DSLRs have taken a backseat to mirrorless cameras in the past few years, with many speculating they won't be resurrected by camera makers. However, Canon put that speculation to rest by announcing the EOS 1D Mark III X in January, following the release of the enthusiast-level EOS 90D last August. However, with the 2020 Olympics this year, we'll see Canon and Nikon's professional, sporty, focused DSLR flagships once again face off like the good old days.
In the red corner, there is a recently released Canon 1DX Mark III. And, in the opposite corner is the Nikon D6, which made a development announcement in September 2019, but there's been silence since then.
Canon Shooter has quite a lot of hybrid DSLR and mirrorless technology, with some of the best features we've seen from the latest DSLR-free models like advanced autofocus, along with traditional DSLR character traits like an optical viewfinder and long battery life. We expect the Nikon D6 to be very similar, but it is still an unknown number of rumors that it will not be a merger and remain true.
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2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Nikon's single-digit D series, which was launched in 1999 with the Nikon D1, and the company promises that the D6 will feature "the most advanced digital SLR dates."
At this point, we don't have any official specs yet - just some pretty realistic rumors - but we can offer a lot of educated guesses based on what professional photographers will enjoy four years after the D5.
At the time of the launch of the D5, the camera market was in a very different place. Mirrorless existed - even full-frame mirrorless - but the number of players was limited, with Nikon and Canon but to enter the full-frame mirrorless market.
Many may wonder why the D6 is still in development - after all, why not just go full steam ahead with highly-specced pro mirrorless models like the Sony A9 or the newer Sony A9 XNUMXnd, and move out of the top flying DSLR game altogether. ?
Well, one reason is that if you're a seasoned pro, you probably already own a duffel bag full of Nikkor DSLR lenses - is it one thing to ask a pro to spend money on a new body, but a completely new kit? This is a tough challenge. Give it another five years, although there may be more benefits to those willing to take the jump.
Now, what can we expect the Nikon D6 to include?
Nikon D6: release date and price
Leak from Nikon rumors previously assumed that Nikon D6 will be announced in mid-February, with February 11, 2020 the opportunity for release. However, it appears that Nikon may be preparing to announce it a day later - February 12th to be precise.
It could be a date for the internal team, though, with another potential release in Japan for the CP+ Camera, which launches on February 27th.
So far, there have been no leaked prices for the D6, but we can make an educated guess based on previous prices. The Nikon D5 didn't have a body - only a price tag of £5,200 / $6,500 / AU$9,999 at launch, so it's likely that its successor will be in the stadium.
It also puts it firmly in the same territory as its main competitor, the just-released Canon 1DX Mark III, which also lays claim to being the camera bag for professional sports photographers.
Nikon D6: sensor and processor
While we have no confirmed information about the D6 sensor, an early leak from the usually reliable nikon rumors suggests it will be a 24MP camera. If true, then it will be a step from D5 to 21.3 MP CMOS sensor.
However, later reports from Nikon rumors puts the sensor at 20MP resolution, although the publication is not 100% sure of that number. If Nikon wants to lower the resolution, it's possible the cameras will be geared for speed, with rumors that he'll be up to 14fps when using the mechanical shutter. That's slower than the 16fps burst speed of the Canon EOS 1D Mark III X capable, but we'll just have to wait and see if there's any truth to this speculation.
However, we won't be surprised if the D6 is capable of higher burst speeds, as we're expecting new dual-exclude image processors to debut with the camera.
Nikon D6: Video Features
The Nikon D5 was the first Nikon DSLR capable of recording high-definition 4K/UHD movies in-camera, and we can count on the d6 to build on that – professional shooters are increasingly being asked to provide video as well as stills.
Where a canon alternative can capture 4K raw, perhaps we'll see 6K recording capabilities debut with the D6 - perfect for shooting those 100m finals. However, we've also seen other manufacturers hint that the 8K will be ready for the Olympics; if Nikon was to jump on board with this kind of technology in the D6, then it would be very interesting.
The latest rumors, though, suggest the D6 will be for more standard 4K/60p video, which is understandable given that it's mainly geared towards pro stills photographers. Perhaps D6 will be able to capture the tyrnet, but whether it will be an internal or external recording, one can only guess.
Nikon D6: design
Nikon was kind enough to put up a little picture of the impending D6 in his development statement. This is probably a sketch, not a final render, and it looks almost exactly like the D5, but with 6 instead of 5 in the name.
That said, the prolific and reliable camera news leaks Nokishita unearthed a bunch of press shots, shortly before the official announcement is expected to happen and, as with Canon EOS 1D Mark III X, the upcoming Nikon very much resembles its predecessor physically.
It should come as no surprise to see Nikon keep on a very similar form factor as the D5 to the D6 - after all, expecting goodies to get used to a brand new form of operation is no easy task. The square shape of the D5 allows you to include battery compression for extended battery life, and we expect the D6 to blow its mirrorless rivals out of the water for years of service doing the same.
Also reported as being in development at the same time as the D6 was a new 120-300mm f/2.8e fl ed older VR telephoto lens, which looks like it will be a bit of a beast – the Nikon D6 needs to be big enough to balance, well with the kind of lenses that enjoy popular with sport and wild shooters.
Nikon D6: characteristics of mirrorless?
Given the popularity of mirrorless models, it makes a lot of sense for Nikon to consider some of the features that we'd be more likely to communicate with mirrorless cameras in the D6.
There is, of course, a limit to what they can be, thanks to a pesky thing called physics, but we were hoping Nikon would introduce some sort of improved built-in image stabilization, plus a new silent shooting mode for those quiet moments (something that proved incredibly useful and popular on Sony A9).
However, rumors point to the D6 staying true to its SLR roots and not coming with the ibis, although an improved autofocus system could be on the cards. Also rumored to be available on the D6 is the ability to use a silent electronic shutter.
Nikon D6: memory card slots and connections
Dual memory card slots, very much given. The Nikon D5 can be purchased with 2x XQD slots, or 2x CF slots, and the compact flash is pretty old hat now, so we expect the D6 to be equipped with slots for two CFExpress memory cards (which are the same size and shape as like XQD cards), with backwards compatibility for those who already have a stack of XQD cards in their possession.
New dual-core processors excluded are likely to be available, and we may even finally see the look and feel of Wi-Fi on the top-of-the-line pro DSLR. Nikon previously claimed that it was not possible to include Wi-Fi inside the thick, sturdy bodies of his professional grade camera, but not having this feature would make a camera launched in 2020 feel very outdated – hopefully Nikon can come up with a solution.
So that's about everything that we have on the Nikon D6 for now - a set of assumptions. We will be updating this page regularly as more rumors start to surface, so stay tuned.
- Nikon can also be set to present APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras