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

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

  1. The D5 got a series of additional features in firmware updates you could think that those are preferred by many to having to buy a completely new camera. Canon has had 4-year update intervals on their 1DX series and they're doing very well indeed (in the professional sports photography market, they seem to have at least 2/3 of the market judging from what I can see out there at sports arenas) despite not having a mid-term update. I don't think you can deduce anything really about Nikon's intentions based on the lack of a D5S. What seems to be happening though is that the D6 is pre-announced several months earlier than the D5 was (4 months) so Nikon are returning to the normal pre-Olympics launch schedule after they were delayed in 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami destroyed much of their manufacturing infrastructure.

    Notice also that Sony have not updated the A9 into an A9 II although they normally update their stuff frequently. Instead, they have made major firmware updates which have (arguably more than) kept the camera at the top of its game. (Yes, I do believe an A9 Mk II is coming perhaps sooner than later. But the principle of having less frequent hardware updates and more firmware updates is probably very much appreciated by users.)

    The Z system will no doubt get a top sports model eventually, my guess it will come in time for 2024, but it will need its own lenses that have a motor solution that works well with mirrorless camera's AF system. The fact that Nikon are developing new telephoto lenses for F mount just tells us that they think it's the best approach for telephoto action photography given the technology that is available and the users' requirements.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon announced the D5 on 6th January, 2016 at the Las Vegas CES. Since I had a trip to southern Africa in June that year, I was in a bit of a hurry to get one. (My fight to Cape Town was through London Heathrow, and the Brexit vote took place in the middle of the trip. On my way back, I had a rest stop at a London airport hotel, where I watched on TV Teresa May becoming the then new prime minister. And I also noticed the the Pound had become much cheaper against the US$ since my outbound trip three weeks earlier.)

    In other words, I have had my D5 since quite early on. The Multi-CAM 20000 AF module was newly developed for the D5 and D500 (announced simultaneously, and it is now also on the D850). Nikon is not going to develop another new AF module so soon, especially DSLRs are clearly in the downward trend. To me, it is not at all surprising that there is no D5S, as IMO it is going to be very difficult to make substantial improvements on the D5 within a few years. The D5 already uses dual XQD cards (CF optional) and can be upgraded to CFexpress. I can see Nikon improve the low-light performance a bit and maybe improve video capabilities. Afterall, the D5 (and D500) can only capture 4K video in a crop mode, but then mirrorless is the much better way for video now.

    Of course the Nikon engineers know a lot more about camera development than I do. It'll be interesting to see what new features and improvements they manage to make on the D6. Personally it is unlikely that I'll spend that kind of money on another DSLR. I would imagine the D6 is the last of the line. By the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, it'll be mirrorless all the way.

    Incidentally, I fully expect both Canon and Sony will introduce new flagship, sports cameras for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, around the December to January time frame.
  3. I suspect that the opposite will occur . . . Which sucks because I have lusted after this lens for years without being able to justify the expense. I was just starting to seriously look at the used market . . .
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  4. Shun: Yes. The vote happened just before my trip involving a two-week tour around US national parks, and the pound has fallen in the last couple of months just before I have a business trip to New Orleans. The last dip was in July, just before I flew to LA for a week - which partly put me off buying a couple of bits of kit. I should learn to stop travelling. Or at least buying things.

    The obvious improvement over the D5 would be PDoS for video. That said, I don't know how many D5 sensors Nikon committed to - I can't imagine they've shipped vast numbers of D5 bodies. With the D3 (but not, admittedly, D3s) the sensor turned up in the D700, and they sold a lot. The D3s persisted for quite a long time - I don't know how different the actual sensor was compared with the D3, as distinct from changes to the external circuitry to get the extra high ISO performance. The D4 sensor got shared with the Df, presumably not in huge numbers but possibly enough to use up stock; the D4s sensor is presumably closely related to the D4 one despite the slight improvement at high ISO. If PDoS needs a new sensor and the D6 replaces it, Nikon may need to release a "D700s" to use up stocks (or, I guess, a Df2...) If the D6 switches to, say, the Z6 sensor, it'll solve "where do we get a sensor from?" but lose the advantage of the D5 sensor's performance - unless the D5 stays on the market as an alternative. Guess we'll see.

