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The Nikon D6: What You Can Expect From Nikon’s Future Flagship DSLR

Just last month, Nikon officially announced the development of its latest flagship DSLR: the Nikon D6.

The Nikon D6 announcement won’t be a surprise for dedicated Nikon fans–the Nikon D6 had been rumored for months–but the confirmation should allow action photographers to sigh with relief.

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The Nikon D6 will fully replace the Nikon D5, Nikon’s current flagship DSLR. The Nikon D5 offered some of Nikon’s most impressive action photography technology to date, but Nikon is determined to stay ahead of the game, claiming that the D6 will be “its most advanced digital SLR yet.” While the Nikon D5 is nearly four years old, its autofocus system is still legendary, and its continuous shooting speed is the fastest that any Nikon DSLR has ever offered: 12 frames-per-second (14 with mirror-lockup).

Now, the Nikon D5 line is an action photographer’s camera, through and through. The autofocus system is incredible, the continuous shooting speed is breathtaking, and the high-ISO capabilities are extraordinary. Unfortunately, these specifications come with a tradeoff, which is why the Nikon D5 features a 20.8-megapixel sensor, compared to the 45.7-megapixels offered by the Nikon D850.

The Nikon D6 will likely be an upgraded version of the same story. Note that the development announcement comes less than a year prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics; this corresponds to the early 2016 announcement of the Nikon D5, which was just in time for Rio’s Summer Games.

While the Nikon Dx line is geared toward sports photographers, it also has several other important uses. The magnesium-alloy construction and weather-sealing that’s designed to keep the camera internals safe even when shooting sports in the wind and rain is a serious nature photographer’s dream, allowing for photography in even the most volatile of weather. And wedding photographers will appreciate the speed of the Dx lineup, which decreases your chances of missing any critical moments.

So if you’re a sports photographer, nature photographer, or wedding photographer, sit tight–because here’s what we know about the Nikon D6.

First, as per Nikon’s announcement, the Nikon D6 will be a DSLR. This quashes speculation that the D6 might be a DSLR-mirrorless hybrid. That said, the Nikon D6 will likely include some mirrorless-type features, including in-body image stabilization (IBIS). IBIS is the camera version of Nikon’s popular vibration reduction (VR) software, which has so far been contained in Nikon DSLR lenses (though Nikon’s mirrorless lineup has already included in-body image stabilization). The power of the D6’s IBIS remains to be seen, but it will enable photographers to shoot handheld with lower shutter speeds, making the D6 an even more powerful low-light camera than its predecessor.

The Nikon D6 will also likely offer a number of professional features, including:

  • Dual CFExpress memory card slots, which is crucial for photographers that need an immediate backup copy of their photoshoots.
  • A viewfinder with 100% coverage and 0.76-0.78x magnification
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, so photographers can transfer photos with ease during or after a shoot
  • A 3.2-million dot touchscreen
  • Enhanced silent shooting modes
  • Brand new dual processors
  • Improved autofocus compared to the D5

While some of these features are expected (i.e., the dual memory card slots and the 100% viewfinder coverage), some may come as a welcome surprise. Important among these specs is the upgraded autofocus; given the autofocus system that the D5 had to begin with (153 AF points, 99 of them cross-type), we can expect to see something truly impressive in the D6. It may be that Nikon has produced an autofocus system to rival Canon’s Dual-Pixel autofocus, and photographers who prefer to use Live View will jump at the chance to use a lightning-fast phase-detection autofocus system.

Note also the new dual processors; while these may be added to take care of a megapixel bump from the D5’s 20 megapixels, my hope is that the dual processors will produce even faster continuous shooting speeds. And while it’s unlikely that the Nikon D6’s continuous shooting will reach the rumored (30 fps) speeds of its main competitor, the Canon 1D X Mark III, I wouldn’t mind 16, or even 18, frames per second.

Of course, like the Canon 1D X series, the Nikon D6 won’t come cheap. The Nikon D5 debuted with an MSRP of $6499, and we have no reason to expect anything different for the Nikon D6.

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So while professional sports photographers, professional wildlife and bird photographers, and some professional wedding photographers will certainly salivate at the chance to get their hands on a Nikon D6, other photographers may have to settle for some of Nikon’s other excellent DSLR (or mirrorless) options.

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When will the Nikon D6 be released?

Nikon has not yet announced a release date for the Nikon D6. However, we can probably expect it sometime in the next four months. Nikon announced that the D6 is being developed in early September, and it will almost certainly be ready in time for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

What is the Nikon D6?

The Nikon D6 is a full-frame flagship DSLR by Nikon. It’s designed for sports and action photographers, most likely with a high continuous shooting rate and a powerful autofocus system. It replaces Nikon’s previous flagship DSLR for sports photographers, the Nikon D5.

Will the Nikon D6 be ready in time for the Tokyo Summer Olympics?

It is very likely that the Nikon D6 will be ready in time for the Tokyo Summer Olympics. However, Nikon has not yet confirmed a release date.

What is known about the Nikon D6?

The Nikon D6 is currently under development, and Nikon has not announced any official specifications. However, rumors indicate that the D6 will be a DSLR with mirrorless features (e.g., in-body image stabilization). The Nikon D6 will also likely feature an improved autofocus system over the Nikon D5, as well as 100% viewfinder coverage, new dual processors, built-in Wi-Fi, improved silent-shooting modes, and more.

Is the Nikon D6 better than the Canon 1D X Mark II?

The Nikon D6 has not yet been released, but it will likely be better than the Canon 1D X Mark II. You can expect greater resolution than the 1D X Mark II, as well as better autofocus capabilities when using the optical viewfinder. However, the Canon 1D X Mark III will compete directly than the Nikon D6; it will likely be announced in February 2020.

What is the cost of the Nikon D6?

The Nikon D6 has not yet been released, and no price has been specified by Nikon. However, the D6’s immediate predecessor, the Nikon D5, debuted with an MSRP of around $6500 USD, and you can expect that the Nikon D6 will have a similar price.

Is the Nikon D6 weather-sealed?

While there have been no rumors or confirmations regarding the build of the Nikon D6, the camera will almost certainly be weather-sealed. The Nikon D6 is part of a lineup geared toward professional sports photographers, and these photographers need a camera body that can withstand all sorts of damage. The Nikon D6’s predecessor, the Nikon D5, is weather-sealed.

Is the Nikon D6 a full-frame camera?

Yes, the Nikon D6 is a full-frame camera.

Who should purchase the Nikon D6?

You should purchase the Nikon D6 if you need an extremely rugged camera, or if you’re a serious action photographer who needs the amazing autofocus capabilities and continuous shooting speeds. If you can’t afford the Nikon D6, you should look at some of Nikon’s other full-frame cameras, such as the Nikon D850.

Is the Nikon D6 a DSLR or mirrorless camera?

The Nikon D6 is a DSLR, though it will likely have some mirrorless features, such as in-body image stabilization.


  • Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to PetaPixel.

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