Nikon has finally announced its flagship DSLR, the Nikon D6, and revealed its full specifications today. Sporting a 20.8 MP sensor with a native ISO range of 100-102,400 (same as on the D5) and the latest EXPEED 6 processor, the D6 is able to shoot up to 14 FPS with the latest E-type lenses, and up to 10.5 FPS silently in live view mode.
The autofocus system has been significantly improved. Although the total number of focus points has decreased from 153 to 105, they are now all selectable cross-type focus points. The new AF system allows choosing between 17 custom group-area AF patterns, which can benefit tracking of erratically moving subjects, even at the maximum rate of 14 FPS.
In low-light situations, the camera is able to focus down to -4.5 EV (0.5 EV improvement over D5), and 15 of the central points can autofocus up to f/8.
The Nikon D6 will ship with dual CFexpress card slots, which will be compatible with both XQD and CFexpress Type B card types. As expected, connectivity options on this camera are amazing. In addition to now standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless options, the D6 will have a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port, USB Type-C 3.1, HDMI C (Mini), 3.5 Headphone and Microphone inputs, Nikon 10-Pin connection, as well as in-body GPS capability. The latter is the first for a Nikon camera (without use of any dongles), which is exciting, since we might see this technology in upcoming Nikon DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
Ergonomically, the Nikon D6 continues the same familiar layout on its front and the back, so it should feel right at home for existing D5 shooters. The buttons are all identical, and they are located in exactly the same positions throughout the camera.
Those who were hoping for upgraded video specifications will be disappointed – Nikon kept the same 4K UHD video recording at up to 30 FPS, although some additional video recording features like focus peaking have been added.
When it comes to its battery, the Nikon D6 uses a slightly updated EN-EL18c rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which should provide more power to the camera. The battery life is rated at 3580 shots, which is a little lower than the CIPA rating of the D5 at 3780 shots, but that’s because of the GPS chip that drains the battery. In reality, the battery life on the D6 is going to be better compared to the D5.
It looks like Nikon took a rather safe route with the D6. Unlike the Canon 1DX Mark III that offers faster continuous shooting of 16 FPS (and 20 FPS in live view), a much larger buffer, HEIF file format support, Dual Pixel AF for face and eye tracking, ability to shoot 12-bit 5.5K and DCI 4K content at up to 60 FPS, the Nikon D6 mostly improves on existing D5 features. The most notable changes are the new autofocus system, dual CFexpress card slots, as well as the addition of in-body GPS.
Official Press Release
Below is the official press release from Nikon:
DECISIVE POWER. FASTER WORKFLOW. ABSOLUTE RELIABILITY: THE NEW NIKON D6 GIVES PROFESSIONALS THE EDGE WHEN IT MATTERS MOST
The New Nikon D6 Offers the Most Powerful AF System in Nikon’s History, and Continues the Brand Legacy of Professional Cameras That Deliver Connectivity, Dependability and Streamlined Workflow
MELVILLE, NY (February 11, 2020) – Today, Nikon Inc. has unveiled the D6, a new professional-grade DSLR built for those in need of extreme reliability and ultimate performance. The D6 addresses the needs of professionals and press agencies and is faster and more powerful than ever before. Offering the most powerful AF system in Nikon’s history, this flagship DSLR camera delivers crucial improvements to modern workflow while also accelerating file transfer capabilities. Promising unparalleled low-light performance, powerful agility, advanced 4K UHD multimedia capabilities and a mechanical shutter frame rate boosted to a staggering 14 fps, the D6 will redefine the way pros work.
“The D6 is purpose-built and inspired by the valuable feedback of professional users,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President of Nikon Inc. “The world relies on photojournalists and professionals to document every corner of the globe through impactful images; Nikon cameras are trusted to stand up to any job and help photographers capture the shot, time and time again.”
The Most Powerful AF in Nikon’s History: The D6 leaves nothing to chance. To maximize hit rate, it is equipped with a newly developed, densely packed 105-point AF system in which all the focus points utilize cross-type sensors and all points are selectable. Through the new focus point layout and the use of a triple-sensor arrangement for each focus point, the D6 achieves AF coverage that is approximately 1.6x denser than that of the D5. The D6 also sports an expanded focus detection range which increases the detection area for single point AF and dynamic area AF, making it easier to achieve focus on a subject even when slightly outside the focus point.
Improving upon Nikon’s popular Group AF mode, this function has evolved with support for 17 custom arrangements from which users can choose according to the scene or subject movement. The D6 also demonstrates superior low-light AF performance. The center focus point works down to -4.5 EV and the others to -4 EV, making autofocus possible even in dark situations or with low-contrast subjects.
Unparalleled Performance: The new EXPEED 6 engine’s superior image-processing capabilities combined with the vast amount of information provided by the new dedicated AF engine drives high-level performance in any situation. To help capture the decisive moment consistently, the D6 boasts a 14 fps mechanical shutter with full AF and AE. The D6 can also shoot completely silent for sensitive situations, capturing full resolution at 10.5 fps. For faster frame rates, the Nikon D6 is able to take 2-megapixel images at approx. 60 fps and 8-megapixel images at 30 fps in Live View mode.
The D6 leverages a 20.8-megapixel FX-Format CMOS sensor, creating images that pop with stunning detail and true colors and exhibit incredible dynamic range. The ISO ranges from 100 to 102,400, which helps to preserve sharpness and subtle details in even the most challenging light. Additionally, ISO is expandable up to 3.2 million, giving photographers the ability to truly conquer the dark.
