Maybe It's Time to Say Goodbye to Nikon

Maybe It's Time to Say Goodbye to Nikon

Remember when Pentax released the K-1 Mark II? In hindsight, that wasn't too bad. 

The latest flagship camera from Nikon has been announced, the D6. Looking at the spec sheet, I'm really struggling to see why Nikon even bothered with this "update." I'm sure many of you will want to tell me about how reading the spec sheet won't tell me anything about a camera. To some extent, I agree with you, however, when an update is this minor, I think it's fair to judge the book by its cover. 

What's New?

Not much really, but let's take our proverbial magnifying glass and see what see what we can find.

From what I can see, the new D6 is lighter than the D5. That's a good thing; I'm sure some of you out there will want to pay the extra amount for it. Other than that, the D6 offers a slighter faster burst rate, and the autofocus has been improved. Clearly, Canon has a lot to be concerned about. 

This is a minor update and doesn't offer anything significantly beyond what many D5 owners already have. If this had been called the Nikon D5s, then one could argue that it's an appropriate update. Nikon has in the past offered minor updates in-between camera cycles. This is why we had the Nikon D4s before the D5 was eventually released. Even if that were the case, it still wouldn't make things any better, because the competition has moved on. The name of the camera isn't the problem; the camera is the problem. 

Manufacturers like Canon and Sony are producing incredible cameras with exceptional features. Nikon, on the other hand, is still stuck trying to compete with the 1D X Mark II. Personally, I'm not really bothered about this, because Canon is still on the offensive, and I mostly shoot with Canon. I just think that this is a huge disservice to all the existing customers that shoot with these types of cameras.

Is It Time to Switch? 

Unfortunately, it might be. 

Flagship cameras generally offer the best and most cutting edge technologies. The D6 is supposed to be a flagship camera, and although it has the price point, it doesn't deliver on the features. If you're a photographer that shoots with these specific types of cameras, then it may be time for you to switch. 

This is not to say that all Nikon photographers need to switch from their current camera systems, because Nikon has some wonderful options at lower price points. The D850 could be described as the best high-resolution DSLR camera, and I wouldn't disagree. The new mirrorless system from Nikon seems to be gaining in popularity, especially with the addition of raw video on the Z 6. If you're not a photographer that shoots with flagship cameras, then you probably don't need to switch. On the other hand, if you're a photographer that shoots with flagship cameras like the D5, then it's probably time you considered another manufacturer.  

The attention and dedication that the D series of cameras should be receiving is seemingly not there. The D6 feels like an afterthought or a camera that they don't believe in as much as some of the other cameras they produce. Nikon used the same sensor they had in the D5. This would have been fine if it were the best at the time of its original release, but it wasn't. The dynamic range of that sensor was severely lacking in comparison to Canon. This is odd, because it's normally Canon that's behind on those types of specifications, yet the 1D X Mark II was well ahead of the D5. 

Essentially, what Nikon has released is a competitor to the 1D X Mark II instead of competing with the current cameras on the market. 

The Competition

Canon and Sony are the two main competitors for Nikon, and they haven't made things easy. The alternatives available for Nikon shooters are far more compelling for a whole number of reasons. 

Sony

I understand that Sony has done something similar to Nikon with the a9 II. Arguably, Sony's attempt to "update" the a9 is worse than what Nikon has done; however, it's still a better option to switch to.

The first reason is the price point. The a9 and the a9 II sit at a much lower price than the D6. The original a9 is still an incredible option with its 20 fps feature. The mechanical shutter may be much slower in comparison, but for many, the electronic shutter could be enough.

The main feature that Nikon is pushing with the D6 is that the autofocus has been improved. If we're being completely honest, these improvements generally translate into very minor and mostly unnoticeable differences in real-world shooting environments. 

Canon

If the Sony a9 series of cameras feel too small and almost toy like, then Canon is probably the one for you. The latest release from Canon is simply incredible. The 1D X Mark III costs pretty much the same as the new Nikon D6, but offers a whole lot more. 

This latest camera from Canon also offers the ability to shoot at 20 fps; however, the major difference is that the buffer is huge. You can shoot up to 1,000 frames without reaching the buffer limit, and CFexpress will help quickly move those files onto your cards. The buffer in the Canon is five times greater than the Nikon. For many people that shoot with these types of cameras, Canon is obviously the better option in almost every regard. 

Even for video, Canon has some of the best features currently on the market. This camera shoots 5.5K raw video internally. Even if you don't need that level of quality, you have lots of other options available to you both in 4K and 1080p resolutions. Couple that with Canon's  Dual Pixel autofocus, and you have quite possibly the best video features in a DSLR. 

Finally, Canon has the greatest number of lenses available. In my view, Canon produces some of the best lenses on the market, especially when it comes to long telephoto and zoom lenses. 

Canon is quite obviously a better option than the Nikon D6, especially considering they cost pretty much the same. 

Final Thoughts

I get the feeling that Nikon wants to concentrate more on the lower end of the market with their Z 7 and Z 6 mirrorless systems. They've clearly put a lot of investment into their new line of lenses. For photographers that shoot with flagship systems, this obviously doesn't help, however.

Up until recently, Canon and Nikon have been pretty interchangeable. Thing have now changed, and Canon is clearly the better option between the two. It doesn't make sense to spend the same amount of money to receive something worse.

