Nikon's Window Gets Narrower

The window of opportunity keeps closing down on Nikon. The fact that they were so late with so little to the Action camera game and then completely whiffed on the Premium Compact pitch are just two components to the problem. Another is their lack of anything in the Dedicated Video arena.

One thing I've long scratched my head about is Nikon's reluctance to make a pure video camera. That, despite having the first DSLR with video capabilities in it (D90), and despite Nikon having had a long-running lens romance with Hollywood. 

URSA Mini Pro

But now the video camera window is closing, too. Blackmagic Design has introduced the URSA Mini Pro (photo above), a beast of a video camera that can be customized to shoot everything from 4.6K raw with cinema lenses to broadcast-oriented HD using classic B4 ENG lenses. One thing in the Blackmagic announcement: the Mini Pro will have a Nikon F-mount option come summer, and like all the other lens mounts the Mini Pro supports (PL, B4, Canon EF), the Nikon version is user interchangeable on demand. 

So now if Nikon actually wanted to enter the video camera world, they're going to find that they'd be competing against other very sophisticated cameras that can use Nikon lenses. RED also has an F-mount option, too, though this is more of choose-once type of thing. The interesting aspect of the Mini Pro design is the ability to change lens mounts with nothing more than a Torx wrench. And it's got me intrigued. I need a new 4K rig with specs similar to the Mini Pro for an upcoming project, and it would be great if I could use my existing telephoto Nikkors. 

Nikon is boxing themselves in. Their forays into other realms (mirrorless, action, compact) have all gone bust, and they're not in the video camera business. So basically Nikon is a camera company that only makes sophisticated DSLRs—the market for which is declining—and maybe a new mirrorless camera—for which they'd be last to market with anything approaching an APS sensor. 

All I can say is those new Nikon DSLRs and mirrorless models had better be best-in-class. Because otherwise the window of opportunity will close down even tighter.

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