Nikon rumors 2022
Nikon only released two cameras last year, but they were absolute humdingers. The Nikon Z fc (opens in new tab), on paper, was nothing more than a Nikon Z50 (opens in new tab) with a Fuji- and Olympus-inspired retro makeover. In actuality, though, it was the Big N's hottest product in years, in demand among serious shooters and fashion-forward users in equal measure.
Then, of course, there was the big one: the mighty Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab), the new flagship camera that packs a 45.7MP sensor, up to 120fps continuous burst shooting, and a body that abolishes the mechanical shutter thanks to a virtually rolling shutter-free stacked sensor.
Even so, Nikon has a tough road to hoe in terms of climbing back to the top of the tree. Formerly one of the "big two" with Canon, the manufacturer fell to fifth place in terms of mirrorless market share in 2020 – behind Sony, Canon, Fujifilm and even Olympus – with just 7.5%. So, what Nikon rumors are swirling at the moment to give us an idea of where the brand will go next?
Sony dropped a bombshell by announcing the 61MP Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab), but it appears that Nikon is preparing 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.
Nikon has apparently signed up to purchase the 61MP Sony Exmor R sensor, which will power a Z8 featuring dual CF Express memory card slots, improved image stabilization, a new resolution shift mode to capture 240MP images, and an ISO range of 64 to 25,600 (expandable to 32-102,400).
What seems to be the design of the Z8 (opens in new tab) has recently 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 video as well.
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.
While the Nikon Z50 (opens in new tab) is the little sibling of the Z-system family, it won't be the most junior member; there is talk that we will see the release of an entry level Nikon Z30 at some point this year (the 'ZX0' seems to be Nikon's naming convention for bodies with an APS-C sensor).
According to rumors emanating from Japan, this could be a super-small DX camera with no electronic viewfinder, a fixed LCD screen, a single microSD card slot and a 24 or 26MP sensor.
Recently leaked designs (opens in new tab) appear to confirm these rumors, as they show an APS-C size sensor in a camera body with a Z-mount. In addition, there's no electronic viewfinder to be seen, suggesting that this release will compete with other entry-level cameras such as the Fujifilm X-A5 (opens in new tab) and the Panasonic Lumix GX80 (opens in new tab).
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 like the Z fc.