Nikon D6 Specs Wishlist

Nikon was announced the development of the Nikon D6 flagship full frame DSLR camera on September 4, 2019, which is designed specially for action shooting as well as sports and wildlife photographers. And today Brad Hill has posted his Nikon D6 wish list:

1. Weight: A reduction!

I’d like to see the 1415 gm (3.12 lb) D5 trimmed down by about 250 gm (about 0.5 lb) to make it about 1165 gm (2.57 lb).

WHY? Hey…almost all lenses are getting lighter, why shouldn’t the D6 get lighter? And we ALL are getting older (will ANY young people buy a D6?). Of course, I wouldn’t want a weight reduction if it impacted negatively on camera durability, but I don’t think it would have to. And, I do know a significant number of serious wildlife photographers who have passed on buying a D5 owing to its weight.

What I expect: No weight reduction. Damn!

2. Resolution: 30 MP.

Given technological advances it SHOULD be possible for Nikon to produce a 30 MP flagship without compromising ISO performance, frame rate, or burst depth.

WHY? Even though I preferentially shoot animalscapes and landscapes with my Z7, there are times when I want to do it with what’s in my hands (which is often a D5/D6) and in these cases I would like more resolution. And, while I TRY to shoot compositions that work full-frame, going to 30 MP will allow more “cropability” than a lower resolution will.

What I expect: 24 MP.

3. ISO Performance: Status Quo (no change).

WHY? In this case the question should be “Why not BETTER ISO Performance?” And the answer is this: IF Nikon jumps to 30 MP with the D6 then I don’t think it’s possible to improve the noise characteristics OR dynamic range of the D5. In fact, if they DO go to 30 MP I think they’d have their hands just maintaining status quo on ISO Performance.

What I expect: Status quo on ISO performance.

4. IBIS (In-Body-Image-Stabilization).

I’d love to see 5-axis image stabilization of up to 5 Stops (with compatible lenses).

WHY? Because after using it for many months with the Z7 I absolutely love it and I am spoiled by it. Part of it is the increased absolute amount of image stabilization and part of it is the increased number of axes of stabilization. And, I LOVE that it imparts VR on non-VR lenses (like the amazing Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art). In my case, logistics often force me to shoot my D5 (and soon my D6) hand-held with super-telephoto lenses in low light…and adding a 5-stop IBIS would REALLY help me. Don’t forget – this is MY wish list! 😉

What I expect: 5-axis, 5-stop IBIS, but only with compatible lenses. And the FIRST compatible lens will be the new Nikkor 120-300mm f2.8E super-telephoto. Of course, users of recently introduced lenses like the 180-400mm f4E will scream for a firmware update for full IBIS compatibility, but Nikon will say it is impossible.

5. Autofocus: Number of Focus Points.

I DEFINITELY want to see the number of focus points INCREASED – and with more overall viewfinder coverage.

WHY? Like with IBIS, my Z7 has spoiled me. I LOVE that with my Z7 I can focus accurately on a subject with a more “extreme” (i.e., non-centred) positions without relying on focusing using AF-S (with recomposition) or AF-C plus focus-lock (with recomposition). And note that I DON’T want this accomplished simply by making the focus points larger – I like the D5’s small (than D500) focus points.

What I expect: Status quo (sigh…).

6. Autofocus: Improved 3D-Tracking.

WHY? Good already, but make it better to keep the D6 as far ahead of its pack of competitors as the D5 was. And note that ONE way to improve it would be to increase the area of coverage (like you could with more focus points as described above).

What I expect: Improved 3D-Tracking.

7. Autofocus: Improved VIEWFINDER Behaviour With 3D-Tracking.

Currently 3D-Tracking works really quite well, but the behavior of the focus point during 3D-Tracking is so erratic that using this focusing area mode is very unsettling (“What the heck is my camera focusing on???”).

WHY? Because it’s currently so unsettling to use that I hesitate to trust 3D-Tracking!

What I expect: Status quo (sigh…).

8. Autofocus: Option for a SMALLER Single Point AF Area Mode.

Canon has had this for several years with their Single Point Spot AF mode.

WHY? Because at times you need a REALLY small focus point to focus on something like the eye of a wolf when it’s laying down in grass. And because Canon has it! 😉

What I expect: Status quo (sigh…) – and Nikon almost never does something “because Canon has it” (even if it is a good idea).

9. Frame Rate: SLIGHT Bump with FULL autofocus performance – up to 14 or 16 fps.

WHY? To keep up with Canon (of course). And because when shooting extreme action the more frames the better.

What I expect: Bump up to 14 fps (from 12 fps).

