Back in September 2016, rumors were flying that Nikon had decided to discontinue the Nikon 1 System mirrorless cameras and instead focus their efforts and energies on a mirrorless camera and lenses that are “Nikonashii“–that will make a difference and overwhelm in terms of their performance. Nikon denied that the 1 System was being discontinued.
Now, almost a year later, the rumors have started again and we are no wiser as to their veracity. There have, however, been hints in various interviews of Nikon’s President (such as the one linked above) that Nikon is indeed working on a “new” mirrorless camera, though we have no further details on where Nikon is positioning that camera (we all hope it’s a FF pro model).
Nikon has also mysteriously (Why?) kept mum about where it is going with mirrorless, whether it will continue in parallel with the development of their traditional-mirrored DSLRs or whether they have embraced mirrorless as the future. Officially, they are still denying that they are discontinuing the Nikon 1 System. All these rumors, denials and hints are just a lot of needless drama–and you can only promise so many times about a new mirrorless system (or camera) before consumers lose interest.
The Nikon 1 System is not a bad system. In fact, it innovates and beats the pants off many established DSLR systems in terms of performance. Unfortunately, it is run more like an experimental project on the side to keep some forward-thinking Nikon engineers happy and to test the mirrorless waters. In spite of what some Nikon executives may be thinking and hoping, the Nikon 1 System (no matter what other super duper camera you introduce in that line) is not going to excite anyone, so they might as well seriously consider discontinuing it and concentrate on porting their current DSLR offerings to equivalent mirrorless models.
Now that Sony has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that a full-frame mirrorless camera can not only be a winner with professional photographers, but the Sony Alpha 7S II is considered reliable and capable enough to be sent into space. Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Sony have captured the imagination of photographers with their mirrorless cameras and I don’t believe many who made the switch to mirrorless are ever going back to traditional-mirrored DSLRs. The exciting thing is that there’s still much to accomplish in mirrorless, so even a late-comer like Nikon (or Canon) can still vie for supremacy.
Will Nikon be able to bring the performace strengths of its Nikon 1 System into their new mirrorless camera(s)? We hope so. Nothing like a renewed serious competition to get the development of [mirrorless] cameras soaring into the stratosphere. Wouldn’t it be great if Nikon introduced a flagship Nikon F7 for the pros, a Nikon FM11 for the enthusiasts and a retro rangefinder-styled Nikon SP2 for street shooters? All FF and mirrorless, of course. If I may be permitted, I would, however, ask Nikon to abandon the red vertical line or swish. You don’t need it.