Nikon Makes Flagship D6 DSLR Official Alongside Two Z Lenses


The day has arrived! Nikon has released official details and final specifications for its latest flagship DSLR: the D6. We received bits and pieces when the D6 was first revealed, late last year, but now we know everything. Topping the list of new features are an exceptionally powerful autofocus system, superior image quality, and enhanced connectivity. Joining the D6 in todays launch are two full-frame lenses for the Z Series: the NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S and NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. Both are welcome additions to Nikons continuously growing mirrorless system.

D6: The Result of 20+ Years of Flagship DSLR Development

In September 1999, Nikon launched the D1. It was a flagship digital SLR camera. Film was still dominant then and it would take a lot to convince shooters they could rely on this newfangled device. Fortunately, the camera was developed under the guidance of Nikons top minds, and the D1 was a definitive success. It was also, perhaps, the camera that sped up the push into the digital age. Within five years of its release, digital camera sales surpassed that of film cameras and now, more than 20 years later, we are still using some of the same concepts first seen in the D1, such as raw file formats. Even with some features sticking with us for so long, its encouraging to see that innovation hasnt stopped at Nikon, because the D6 brings some solid refinements and a few new capabilities to the DSLR series.

As a camera series beloved by sports and action photographers, it is only fitting that the D6 boasts Nikon’s most advanced autofocus system to date. It is a 105-point all-cross-type AF system with a redesigned focus point layout and a triple-sensor arrangement that allows each focus point to provide coverage that is 1.6x greater than the D5. This should allow it to track subjects accurately and quickly in a wide range of shooting environments. Also, low-light performance of the system has gotten a boost, with it now able to function at down to -4.5 EV with the center point. Combine this with a 14 fps continuous shooting rate and a 180k-pixel RGB sensor for Advanced Scene Recognition, and the D6 will deliver nearly unmatched performance. It even becomes the first DSLR to be able to track and follow an individual’s eyes for even more precise focusing on individuals.

Going back to the basics of all digital cameras, the D6 has a solid imaging pipeline. The core is a 20.8MP FX-format CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 6 image processor. This latest generation has further enhanced image quality in low-light conditions and the sensitivity range can be set natively from ISO 100-102400 or expanded to ISO 50-3280000. Photographers can work nearly anywhere.

The system is fast, allowing for 14 fps continuous shooting for up to 200 frames. For silent shooting, live view and an electronic shutter can operate at up to 10.5 fps. Also, the camera can capture stunning video in up to UHD 4K at 30p or Full HD at 60p. This same tech enables the recording of 2MP stills at 60 fps or 8MP images at 30 fps. Supporting this data throughput are dual CFexpress (Type B)/XQD card slots. Of course, this speed isn’t everything. The D6 is a solid camera because it is built to withstand the most demanding conditions. Professional-grade weather sealing, a shutter rated to 400,000 cycles, and illuminated buttons complete the package. An updated EN-EL18c Battery Pack even provides longer shooting times.

Workflow has been enhanced, as well, with the D6. This includes a 1000BASE-T LAN connection that is 15% faster than the D5. Also, wireless connections are supported natively in either 2.4 or 5 GHz bands, and the WT-6A/B/C Wireless Transmitter can boost wireless performance. And, as the latest flagship DSLR, Nikon has equipped the D6 with all the latest functions and features. This includes multiple exposures, creative filters, focus stacking, and even Kensington lock compatibility.

The D6 is truly a complete, refined package for professional photographers.

A Pair of Lenses for Full-Frame Mirrorless

The D1 was an early sign of a paradigm shift in cameras, telling everyone that the digital platform could compete with and beat film. We might want to consider Nikons other release for today as a potential indicator for the current camera industry: mirrorless systems are getting serious. The D6 still maintains that DSLRs are the go-to choice for professionals in need of an ultra-reliable and durable camera system that can do it all, but mirrorless seems to be catching up quickly. The engineers and execs at Nikon must see this themselves, which is why we now have the NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S and NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lenses.

NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Lens

These arent quite surprises; Nikon has published a roadmap announcing that these focal lengths are on their way for the Z Series. The NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S is a continuation of its line of compact, high-performing primes. We have an amazing f/1.8 prime series for Nikon DSLRs, so it is only fitting that mirrorless gets its own complete set. The 20mm is now the widest prime for the system and, as an S-Line lens, promises to deliver incredible resolution and performance.

Wide angle and a fast aperture make the 20mm f/1.8 quite versatile. Photographers can easily find a use for it with landscapes, astrophotography, architecture, reportage, and a great deal more. It also features specialized elements to combat aberrations of all types, and has a Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating to minimize flare and reflections. Another valuable feature is an advanced focusing system that uses stepping motors for smooth, near-silent, and fast AF. The lens, just like all other lenses in the line, has a programmable control ring for quickly adjusting certain settings, such as manual focus or aperture, and it is dust- and moisture-resistant. It is a solid wide-angle release for Z shooters.

NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Lens

For something quite a bit different, we have the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Lens. This is an incredibly versatile zoom lens—and its designed for full-frame Z cameras! Going from wide-angle to telephoto is no small feat, though the overall size and weight of this lens is relatively small, given its range. A conservative f/4-6.3 aperture is one of the key reasons this lens can remain compact while maintaining excellent image quality. It can serve as the go-to all-around zoom for shooters looking to bring a single lens along for an evening outing or an entire vacation.

Dont forget, just because the 24-200mm is a full-frame lens doesnt mean it cant be used on Nikons APS-C mirrorless cameras, such as the Z 50. The smaller sensor will give you an equivalent field of view of 36-300mm. A little less wide, but a good amount more telephoto.

The flagship D6 stole the show today, but Nikons mirrorless fans have plenty to enjoy in the 20mm and 24-200mm lenses. Have any questions? Concerns? Random thoughts? Leave them in the Comments section, below!



If I were 50 years younger and made my living in photography, the D6 would be an ultimate choice. Consider financing, and the the whole scenario would make sense.  A $700 down and 60 mos. at 6% would yield  a $121.80 monthly payment. This assumes my already having the F/2.8 "blessed trinity", along with the 200 - 500mm F5.6E auto Nikkor (in which the "jittery" framing at 500mm turns into a buttery-smooth wave when the shutter release is pushed halfway down, making framing your hand held shots buttery-easier).

As a (very) long time working pro, for 7k which is roughly what the price is of the forthcoming D6, I could purchase a D500 or two, a three flash Godox remote flash system, storage and a laptop/desktop plus Post Prod software and some Bourbon while making back my ROI in one or two shoots and the clients would delighted with the final product. That D6 would have to do the laundry and dishes and other services for me to pay that kind of money. I can only think that it's solely for the Pro sports shooters because you would have absolutely no need for it in any other circumstance. Gee maybe I should start shooting sports since the pay is so good :/

My interest will be a review of the dynamic range of the new D6. I think that’s the future of technology for these beasts.   I want to shoot with a reduced need for HDR.   

The $64,000.00 question (pun intended) is: Any idea how much the D6 will retail for, as well as the 120-300mm 2.8, and when will they be available?? 

At this time, we do not have any pricing information we can share on these new Nikon items. As soon as the pricing information does become available, we will make an announcement via the B&H newsletter. If you have not done so already, you may sign up for the newsletter here: