Nikon D6 Announcement Rumored to Be Coming September 4. Where’s Canon?

Nikon D6 Announcement Rumored to Be Coming September 4. Where’s Canon?

Nikon is anticipated to announce the upcoming release of the D6 next week. The actual release isn’t expected to follow until late 2019 or early 2020. This is in line with what’s expected to be a paring down of their DSLR line-up to focus on higher-end models. What should we expect from Canon in return?

Rumored D6 Specs

Nikon’s flagship cameras have primarily been targeted toward professional sports, wildlife, and event photographers as well as photojournalists. They’re built like tanks. They typically have a fairly modest resolution paired with a high frame rate, deep buffer, and fast autofocus. They’re designed to make sure you get the shot. The latest incarnation is rumored (and here and here) to support:

  • A 24 MP sensor (up from 20.8 MP on the D5)
  • 4K video at 60 FPS
  • A 3.2M-dot touch screen (compared with 2.4M dots on the D850 and 2.1M dots on the Z7)
  • Extended exposure times of up to two minutes (as opposed to 30s)
  • In-body image stabilization
  • Two CFExpress card slots
  • A viewfinder with 100% coverage and 0.76-0.78x magnification (for comparison the D5 has 0.72x; the D850 has 0.75x; and the Z7, 0.8x)
  • An improved autofocus system
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Nikon's Broader DSLR Strategy

The announcement of a D6 DSLR doesn’t run counter to rumors (here and here) that Nikon is likely to pare down their DSLR lineup, focusing it on the largely professional-level: D7x00, D7x0, D8x0, and Dx lines. The consumer grade lines are expected to be replaced with mirrorless offerings.

The autofocus system on Nikon’s professional DSLRs would seem to be the primary advantage they have over their mirrorless counterparts (at least relative to the kind of shooting I typically do). High-end, sensitive 3D Focus Tracking, however, may not be as critical to many enthusiast shooters. If Nikon can provide them with a significantly smaller package that does everything but that, most folks may be more than happy with the trade-off.

The rumored termination of the D500 line would seem to be the one hiccup in this theory. The D500 is kind of the DX version of the D5. It has a the same autofocus system and nearly the same frame rate (albeit with a smaller buffer). Maybe Nikon has decided that if you want that kind of top-end performance, you should be paying more for it. Or maybe it just wasn’t selling well enough to justify keeping it around, especially at its relatively low price point. Recent sales figures would seem to suggest the latter.

Can We Expect a Comparable Update to Canon’s Flagship Body?

Canon isn’t expected to be too far behind, though the rumor mill has been a good bit less speculative about what a Canon 1D X Mark III might look like. The latest rumor is that it’s likely to come out in the first half of 2020 — and might even be announced alongside a professional-level mirrorless. Both would be just in time for the summer Olympics!

Brent Daniel's picture

I love to travel and explore, to share glimpses of the world and its stories through photography. I live in the foothills above Boulder, CO where I rock climb, paddle, and hike. I have a doctorate in physics and hold down a day job researching solutions to national security challenges.

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I dont understand why they would keep the Dd7xxx series and get rid of the d5xx series. The D500 is the professional level crop sensor. That is supposed to be the pro level crop sensor at least. I can understand ditching the D3xxx, 5xxx, and 7xxx, and replacing them with mirrorless, but I have yet to see them release a $400 mirrorless.

Yea, that really surprised me too. From the sales figures list, though, it looks like there are roughly 2.8 million copies of the D7x00 series in circulation versus about 100,000 D500s. The D7x00 series must hit the sweet spot for features-price and people just don't find it necessary to kick in the extra few hundred for the D500 for what they do (even though it seems like a helluva steal to me). Given those sales numbers they've probably pulled in close to $3 Billion in revenue from the D7x00 line versus about $150 million from the D500!

I think that is because most people who buy the D500 are using it as a pro level wildlife or sports camera, where as I would argue the majority of people with the D7xxx series are buying it because it is considered the "best" of the amateur level bodies for the price. You only buy a d500 if you specifically need a crop sensor body, but many people buy the d7xxx series as an entry level camera, not because they need a crop sensor camera.

With the rise of mirrorless, I dont see DSLRs being the king of entry level any longer after entry level mirrorless bodies are more common. The only people I see sticking with DSLRs are long time users of the platform who do not want to switch for whatever reason, thus why Nikon would be keeping the pro level bodies around.

Note how Nikon stripped some features of D7500 to "make it fit" between D500 and D5600 (dual cards - ae control rod for old lenses etc)
D7xxx does sell well. I see quite a lot of photographers at events working with D7xxx cameras and 50/60D Canons. Sometimes I still see ones with D700's and D90's still going strong.

Also worth noting, that the list of cameras that will not be updated is still just rumor, not officially announced by Nikon at all.

wow, just realized that the people in that job (sports photography) is shrinking in number

The flagships will all get an update because of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I think the lower end SLR will die off as mirrorless lenses and bodies are released.

The DSLR market is a dead duck.

The consumer DSLR market has already completely collapsed.

The only ones wanting a DSLR these days are high-end professionals, and even they are gradually migrating to mirrorless.

Canon will probably announce their flagship within a month or so.

I love my D500 and just bought another one two weeks ago. I don't disagree that mirrorless is the future, but I'm not getting why. I tested the Nikon Z6 earlier this year and while I liked some features of it, I feel I can get a better camera in the D500 that does exactly what I need it to do for less money. For me to shoot the Houston Monster Energy Supercross with the Z6 I needed to use a 300 mm f/2.8 lens. With the D500 I can get by with my 70-200 f/2.8. Ever carry the 300 mm all day? Not fun. I chose to test the Z6 because of the price compared to the D500. What it came down to me is the D500 provides a better value than the Z6.

That can be where the extra resolution of the Z7 could be an advantage. Would give you the flexibility to crop in after the fact to a similar (if not exactly the same) resolution as the D500, but with the flexibility to go with a wider crop if you preferred it for a particular shot. I would still suspect that the autofocus on the D500 is significantly better/faster than the Z7 for action work, though.

That could be true about the Z7. I don't know since I haven't used one yet but again it would cost much more than the D500. Plus when I'm shooting editorial I don't have time to be doing a bunch of crops. I'd still like to have a mirrorless but at this time I'm just not convinced that there is a big enough difference to make the jump.

i see a D5 being displayed though lol