What Nikon Hasn't Talked About

This site's name is Z System User. The "system" is intentional, because that's what we're talking about when you make camera bodies, lenses, and accessories that were designed to work together. 

We're just over two years in, and it's time to take a brief assessment of where we are, and where we should be going. 

We currently have this:

  • 1 DX camera 
  • 3 FX cameras, two of which have been updated
  • 16 lenses, with 11 additional lens specifications (mostly) known
  • 2 accessories (one works with five cameras, one works with two)

That's not a huge system, obviously. By comparison, the DSLRs as I write this are:

  • 4 DX cameras (plus 4 older models still available new)
  • 3 FX cameras (plus 4 older models still available new)
  • 106 lenses
  • A large number of accessories, including 4 current Speedlights

So where is Nikon going with the Z system?

Here's what I think Nikon hasn't talked about that still may come:

  • Another DX camera. Nikon prototyped what would be a Z30, but I think the long-term enthusiast demand is really at the Z70 level. The problem with any more DX in the Z line is going to be the same as it was in the F-mount DSLR line: lenses. Right now, Nikon's Z DX lens lineup screams Z30. We need to scream at Nikon: three or four higher spec Z DX lenses and a Z70 please. 
  • At least two more FX cameras. The top entry is easy: a body with an integrated vertical grip to eventually replace the D6. State-of-the-art autofocus, state-of-the-art handling, state-of-the-art frame rates and buffer. Call it the Z9, given Nikon's current numbering scheme, but I don't think it's coming soon. The Z7 II isn't quite the high-end studio camera Nikon needs, either. A Z8 with a new sensor and other A7R-fighting features would be welcome, and it's likely in 2021.
  • A true video camera. Something that's the configurable, modular pro video box, not the DSLR shape. Such a camera would also require dedicated video lenses, as well. Here's my proposal: team up with JVC. Get them to make their top video cameras with the Z mount. Produce some Video Nikkors that make those cameras sing, and both parties will be better off.
  • 6 to 8 lenses a year until we hit 60. That's a minimum of five years beyond 2021, by the way, which means we're all the way out to 2026. I'm not sure that going beyond 60 is worthwhile. We get a lot of overlap and confusion at that point. But I can clearly come up with a couple of dozen missing Nikkor Z's needed to fill out gaps, so Nikon has a pretty of runway here. They're primarily an optical design company, so this is exactly where they can and should excel. I'd just say this: they could use a little more imagination. The old 20, 24, 28, 35, 50, 85, 105 and 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 and 300, 400, 500, 600 warhorses aren't necessarily where the future action will be at. Nice to have those, of course, but that's only 28 lenses if you do both fast/slow versions of them. 
  • Smarter accessories. All the cameras have Bluetooth in them now, and there are so many things Nikon isn't doing with Bluetooth, including Bluetooth microphone input ;~). The current Speedlights lose function with current Z's, so we need new ones. Yes, we've got a "real" vertical grip for the mid-range models now, but where is the imagination? The Sony cameras have that power/data connector in the hot shoe that enables a lot to be done in the accessory range (though Sony hasn't exactly been prolific at that). 
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