    Ed: I looked at the 120-300 Sigma when I picked up my 70-200 FL (the latter being so expensive that they were valid alternatives). The FL seemed visibly sharper (not helped by the Sigma needing fine tuning) - and of course the Sigma was a bit hard to carry after a while, even though normally I have little trouble with a 200/2. (I could still wield a 400 f/2.8 FL afterwards, but I was a little nervous about dropping it. Oddly.) Of course, the 70-200 FL is a very high bar to meet - I'm sure the 120-300 would have looked fine against the 70-200 VR2 I was trading in. In theory a 120-300 f/2.8 is a lens spec that would appeal to me - for fairly dark venues where I need to shoot at a range, and the reach would really be useful for, e.g., getting people presenting at conferences. The Nikkor might be enough of an improvement to be more viable, but I'm sure it'll be well out of the price I can justify for it.
    ed_farmer likes this.
  5. I shoot weddings with the 70-200f2.8 AFS, not even the VR. I have never thought of the Sigma as a replacement for that but as a replacement for a 300f2.8 for sports. Most specifically, football and cycling. Both outdoor sports where the speed isn't as important as the compression and shallow DOF. To me anyway.

    As I noted, this has been a desire driven by "lust" not by "need" . . .
  6. 80-200?
  7. Yep . . . I also type really fast and don't read much of what a type . . .
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  8. You talked about the Df again! If Nikon does something like that it would be an MILC with the traditional controls (traditional as in old MF cameras) but a mirrorless and also a high res sensor and not one from the D6. We can wait and see my prediction.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  9. I can quit any time I like, BeBu. :) (But I am curious about the future of the D5/D6 sensors given the history of recycling. Incidentally, I'm not sure if the D3x sensor has anything in common with the D6x0/D750 or Sony A99, or if the stratospheric price was absorbing a tiny sensor run.)
  10. Regarding the New 120-300mm f2.8. it looks like it might be as heavy as the 300mm f2.8 and the tripod collar foot looks like it might be too short for balancing on a gimbal mount. However, if the weight is less than the current 300mm f2.8, then the balance matter may not be an issue.
  11. If the D6 sensor is one that has excellent high ISO performance with medium/low resolution (like 24MP) then it would go into the Z6 replacement or a high frame rate mirrorless or one that lean toward video. However, with 24MP it can't do 8K video.
  12. For me, Nikon needs to get a much better blend of resolution/fps/buffer. Somewhere between the D5 and D850. Unfortunately sports shooters typically are fixated more on speed and their customers do not require the ultimate in image quality.
  13. Balance on a gimbal will depend on both the lens and the camera. I have found balance with footed lenses and compatible bodies tends to be relatively easy to achieve. I replace the OEM feet for my lenses with Arca style feet from Really Right Stuff, which are long enough to balance with most rigs. One can always attach a secondary plate, and place it more fore or aft as needed. A fixed, rather than sliding plate, or screwing the lens to a non-QR platform might prove difficult.
  14. That's not what Nikon want to make 'for' you.

    Added to that you cannot have very high res, 16bit RAW AND high FPS in the same camera... YET;)

    Two different cameras that excel one in each is currently common to all brands.

    Sports shooters, or rather the market that buys their images, do not need 60Mpix 16bit RAW

    Fine art/landscape/portraiture do need 60Mpix 16 bit RAW but not at 15fps, often only single frame only.

