DL cancellation could lead to Nikon 1 enhancement

It would have been very interesting to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in Nikon’s boardroom as the executive committee discussed their product marketing strategy, including the recent demise of the DL product line. From a strategic marketing perspective the DL cancellation could lead to Nikon 1 enhancement in terms of lens availability.

Nikon has already incurred all of the development costs for three different lenses planned to be used in the DL product line:
6.7-18.5mm f/1.8-2.8 (efov 18-50mm),
8.8-31.3mm f/1.8-2.8 (efov 24-85mm), and
8.8-185mm f/2.8-5.6 (efov 24-500mm).

These three lenses are designed to work with a CX-sized sensor. Since many Nikon 1 owners have wanted faster zoom lenses since the introduction of the system it would make strategic sense for Nikon to transition at least the 6.7-18.5mm and 8.8-31.3mm over to the Nikon 1 lens family in the very near term. This would enhance the low light capability of the Nikon 1 system and give many users the faster lenses they desire.

The 8.8-185mm could also potentially find its way into the Nikon 1 lens lineup if Nikon sees this lens as an ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens solution, especially as a travel lens, or to compete with bridge cameras from Sony and Panasonic that offer similar zoom ranges. Consumers buying a potential 1 Nikon 8.8-185mm zoom would get a very flexible zoom lens, plus the added benefit of using an interchangeable lens body. This would provide them with even more future functionality rather than being limited to a fixed lens bridge camera.

Obviously Nikon would need to do some work to adapt DL lenses to work with a Nikon 1 CX mount. For all any of us know Nikon could already have in-body and CX mount versions of the lenses included in their patents. I suppose the worst case scenario is that the design of a DL lens cannot be used in any way for a Nikon 1 camera.  At least Nikon would have statistics on the advanced orders for DL cameras and could use that to determine which fast zoom lenses would be priorities for the Nikon 1 system.

Interesting times may be ahead…

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19 thoughts on “DL cancellation could lead to Nikon 1 enhancement”

  1. I hope Nikon will make V1 reincarnation with an improved matrix (iso quality and pixels). I really like this camera for its size and speed.

  2. Thanks for the update. As others here state;
    I am also hoping to see the DL lenses carry over to the “1” series. Manual zoom, interchangeable lenses are more versatile than the now cancelled DL series fixed lenses.
    Then Nikon needs to work on a new V4 closer in design to the V2 and a J6 closer in design to the J3 and perhaps an S3.
    I much prefer SD over micro SD.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I think we can assume that the S-Series Nikon 1 has been retired and we will likely only see J-Series and V-Series models in the future. Unless Nikon can address the water infiltration problems with the AW-1 that line of cameras may disappear. I originally resisted the micro-SD cards, but after a series of failures with fairly new Lexar SD cards and the occasional SanDisk SD, I must admit I’m getting used to the micro-SDs which, thus far, have not given me any problems at all.

  3. I too would wish for these lenses to be available for the N1 bodies. But I’m not holding my breath. I don’t think Nikon has ever understood the skilled photographers who are interested in the V series bodies.

    1. Hi Simon,
      Based on how the Nikon 1 series was originally launched you’re probably correct! Hopefully the number of sports and wildlife photographers that use the Nikon 1 system for at least part of their work has helped Nikon understand this target market much better. There were some comments from some Nikon executives last fall that did indicate that the company does recognize that V-Series owners tend to be more technically savvy with the use of their camera gear and are different that a typical J-Series consumer.

    2. It is not possible for Nikon to use the DL lenses for the V series cameras. All three designs are of the type where the back glass of the lens is virtually as large in diameter as the sensor diagonal and is place very close indeed to the sensor itself. Such devices are not capable of being used as removable lenses and particularly not on the V series cameras where the rear glass of the lens is too large to fit within the rectangular space immediately in front of the sensor.

      1. Hi Ed,
        Thanks for adding your technical expertise! I wonder if some adaptation could be done where at least a portion of the original DL lens design could be used to some degree.

  4. I am hoping that Nikon will rejuvenate the V series. I have the V2, and many lenses, and I really like the camera. I think there are many serious ILC users who would purchase a larger (DX or FX) camera for the advantages those have, and also purchase a smaller version (Nikon 1), that has a very similar feature set.

    What Nikon can’t seem to understand, in my opinion, is that many of us are not looking for a small point and shoot; we are looking for a small DSLR…

    I have been considering getting a J5, based on Tom’s reviews and images, but I am reluctant to purchase anything from Nikon until the company gets its act together.

    1. Hi George,

      There are a lot of Nikon 1 owners who would also love to see an updated V-Series…and sooner rather than later. I recently bought a V3, mainly so I could retire my trio of V2s from still photography and extend their lifespans for my client video business. Last year I bought a J5, enjoyed shooting with it and within a week or so bought a second one. Of course we all need to make purchase decisions with which we are comfortable.


  5. Got to admire your optimism Tom. To me Nikon never really knew what to do with the V series. I think they were a bit luckier with the J series.

    It could go either way with Nikon 1 now.

    If Nikon are in more trouble than their letting on, they might decide to stick with DX and FX.

    1. Hi Mark,

      I think the V3 set Nikon back a bit with the Nikon 1 line. If the V3 would have had an integrated grip and EVF the camera could have been produced for less money and brought to market at a more attractive price. Then, if Nikon would have used a standard SD card and the same battery as well in cameras like the D800 it would have gotten wider market acceptance.

      As far as the DL lenses migrating to the Nikon 1 system I suppose I see my perspective on that not as optimism, but rather pragmatism. After investing all of the money to develop those lenses how else can Nikon recoup their R&D investment?

      The future of Nikon 1 does depend on whether they are making any contribution margin on sales. If they are, then at least the Nikon 1 system will be helping to offset Nikon’s fixed costs. I agree with you on the J5…it is by far the best Nikon 1 body that the company has produced. It is also the best model in terms of price/value in the Nikon 1 lineup.


      1. Hi Tom,

        Totally agree about the V3. They lost the plot somewhere.

        I wonder how much R&D expense they had? Most of the internals would have been based on the 1 series wouldn’t it? Unless they reinvented the wheel 🙂

        Lets hope we dont have to wait a year to find out.

        1. Hi Mark,

          I’m not a technical guy as all of you folks already know…so it is hard for me to comment on how difficult it would be for Nikon to adapt a lens designed for a fixed lens camera to work with an interchangeable lens body. For all we know, Nikon could have already designed two versions of those DL lenses to accommodate this option. If the internals of the DLs were based primarily on the J5 I have difficulty understanding why the company had so many ‘technical issues’ with the DLs. One answer could be that the technical issues were simply a smoke-screen while Nikon tried to decide whether to proceed with the DLs or not. Or, the company could have pushed the components past their capability which caused performance issues. As consumers we’ll never know the answer.

          I’m hopeful that we will see a J6 in the next little while, followed by a significantly improved V-Series in the fall. With the DL albatross eliminated perhaps Nikon will put some real effort into making the Nikon 1 system a real success.


    1. Hi William,

      The full frame equivalent fields-of-view would be:
      18-50mm f/1.8-2.8
      24-85mm f/1.8-2.8
      24-500mm f/2.8-5.6

      Thanks for reminding me about this…I’ve added efov information to the article.


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