25 Jul 2017

Nikon celebrates 100th birthday by announcing the Nikon D850

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By the looks of it, the forthcoming D850 will be a bit of a low-light level champion too By the looks of it, the forthcoming D850 will be a bit of a low-light level champion too Nikon

Nikon celebrates its centenary today and, while details are frustratingly sparse, it is marking the occasion by confirming the development of a replacement for the much-loved D810. 

Nikon celebrates its centenary today. The company, best known for it's very respected high-quality lenses and its long history of cameras, came into being 100 years ago on 25 July 1917 when three leading optical manufacturers merged to form a larger company known as Nippon Kgaku Tky K.K. Nikon didn't actually become known as Nikon until 1988 when it became named after its cameras. The lenses, on the other hand, are still called Nikkor lenses.

Nikon made a number of Super 8 cameras in the 60s and 70s and sometimes high end 16 & 35mm movie film cameras would be adapted with a Nikon F mount to use the high-quality stills lenses as a cheaper alternative to high-end cinema lenses from Cooke and Zeiss. This tradition continued when people started using Nikon F mount DOF adaptors with video cameras and into more recent times when the RED One arrived with the option of Nikon or PL mounts. It went so far that there started to be something of a drought in second-hand Nikkor F mount lenses.

The Nikon D90 was the first DSLR to record video back in 2008. Nobody knew back then that it would be the start of something really big. The Canon 5D Mark II arrived shortly thereafter and the DSLR video revolution began. More recently in 2014 the Nikon D810 became much celebrated and popular as the Nikon full frame DSLR for shooting video. Emmanuel Lubezki the cinematographer on The Revenant even owns one and it set a new high bar for DSLR video at the time.

It was hoped that the new replacement for the Nikon D810 would be announced today and Nikon has indeed announced that it is working on it, but there are no further details so far other than the fact it will be called the Nikon D850. It is expected that the new camera will be something very special but this is all Nikon have had to say about it so far:

"D850 will be a formidable tool for those who will not compromise on exceptional image quality and versatility, including aspiring and professional photographers, and hobbyists who capture landscapes, commercial sports, fashion and weddings, as well as multimedia content creators."

A video from Nikon has surfaced about the camera however that suggests it can shoot timelapse in 8K which might be more evidence that this camera is likely to have a video mode that is at least 4K resolution capable.

Nikon has also made a strange sort of magical fairytale music video to celebrate its birthday [think a bizarre cross between J-Pop, Mario and Bollywood - Ed] featuring specially selected Nikon employees dancing inside a castle. Some of the employees have Nikon DSLR cameras instead of heads.

A hundred years is a very long time indeed. Lets hope that Nikon can use all that history and experience to create amazing photographic technology for the future too.


Freya Black

Freya Black is a Freelance writer, director, cinematographer and artist based in the UK, (the land of cold winters and rainy days). She believes cinematography is all about creating magic through light. Her all time favorite film is "Freaks" by Todd Browning. Freya is a big fan of chocolate, owls and the night.

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