Remember when Pentax released the K-1 Mark II? In hindsight, that wasn't too bad.
The latest flagship camera from Nikon has been announced, the D6. Looking at the spec sheet, I'm really struggling to see why Nikon even bothered with this "update." I'm sure many of you will want to tell me about how reading the spec sheet won't tell me anything about a camera. To some extent, I agree with you, however, when an update is this minor, I think it's fair to judge the book by its cover.
Not much really, but let's take our proverbial magnifying glass and see what see what we can find.
From what I can see, the new D6 is lighter than the D5. That's a good thing; I'm sure some of you out there will want to pay the extra amount for it. Other than that, the D6 offers a slighter faster burst rate, and the autofocus has been improved. Clearly, Canon has a lot to be concerned about.
This is a minor update and doesn't offer anything significantly beyond what many D5 owners already have. If this had been called the Nikon D5s, then one could argue that it's an appropriate update. Nikon has in the past offered minor updates in-between camera cycles. This is why we had the Nikon D4s before the D5 was eventually released. Even if that were the case, it still wouldn't make things any better, because the competition has moved on. The name of the camera isn't the problem; the camera is the problem.
Manufacturers like Canon and Sony are producing incredible cameras with exceptional features. Nikon, on the other hand, is still stuck trying to compete with the 1D X Mark II. Personally, I'm not really bothered about this, because Canon is still on the offensive, and I mostly shoot with Canon. I just think that this is a huge disservice to all the existing customers that shoot with these types of cameras.
Is It Time to Switch?
Unfortunately, it might be.
Flagship cameras generally offer the best and most cutting edge technologies. The D6 is supposed to be a flagship camera, and although it has the price point, it doesn't deliver on the features. If you're a photographer that shoots with these specific types of cameras, then it may be time for you to switch.
This is not to say that all Nikon photographers need to switch from their current camera systems, because Nikon has some wonderful options at lower price points. The D850 could be described as the best high-resolution DSLR camera, and I wouldn't disagree. The new mirrorless system from Nikon seems to be gaining in popularity, especially with the addition of raw video on the Z 6. If you're not a photographer that shoots with flagship cameras, then you probably don't need to switch. On the other hand, if you're a photographer that shoots with flagship cameras like the D5, then it's probably time you considered another manufacturer.
The attention and dedication that the D series of cameras should be receiving is seemingly not there. The D6 feels like an afterthought or a camera that they don't believe in as much as some of the other cameras they produce. Nikon used the same sensor they had in the D5. This would have been fine if it were the best at the time of its original release, but it wasn't. The dynamic range of that sensor was severely lacking in comparison to Canon. This is odd, because it's normally Canon that's behind on those types of specifications, yet the 1D X Mark II was well ahead of the D5.
Essentially, what Nikon has released is a competitor to the 1D X Mark II instead of competing with the current cameras on the market.
Canon and Sony are the two main competitors for Nikon, and they haven't made things easy. The alternatives available for Nikon shooters are far more compelling for a whole number of reasons.
I understand that Sony has done something similar to Nikon with the a9 II. Arguably, Sony's attempt to "update" the a9 is worse than what Nikon has done; however, it's still a better option to switch to.
The first reason is the price point. The a9 and the a9 II sit at a much lower price than the D6. The original a9 is still an incredible option with its 20 fps feature. The mechanical shutter may be much slower in comparison, but for many, the electronic shutter could be enough.
The main feature that Nikon is pushing with the D6 is that the autofocus has been improved. If we're being completely honest, these improvements generally translate into very minor and mostly unnoticeable differences in real-world shooting environments.
If the Sony a9 series of cameras feel too small and almost toy like, then Canon is probably the one for you. The latest release from Canon is simply incredible. The 1D X Mark III costs pretty much the same as the new Nikon D6, but offers a whole lot more.
This latest camera from Canon also offers the ability to shoot at 20 fps; however, the major difference is that the buffer is huge. You can shoot up to 1,000 frames without reaching the buffer limit, and CFexpress will help quickly move those files onto your cards. The buffer in the Canon is five times greater than the Nikon. For many people that shoot with these types of cameras, Canon is obviously the better option in almost every regard.
Even for video, Canon has some of the best features currently on the market. This camera shoots 5.5K raw video internally. Even if you don't need that level of quality, you have lots of other options available to you both in 4K and 1080p resolutions. Couple that with Canon's Dual Pixel autofocus, and you have quite possibly the best video features in a DSLR.
Finally, Canon has the greatest number of lenses available. In my view, Canon produces some of the best lenses on the market, especially when it comes to long telephoto and zoom lenses.
Canon is quite obviously a better option than the Nikon D6, especially considering they cost pretty much the same.
I get the feeling that Nikon wants to concentrate more on the lower end of the market with their Z 7 and Z 6 mirrorless systems. They've clearly put a lot of investment into their new line of lenses. For photographers that shoot with flagship systems, this obviously doesn't help, however.
Up until recently, Canon and Nikon have been pretty interchangeable. Thing have now changed, and Canon is clearly the better option between the two. It doesn't make sense to spend the same amount of money to receive something worse.
Remember, brand loyalty doesn't help anyone except the brand.