Nikon Kills its 4K Compact DL Series Mirrorless Cameras After Literally Zero Sales

by on February 14, 2017

Stephan Jukic – February 14, 2017

Just a year ago Nikon unveiled the DL Series trio of 4K and HD compact mirrorless cameras for the consumer market. These slightly retro-looking and arguably well designed little cameras not only offered some decent specs, they also were supposed to come at highly affordable prices, with none of the three selling for more than $1000. Furthermore these DL shooters were supposed to be Nikon’s attempt at denting Sony’s heavy grip on the compact mirrorless camera market as it stands today.

Unfortunately, the entire series of three different models did not create so much as one single sale for Nikon. This sounds remarkable, considering the company’s otherwise very decent reputation as a camera and recording device manufacturer but this is indeed why Nikon killed the DL Series off, though the reasons for the lack of sales are a bit more complicated than zero consumer interest.


Specifically, the DL Series of cameras was beset by problems with their image processing circuits before they ever even went to market. As a result, Nikon postponed their actual release indefinitely as of last summer. Later, the company said that it had never quite adequately solved the image circuit problem in the cameras and then decided to delay even further on resolving the circuit issue due to worries that the cameras wouldn’t even turn a profit if released. Part of the reason for this latter concern was a claim by Nikon of a supposed slowdown in the general compact camera market and the fact that Nikon itself laid off about 10% of its own workforce in Japan during 2016.

Perhaps most unusual of all among the excuses for the cancellation of the DL models is a note posted on the B&H Photo Video website page for these cameras that states: “Due to the earthquakes in Kumamoto, Japan, this item has been backordered indefinitely. We apologize for any inconvenience.” 

The bottom line: not a single one of the DL Series of cameras sold simply because Nikon never released even a single one for sale.

This is actually a shame because we’d be willing to bet that consumers might have liked these cool looking 4K compact cameras. All three were built around Nikon’s 1-inch CX CMOS image sensor design that’s also used in the Nikon 1 series of cameras and each of the three DL shooters came designed with mostly the same features but distinct zoom ranges per model. Furthermore, the DL18-50 and the DL24-85 shooters in particular came with variable f1.8-2.8 apertures, 4K UHD video recording and some truly impressive still image shooting speeds of 20fps with continuous focus and 60fps with continuous focus deactivated. Considering that the DL24-85 18-50 could shoot 20.8MP still images, these shooting speeds are downright excellent, or they would have been had any actual consumers been given a chance to buy and try one of the two 4K models.


For now at least, Sony will continue to dominate the compact mirrorless 4K camera market and while we’re not complaining about the quality of their products, such as the wonderfully versatile A6300, it would be nice to see some fresh competition in this area.

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