Nikon Unveils its New Flagship

Professional Photo editor Terry Hope has had the opportunity to get hands on with a pre-production sample of Nikon’s new D6 flagship model which, in an Olympic year that happens to be centred on Japan, is being aimed squarely at professional sports and news photographers. The verdict? “At first sight it looks like a significant upgrade on the D5, particularly in the autofocus and connectivity departments.”  

The new camera features Nikon’s most powerful AF system yet. An arrangement of 105 all-selectable cross-type sensors, with 1.6x higher density coverage than the D5, offers what’s said to be unparalleled tracking performance even under the toughest lighting conditions. Furthermore, an increased range of selectable Group-Area AF patterns lets users optimise the AF setup for specific jobs and situations to increase reliability.

Meanwhile in-camera connections, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and built-in GPS, are said by Nikon to enable the fastest transfer speeds in the field, with the camera’s wired LAN achieving approximately 15 % faster communication than the D5, while streamlined workflow enables key shots to be prioritised for transfer. Speed is also enhanced by the addition of dual card slots that accept XQD and CFexpress cards—the fastest cards available today.

At the heart of the camera is a 20.8 MP full frame CMOS sensor, coupled to an EXPEED 6 image processor and 180K-pixel RGB sensor. The ISO range runs from 100-102,400 and is expandable to 50-3,280,000, while burst speeds of up to 14 fps with full AF/AE are offered, or up to 10.5 fps with AE tracking in Silent Photography mode.

Other benefits include high-resolution displays that now offer improved visibility and readability while the D6 inherits the robust body that made the D5 so popular with pros in the field who required total reliability. Cost of the camera is set at £6299 and it will become available this spring. We’ll be running a full test of the camera as soon as full production test samples become available. Read the full press release below.

The flagship model with the most powerful AF in Nikon history.

Nikon have announced the release of the Nikon D6 FX-format digital SLR camera, a new flagship model that responds to the needs of professional sports photographers and photojournalists.

With the new D6, Nikon has realized the most powerful AF performance in its history through significant improvements over its predecessor, the Nikon D5 (released in March 2016). All focus points in the new, densely packed 105-point AF system utilize cross-type sensors, and all are selectable. The AF sensor built into the D6 is approximately 1.6x denser, and supports three times the number of selectable cross-type focus points than the D5, demonstrating superior focusing performance. The group-area AF option so popular with users of the D5 has evolved even further with support for 17 custom arrangements from which users can choose depending upon the scene or way the intended subject moves for precise capturing of decisive moments. The new dedicated AF engine developed for the D6 enables high-speed continuous shooting at up to approximately 14 fps*1 with all focus points working to keep the subject in focus for improved subject-tracking performance. In addition, adoption of a new algorithm enhances the camera’s ability to maintain focus on the intended portion of a subject without responding to those that pass through the frame.

The D6 also contributes to a faster on-site post-shooting workflow that is so vital to professional users. It does so with new functions that enable faster transmission of decisive photos, including one that allows photographers to transmit their winning images first with a flick operation using the camera monitor that moves the current image to the top of the waiting list*2, and another that enables simultaneous recording of two JPEG images with different size and quality settings — a smaller one suited to transmission and a larger one for editing, for example. What’s more, the D6 supports the same 1000BASE-T Ethernet standard as the D5, with an approximate 15% increase in its transmission speed. Together with the built-in Wi-Fi® capability, it makes for a complete response to the wired and wireless networking needs of professional photographers. Further, equipping the camera with a GPS function*3 enables acquisition of accurate date, time, and location information.

The D6 offers increased usability while inheriting the D5’s operability and reliable hold. Usability has been refined with improved connector arrangement and increased visibility for the top control panel and LCD monitor when button illumination is used in dark situations, providing professional photographers with even greater support. In addition, the D6 not only offers the strength and durability, and dust and drip resistance that allow Nikon flagship models to continue working in even the tough environments, but it has also been equipped with a security slot that supports connection of anti-theft cables that can keep the camera safe during remote operation.

The D6 is the flagship Nikon digital SLR camera that provides all the support professional sport photographers and photojournalists to perform at their best. It supports a rich lineup of NIKKOR F mount lenses, from ultra-wide-angle to super-telephoto, allowing photographers to capture decisive, once-in-a-lifetime shots, and fully responds to the needs of professional photographers who must deliver those images as soon as they are captured.

  • *1Continuous shooting rate varies with lens used, aperture settings, etc.
  • *2When connected to a computer or FTP server via Ethernet or using the WT-6/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter (optional).
  • *3GPS function is not available in some countries or regions.

