Nikon Announces the Development of D6 and 120-300mm/f2.8 in F Mount

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ShunCheung, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Completely as expected, Nikon is pre-announcing the up-coming flag-ship D6 DSLR, which I am sure will be available several months prior to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, which starts on July 24, 2020. No further details are available from Nikon at this point, other than one sample product image, but we know that it will be an F-mount DSLR. Typically when there is a pre-announcement, Nikon would formally introduce such products in approximately two months. In that case it'll put us to November. Both the D4 and D5 were announced in early January, 2012 and 2016 respectively, both Summer Olympic years (London and Rio de Janeiro). However, the D3 was announced on August 23, 2007, almost a full year prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    What is surprising is that Nikon is also pre-announcing a new 120-300mm/f2.8 E FL AF-S VR lens. That explains why Nikon has introduced the 400mm/f2.8, 500mm/f4, 600mm/f4, 800mm/f5.6 and 180-400mm/f4 (w/ 1.4x TC) FL AF-S VR lenses but not the 300mm/f2.8. Likewise, we have a product image from Nikon, but there are no further details such as pricing. However I would expect this lens to be expensive, close to US$10K range.

    BTW, these are the first F-mount DSLR and lens Nikon will be announcing since August 2018, just over a year ago. The last F-mount lens Nikon introduced was the 500mm/f5.6 PF. Given that Canon announced new 400mm/f2.8 and 600mm/f4 lenses for their DSLR EF mount a year ago, it confirms that for sports and action photography, and to some degree news photography, it will continue to be DSLRs for a few more years for Canon and Nikon.

    Images supplied by Nikon USA for product announcement purposes, copyright Nikon Inc.

    D6.jpg F120-300.jpg
  2. Is that a pop-up flash on the D6?

    Could never justify (afford!) the Nikon 120-300mm 2.8, but it might make the Sigma cheaper second hand!

    AFAIK, The sigma is the only similar lens.

    Still no Arca-Swiss style dovetail on the tripod foot.
  3. Mike, while it can be a pop-up flash, I think it may be a GPS receiver and/or a built-in radio-controlled wireless flash commander unit.

    The lens was a bit of a surprise. I think it had been delayed intentionally in order for it not to cannibalise too much on the 70-200 and 180-400 sales numbers. That is also why I believe it will not have a built-in teleconverter.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  4. Seems odd that they have structurally 'compromised' just the same bit of body shell that Shun's D5 suffered damage to recently.

    OK, I get you. Maybe it has to be RF transparent?

    The Mode Dial looks kinda different too? Taller?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  5. Yes, it's not a flash (unless it's an IR transmitter) - it's too high up on the prism. I could believe it's an RF thing though. The (release) mode dial does indeed look taller; I thought there was a bigger change, but then realised that the D5's release mode dial doesn't go "all the way round" either (unlike the D850's). Maybe that, too, is an RF thing.

    If Nikon have listened to me ranting about wireless flash transmitters, good for them. For an exciting moment I thought they'd listened to the "stop putting controls top left where we can't reach them" grumble too. :) I was hoping for slightly more information, but I guess I can pretend there's still a chance to push for some features to be included... (Don't worry, I know they'll hopefully have locked it down by now, I'm not serious.)

    Sigma had a 300 f/2.8 alongside their 120-300 f/2.8 (and an 800mm alongside their 300-800mm); I don't think the appearance of a Nikon version necessarily means the prime won't appear. The Sigma is a big bulky thing to hand-hold and zoom, but I guess the same is true of the 180/200-400 f/4 (I've never held one). Fluorite might make it appreciably less unwieldy, so that's interesting. I do wonder whether a replacement 200 f/2 (or even going back to f/1.8) is going to happen - not that I really have a problem with my mk1 AF-S.
  6. It could be a cover for an interface to an accessory EVF, or as you suggest, something to do with radio communications (GPS, Wifi, etc.) Or it could just be a way for the camera to be opened up (cover for screws etc.)

    I doubt very much they would delay the launch of lenses that are ready to sell, as the sales are going down, the lens is at its most competitive when it has just been designed and put into production, and the first months are when the sales are at its most brisk. The built-in teleconverter is expensive (just look at the price of any lens which comes with a matched TC: 300/2.0, 180-400/4, Canon 200-400/4, Nikon 800/5.6) and increases the weight as well. Since I don't like TCs (and the Nikon 180-400's built in TC is reported to be similar in quality to the TC-14E III, so no substantial advantage quality-wise) I am glad they didn't put one in, the lens can be lighter and easier to handle in this way.

    There seems to be a market for extremely expensive lenses; I was surprised to read that one store had sold around 70 copies of the 180-400. Looking at Roland Vink's serial number database it seems the 180-400 is roughly as popular (in terms of lenses sold per time) as the 200-400/4 which was about half the price of the 180-400. This is really remarkable. I would have thought it to sell far fewer copies in a given period of time given the price difference, but no.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  7. Fair enough.

    However, the whole 'penta-prism' bump looks much higher and less rounded than the D5, more Challenger than T-55.
  8. Well, it may be that modern sensors are resolving the flaws in cheaper glass, and that more high end cameras are in the hands of (formerly) rich amateurs rather than being shared among a press pool. Plus the old 200-400 long had iffy reviews at a distance, which would affect the sales to the wildlife crowd. Or that could be random speculation.