    So Nikon sells 2 cameras to people who are prepared to spend well over $3k on a body only.
  15. Unless you have internal knowledge, as that an assumption or a request? :)

    Using the current Z6 sensor wouldn't be the end of the world; in at least some measurements it matches or betters the D5 at high ISO while being better at low ISO (and it has the old D4/Df trick of being very good in the mid range - ISO 1600 for the D4/Df, 800 and 1600 for the Z6, to the extent that it's actually better than at ISO 400). The readout speed may or may not be quite enough for a D6-class body. I'm glad to have the theoretical 8K timelapse ability on a D850 (and have simple scaling for 4K) partly for viewing stills on an 8K TV; cameras that can actually record practical 8K at a sensible frame rate are still rare, although I've argued that 8K video and retrospective shot selection from the sequence could change how some photography is done.

    If it's seen as "good enough", sticking the Z6 sensor in a D6 would solve the sourcing problem - but would mean the Z6 needed to justify its premium position (both over the Z6 and over any D750 replacement using the same sensor). It also raises a question of whether there is an excess of D5 sensors somewhere.

    Well, 24MP would be "between" - and the small raw formats from the D850 (that I've not read an analysis for yet) might help get around any "manageable file size" problems. If the D5 is seen as "shoot the image even under terrible conditions, then send some JPEGs straight to a picture editor" camera, as I've assumed has been the target for this range (except the D3x), resolution is of questionable benefit - and the low-ISO inflexibility of the D5 (and D3s) isn't all that harmful. Some would argue there's a market for an F-mount studio camera to replace the D3x, but I believe there are enough amateur landscape photographers out there that a high MP body will likely always sell better in a more portable shell. The only reason I'd expect to see, say, the Sony 60MP sensor in a D6 would be if Nikon decided to replicate the F6 and make a body for rich amateurs as a last hurrah of a system. It feels a generation early for that.

    To be fair, the A7RIV hitting 10fps at 60MP is no slouch, if not quite at D5 levels. Red (among others) will sell you an 8K sensor that can do 60fps in raw, and also do lower resolutions at higher speeds. Not currently all that affordable or pocketable, though, and I imagine there may be some cooling involved.

    True, although the A9, A7s and 1Dx haven't been updated in a while.

    Devil's advocate: as the Red cameras show, you could do both in the same camera - especially if you have some suitably clever binning at the right point in the processing (maybe even in the sensor stack). You're paying for a sensor with more working MP than you might need that way, though. Equally, I'm happy not having to lug a D6-class body around to get D850 behaviour (although I also like the 9fps with the grip).

    Things that might be interesting to see turn up:
    • Electronic global shutter (which would allow the frame rate to be increased, but might affect sensitivity as in the older dSLRs; curiously, Red seem to do this with a variable ND accessory).
    • An attempt to take on Sony's eye tracking AF (which the meter may or may not have the resolution to do).
    I'd be mildly surprised not to see PDoS for video at this point - but to be fair there are easier cameras to carry around if you want video, one of which is probably your phone.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  16. Andrew!
    I don't have inside connection with Nikon and because of that I am free to use my crystal ball to predict. (Shun on the other hand does have the connection but he is not allowed to say).
  17. Just checking, BeBu (you sounded definitive, so I thought I'd check I hadn't missed something). Of course, you wouldn't be allowed to say either...
  18. I can say because I use the crystal ball not inside information. Just wait and see if my crystal ball is working correctly.
    (may be I can't say??? When making my crystal ball I did use some glass from Nikon)
  19. Well, so long as it's fluorite. We wouldn't want a crystal ball with LoCA. :)
  20. 24mp seems the next logical resolution "step" for a D6 upgrade from a D5. Not that I have any inside info or ED glass balls, but it's the resolution I've been predicting for the D6 for years.

    To me, the big question will be if it uses the Z6 sensor or if Nikon branches out and give it its own unique sensor. Given that the latter has been pretty much SOP for the single digit bodies from the beginning(aside from them occasionally making their way into less-than-flagship cameras)

    The lens is more interesting to me, but I quite literally don't have a use case for it, and there's no conceivable way I could afford it.

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