Photography

Nikon crowns a new flagship: The 14 fps, 105-point Nikon D6

Nikon has a new top camera. Unveiled late on Tuesday, February 11, after teasing the camera in the fall, the Nikon D6 upstages the D5 with a new processor delivering a 14 frames-per-second burst rate and a new 105-point autofocus system.

The D6 houses the same sensor as the D5, a full-frame, 20.8-megapixel option that’s also capable of 4K video at 30 fps. While the resolution may be identical to the predecessor, a new EXPEED 6 processor gives the flagship — commonly used for professional sports — a bit of a speed boost. The D6 shoots at 14 fps compared to the D5’s 12 fps, with the option for a 10.5 fps silent shutter, or 8 megapixel Live View photos at 30 fps.

The autofocus is designed to keep up with that speed with what Nikon says is its most advanced system yet. 105 autofocus points cover 1.6 times more of the image than on the D5. All those points are selectable, and all are the cross-type. An enhanced group autofocus mode allows photographers to choose from 17 different focal point groupings, choosing the shape that best matches the subject for more accuracy.

The autofocus is also designed to work in limited lighting, with the center point rated down to -4.5 EV. Low-light autofocus is a pain point among many mirrorless cameras, including Nikon’s own Z 7, which only detects down to -2 EV.

The D6 also tackles the limited battery life of a mirrorless camera with an 8,670-shot burst mode rating, or 3,580 shots one frame at a time.

The focus on pro sports photographers also builds in more connectivity features, including built-in 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless or faster performance with the WT-6 add-on accessory. A USB-C connection also allows for faster wired transfers for pro photographers on a deadline.

Those features are wrapped up in a large 44.8-ounce body — which is at least 5 ounces lighter than the D5 — made from magnesium alloy. The body is weather-sealed and includes a slew of physical controls, including the option to recall combinations of settings and 14 custom buttons. The D6 uses dual CFexpress slots.

Where the D850 is the resolution champ, the D6 is the speed fiend. That speed and extra features, as the flagship, comes at a cost, however. The Nikon D6 is expected to list for about $6,500 body-only, available in April with pre-orders open now.

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