2017 is a huge year for Nikon, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the company. A century of innovation in creation of optical instruments, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, engineering tools, medical tools, precision instruments, scanners, cameras, lenses and other accessories is something Nikon is planning to celebrate on July 25th, 2017. Our team at PL congratulates Nikon with this big achievement and we hope to see Nikon continue to innovate for many years to come! At the same time, we are hoping that the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the company will come with great announcements – after-all, it is a perfect time to release something truly special for Nikon fans, isn’t it? What is it going to be? A Nikon Df II with anniversary edition versions of some prime lenses? The first full-frame Nikon mirrorless camera? Or perhaps a refresh of the existing camera models in the forms of the Nikon D620, D760 and D820? It is hard to say at this time, but we are hoping to see a bunch of releases in 2017!
Before I go into my personal projections in terms of what I hope and expect to see in 2017, please take 5 minutes of your time to watch the cool 100th anniversary video presented by Nikon:
For more details, I would also recommend to check out Nikon’s 100th Anniversary page, which details some of the biggest achievements of the company from 1917 to 2017.
Now on to projections – what should we expect to see in 2017, given that it is a big year for Nikon? Please note that all of the below are pure speculations – I do not have any insider information from Nikon and do not want to spread any rumors. The projects are purely based on the history of Nikon releases and what I believe is due for an update. Given how special 2017 is for Nikon, I really hope to see at least one “100th anniversary edition” camera from Nikon. I seriously doubt that it will be an existing camera with the new special logo that Nikon designed to celebrate the anniversary:
That would be a mistake, as it would bring nothing new to the table and most likely disappoint the Nikon fans. Instead, what I am hoping to see is either a brand new camera, or an update to an existing camera with the anniversary logo on it.
Nikon Df II Anniversary Edition
I personally would not mind seeing a Nikon Df II, with a similar sensor as the Nikon D5 and the same AF as what we have on the D5 / D500. If such a camera saw the light of day in 2017, I would be all over it! And I would not mind having no video recording capability on the Df II either, since I seriously doubt that Nikon will be able to put good-looking 4K video recording capabilities in it anyway. I don’t see much reason for introducing video to a stills camera, especially if it is going to be the same boring 1080p video recording capability. Obviously, all the previous advantages of the Df, including the ability to mount non-AI lenses should be there. Some tweaks to the camera body would be welcome, but if Nikon keeps ergonomics the same, I personally would not mind, as long as the sensor + AF system are updated.
It would also be nice to see a few anniversary edition primes for the Df II. And not just with a silver ring please, but rather something fresh and truly nice-looking. I would love to see beautiful iterations of 24mm f/1.8G, 35mm f/1.8G and 85mm f/1.8G lenses, for example. Having an all-metal barrel would be a bonus, although that is very unlikely to happen. Better yet, if Nikon updated the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G with a new optical design that made it possible to capture sharp images wide open, I would love to see such a lens! That would truly be worth making into an anniversary edition lens for the Df II!
The Nikon D810 is already due for an update, since the camera is already over two years old. The D810 has been a workhorse for many photographers, including myself, so the expectations for the D820 update are rather high. I compiled my Nikon D820 wishlist of features that I would like to see on the camera a while ago, and although I do not expect Nikon to address them all, I really hope that we will see some advanced features introduced in the D820 that we have previously not seen on Nikon’s DSLRs before. For example, the ability to see RAW histograms is something many of us really want to see, so that we do not have to guess whether we are really blowing out the highlights or not when shooting in the field. I know it is a lot to ask, but if Nikon were to do it first, it would be a game-changer. I would also like to see the menu banks system fixed on the D820, so that we can actually find use for it. The “Mode” button should have pre-set values to choose from and these should be the ones that keep the settings saved in them, even if they are changed from the camera menu. Another huge plus would be to see live view split-screen display fixed for both vertical and horizontal shooting scenarios, as explained in detail in my D820 wishlist post. And come on Nikon, give us a tilting LCD screen!
As for the main features, I hope to see a 42+ MP sensor with the same or better dynamic range as on the D820. The AF system should be inherited from the Nikon D5, with the Multi-CAM 20K (153 focus points). 4K video recording would be a bonus, but only if properly implemented. GPS and WiFi would be a huge plus. Also, please get rid of that CF memory card slot. The D820 should either be a dual SD camera or a dual XQD camera. CF is pretty much dead now, so there is no reason to put it into cameras anymore.
With the Nikon D610 not getting refreshed for over three years now, it is unclear if Nikon will ever provide an update to the entry-level full-frame DSLR. After the D600 fiasco, Nikon might have walked away from this camera line completely, which, if that’s the case, would be a mistake in my opinion. First of all, it does not provide a good upgrade path for the existing D610 users (and there are many) and second, it is supposed to be a low cost, lightweight and compact full-frame DSLR with features, so why not have such a camera to those who might be interested in one? Sure the D750 is a better camera with better features, but it is also more expensive. The D6xx line is something that Nikon could keep as a way to recycle and reuse existing components. It does not need new innovations. Slap on that same or updated 24 MP sensor, slightly faster processor for 6 FPS shooting, the older 51-point AF, 2x SD slots, the same build + ergonomics with a $1,500 MSRP price tag and you have a winner!