Concentration on Workflow: Building on Nikon’s history of serving professionals, the D6 is the most customizable Nikon DSLR yet, designed to speed up the workflow of any user during and after capture.
– Recall shooting functions create combinations of settings that can be assigned to a specific button to get the perfect shot in a pinch
– The D6 excels in connectivity and supports the same 1000BASE-T Ethernet standard as the D5, with an approximate 15% increase in transmission speed. The camera also supports a number of options for wireless networking, offering built-in 2.4- and 5-GHz Wi-Fi® or traditional wireless transfer using the WT-6 Wireless Transmitter (optional)
– Includes 14 customizable buttons, assignable to any of 46 unique function choices and a new intuitive menu system
– Priority Image Transfer gives the ability to move an important image to the front of the queue when speed is of paramount priority, which can easily be done by swiping the touch LCD during playback
– Security Lock compatibility supports connection of anti-theft cables to provide maximum security for remote applications or when the camera is unattended
– Built in GPS gives accurate time, date and location information for just about anywhere on the planet
-Dual CFexpress slots offer blazing fast read/write times and have the ability to overflow, copy or separate file types
– JPEG functions allow for the simultaneous recording of two JPEG images with different image size and quality settings, which is convenient for separating images that will be transmitted from those that will be edited
– Creativity options for multimedia creators including a new interval timer mode to retain the best resolution and enable in-camera time-lapse movie file recording providing professionals the ability to create exceptionally sharp 16:9 4K Ultra HD video
Absolute Reliability: Nikon’s flagship cameras remain trusted in the industry and have been proven on the sidelines, in the studio and even in outer space. With a magnesium alloy camera body and extensively weather-sealed design, the D6 is as tough as the professionals who use it, ready to take on the harshest shooting conditions. The camera offers long-lasting battery life, delivering the safety net and energy-saving performance that pros need on daylong outings. The D6 also employs a USB-Type C connector for faster direct-to-PC file transfer rates than previously possible with the D5.
Endless Lens Choices: By pairing the D6 with Nikon’s extremely diverse selection of F-Mount NIKKOR telephoto lenses, professionals have the most advanced imaging solution in Nikon’s history. No matter the job, the client or the location, there’s a NIKKOR lens, from the ultra-wide to the super-telephoto. The D6 is also compatible with Nikon’s line of creative Speedlights, offering extra creative freedom to enhance natural light and add artistry and drama to any scene.
Pricing and Availability
The new Nikon D6 will be available in April 2020 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $6,499.95 for the body only configuration. For more information on the latest Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
You can pre-order your copy of the Nikon D6 from B&H Photo Video.
My guess is that Nikon top engineers are busy working on mirrorless, no one working on a 4 year old sensor.
The dpr interview with a Nikon Exec (published 12th Feb) confirms Nikon prioritized the feedback from D5 shooters to design the D6. Apparently, they ranked their top needs as: Better AF, Seamless Wireless, improved options to Customize Menus. In contrast, Video, Lv etc didn’t feature much if at all, and it appears neither did higher resolution sensor. Low light performance with fastest shutter speeds possible are what matters.
[In retrospect, it is utterly bizarre the underwhelming D6 teaser videos failed to feature these features – tantalizingly, instead of D5 promos?]
Yet the www is polluted by noisy condemnation of a camera that is still untested, and most will never handle let alone own! The longer strategic factor is upgrading the D5 AF engine, this new Nikon AFC system is going to be with us for 4 years and likely longer, and it’s very likely Nikon will adapt the algorithms into the Z cameras. In this respect, if And if Keiji Oishi-San is correct, over Nikon’s ‘transitional stage’ to the Zed System, we should see “both mirrorless and DSLR bodies which share common technology.”
It is a mission to find deeper details about the D6 across Nikon’s official websites (true to tradition these are shambolic, nearly as bad as what passes for their marketing). The best I’ve found is Nikon Japan. The AFC makes impressive reading. The figure labels/legends don’t translate but there’s a post yesterday on Nikon Rumors, where a reader kindly translated a graphic of the “Advanced scene recognition system” in the D6.
The Grays of Westminster video also mentioned the ability to constrain focusing range to a subject, besides the 17 Group AF options etc. The AFC promises to be the game changer – not only over the d5 (which has the industry’s best AF) but across Nikon for a few years hence. We may even see profound impacts IF official specs of AFC are met outdoors.
The D6 will also allow you to program the secured camera with preset-AF settings and shoot gps referenced images; then preview and tag, and leave the D6 alone to upload this stream of preselected GPS tagged images to the server. Neat :-)
Trolls and the utuber clickbaiters sure do struggle with these realities of actual photography
Could you update this preview with camera comparison such as Nikon D6 vs Canon 1 Dx MKIII ?
Thank you! Surely, many have been waiting for Nasim’s announcement of the Canon 1 DX Mark III for weeks. I hope Nasim does the deserved separate announcement of this magnificent camera, then a follow-up comparison with the D6.
Hans, I think I already told you that I was traveling at the time the Canon 1DX Mark III came out, so I missed the announcement. It would be weird if I posted the announcement now, so I will just post the Nikon D6 vs Canon 1DX Mark III article shortly.
Marcus, that’s coming up shortly!
very disappointed with D6 . nothing significantly new in D6 compared to D5
Finally built-in GPS. It was about time, and that’s why the battery lasts less, I guess.
Grays of Westminster stated with GPS off you can reasonably expect about 7000 pictures taken, while 3500 is the number with GPS on. See here > www.youtube.com/watch…v__lY-TMz4
That’s pretty darn impressive!