Nikon has just announced that it is “developing” the next generation top-of-the-line “flagship” camera for sports and wildlife photographers, the Nikon D6. The launch is intended for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next summer, which is going to be an important event for all major camera manufacturers, including Nikon.
Unfortunately, Nikon has not provided any specifications of the upcoming D6, other than stating that it is “currently developing its most advanced DSLR to date” and providing a high-resolution photo of the camera, which looks very similar to the D5.
It is hard to say what we can expect from the upcoming D6, but I would not be surprised to see a higher resolution sensor in the 24-36 MP range, faster image processor(s), faster and more refined autofocus system, 12+ fps shooting speed, 4K UHD video recording (probably a big focus on video features this time) and dual CFexpress memory card slots.
The second part of the development news is in the shape of a very interesting lens, the Nikon 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR. That’s right – a 120-300mm f/2.8 zoom with a very interesting “SR” nomenclature that we have never seen before.
This seems like a superb lens to offer for close-range sports at the Olympics. With a constant aperture of f/2.8 across the whole zoom range, I am sure it will have Nikon’s latest optical advancements and incredibly fast focusing speed. And coupled with the 1.4x teleconverter, it will offer a very interesting 168-420mm focal length range with a maximum aperture of f/4 – very close to Nikon’s own 180-400mm f/4E FL VR.
In terms of its build quality and optics, this lens is probably going to be pretty close to the versatility of the Nikon 180-400mm f/4E FL VR, so it will not be a cheap lens. I expect the Nikon 120-300mm f/2.8E FL VR to sell at over $10K once it is released – it will not be a cheap lens for sure.
Below is the official blurb from Nikon for the development of the D6 and the lens:
NIKON IS DEVELOPING THE D6 DIGITAL SLR CAMERA AND THE AF-S NIKKOR 120-300MM F/2.8E FL ED SR VR TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS
MELVILLE, NY (September 4, 2019 at 12:01 A.M. EDT) – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the development of the Nikon D6 professional DSLR camera and the AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR telephoto zoom lens.
Nikon released the D1 digital SLR camera in 1999, making 2019 the 20th anniversary of the single-digit D series. Thanks to the imaging know-how cultivated over Nikon’s long history in camera development, Nikon’s professional DSLR cameras have continued to evolve by introducing some of the industry’s most advanced technologies and responding to the strict demands of professional photographers with the ultimate in performance and reliability, even in the most severe conditions. With the D6, Nikon is currently developing its most advanced DSLR to date.
This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Nikon F mount. The new AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR F mount lens that Nikon is developing will provide professional photographers in fields such as sports photography with even greater support.
Nikon is striving to expand possibilities for imaging expression and leading the way in imaging culture with both DSLR and mirrorless camera systems, as well as a rich lineup of NIKKOR lenses.
Details including release dates, pricing and specifications for these products will be announced at a later date. For more information on the latest Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
The Nikon D6 will be priced at $6799 and the 120-300mm f2.8 FL will be priced at $8999. You are correct that any higher would affect the 180-400mm f4 FL sales. Nikon would love to charge more for the new 120-300mm f2.8 FL, but it simply can’t or they wouldn’t sell.
Serious photographers, whose income and reputation depends on bringing home AMAZING results time after time, will know what the D6 represents. The rest is just blather….
I just couldn’t resist:
F6… D6… :-)
PS. I am Nikon user so no hating
There is no necessity at a sporting event (ahem.. Olympics.) to have a mirrorless camera. Nikon does not have a mirrorless camera with dual card slots and that is a necessity. The D6 will still be the camera to have at the Olympics. Also, they didn’t just start designing the D6 a week ago, it was no doubt already in the planning and design stages right after the D5 release. The decision has probably already been made on whether they will do a D7 or not. My guess is that much energy is going into a flagship grade mirrorless camera that, perhaps, could be a hybrid. Despite the card slot debacle, Nikon’s initial mirrorless offerings are quite impressive with large future possibilities for lens design. Nikon is actually well positioned considering their know how and respect from professionals for building top tier flagship cameras and now with the experience they’ve gathered with the Z6/Z7. The question is how will they execute going forward.
I agree. Nikon have already shown how ibis and an evf should be done. If Nikon simply make the Z6\7 body just 1cm taller it would have the same great ergonomics as the D700\750\500 and room for the xqd\sd dual card arrangement. The Z8 will be amazing and everyone already knows it.
Too bad, I thought Nikon would be able to present the camera and the lens for sale. But it’s just marketing!
To the D6:
It is long overdue, the D5s was skipped. The development from the D5 to the D6 should be very noticeable, not only in the selling price. What the D6 will really offer will be revealed. Everything else is pure speculation. And yes, the DSLR market is far from dead. Robustness, a very good optical viewfinder and a very fast and very precise autofocus are not only for me the measure of things!
To the 2.8/120-300:
At best as a supplement to a 2.8/300 FL VR III or IV this lens could be offered. It will certainly be very good, but also much more expensive, bigger and heavier than a native 300. Nikon should definitely also offer a 2.8/300 FL. I am sure that it will come soon.
By the way, I think that it will be optically not too much to a 2.8/70-200 FL (just super good) set off.
I’m excited about the lens. I’m sure it’ll be aspirational for me with a price of at least $5k, but still, I’m excited. I also like that the lens is a surprise.
I’m curious about the D6. The D5 is so good, what would they improve but connectivity? Low ISO dynamic range? even greater AF point coverage?