10. Burst Size: Status Quo or Worse!

WHY? Currently you get 200 frames per burst with even a reasonably fast XQD card. With upping the resolution to 30 MP (I wish) I am fine with 200 frames in single burst. Hell, I’d be happy with half that – the longest single burst I have ever shot is 78 frames at 12 fps when photographing Humpback Whales bubble-netting (it can go on and on). With the slightly higher frame rate I’m wishing for that would bump that to around a 100 frame burst.

What I expect: Status quo of 200 frames (hey, the cards WILL be faster).

11. Storage Media: Dual XQD or CFexpress Card Support.

WHY? Because we are about to get a firmware upgrade on the D5 allowing CFexpress compatibility I am assuming it will be a no-brainer that Nikon can give us two slots with compatibility for BOTH XQD cards and CFexpress. Personally, if they choose to make XQD cards obsolete by not supporting them I would be REALLY ticked (hey, SD cards ARE cheap and almost disposable, but my collection of XQD cards represents an INVESTMENT!).

What I expect: Dual XQD or CFexpress Card Support.

12. Grouping of Camera Settings: User Settings, Please!

For some reason Nikon has decided that their PRO cameras should have two means of grouping settings together (Shooting Banks and Custom Banks) that collectively don’t allow you to store as many settings as the User Settings convention found on their “semi-pro”(and Z-Series) cameras. Canon, in contrast, puts Custom Settings (which are functionally equivalent to User Settings) on BOTH their pro and semi-pro cameras. I would love to see User Settings on a D6. If that was implemented I could completely live without Shooting Banks and Custom Banks, but if Nikon thinks enough users like those then just keep them and ADD User Settings!

WHY? Because User Settings allow you to store MORE of a camera’s settings into a single group, including AF settings (which CANNOT be stored in Shooting Banks or Custom Settings). Canon has this one right!

What I expect: Status quo – no User Settings!

13. Viewfinder Displays: A RADICAL new Grid with Rule of Thirds Lines!

WHY? The current grid display has a bunch of lines in it (and if you look at every 2nd line it is already “kinda” rule of thirds). Just clean it up, make the lines continuous across the viewfinder, and put them in a rule of thirds configuration. Just makes sense.

What I expect: Status quo.

14. Viewfinder Displays: A Virtual Horizon that DOESN’T Hijack My AF Points.

WHY? The Nikon D850 and D500 has a virtual horizon mode that adds an additional display on the bottom of the viewfinder and it works pretty well. I have absolutely NO idea why Nikon chose to do it differently with the D5 and instead of using an additional display the virtual horizon feature hijacks the AF points and functionally kills your AF. Dumb.

What I expect: Status quo.

15. Viewfinder Displays: Depth of Field Display.

WHY? The camera has all the data it needs to calculate the Depth of Field (DoF) dynamically – why not do so and have it as an optional display visible through the viewfinder? It could even be TOTAL DoF (and leave it to the user to estimate how much of it is front of vs. behind the subject).

What I expect: Nope, not this.

16. Fn3 Button: Some USEFUL Options!

WHY? Currently the Fn3 buttons can be used for only three things: Voice Memo, Rating, and Connect to Network. I’m OK with leaving these options in place, but please give us some OTHER options for that button! For many (most?) users this button is pretty much wasted.

What I expect: A reduction to TWO options instead of three! Kidding. No guess on this one…

17. ALL Buttons Programmable to Switch AF Area Mode: Fix ’em!

And the fix is simple – make ’em “push to toggle” buttons, not “push and hold” buttons.

WHY? Currently there are a number of buttons on the D5 that will allow you to switch from your default focusing area mode to a second mode (e.g., from Single Point to Group Area), but at present you have to push those buttons down AND hold them (thus tying up the finger or thumb you are using). Why not make those “push to toggle” buttons where all you have to do to go to the “alternate” focusing mode is push them once and let go? To return to the original (default) focusing area mode you simply push the same button again. Literally every photographer I have talked to about this has said “Yes…it IS kind of a pain to have to hold those buttons in…

What I expect: Status quo (one more sigh…).

18. Design Changes: Add Phone, Email and Texting Capabilities.

WHY? Why? Apple and other smartphone makers added a camera to a phone and kicked the crap out of the camera industry. Time for payback by producing a smartcamera. I’m sure within a year Apple and Samsung would be on their knees pleading for mercy. And, best of all, just imagine how cool it would be when you go out for coffee or dinner and others put their wimpy smartphones on the table to watch for notifications YOU plunk down your 2.57 lb (or heavier) D6 smartphone. What a dominance statement that would be. Heck, you could even plunk it down on TOP of their smartphones and crush them!

What I expect: Nikon will read this, not realize I’m kidding, decide it’s a great idea, delay production of the D6 to add the media features, and EVERYONE waiting for an upgrade to their D5 will want to kill me…