Many of our readers are wondering if the Nikon D400 will ever see the light of the day, given that the Nikon D300s is now 4 years old. Nikon confused us with the D7100 announcement (see my review here) when it used the word “flagship” in its product page and announcement, something that once belonged to the D300s, the once DX flagship of Nikon. Because of this, and the fact that the 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 AF system that was only used on high-end Nikon DSLR cameras before, I interpreted the D7100 announcement as the merger of the camera with the D300s line, eliminating high-end / flagship DX line forever. However, after using the D7100 for a couple of months and shooting wildlife with it, I realized that the D7100 seriously lacks the large buffer required for fast action photography (even shooting in cropped mode and smaller RAW files) and its non-pro body build, with the absence of 10-pin connector and important buttons like AF-ON got me thinking about the potential release of the D400. So after a short while, I published an article titled “is there room for a Nikon D400?“, where I posted a poll asking our readers what they thought about the D400. It turned out that a lot of people want the D400, despite the release of the D7100.
With Sony’s big week coming to an end (they’ve announced more new products than other manufacturers, with all of them being quite exciting), we’ve missed a couple of announcements, which haven’t been directly relevant to this photography-centered website (at least for now). Both of these announcements were of their new NEX series camcorders, the NEX-VG30 and NEX-VG900. The former is a successor to the great NEX-VG20H camcorder and packs a 16 megapixel, APS-C sized sensor found in many of Sony cameras, such as NEX-6 and SLT-A57. Both new camcorders come with rather advanced video capabilities and will likely be very popular among videographers – I’ve had to trade ergonomics in favor of technical and aesthetical quality of DSLR video for a while now, and so have a couple of my close friends. With the great NEX camcorders Sony offers, both new and old models, you can get everything and for a relatively low price.
But, again, we are photography-centered at this time. Which, ironically, brings us to (the more expensive of the two) NEX-VG900 camcorder.
Why? Because it’s the first NEX mirrorless camera (which it is, only put in camcorder casing) to pack a full frame sensor, same one used in RX1 compact and A99 SLT cameras (and possibly the already immensely popular Nikon D600). And it does bring a thought. I’m not usually one to speculate, or spread rumors for that matter, but photography community has been waiting a long time for a logically priced Leica M9 (and Leica isn’t about being logical, which, strangely enough, makes sense in today’s viciously competitive market).
So.. How about a NEX-9 instead?
I have just received a link to a Chinese forum, where pictures of the upcoming Nikon D600 have been posted. These pictures look very real to me, so looks like the Nikon D600 will be released soon for sure. In addition, Nikon has just released two lenses, one of which (the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR) is specifically designed to be a cheap full-frame lens. I don’t think it would really suit the Nikon D800’s demanding sensor in terms of performance. Here are the pics of the D600 from the forum:
I am getting some information from our readers about a potential Nikon D400 announcement this fall (during Photokina in September, shipping in October). I was not going to post anything when I first got some speculative information about the D400, but when the same person that sent me some details earlier this year on the D800 (which turned out to be 100% true) confirmed the D400 specs, I decided to post what I have regarding the upcoming DSLR. I am still a little skeptical about some of this, since it could contradict the potential announcement of the Nikon D600 that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. If Nikon does indeed release the D600 at a ~$1,500 price point, it would have to severely handicap many of its features, if the below specifications turn out to be true. Otherwise, Nikon will have a hard time selling the D400 in my opinion. Nikon is apparently already working on D400 production in its Sendai plant in Japan.
Here is a summary of the Nikon D400 specifications that I have received from multiple sources:
So far this year has been pretty hectic for Nikon. With three excellent DSLR camera bodies (Nikon D4, Nikon D800 and Nikon D3200), two superb lenses (Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 28mm f/1.8G) and some accessories announced, it is hard to imagine that Nikon might introduce more DSLR cameras in 2012. While Nikon D5100, D7000 and D300s are all due for an update, our friends at Nikon Rumors are already receiving some early rumors about the possibility of a new budget full-frame (FX) DSLR from Nikon that will be supposedly announced later this year with the new “Nikon D600″ name.
The key word here is budget – the Nikon D600 will apparently be marketed as a low-end FX camera at a very low price point. Currently, the cheapest DSLR from Nikon is the Nikon D700, which has a price tag of $2,199 USD (MSRP) and the new D800 sells for $2,999 USD (MSRP). The rumored Nikon D600 will have a very low price point, maybe as low as $1,500. Interestingly, this all goes back to some early rumors about the Nikon D400 (D300s replacement) being a full-frame camera. Could it be that Nikon will discontinue the professional DX line completely and replace it with FX? It is hard to tell at this time, but judging on Nikon’s history of replacing the D90 with a more advanced D7000, I would not exclude that possibility. So far I have been projecting that Nikon would continue the development of its pro DX line with a D400 DX, but if a budget FX camera comes out at the same or lower price point as the D300s, then forget about the D400 DX.