As I said way back with the release of the D4, I am still going to hold out for the D6s which should be the most advanced DSLR camera ever made for sports and wildlife photographers. I will except no less–not even the inferior D4, D4s, D5, or D6.
I think you are going to have to wait for the D7 I’m afraid, and that might never come.
There is unlikely to be a D6S because the S versions only came out when genuine photographic advances were being made, and Canon and Nikon were seriously competing. Now that AF, FPS, ISO, battery life, DR and ergonomics are at the 99% level, CaNikon are unlikely to competing on an annual basis over ancilliary enhancements.
After D6 and Z8 in 2020, it’s more likely to be Z9 in 2022, D7 in 2024.
No way this is over 10K, that is just crazy thinking. This is obviously not a Sigma, but the Sigma 120-300 f/2..8 was pretty well received and lists for $3600 and sells now for $3100. The Nikon 70-200/2.8 lists for $2800 and is right now $2150. A 120-300/2.8 at 4 to 5 times the price of the 70-200/2.8, $8000 more for a 50% increase in focal length? Never.
John, I really hope you are right. I would love to see this lens at less than $3K, but I honestly don’t see it happening. This lens is being released for indoor sports at the Olympics and Nikon knows that such a lens would be in high demand by pros. Considering the price of the 180-400mm, I think Nikon is going to price this out very high.
I would be happy to see it even at $4500, but believe it will be about 6K.
I agree with your assessment. The 70-200 FL didn’t actually achieve much of a weight saving over previous versions using only one small frontal fluorite lens. Hence, I can envisage only one FL lens being used in this 120-300 and it will weigh just slightly less than the Sigma. Essentially a ‘budget’ pro-sports lens around $5-6k.
That then gives Nikon the room for an $8k 300/2.8 FL with two fluorites like the other exotics and a significant weight saving, or a $12k 300/2.8 PF with a halving in weight!
It’s seems as if you believe price is inversely proportional to weight. Nikon Supertele could be significantly higher priced than 3rd party lense. For example Sigma 500mm f4 is around $6k whereas Nikkor is over $10k. I agree with Nasim that it has to be quite high so as to not cannibalize 180-400mm f4
Exactly. The Nikon 120-300 f/2.8 will be priced significantly higher than the 3rd party Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 which is selling for $3200. If you read my original post you know I used this as the basis for Nikon pricing theirs at $5000-6000. Much like your 500mm f/4 example, 6K vs 10K, so why would you expect 3K vs 10 K on the the 120-300?
How many 180-400 f/4 lenses do you think Nikon actually sells with a price of over 12K. Not many. I don’t think they are worried about cannibalizing those sells. Besides, the people that need 180-400 f/4 for their work are also buying it for the convenience of the built-in 1.4 x TC to get to 560 f/5.6 with the flip of a switch. The 180-400 with the built in TC is is a different league than the 120-300.
Correct, an inverse relationship clearly exists. In the development of Nikon super-telephoto primes since the mid 1980s, weight saving has been one of the key additional benefits that Nikon has invested heavily in, causing in part the increased prices. Principally, throughout the 1990s the use of magnesium alloy steels in the chassis reduced weights by about 10%, through the 2000s, whilst ED glass weight increased, Nikon further optimised the chassis thicknesses. In the 2010s the inclusion of fluorite chrystal to replace large ED elements has caused a huge weight reduction up to about 30% in some cases. And of course we have recently seen the Phase Fresnel lenses that produce even more extreme weight savings, whilst still retaining gold-ring performance. All these weight savings led in some part to the rise in prices, and can be seen to be a reason why Nikon super-teles cost more than Sigmas for example, which (amongst other deficiencies) don’t use Fluorite chrystal or Fresnel lenses etc.
The (plastic) mode / drive dial appears to have grown. If the D6 includes a 5G antenna and a bigger screen for instant sharing (note also the bulge at the lower left side), then they would be welcome ancillaries. Hybrid viewfinder facilitating eye-point movie-making would be a real ‘game changer’.
IQ and AF are a given these days.
I hope the 120-300 uses many FL crystals and achieves a sub 2.5kg weight, or Nikon also releases a 300/2.8 with such specs. Canon are far ahead with ‘adding lightness’. A >3kg lens would be somewhat old fashioned.
I would love to see Nikon implement WiFi instead of having to add an accessory, which is another thing to buy, carry and mount. A hybrid viewfinder would be nice, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I wonder why Nikon has not yet released an FL version of the 300mm f/2.8. All the other super telephotos already have FL and it is the only lens that’s left out…
You have to assume the 120-300 has been planned for a while to replace the 300\2.8, even though the latter was the highest selling super-tele with over double the sales of each other exotic. That bodes well for substantial weight saving on the 120-300, but I’m slightly concerned that it looks like a pumper-zoom (?!).
They could easily have sold 10,000 300\2.8 FLs if they had made such two or three years ago. I guess the VRii was still selling well enough.
I don’t think the 120-300mm f/2.8 is meant to replace the 300mm f/2.8. The latter is a very different lens and I am sure Nikon will update it at some point. No matter how good this zoom is going to be, it won’t be as good as the 300mm f/2.8 by itself, especially when used with the 1.7x and 2x teleconverters…
also the 200mm f2e fl is left out too
Could it be a hybrid? Nikon have such a patent
Would love to see that, but I doubt it…