Digital FM2? The Full-Frame Race Is On — Nikon to Announce 35mm Retro Camera

Some were hinting Nikon’s just opened new factory in Laos isn’t for the proclaimed purpose of assembling yet even more DSLRs. According to Nikon Rumors world’s number two camera maker is about to announce a retro style full-frame “hybrid” camera within the next few weeks. As said again and again on THEME, prices for full-frame sensors have come down so dramatically, at the latest since the arrival of Sony’s compact A7(R) the 35mm full-frame equivalence will be new standard digital format. The full-frame race is on.

Sony, your party is not over, it’s just getting even more exciting for us photographers. Expect something like the Olympus OM-Ds with prominent pentaprism, a modern-day FM2 (offers on eBay) with a completely remastered heart and mind.

The retro full-frame’s name? Nikon Df.

Better expect something like a digital FM2
Better expect something like a digital FM2 (click for eBay offers).
Specs according to Nikon Rumors:

  • Nikon FM2-like design
  • 16.2MP 36mm x 23,9mm full-frame sensor (same sensor as in the Nikon D4)
  • Standard F mount
  • Pentaprism viewfinder (meaning the camera will not be mirrorless)
  • The camera will meter even with non-AI lenses down to full aperture
  • The camera will ship with a new special edition Nikkor 50mm F1.8G lens to match the look/design of the body
  • The camera will have physical controls and excellent build quality (which explains the 765g weight)
  • Expeed 3 processor
  • Nikon calls it a “hybrid” camera
  • SD memory card
  • 2016-pixel RGB image sensor
  • 9-cell framing grid display
  • 3D color matrix metering II
  • Native ISO range: from 100 to 12,800 (incl. ISO 50 and ISO 108,200)
  • 5.5 fps for up to 100 shots
  • 3.2″ LCD screen
  • EN-EL14 battery
  • Dimensions: 143,5 x 110 x 66,5mm
  • Weight: 765g
  • The announcement most likely will take place in the next one to three weeks

So they’re betting on the “old” mirror technology for for overall feel, handling and speeds.

Smaller size and same sensor of D4 means the camera will not only be a killer for street and travel photography. If Nikon prices it competitively, say around the $2k barrier, they have a real revolution in their hand.

A revised, modernized D800 with a D4 sensor, how sweet. Add the most likely state-of-the-art innards, fine optics and big name behind it.

The full-frame revolution rolls on.

  • Passageways

    OK well, first of all is is good if “full frame” becomes the norm. the whole crop factor thing is annoying, to put it mildly. Also calculating the price difference for a lens that should be 35 but needs to be, say 24mm to be a 35mm +/- means in all probability paying more.

    There are also second hand FM2 cameras available for anywhere from $150 to $500 and that is, after all ‘the real thing’.

    I have been coming down hard on digital camera in general over the years but will at some point in the near future give it a better go. If only “real” digital cameras had iPhone software :-)

  • Bengt Nyman

    Interesting !

    The performance difference between DSLR and mirrorless is still the speed of autofocus. Nikon apparently does not want to go there, so they offer a full frame DSLR dressed as a retro style camera.
    Smart move.
    Technically there is no compromise, the camera is a true DSLR on the inside with a true retro look on the outside.

    I hope this satisfies the retro fans so that the camera world, including Nikon, can go on to perfect the missing link for mirrorless; a fast and accurate image sensor P/CDAF.

  • With a new “standard” for the masses the industry can open up a whole new market and will do everything to push that and tempt/force users to upgrade or change horses.

  • I reckon “hybrid” refers to P/CDAF.

  • Bengt Nyman

    My guess is that Nikon has not yet gotten that far. I am guessing that it is a conventionell DSLR in a retro style body.

    Should Nikon have solved the image sensor P/CDAF challenge, without the help of Sony, it would be a complete game changer.

    It would almost certainly have to be coupled to Nikon having tooled up to make their own image sensors.

    Wow !?

    I don’t think so. But it would be fun to be wrong.

  • Bengt Nyman

    FF is the new and more affordable MF. However, smaller sensors will always produce smaller and cheaper cameras and lenses. Based on economy alone smaller formats will always be there.

  • dierk

    as far as I remember, the M from the FM stood for mechanical?!
    You could use the camera without any power supply/battery, that was great.

    How do you operate a digital camera without battery?
    I think, the name is nonsense and very poor marketing :-((

  • Omer

    As long as there is a Canon Rebel priced under $500.00, full frame will be marginal. Then, the price of high quality FF lenses….

  • Smaller sensor cameras will increasingly be made redundant by the empowerment of smartphones. Look at the Nokia 1020 zoom function. Give it more pocessing power and they’ll do sports.

    Already today users with two cameras — one camera phone, one more serious — are asking: what’s the point of two “small cameras.”

    There’s the full-frame market.

  • Well the A7 already offers such “hybrid” sensor.

  • Omer

    How many people will burden themselves with the cost and effort of full frame? I think it is a small market.

  • Bengt Nyman

    “UPDATE: False alarm! Nikonrumors corrected his rumor and now states that the Camera is an F-mount camera and not a mirrorless camera!”

  • This post always said F mount and not mirrorless…

  • Bengt Nyman

    You speculated yourself that it might be mirrorless !