Cameras

Nikon D6 Review

The Nikon D6 is Nikon’s most advanced and capable professional camera, and it holds the position of being the company’s flagship model. It’s not cheap, and it’s somewhat cumbersome and large. The D6 is likewise an absolute overkill for the typical photography hobbyist. Still, it may be a good investment for somebody with a budget who enjoys photographing moving things, such as animals, athletes, or other moving subjects.

In many aspects, the Nikon D6 is an incremental increase over its predecessor, the Nikon D5, since it has the same 20.8-megapixel full-frame sensor as its predecessor. It comes with several good upgrades, including an enhanced autofocus system, a faster CPU, compatibility with CFExpress cards, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, among other things.

If taken one at a time, several of these enhancements may appear somewhat unimpressive, yet, when taken collectively, they constitute a good makeover. They are also all contained in a body constructed like a tank and meant to survive pretty much everything you will throw at it. The body is designed to withstand anything you throw at it.

Nikon D6 Build Quality

There is no getting past the fact that the Nikon D6 is a monstrously large and well-built camera. That in and of itself is not necessarily a negative aspect, but you shouldn’t think about this camera as something you’d take on trips or use daily.

You also have a second set of basic controls on the vertical grip, making it easier to shoot portrait-format images. This is made possible because the camera has a large amount of available body space, which means it has many buttons. These buttons give you quick access to everything you want to change.

You shouldn’t expect to be able to operate this camera with just one hand. Still, most of the buttons and dials you’ll need to make typical adjustments, such as changing the aperture or the shutter speed, are located on the right-hand side of the camera.

This enables you to make rapid adjustments with your right thumb and fingers, but the other buttons are often used for more in-depth adjustments or reviewing images.

Nikon D6 Features

The D6 is more of an evolution of an existing model, with some intriguing and helpful modifications, rather than a full-scale revolution, as is typical for highly high-end cameras. This is because the D6 has some fascinating and helpful tweaks.

The Nikon D6 features the same 20.8-megapixel full-frame sensor as its predecessor, the Nikon D5 because it is constructed around the same sensor. It is essential to keep in mind the target audience for this camera if you are under the impression that the camera’s resolution is not exceptionally high compared to other models produced by Nikon.

It has a high enough resolution to allow for a respectable degree of cropping, while still maintaining file sizes at a suitable size and operating well in low light, which is why many pros regard this type of pixel count as something of a “sweet spot.”

If you are a sports photographer who is responsible for sending back dozens of photographs to the news desk, you do not want the big, billboard-sized images that may be produced by cameras such as the Nikon D850.

Nikon D6 Performance

Focusing was already quite good with the D5, but there has been a significant increase in quality with the D6. Even though the D6 is designed for pros, there is undoubtedly a case to be made that advanced amateurs with a particular fondness for topics such as wildlife should consider purchasing one (budget permitting, of course).

Both the process of acquiring focus and tracking subjects have been vastly enhanced. This is especially noticeable when considering the broad array of customization options to configure the D6 to precisely match your preferences. If you are a wildlife or sports photographer, especially one who favors a DSLR setup over a mirrorless one, it is an excellent choice for those with a sizable budget.

Those who shoot human beings will find that the eye focus in auto-area AF and 3D tracking is also quite good. This is a beneficial feature. Wildlife photographers may be less enthusiastic because it does not function with animal eyes. We can only hope that Nikon will fix this issue with the next firmware update, similar to what Sony has done in the past.

Nikon D6 Image & Video Quality

We did not doubt that the D6’s image quality would be extremely high because its predecessor, the D5, utilizes the same sensor as its successor, the D6, but marries it with a superior CPU.

The decision made by the D6 to preserve what could be considered a relatively modest pixel count is beneficial to the camera’s ability to operate well in low light. Because of this, it will be especially appealing to professional photographers and individuals who use it for subjects like wildlife, where circumstances might often be on the dark side.

JPEGs captured straight from the camera exhibit an amazing level of brightness and vibrancy while maintaining a low noise level. The all-purpose metering option does an excellent job of delivering well-balanced exposures in most shooting settings. The automatic white balance setting maintains colors that are, for the most part, on the right side of the spectrum.

Despite having a lesser resolution than some of the other sensors available on the market, the overall effect of the deal is quite pleasing to the eye. When using very high ISOs, the detail in a photograph might get a little hazy; here is where the very adaptable Raw format photographs come into play.

Although we wouldn’t expect someone to shoot solely in JPEG if they spent the money required to purchase a Nikon D6, JPEG files can be beneficial for swiftly sharing photos online while on location and for other purposes.

If you are capturing anything that is pretty straightforward and still, the quality of the video is satisfactory. However, because of the sluggish and unpredictable focus in Live View, it is not a camera that can be recommended to videographers in particular.

Nikon D6 Specs

Body typeLarge SLR
Max resolution5568 x 3712
Other resolutions3648 x 2432 (DX format)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 5:4, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels21 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorExpeed 6
ISOAuto, 100-102400 (expands to 50-3280000)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)3280000
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points105
Number of cross-type focus points105
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,359,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.72×
Minimum shutter speed900 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync socket)
Flash modesNormal, redeye reduction, slow sync, slow sync w/redeye reduction, rear-curtain sync, off
Continuous drive14.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesDual XQD/CFexpress slots
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (mini HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (Wired or smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL18c lithium-ion battery & charager
Battery Life (CIPA)3580
Weight (inc. batteries)1450 g (3.20 lb / 51.15 oz)
Dimensions160 x 163 x 92 mm (6.3 x 6.42 x 3.62″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSBuilt-in

Nikon D6 Verdict

The Nikon D6 is a strong and dependable workhorse camera best suited for professional photographers already engaged in the Nikon system. It is overkilled for most beginner snappers, but if you have a significant amount of cash burning a hole in your pocket, this is an excellent choice for several reasons.

Photographers who specialize in wildlife and sports photography and who already have a cabinet full of Nikon lenses, for example, are likely to be enticed by the tracking AF performance of this camera. However, it is not without its flaws, with Live View focusing and video being particularly disappointing aspects of the product, while competitors Canon and Sony outperform it in important respects.

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