The camera, Nikon’s flagship — and thus most expensive — DSLR was originally slated for a March release.
Announced on February 11, the Nikon D6 packs in the company’s best autofocus system yet, with 105-points, mixed with an aggressive 14 fps burst speed. Nikon started taking orders in February, with the camera expected to officially debut in April.
But then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
In March, as states began shutting down, Nikon delayed the DSLR. The pandemic caused a shortage of parts, Nikon said, due to delays from a third-party supplier. Many camera components, across multiple brands, are manufactured in Asia, where the virus hit earliest.
The D6, Nikon says, will now be available in the U.S. beginning on Thursday, May 21, with a retail price of about $6,500.
The camera’s availability is bittersweet. Both Canon and Nikon tend to launch high-end sports-oriented cameras ahead of the Olympics, but shortly after the camera itself was delayed, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed as well. While the camera may be available soon, most sports — the subject that the speed of a camera like the Nikon D6 is best for — are still largely canceled or delayed.
The D6 isn’t the only camera affected by the pandemic as factories close to protect workers. The Fujifilm X-T4 was also delayed until May 11, and plants manufacturing Sony cameras in Malaysia closed. Nikon also delayed the 120-300mm f/2.8 lens, which, like the D6, is geared toward sports. Adorama now lists the new lens as “expected in a few days.”
Replacing the D5, the D6 uses the same 20.8-megapixel sensor, but incorporates a new EXPEED 6 processor. That difference provides the hardware to host a new 105-point autofocus system that covers more of the sensor than the D5. The autofocus system is also rated down to -4.5 EV for performance in low light — a spec that allows the D6 to offer better autofocus than Nikon’s flagship mirrorless. Speaking of what a mirrorless camera can’t do, the D6 boasts an 8,670-shot battery life in burst mode.
The Nikon D6 is available now for pre-order from major retailers, including B&H Photo and Adorama. Amazon is shipping later, on May 31.
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