It's All in a Name (or is it?)

Nikon has chosen Z for their new camera line.

Let's drop back into the past and see what they've previously used:

  • S (film rangefinder cameras)
  • F (film SLRs)
  • N (film SLRs for North America)
  • E (early electronic SLR cameras)
  • D (DSLRs)
  • J (mirrorless w/o EVF)
  • S (consumer mirrorless w/o EVF)
  • V (mirrorless with EVF [optional in last generation])

Nikon has also used the letters A, B, L, P, S, and W. 

So somewhere in Nikon's marketing department there's a large sign that says "Name all cameras with a letter followed by a number." And at some point in their second 100 years they're going to run out of letters. ;~)

It's easy to see some connections in some of the entry letters: f for film, d for digital, n for North America, so almost immediately the question was asked whether Z stands for something specific, or is just a more random choice.

Turned on its side, the Z logo looks very much like some N’s we’ve seen in the past ;~).

But more than anything else, I question the numbering. By putting these first models at 6 and 7, that doesn’t leave much room for higher end products (what’s the D5 type of camera going to be called when it transitions to mirrorless, the Z8?). Yet it leaves a whole heck of a lot of room below (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

You might not have noticed, but almost all the DX cameras start with 3’s and 5’s (the D7500 being an exception), while all the FX cameras other than the D5 and Df start with 6, 7, and 8. 

That makes me speculate the following:

  • The D5 DSLR type will transition to the Z9
  • A really high pixel count camera will be the Z8
  • A high-end crop sensor mirrorless, if it appears, would be the Z5
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