    The 120-300 has some fluorite in it, and I believe growing fluorite elements is known to be a slow process, allegedly limiting the rate at which Canon could make their superteles for a while. I imagine Nikon wanted to ensure they weren't limiting their ability to sell other big lenses before committing their resources.

    Incidentally, along with recommending the 18-300mm for sports, I notice that Nikon UK's "sports and action" lenses page has an image demonstrating VR by showing an alleged effect on subject motion blur (well, mostly - presumably the effect was digital, but the blur looks like not tracking a moving subject vs tracking it). I wonder if I should tell them?
  9. Nikon doesn't have the D5S like they had the D3S and D4S. They went for the D6 right away. I think it's the last D. Just like the F6 was the last F. They may still have others D but no I don't think they will make another single digit D.
  10. Well, that remains to be seen, and depends on how the autofocus on DSLR (i.e. D6) fares with mirrorless competition, and whether the EVF delay can be eliminated also in the dimmest of light. I have to say that despite the online enthusiasm towards the Sony A9, it doesn't have much presence in professional sports photography, at least in indoor sports arenas where I've been to. It's a little early to tell what will happen to this lineup.
  11. Illka, I agree that it is a good thing Nikon left the TC out of the 120-300. In addition to bulk, wight and cost, including it would also cannibalise somewhat on the 180-400 as well since it would then double as a 168-420mm f/4 lens. Given that the 120-300, most likely, will accept Nikons regular TCs, that would really lessen the appeal of the 180-400 lens (for the times you would want to cover 420-588mm).

    I am not sure what the Sony A9 has to do with this, but surely, there must be an A9 II in Sony's future. Speaking of Sony, I have not seen that many Sony cameras when I meet other bird photographers. The Sony A7RIV and 200-600mm lens may change that.

    No, tell the Sony fanboys on and Nikon UK will never hear the end of it...
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  12. Uh, I have noticed a few boxing matches with people (presumably pros) dangling Sony bodies around near the ring - possibly for video ability, possibly just because they're lighter. The last time I looked at the edge of a tennis match it was still mostly Canikon, though. Canon still seems to dominate; while they make perfectly good products, I've kind of been under the impression that the pro bodies tended to be a little behind the technology curve, so I'm mildly surprised to see Nikon not make more of an impression. Maybe the difference just isn't enough to have ever made the bulk Eos crowd switch after Nikon lost the pros at the introduction of autofocus and with the early 1D series before the D3? Thom Hogan noted that Canon's new crop bodies might have a better dynamic range than they've historically managed, so one of the big negatives might go away with the next sensor spin to hit the 1D/5D series.

    They'll take a while to fade - there are still a lot of D3's out there. If Nikon replace the D6 with mirrorless they'll have to have something that can justify the switch in system to pros with lots of glass, and the risk of forcing a system switch on your customers is that system legacy may have been the only thing keeping them with you in the first place.
  13. Given today's advancements in sensor technology (high ISO) and low-light AF, I would not be surprised if the D6 has a pellicle mirror. It would allow for higher speed, less vibration and completely eliminate the blackout and reduce the number of moving parts. I know they are prone to dust and dirt, but so are the sensors and changing a fixed mirror should not be that cumbersome (alignment issues considered).
  14. Pellicle mirrors have not been popular; Sony lost a lot of market share when they moved from DSLR to DSLT and only then recovered when they removed all mirrors.
  15. I was thinking more of Canon's use of pellicle mirrors for high-end sports cameras in the past. Combine that with the growing demands of silent photography at press conferences, sports and music events and it makes some sense to revisit the pellicle mirror. If it is enough, who knows, I am just saying it would not surprise me.
  16. Pellicle mirror has been around many times. It's always a bad idea robbing expensive light.
  17. Pellicles have merit for speed (in that the shutter can move faster than the mirror), but unless Nikon really have envy of mirrorless bodies, I'd be very surprised. They've never entirely chased after the speeds the 1Dx series can hit anyway. If you want a faster frame rate, I'd expect an electronic shutter (or even global shutter, if they can do it without losing light) to be the better way to go. I'll be interested to see whether the D6 is actually any better at low light than the D5 - the Z6 is pretty good, but the D4 wasn't a significant step forward from the D3s (but did add resolution and dynamic range at lower ISO, where the D3s and the D5 are weaker).
  18. "Pre-announcing." Love that. High-end barely-upgraded(?) merch selling into a steadily shrinking market. Brilliant.

    Pro sports shooters are vaccinated against GAS by the need to make a living. They don't buy new gear for bragging rights alone.
  19. Well, we have no official information about the D6 apart from it being a DSLR so it's difficult to judge whether it is barely or substantially upgraded. The D5 AF was a substantial improvement over Multi-CAM 3500 based systems but the D5 development announcement mainly stated that there will be a new radio controlled flash. These are teaser announcements meant to tune people to follow what is happening when it does get launched for real.
  20. Shun, Nikon has always had a flagship camera and for the last 13-14 years has always made an S version of the single digit body until the D5- D6.
    The flagship cameras have never sold like the consumer bodies by well over an order of magnitude but that was never the intent of a flagship body. Figuratively speaking, the flagship body proved that Nikon is the best camera company in the world because it makes the best camera in the world. I believe that the D6 rather than a D5S iteration may be Nikon's plan to speed up the transition to a mirrorless flagship camera in a few years rather than milk the DLSR market further down the road. I hope that the Nikon's continued development of new high end F mount glass is an indication that newer mirrorless bodies will be fully compatible with new F glass. Good hunting.

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