We have been hearing a lot on the wind about Nikon’s current ambition for launching a pro-focused mirrorless system. But one of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds was regarding what sort of mount would the system use. Would they go with a completely new mount, or find a way to use the F Mount – well a newly discovered patent may indicate one direction that Nikon is considering.
A recently released patent points to Nikon making use of a new mirrorless mount, but bringing us F Mount compatibility through the use of a pellicle based adapter, similar to Sony’s LAEA4, which would not only make F Mount lenses compatible with the mirrorless mount, but would also (if this patent is being understood correctly) give the camera PDAF functionality – effectively giving the mirrorless system a DSLR-like AF system for those Nikon F mount lenses.
The downside to this method, as has been widely reported on the Sony side, is that the pellicle causes a loss of light hitting the sensor, 1/3 in the Sony adapters case. So, the tradeoff here would be F Mount lenses with DSLR-Like AF performance on Nikon’s Pro mirrorless body, but a somewhat significant loss of light. So only faster lenses would really be able to take advantage, and in low light situations that loss of light would likely start to become more apparent than on a bright sunny day for example.
This approach would obviously differ from the one Canon has employed on their mirrorless system, which is more or less designed to hold the lens in the right spot and allow the EF/EF-S lenses to communicate with the bodies, not offering any additional performance or functionality.
As with all things each method has its merits, and it will be very interesting to see how Nikon chooses to go about this once they officially unveil their new mirrorless system. How they choose to make Nikon F Mount lenses compatible could be key to the system’s success, so this is something to watch for.
Mirrorless Rumors has more reporting on this Nikon mirrorless situation over on their site, so head over there if you are interested in learning more about this potential game-changer for Nikon in the mirrorless realm.