Why I will absolutely rush to buy the new mirrorless Nikon but will probably never take possession of one...

why pine for unavailable cameras when it's really the lighting stuff that 
makes the real difference?

Breathlessly waiting for the big announcement of Nikon's mirrorless delivery date.  I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't even drink coffee because I'm so excited to finally be able to buy the camera(s) I've always really needed. Right? Yawn. Not so much...

I'll rush to Precision Camera and put my name on the Nikon waiting list the minute we find out when that mirrorless, premium camera has a ship date! But, I previously put my name on lists for the Nikon D850 at Precision Camera and at Amazon.com (it's a race!!!) and that was months ago. I still don't have one of the "world's greatest" cameras in hand with which to shoot. At this rate the mirrorless camera from Nikon might be available to average consumers like me in late 2019... But by then someone else will most likely have announced and actually delivered the very next "miracle" camera and my choice will be to grab something that exists and is purchasable versus waiting for an object of desire that seems to be more "vaporware" than attainable, own-able hardware. Yep. just checked again and both outlets are still showing the D850 as backordered. Wasn't that camera launched like six months ago?  I guess once they sent one to every
Nikon V-Logger they had to go back and make the next batch of one hundred "super sensors." Maybe they get more profit per camera from those suckers in the EU....

In the painful lull between announcement and launch, and then launch and ultimate accessibility, I'm sure Canon will launch something with even better specs. And I'm pretty sure none of us expect Sony to stand still and wait around for Nikon to actually fix their delivery pipeline.

But I guess that's okay because I can't really get excited about buying into another proprietary lens mount right now. I'd have to either use adapters with my motley collection of Nikon F mount lenses or sell off everything and start over from scratch. And I'm not eager to be a repeat beta tester for a brand new, never seen before, selection of lenses. Of course, with my luck even a dedicated Nikon F-to-new lens mount adapter won't work in my favor. Some of the lenses I like and use on my D700s and D800s are the older D style lenses that have the little screwdriver autofocus mechanisms and I'll bet you cash money that whatever adapter hits the market from Nikon will only work with either the latest "P" series lenses or, at best, AFS G series lenses. You know, the newer lenses with no external aperture rings. The manually settable aperture lens are the ones I actually like best...

I might be able to use my oldest F series manual focus Nikons in exactly the same way I use those lenses on the Panasonic GH5 right now. And that would be in a totally dumb, totally manual mode. Today I can play nostalgic dilettante and shoot a Nikon 105mm f2.5 AIS lens on my D800e and I'll get a focusing confirmation light in the viewfinder as well as correct exposure in manual and aperture priority; as long as I remember to program in the lens's maximum aperture and focal length. But I also think the lens mount adapter would  have to be a strange looking beast since the mount on the older lenses will be so much smaller in diameter than the opening in the new body mounts. Think "cone head" camera adapter look. Kinda weird.

In the last week or so, since the big non-announcement-announcement torrent I've watched used prices of D800s, D810s and D750s all drop. I've noticed more recent Nikon lens models hitting the used shelves and the sale webpages of camera retailers. People are already trying to factor in the value of the new launch into the liquidation pricing of the newly old. And I think most people assume Nikon will drop the traditional DSLRs the moment the sales curve of their products favors mirrorless models over last century mechanical tech.

There's more than enough afoot in this who new product imbroglio to give even me, an avowed new camera consumer, much pause. For example, if Nikon fails to advertise, support, and deliver the new product in quantity what's to prevent it from dying the long and sad death that befell their first mirrorless effort? If I stock up on the new stuff will I end up like the small legion of Samsung camera users whose systems were orphaned with little warning and no real recourse?

And while I may love the idea of buying into some new, "revolutionary" cameras won't I want some new and revolutionary lenses to use the "miraculous" bodies with? So, what do I do if the first flurry of new mount lenses are droll, entry level zooms with crappy performance where it counts = in the optics? Do I wait for years, as original Sony A7 series adopters did, for a smattering of fun and useable optics? I've never been known for my patience so I'm doubtful that I'd buy a new body and wait around for very long in order to squeeze out whatever good comes from the new platform.

No, I have a different Nikon strategy. I think the 800 series cameras are really, really great performers. I'm judging them on their ability to make beautiful portrait and product photographs. I'm not a sports shooter (and very few photographers really do shoot much fast sports work...) so I don't need huge buffers and nosebleed faster frames per second. I generally take time to meter and white balance. What I love about the modern Nikon 800 series cameras is the high imaging performance combined with a decent price for that performance. I think the d810 and d850 represent tried and true, very mature tools that can be used in the hands of experienced photographers to make images as well as any other (non medium format) camera out there.

If the mirrorless Nikons and Canons exceed my expectations by leaps and bounds then I'll wait around and pluck as many used D810's as I can, along with one new D850 and I'll use them for tons and tons of portrait work in the studio and on location. I'll use the D850 for all those times when I want full frame, full sensor 4K video so I can play around with skinny depth of field and the associated look that fast lenses on a full frame camera can deliver. If the market is cruel enough I'll be buying D850s for song while more impulsive folks are helping Nikon find all the bugs in the newer cameras.

And if the older lenses are awkward to use with adapters on the new, mirrorless cameras, then I'll probably be able to reap a bonanza on one time coveted and then discarded Nikon lenses.

One more thing for me to think about ----- once I ignore all the good advice I've just given myself above and I decide, "what the hell? I think I'll try one of those new Nikon mirrorless cameras!" and I give myself permission to get one don't you just know that Panasonic will announce the GH6 and it will be so amazing that I'll be back to square one in my gear acquisition strategy.

(But just to be honest --- you know there's NO strategy. Right?)

