A few weeks ago we saw rumors about a new retro-inspired Nikon mirrorless Z-series camera – and it’s now been tipped to launch very soon.
Other details remain scarce, but the reliable rumors site says we should expect the camera to have an old-school design “with mechanical dials and an articulating screen”. Its post also includes a photo of the Nikon FM10, a film camera from the mid-90s, which suggests Nikon’s next launch could follow that model’s design lead.
The only other piece of speculation around the incoming camera is that it could, like the Nikon FM10, have a “very thin camera body without a handgrip”.
This would place it firmly in the entry-level category and suggests it’ll be Nikon’s affordable option for those looking to get into its Z-series system. Right now, the only other Z-series camera with an APS-C sensor is the Nikon Z50, with the rest of the series all higher-end, full-frame bodies like the Nikon Z6 II.
While Nikon’s mirrorless cameras have so far had traditional looks, featuring the large handgrips favored by those who regularly shoot with long lenses, they haven’t ventured into the vintage film camera-inspired designs favored by Fujifilm and Olympus. But it sounds like Nikon’s next launch will buck that trend and give beginners and hobbyists a new lightweight option with genuine character.
Back to the future
The film camera aesthetic, inspired by classic bodies from the 1960s, has never really gone out of fashion in the camera world. This is partly because it’s the unique calling card of stalwarts like Olympus and Nikon, but also because those timeless designs provide a tactile shooting experience that simply isn’t possible on smartphones.
It’s an approach that’s served Fujifilm particularly well, thanks to iconic models like the Fujifilm X100V, and we recently saw Olympus’s new owners raid the design archives for the pretty stunning new Olympus PEN E-P7.
But that also means that Nikon would have some pretty strong competition in the retro-inspired mirrorless camera space – particularly from Fujifilm’s X-series, which similarly have APS-C sensors, but are served by a well-established range of native lenses.
The same can’t be said of Nikon’s Z-mount yet, which only has two native DX lenses, although you can adapt many older F-mount lenses using the FTZ adaptor. That combination could actually suit Nikon’s new camera well, if it does indeed have retro styling.
But it would also call into question previous rumors about the Nikon Z30 (above), which was expected to closely the design of the Nikon Z50, only without a viewfinder.