Nikon launches a highly affordable 'test drive' programme for its Z 6 and Z 7 cameras

Written by Rakesh Malik


Nikon has not been a name that would inspire anyone to think of “movies” in years. Nikon wants to change that.

As stills camera sales are declining and Nikon has been losing market share to the likes of Sony and Panasonic, it's finally back to firing on all cylinders.

Nikon also has going in its favor the fact that it has no high end cinema cameras of its own to cannibalize, so any high end cinema sales that Nikon does steal are pure gain for the venerable company.

As far as camera bodies go, the lineup is at the moment small. The cameras are as everyone knows mirrorless so they're... small, and there are currently only two of them. Nikon is banking on its vast and well-regarded lenses, of which there are a legion already out in the wild, in addition to an extensive lineup of new lenses. It's also been very aggressive at bringing to market lenses specifically for its new mirrorless mount.

Nikon is also banking on its vast experience making camera bodies; there are a lot of people who chose Nikon instead of Canon simply for the ergonomics. Nikon also has excellent image processing, leading to very pleasing color rendition.

Nikon has one other unusual trick up its sleeve for this market: 12-bit raw recording. The catch is that it can't record 12-bit raw internally, so Nikon partnered with Atomos to develop this capability, and has put together a Filmmaker's Kit in collaboration with Atomos to enable filmmakers to get up and running with their new Nikon mirrorless cameras very quickly.

The kit contains enough gear for someone to be up and running without needing any additional equipment to start filmmaking. The bundle cost saves nearly $1000 compared to purchasing everything included separately, and even includes an HDMI clamp to help address the fragility of HDMI connections.

The recording format is ProResRaw. While Apple is continuing to resist opening ProResRaw up to more NLE developers than itself, Assimilate's Scratch does support it, so there is at least one professional color grading tool that does that's available for Windows. Currently the only other high end color suite that I know of that supports ProResRaw is BaseLight. Hopefully there are others that I don't know of yet.

Nikon is hoping to release the firmware update that enables ProResRaw this summer, but hasn't given a firm date for it yet.

To help promote its leap into video, Nikon has launched a contest called “Follow Your Passion” with prizes that include Nikon cameras. The catch is the film needs to be made with a or , so to facilitate that Nikon has lunched a Test Drive program where its reseller partners will rent a Z6 Filmmaker's Kit for an affordable $99.95 for a weekend, or $149.95 for a week.

Tags: Production


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