Remember, brand loyalty doesn't help anyone except the brand. 

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337 Comments

One camera didn't meet your exception and you are ready to change brands?

Usman Dawood's picture

I shoot Canon I don’t need to switch :-p

So have you ever shot with the D3, or D4 or D6 or tested the D6?
Have you tested the Mark! 1D Mark II autofocus against the D6?
Have you ever tested the sharpness of the Nikon lens vs Canon lens?

Usman Dawood's picture

D4 and D5 for Nikon.

Shot a good deal with the1Dx II but not the III yet.

I agree Mark.

Giulio Roman's picture

This article is just click bait. Which is really sad for Fstoppers' reputation...

Which brings your credibility on the subject down to zero. "Remember, brand loyalty doesn't help anyone except the brand." Indeed.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

Waitasecon....LOL. Wtf dude? :)
So a Canon user writes an article about Nikon and suggests readers should probably switch to Canon.
Are you naturally an incompetent journalist or is Canon and Sony paying you to be one? :)))
Sometimes I think that Fstoppers hit rock bottom with quality of their write-ups and then somebody is knocking from the underneath. Smh.

He's not a journalist. He's a dude that writes articles on a website.

Matt Clara's picture

Ah, I see, you're a troll. I'll remember not to bother with your articles going forward.

Usman Dawood's picture

Yet you're the one making personal comments...

vik .'s picture

canon will swap the floor with the R5.

Andrei Barbier's picture

what about the dynamic range? )) I do belive you'll be suprised that Canon is very poor once it comes to dynamic range.

Usman Dawood's picture

For most Nikon camera you’re absolutely right Canon is pretty behind. For some reason that’s not the case for the flagships.

George Pahountis's picture

my thoughts exactly ! Why switch ? Camera companies leapfrog each other all the time. Pointless article and that comes from a canon user.

Michael Kormos's picture

An established professional is more concerned about camera’s build quality, reliability, support, and lens choices than a spec sheet for a single (upcoming) model. An established professional doesn’t buy a camera. He’s generally heavily invested in a system full of lenses, batteries, extra bodies, accessories, etc. which he’s been using for years, learned the ins and outs of, and can command them all with his eyes closed during demanding conditions. Any working professional and a business person would be foolish to simply “switch brands” for any such reason as stated here in this article. Such irrational choices cost money, time and effort - all of which a good professional photographer holds in high regard. Your time is better spent acquiring new clients (or figuring out how to keep the current ones), marketing your business, building relationships, or a hundred other things I could think of rather than losing cash on rapidly depreciating assets like camera systems with slightly better spec sheets.

This article is written by a gearhead and meant to be read by other gearheads.

Usman Dawood's picture

You presume so much lol.

John Kelsey's picture

Truth getting to you bud??

William Nicholson's picture

Dammmm Michael, tell him the way it is. Could not agree more with you, well said. I am loyal to Nikon and dumped a lot of cash into the gear just as most people do on a brand they love and use over and over and over. I have a D-500 and was looking to upgrade to a full frame such as the D-750 and while doing my do diligence and reading and hearing what true loyal Nikon fans have to say about it, I am going to hold off on the new and look for a used one maybe. Happy with my DX for I shoot fast action sports and racing so the D-500 is my best option for what I do.

A self described architectural photographer condemning a pro sports camera? No wonder you don’t appreciate the improved AF. Guess your buildings don’t move too much. Lame.

Usman Dawood's picture

Nikon isn’t the only company to improve their AF. The difference is that they stopped there. Canon did more.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

Bro, you are an architectural photographer. The question was what can you possibly know about
the need of a top of the line AF? You are out of your element man.

What a tool. I don't care about brands. Best tool and all that so there are lots of different bests for different people and even work arounds in different systems for duel needs. You are a shill pushing your brand as best when you don't or at least shouldn't be shooting on any flagship model. Moreover, the "cheaper" cameras you put down by Nikon own anything that Canon currently offers for your stated niche of architecture. Period. Better wides and PC lenses by a lot. Better dynamic range, sharpness, and ISO than Canon, not to mention autofocus. Even comparing the flagship models, you left out that Canon still uses AA filters which affects resolution. Or that even the D5 had a near limitless buffer as I am shure the D6 will as well. I won't argue video functions on these cameras nor the inclusion of better on sensor autofocus on the Canon. The versatility of the mark iii is better. But if you shoot sports autofocus and getting the shot is the most important thing. The D5 was better than the mark ii and if the D6 is better than the mark iii, there are plenty of people who will want it. Another point you glossed over was autofocus in low light. Something that the A9s are horrible and the D6 claims to have improved. Also, the usable ISO was noticably greater on the D5 and has been a place that Nikon has dominated and it is reasonable to expect same from D6. Not flashy improvements but if you work in sports or photo journalism they are essential. We might wish for the do everything camera, and I am not even arguing that the D6 is as good as it should be, but your readings on what is useful or worthy of another person's money are very ignorant if not outright contrived.

vik .'s picture

Canon rocks.

Vincent Alongi's picture

If they were just developing mirrorless, rolling out a couple of options as "day 1" offerings that were "lower end" isn't a bad idea. Work out the kinks, etc. They already had updates that improved autofocus. Give them a chance...

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