Nikon dropped the price of its legendary D850 by almost 15 percent last week, and retailers have rapidly run out of stock as a result. Given the demand for a DSLR that’s more than three years old, is the idea of a D850 successor looking like a smart move for the Japanese manufacturer?
Nikon slashed the price of the D850 less than two weeks ago, bringing it to $2,496.95 — a massive $500 discount on its longstanding price of $2,996.95. When launched in 2017, the D850 had a price tag of $3,299.
The discount seems to have proven popular, as Nikon Rumors spotted that three of the biggest retailers —B&H Photo, Adorama, and Amazon — are all reporting that they are now awaiting stock. You can still place an order for a discounted D850, but you will have to wait up to a month for it to be shipped. Customers were certainly excited when news of the discount arrived, but it’s hard to judge the significance of the retailers’ empty shelves, as we don’t know how many that had sitting around in the first place.You don’t have to look far to find a photographer who says that the D850 is the best camera that they’ve ever owned. Is this camera so good that Nikon is now a victim of its own success? If uptake of Nikon’s new mirrorless full frame cameras has been slow, it might in part be thanks to the fact that too many hardened Nikon shooters have already got the perfect camera and don’t see any reason to give it up for something else. Some could even wait for a third-generation Z 7 before finally making the move over to mirrorless.
Nikon is slated to release a D880 (D860? D900? All guesses welcome) in the first couple of months of next year. Will this D850 successor feature a 60-megapixel sensor (courtesy of Sony), or will it be closer in line with the recently announced Z 7 II (due to ship in December), allowing Nikon more overlap in terms of components?There are good arguments for making another DSLR: the research and development is already largely in place, and given that demand seems to be there, Nikon would be foolish not to capitalize on a design that was probably already well advanced long before the Nikon’s first mirrorless camera came to market. Given its financial challenges, Nikon needs to sell cameras, and a final flagship DSLR would be giving customers what they want and bringing in some much-needed revenue. I’d argue that Nikon has far fewer hybrid shooters waiting for headline-grabbing video specs and far more stills-only shooters who love the all-round performance of the D850.
All of this speculation comes as we wait to see what Nikon has in store with the mooted Z 8 and Z 9 cameras. According to Nikon Rumors, we could be as much as a year away from seeing a mirrorless equivalent to the Nikon D6, and a high-resolution equivalent of the D850 is also subject to plenty of rumor-mongering. The speculation all seems to overlap confusingly, but it would make sense to me for Nikon to try to have the D6 equivalent ready at least for testing during next summer's Olympics (fingers crossed). 46 megapixels, 20 frames per second, 8K 30p, and blackout-free shooting are all being discussed, and Nikon fans will hope that the Japanese manufacturer continues its recent progress when it comes to autofocus.
What do you think? Will a final flagship DSLR give Nikon some valuable sales? Or does it risk impacting its own mirrorless sales? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.