Nikon DL24-85 Review
|Full model name:||Nikon DL24-85|
|Sensor size:||1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / OLED|
|Native ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 120 sec|
4.1 x 2.4 x 2.0 in.
(105 x 61 x 50 mm)
|Full specs:||Nikon DL24-85 specifications|
Nikon DL24-85 Review -- Initial Impressions
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 02/22/2016
02/01/2017: Changed availability to unknown
02/13/2017: Noted cancellation of this product, based upon a statement from Nikon.
If you've been patiently awaiting the release of the Nikon DL24-85 since it was first announced in February 2016, your wait is unfortunately over. Just days shy of the first anniversary of the DL24-85's announcement, Nikon has now officially revealed that the camera will not reach the market due to issues the company has encountered with its image processor coupled with soaring development costs and a market that's been continuing to slow down.
Although you won't be able to buy the Nikon DL24-85, there are certainly some other options available to you. For one thing, if you're willing to consider an interchangeable-lens camera instead, then there's the Nikon 1-series lineup. The Nikon V3, Nikon AW1 and Nikon J5 all share the same sensor size as the DL24-85, and just one or two lenses would give you similar or even greater zoom reach and versatility than the DL24-85's built-in lens would have done.
Alternatively, if you're willing to consider other manufacturers then there's the Sony RX100-series, which essentially created this form factor in the first place and still continues to reign supreme over its 1-inch sensor-based rivals in terms of popularity. The Sony RX100, RX100 II, RX100 III, RX100 IV and RX100 V all remain available from Sony as of this writing, and each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages over the DL24-85, as you'll see in our comparisons below:
And there are other possibilities, too. Canon's G9X, G9X II, G7X and G7X II and Panasonic's LX10 are all readily available, and all provide similar or greater zoom reach than the DL24-85 in a compact package.
In late 2011, Nikon ventured into the mirrorless camera segment with its J1 and V1 interchangeable-lens cameras. In the process, it became the first company to use a 1"-type sensor -- dubbed the "CX-format" in Nikon parlance -- in a mass-market camera. Fast-forward five years, and the Nikon DL24-85 takes that same sensor size, and puts it into a fixed-lens camera, presenting an altogether-different proposition.
The DL24-85's sensor size truly is key to its design. Although the Nikon 1-series cameras have struggled to compete against their larger-sensored mirrorless rivals, 1"-type sensors have proven to be very popular indeed in fixed-lens cameras like Sony's category-defining RX100 and RX10-series, as well as those subsequently launched by Canon, Leica and Panasonic. And now, Nikon enters the fray with the brand-new DL-series, which at launch consists of three distinct models.
All three DL-series cameras -- the Nikon DL24-85 which we're discussing here, as well as its siblings, the Nikon DL18-50 and Nikon DL24-500 -- are based around the same 1"-type, 20.8-megapixel image sensor and a next-generation EXPEED 6A processor. Many features are shared between the three cameras, but there are some very important differences, as well.
Beyond the sensor size, resolution, and image processor, the Nikon DL24-85 and its siblings also share blazing-fast performance. Each of the three cameras can shoot at a whopping 20 full-resolution frames per second with autofocus between frames, and as fast as 60 fps with focus locked from the first frame. Each also sports Nikkor-branded optics complete with Dual-Detect Optical Vibration Reduction, and hybrid autofocus systems with 105 phase-detect AF points. The trio also offer 4K video capture, and debut a brand-new wireless image transfer and remote control setup called Nikon Snapbridge, which is based around Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low-Energy radios. There's also an NFC radio for quick-and-easy pairing with Android devices.
The most significant point of differentiation can be found in their lens design and capabilities, a detail that we'll be coming back to in a moment. The DL-series cameras also provide different viewfinder options, LCD articulation mechanisms, and of course also differ in their basic body designs.
The Nikon DL24-85, which we're discussing in this article, is the smallest and lightest of the trio, fitting easily into a coat pocket or at a stretch, perhaps even into a pants-pocket. It strikes a middle ground between its siblings' lens offerings, with its 24 to 85mm-equivalent f/1.8-2.8 Nikkor lens hitting the bases from a generous wide-angle to a moderate telephoto.
The Nikon DL18-50, meanwhile, is just ever so slightly larger and targets wide-angle fans with an 18-50mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 optic. If you can't simply move further back from your subjects to fit everything in the frame -- think architectural photography, landscapes, and so forth -- then it's the camera for you.
Both the DL24-85 and DL-18-50 cameras have simple tilting displays, and lack a built-in viewfinder, opting instead for an optional, hot shoe-mounted accessory finder.
The Nikon DL24-500, finally, takes a rather different tack. Its SLR-like body hosts a much more far-reaching optic. The DL24-500 compromises on maximum aperture and size, and in the process shoehorns in a whopping 21x zoom lens which covers everything from a generous 24mm-equivalent wide-angle to an extremely powerful 500mm-equivalent telephoto. Maximum aperture falls from f/2.8-5.6 across the zoom range, and as well as a built-in electronic viewfinder, the DL24-500 also boasts a more versatile side-mounted tilt/swivel LCD.
That places the DL24-85 within Nikon's DL-series range, but what of its rivals? The nearest competitors are the Canon G7X, G7X Mark II and G9X, as well as Sony's RX100 III and IV. All five cameras are smaller than the Nikon, which measures in at 4.2 x 2.5 x 2.0 inches. The Canon G9X is the sleekest of the bunch, with about a 0.2 to 0.3-inch advantage in width and height, plus a whopping 0.8-inch advantage in thickness. The difference in weight is also pretty stark, at 4.9 ounces. Of course, there's a reason for that: The G9X lacks an articulated screen, and its f/2.0-4.9 lens is much less bright than the f/1.8-2.8 optic on the Nikon DL24-85.
Against the G7X and G7X II, the difference in size is less noticeable, with Canon eking out a tenth or so advantage in width and height, and a 0.3-0.4 inch advantage in depth. Finally, the Sony cameras are both a couple of tenths less wide and tall, and about 0.4 inches less thick. All four cameras are an ounce or two lighter as well, and while their focal length ranges differ, they can all provide an f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture and a tilting display, just as can the Nikon DL24-85.
Of the group, the Nikon DL24-85 is the most affordable, priced at around US$650 when it finally ships. Availability was originally slated for June 2016, but development issues with the new image processor have delayed shipments into 2017 with no firm date disclosed. The Nikon DL18-50 should ship around the same time, but with a pricetag of US$850 or thereabouts. Finally, the Nikon DL24-500 will carry a price tag right around US$1,000 when it lands.
Nikon DL24-85 Technical Information
A look inside Nikon's most affordable DL-series premium compact
At the heart of the Nikon DL24-85, you'll find a 1"-type backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, also known as a CX-format sensor in Nikon parlance. Sensor dimensions are 13.2 x 8.8mm. That's the same size as used in Nikon 1-series interchangeable-lens cameras. It also features prominently in Sony's RX100 and RX10-series cameras, as well as its QX100 lens-style camera. You'll also find the same sensor size in the Canon G3X, G5X, G7X, G7X II, and G9X, the DxO One iPhone accessory, the Leica V-Lux (Typ 114), the Panasonic FZ1000 and ZS100 (aka TZ100 in some markets), and the Samsung NX Mini.
Sensor resolutions for the cameras above are predominantly around the 20-megapixel mark, although some of the older Nikon 1-series models are as low as 10 megapixels. With an effective resolution of 20.8 megapixels, that places the Nikon DL24-85 amongst the cream of the crop in terms of on-paper resolution. Total resolution is 23.27 megapixels, and there's no antialiasing filter overlaid on the image sensor.