its own – and the Nikon Z8 (opens in new tab) will apparently feature the very same sensor that's inside the A7R IV and Sony A7R V (opens in new tab), having signed up to purchase the 61MP Sony Exmor R sensor.
That said, the latest scuttlebutt is that the camera could possess a 68MP sensor, after Nikon China posted an image with that resolution – despite Nikon not having a camera (that we know about) with that pixel count, leading to speculation that it could be from the Z8.
What seems to be the design of the Z8 (opens in new tab) has been leaked by a Nikon patent registration, depicting a significantly more sizable body than the existing Z6 or Z7 – presumably to accommodate the increased heat dissipation from the larger image sensor, and potentially from shooting 6K / 8K video as well.
Speculation is rife that the Z8 will be revealed in March or April, after word leaked online that Nikon had called its banners in retail to a big meeting in March.
No more DSLRs or compacts
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Big N is said to have abandoned development of both digital SLRs and compact cameras.
The manufacturer's last DSLR was the flagship Nikon D6 (opens in new tab) in 2020 (now replaced by the mirrorless flagship Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab)), and a report by Nikkei revealed that it will no longer develop DSLRs (though Nikon was quick to point out that production would continue).
With the compact and point-and-shoot camera market being ever more eroded by the best camera phones (opens in new tab), Nikon's withdrawal in this sector comes as no surprise.
Take plenty of salt with this one, as advised by Nikon Rumors. The site reports that (opens in new tab) this is an EVF-free camera along the lines of the Sony A7C (opens in new tab) – "think Z50 but with an FX-format sensor". It is said to be smaller (63 x 129 x 96mm) and lighter (565g) than the Nikon Z5 (opens in new tab), and may even be an "iCamera" with all-new interface and potentially apps. However, as Nikon's recent re-strategizing has seen the company move away from entry level mirrorless, this one might be a relic of past concepts.
Even Nikon Rumors calls these "another guess with a set of made-up specs", but nonetheless it's a story doing the rounds. According to the report (opens in new tab), this would feature a new stacked DX sensor paired with an Expeed 7 processor, burst shooting at 11fps mechanical or 20fps electronic shutter, in-body image stabilization and AI-based subject detection and tracking.
Nikon 1000fps 4K camera
Frames per second hadn't been Nikon's forte up until the release of the Z9, but the change looks set to continue with the advent of an astonishing new 4K sensor that can capture up to 1000fps (opens in new tab) – all while delivering what Nikon calls "the world's highest levels of sensor performance".
"This new stacked CMOS image sensor uses a fine-pitch wafer level wire connection technology consistent with the 2.7 um pixel size," Nikon told us (opens in new tab). "Also, it has a total pixel count of approximately 17.8 megapixels that realizes 4K × 4K high-resolution imaging of 1,000 frames per second and 110-dB high dynamic range (HDR) characteristics. This is one of the widest dynamic ranges in the industry."
The caveats are that this is a one-inch sensor, and is likely to be intended for industry rather than consumer use. However, with Nikon working on such bleeding-edge technology, it could open some very interesting doors for its consumer cameras going forward…
Nikon's mysterious testing models
Nikon is currently testing a lot of different Z-mount camera models (opens in new tab), and there's been some speculation as to what exactly is what. It seems a given that one is going to be the new flagship Z9, and another is possibly also the Z8 that'll sit below it in a similar manner to the Z6 (more on this below). So what else is on the cards is an interesting question.
We know that three of the models being tested have the following specs:
Model #1: 60 MP, 16 bit A/D model with a 5,76 MP viewfinder, 120 Hz refresh rate.
Model #2: Fewer megapixels, a camera designed for sport, same 5.76 MP 120 Hz viewfinder, very high frame rate (at least 20 fps) and stunning AF tracking (better than the D6).
Model #3: A 46 MP sensor, 20 fps, the viewfinder is also 5.76 MP with a 120 Hz refresh rate.
It's been rumored that one of these models could be a Z-mount replacement for the much-loved D850. A sign perhaps that Nikon is moving away from DSLRs, despite the impressive D780? It could be so.
The Nikon verdict
What we think: We expect Nikon to keep building on the Z system for the foreseeable future, adding more full-frame mirrorless lenses to complement the Nikon Z6 II, Nikon Z7 II and of course the Z9 – along with new, smaller optics like the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR (opens in new tab) and the Nikon pancake primes (opens in new tab) to suit the new wave of APS-C cameras.
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