Yes, that oddball D750 needs an update and it is already over two years old. None of us know exactly what happened to the D710-D740 cameras that never saw the light of the day, but if Nikon ever provides any updates to this line, it will most likely come in the form of the Nikon D760. What should we expect from the D760? It is hard to say exactly how Nikon is planning to update the D760, but I would expect to see some new features on the D760 that we currently don’t have on the D750. For a start, I would love to see integrated GPS – a feature that can be very useful for travel and landscape photography. WiFi should obviously stay, but improved with better app support for both remote capture and control. 24 MP is a sweet spot for the D7xx line and I hope Nikon updates the sensor to perform better in terms of both low-light and dynamic range performance. It would be hard to push the performance of the existing sensor technology, so perhaps Nikon can put a Sony-made BSI sensor on the D760 for better overall IQ. I really hope Nikon uses the new Multi-CAM 20K from the D5 on the D760, but it is not likely to happen, since it is not an action camera and the AF system will be used on only premium Nikon cameras for a few more years. In terms of speed and memory card slots, I expect to see no less than 7 FPS on the D760 with 2x SD card slots (UHS-II support would be nice), so it should be a wonderful camera for many types of photography. Nikon should definitely integrate 4K video shooting into the D760 – it would make a phenomenal camera for videographers!
I love my Nikon D750 cameras (I have two of them), so my hopes for the D760 refresh in 2017 are high. If Nikon can make the D760 appealing, it will sell a boatload of them, just like it has in the past few years.
Anyone remember the Nikon D3X? It was a phenomenal camera for its time. High megapixel sensor, same amazing build quality and ergonomics as the Dx line, tailored specifically for professionals who spend a lot of time in the field. Many professional landscape photographers dream of seeing the D5X, which would have a super high resolution sensor (42-50MP+), amazing dynamic range performance and a base ISO of 64, although lower would be even better. High megapixel count would probably limit its throughput to 4-5 FPS, but it is not an action camera, so it would be enough for those who would be using it. The same high-speed AF system from the D5, weather proofing, layout and illuminated buttons, and most importantly, the same superb battery life. It would be a highly specialized camera, probably in the $8K range, so it would only be appealing to a very specific group of photographers.
Entry-level and Mid-range DX Cameras – Time for a Change?
Aside from the specialized D500 and perhaps the D7xxx line, DX cameras have gotten very boring. Nikon has recently announced the D5600, which practically has not seen any major changes compared to its predecessor. And the D3xxx line of cameras have not looked exciting for many years now. Sure, Nikon might still be selling a ton of these, but their market share is quickly shrinking (as evidenced by Nikon financial results). Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic now all have very strong line of APS-C / Micro Four Thirds cameras and such mirrorless cameras as the Sony A6000 have been selling extremely well, even when compared to DSLRs. If Nikon wants to revive its DX line, it should put more resources towards bringing out a truly exciting camera line-up, followed by an even more exciting line of lenses. That’s right – lenses are going to be very important in the success of its DX offerings. So far, Nikon has been thinking that it is OK for its customers to shoot with full-frame lenses on DX cameras. Well, with companies like Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic putting so much effort and resources into making superb compact lenses for their APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras, the appeal of DX DSLRs is diminishing day by day. Why would I want to lug around an unnecessarily large lens on a crop body, if I don’t even get to use it fully? If Nikon put more effort into making amazing DX primes and zooms, and not just another boring 18-300mm superzoom, it could potentially make its DX system more appealing. As for the DX cameras themselves, perhaps it is time for Nikon to consider integrating some of its mirrorless technology from the dying CX camera line to DX? We know that Nikon won’t be putting a full-frame mirrorless camera out anytime soon, but why not start working on a hybrid APS-C camera that has an EVF and on-sensor phase detection pixels? Time to innovate Nikon!
Nikon has been doing a great job with releasing updates to some lenses, but there are a few lenses I would like to see updated in 2017:
- Nikon 16mm f/2.8E fisheye – updated with all the latest technologies
- Nikon 16-35mm f/2.8E VR – with better overall performance than the 16-35mm f/4G, designed for high-resolution cameras.
- Nikon 24mm f/2.8 PC-E – a desperately needed update for serious tilt-shift work.
- Nikon 50mm f/1.4E – time to update the optical formula and make a killer nifty fifty that is sharp at f/1.4.
- Nikon 24-70mm f/4E VR – why not give us a slower lens that weighs half of what the f/2.8E version does, but is optically superior to the 24-120mm f/4G VR?
- Nikon 135mm f/2E VR – the 105mm f/1.4 has been updated, but this one is next. Will need VR due to long focal length.
- Nikon 400mm f/5.6E VR – for those of us who do not want to spend $11K+ on the 400mm f/2.8E VR
- Nikon 400mm f/4E VR – why not, especially if it is priced right?
- Nikon 200-400mm f/4E FL VR – this one is the next in line for pros. Need FL lens element to be lighter and more balanced, along with all the latest and greatest.
- A slew of DX lenses – too many to list.
Let me know if I am missing anything!
While I do realize that we probably won’t see many of the above-mentioned cameras and lenses (the list is a bit too big for a year, don’t you think?), I really hope that Nikon will do something special in 2017. It is time to bring truly innovative products to the market Nikon – we hope to see you celebrate many more anniversaries in the future!