So, will I buy a Nikon mirrorless the minute they launch? The real question might be will they ever launch enough of them to satisfy the rank and file? Maybe yes, maybe no.

I shot with a Nikon D800 and an older 24mm f2.8D lens today. Not a bad combination at all. I don't know why I shot it at full resolution, in the 14 bit mode, and uncompressed but I'm pretty sure I'll be downsizing it to 2200 pixels at 8 bits and in Jpeg format in order to share it with y'all. Not sure that makes much sense either. But, I don't know that any of us are using rational thought in camera selection versus actual use parameters in the second decade of this century.

The operative word seems to be: OVERKILL.



  1. Nikon certainly has done a great job in its preemptive marketing ploy. All the froth and frenzy among the bloggerati has been in service of Nikon with only an occasional reference to the existence of Canon. Why is it I feel that Canon is just quietly going about its business while building up an avalanche of new product which, upon release, will leave Nikon buried about twenty feet deep? None of this has any direct impact on me, sidelined by budget constraints until I find that winning lottery ticket. But it is interesting to watch.

  2. I've just checked, I can drive off to the local photo store (here in Belgium) and buy me a Nikon 850 body for 3799 euros, it's in stock now. If I wanted this, but I wont.

  3. "showing the D850 as backordered.
    Maybe they get more profit per camera from those suckers in the EU...."

    They do. Why settle for $3300 when you can get £3500 for the same body?

  4. Really informative post about the camera, you have told that which type of camera should people use for photographs. In the studio everyone can get some new ideas. Keep giving updates.

    production studios Los Angeles

  5. I shall rush, verily, rush to Ebay to see if there are any Sony A7 series cameras being dumped because the new Nikon has made them "obsolete". See, I really like the small cameras for my walkin' around needs but don't want to spend the premium $ for such a usage. I bet Sony a7II's, and a pocket full 'o batteries, becomes very attractively priced.

    And yes, I'm further refining my VSSLSTRTBS (very small strobe lighting system that replaced the bigger stuff). Tweaking that gear over the last 4 years or so has proven to give me the greatest gains in RWOITF (real work out in the field), far more than buying every new iteration of a sensor-box.

    Now if I can just stop buying camera bags/cases/rollers.

  6. Don't worry about lens lineup: the new Nikon mirrorless will be hosted in a D850 body. So they could still say that "Pro cameras are big cameras cos they make better picture", the lenses will have no need of adapters, they will still use the existing factory assembly line, andò everyone wins!

  7. Kirk

    Your tune will change because, deep down, you miss not having a great EVF. I would guess the lack of an EVF irks you every time you use your Nikons, especially when coming straight from your GH5's. Whether or not it irks you to the point of spending several thousand dollars is a different thing !


  8. Given your love for the 700 and its 12mp big pixels, I am curious why you jumped to the 800, rather than the 750. I used a 700 and moved to 24mp for some architectural work. Did you try to reject the 24mp cameras? I will admit that the 600/610 is not the camera that the 800 is, but the 750 is quite a bit better.

  9. I am almost certain that you are correct in saying that the adaptor will not work properly with AIS or screwdriver AF lenses (in other words all manual aperture lenses), which happens to include all seven of my Nikon/Zeiss F mount lenses. This almost certainly means that I won't feel compelled to rush off to buy a new Nikon, which I know would inevitably lead to buying the new 'miracle' lenses. So I should feel grateful.

    It is very possible that when this truth sinks in, the price drop in D8xx cameras (I didn't know that was happening as I don't pay attention to those things) will reverse, so timing is all important. If the price drop is sufficient I could even be tempted myself, but it would have to be a big drop, as this would be a minor use, fun only purchase for me.

  10. Edward Richards. I owned a D750 back when it was newly launched. It was a good but not great camera. Much better than the D610 I also used but not as functional as the D800s. Since even used the D800s are less money than the D750 used it was an easy choice for me. Also, since the linear jump in resolution from the D700 to the D750 (12>24) is only about a 20 % increase I thought I'd see more of a difference in the 36 meg files. Since we buy in pairs the cost savings was substantial.

  11. Rufus, we'll see how good the EVF implementation is in the new Nikons. Might be great. Might not.

  12. The practical photographer's practical reaction to marketing practices...

    ... but it rests on the "more impulsive folks helping Nikon find all the bugs in the newer cameras".

    Which is just fine also with me, although in another camp...

    AND thanks for this (as usual) good read!

  13. Makes perfect sense, if you have a great used camera store in town.:-)

  14. As to lens mounts...
    Canon switched to the more flexible EOS long ago (and lost backwards compatibility).
    Nikon stayed with its mount keeping compatibility and paid the price of a narrow mount making some lens designs difficult.
    So the photographers could then choose C / N depending on their needs.

    But sooner or later Nikon would have to update to a new mount, and mirrorless seems to me to be the right moment.

    And theoretically - if Nikon patents don't prevent it - I guess someone will provide an adapter including a stepper motor plus a screwdriver drive for all those elder lenses.

  15. Na, just avoid all the new Nikon hoopla and snag an Olympus EM1mk3 in February. Your 12-100mm lens will love being home.

  16. Aside from the enjoyable content, certain phrases in this post jumped out at me. They are "what the Hell" and "rational thought". They are mutually exclusive and generally, the latter phrase wins. Lord, give me strength.

  17. Watch out for pre emptive Nikon Mirrorless hubris guys. The market is still shrinking and noone in the wider world cares what little black box we used to make our images.

  18. here you go, take 20% off this price (this is EU sales tax which they'll subtract as you are in the usa), comes to $2900 or so plus shipping


  19. I take all points but shooting uncompressed, when Nikon offers loseless compression, has no sense really.


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