Primary Features

  • 1.The most powerful AF system in Nikon history with 105 densely packed cross-type focus points

    The D6 is equipped with a newly developed, densely packed 105-point AF system with which all focus points utilize cross-type sensors and all can be selected. The new focus point layout and the use of a triple-sensor arrangement for each focus point achieve AF coverage that is approximately 1.6x denser than that of the D5. The D6 also enables pinpoint focusing on the intended portion of a subject with approximately three times the number of selectable cross-type focus points as its predecessor. In addition, the group-area AF option popular with users of the D5 has evolved even further with support for 17 custom arrangements from which users can choose according to the scene or subject movement.

    The D6 also demonstrates superior low-light AF performance. The center focus point works down to -4.5 EV*1 and the others to -4 EV, making autofocus possible even in dark situations or with low-contrast subjects. In addition, the dedicated AF engine newly developed for the D6 makes it possible for all focus points to work to maintain focus, even with high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 14 fps. The camera’s ability to maintain focus on the intended portion of a subject has also been increased — especially clear when Custom Setting a3 “Focus tracking with lock-on”*2 strength is set higher. This allows photographers to maintain focus on an athlete’s face, for example, even if that athlete is a runner or table tennis player whose face is temporarily obstructed by a hand or paddle.

    The Advanced Scene Recognition System, which uses a 180K-pixel RGB sensor, offers even greater performance with the EXPEED 6 image-processing engine’s superior processing capabilities in addition to the vast amount of information provided by the new dedicated AF engine. The D6 is also the first digital SLR camera*3 capable of placing priority on the subject’s eye with autofocusing in auto-area AF and 3D-tracking modes, allowing photographers to concentrate on framing portraits.

    • *1At ISO 100, 20°C/68°F.
    • *2With continuous-servo AF autofocus mode.
    • *3As of February 12, 2020 based on research conducted by Nikon. With phase-detection AF using the AF sensor module.
  • 2.Equipped with a variety of functions that make for a more efficient post-shooting workflow

    The D6 responds to the needs of professional photographers who require the ability to deliver their winning images as quickly as possible by placing the best images at the top of the waiting list. The photographer needs only to use a flick operation in the upward direction to add the current image displayed on the monitor with playback to the top of the queue. There is also a function designed especially for those who only shoot JPEG. This function allows for the simultaneous recording of two JPEG images with different image size and quality settings, which is convenient for separating images that will be transmitted from those that will be edited.

    The D6 supports the same 1000BASE-T Ethernet standard as the D5, with an approximate 15% increase in transmission speed. The camera also supports a number of options for wireless networking. In addition to conventional wireless networking using the WT-6/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter (optional), the D6 also offers built-in 2.4- and 5-GHz*1 Wi-Fi®. What’s more, stills, including those recorded in NEF (RAW)*2 format, and video recorded with the camera can be uploaded to a smart device*3 using the SnapBridge app. Support for GPS satellites, GLONASS satellites and Quasi-Zenith satellites enables accurate date, time, and location information acquisition with shooting.

    • *1Available in station mode; not available in some countries or regions.
    • *2Be sure to use the latest version of the SnapBridge app.
    • *3The iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, and Android™ devices running the SnapBridge app can be used. The SnapBridge app can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store® and Google Play™. See Nikon’s website for further information.
  • 3.Superior image quality and reliability that allow users to concentrate on shooting

    The D6 has an effective pixel count of 20.8 megapixels, and is equipped with a Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 6 image-processing engine that contribute to a broad range of standard ISO sensitivities — ISO 100 to 102400. Sharpness and clarity are preserved and noise is effectively reduced, even at high sensitivities. Auto white balance stability and precision have been increased for clearer, more natural colors with no color cast in skin tones. The D6 also supports recording of 4K UHD video.

    The D6 is constructed of the same magnesium alloy as the D5, ensuring a strong and durable, dust- and drip-resistant body that never misses decisive moments, even under the tough conditions. The layout of operational controls has been refined for increased usability, and a security slot that supports connection of anti-theft cables has been added to help keep cameras safe during remote operation.

  • ·Wi-Fi® and the Wi-Fi® logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.
  • ·Apple®, App Store®, the Apple logos, iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch® are trademarks of Apple Inc. registered in the U.S. and/or other countries.
  • ·The iPhone trademark is used under license from Aiphone Co., Ltd.
  • ·Android™ and Google Play™ are trademarks of Google LLC.
  • ·CFexpress is a trademark of the CompactFlash Association in the United States and other countries.
  • ·XQD is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
  • ·All other trade names mentioned in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
  • Specifications, design, product name and supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Specifications and equipment are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.


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