Maybe It's Time to Say Goodbye to Nikon

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. 

What's New?

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. 

The Competition

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. 

Sony

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. 

Canon

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. 

Final Thoughts

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. 

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221 Comments
Mark Houston's picture

One camera didn't meet your exception and you are ready to change brands?

George Pahountis's picture

my thoughts exactly ! Why switch ? Camera companies leapfrog each other all the time. Pointless article and that comes from a canon user.

Michael Kormos's picture

An established professional is more concerned about camera’s build quality, reliability, support, and lens choices than a spec sheet for a single (upcoming) model. An established professional doesn’t buy a camera. He’s generally heavily invested in a system full of lenses, batteries, extra bodies, accessories, etc. which he’s been using for years, learned the ins and outs of, and can command them all with his eyes closed during demanding conditions. Any working professional and a business person would be foolish to simply “switch brands” for any such reason as stated here in this article. Such irrational choices cost money, time and effort - all of which a good professional photographer holds in high regard. Your time is better spent acquiring new clients (or figuring out how to keep the current ones), marketing your business, building relationships, or a hundred other things I could think of rather than losing cash on rapidly depreciating assets like camera systems with slightly better spec sheets.

This article is written by a gearhead and meant to be read by other gearheads.

William Nicholson's picture

Dammmm Michael, tell him the way it is. Could not agree more with you, well said. I am loyal to Nikon and dumped a lot of cash into the gear just as most people do on a brand they love and use over and over and over. I have a D-500 and was looking to upgrade to a full frame such as the D-750 and while doing my do diligence and reading and hearing what true loyal Nikon fans have to say about it, I am going to hold off on the new and look for a used one maybe. Happy with my DX for I shoot fast action sports and racing so the D-500 is my best option for what I do.

D Chon's picture

A self described architectural photographer condemning a pro sports camera? No wonder you don’t appreciate the improved AF. Guess your buildings don’t move too much. Lame.

Vincent Alongi's picture

If they were just developing mirrorless, rolling out a couple of options as "day 1" offerings that were "lower end" isn't a bad idea. Work out the kinks, etc. They already had updates that improved autofocus. Give them a chance...

Kraut Hammer's picture

If you want to be a Sony fanboy, then just own it and jump to Sony!

In one breathe you condemn Nikon for not upgrading enough, but then state that Sony did the same thing with the A9/A9II, but because you want to jump to Sony you say that is OK.

Just own it and jump to Sony now, get it out of your system and then jump to something else later that gets your geek juices flowing.

Usman Dawood's picture

Yea but the a9 is still better than the D6 lol.

Regardless Canon is the option I’m actually pushing not Sony.

Joseph Parker's picture

Better at what? Everything? Not ISO. Not low light autofocus. Not in lens selection. Not at fps with shutter.

This idea of better camera you use is so dumb. There are pros and cons to every camera. I will admit that Nikon dropped the ball on implementing video and on sensor autofocus on the D6. A new sensor that fixed dynamic range at low ISO also should have happened. But what you don't point out is what Canon hasn't addressed. AA filter. ISO lagging behind. Didn't improve their optical autofocus which was already behind the D5. Low light autofocus. The increased shutter speed prohibiting tracking.

Bottom line. If you only shoot sports or need low light reliability, go with Nikon. If you need a do it all, go with Canon. If you already have one system, it is probably cheaper to get a second body to fill in than switch systems so find work arounds. You ignore facts to fit a dumb narrative in a feild of cameras you shouldn't be using.

Christian Durand's picture

please stop !

Dale Karnegie's picture

This writer is a blight on the fstoppers brand; he's squandering the good will lee and patrick have built up by being knowledgable and entertaining. Mike Kelley tell your friends they need to get some quality control on their site before people start abandoning ship

Christian Durand's picture

I looked at the cameras you own and there is no Nikon .......

Usman Dawood's picture

I have an FM-2 does that count?

Christian Durand's picture

no ,doesn't . I shoot Fuji ,I am not involve with Nikon at all but I am always curious about people like you that feels you need to criticize other brand , buy what you like , be happy and let people buy what they want to buy . You have done the same thing before with you post about the Fuji XT4 .....Lame

Alex Yakimov's picture

Usman, thanks again for making a provocative article.
It is true that D6 on paper appears a bit iterative, not a leapfrogging edition. Does it really mean that the company as a whole is stalling? a9ii is a an iterative, connectivity oriented edition much alike D6.
Admittedly it is hard to judge an improvement in D6 before testing its OVF focusing in comparison to others.
Let's assume it is only iterative and they should have named it a bit different.
Following this logic should people abandon Sony, since they didn't made a9ii a leapfrogging ed.
and on top of that fail to deliver a7iiis before a7riv acting a bit inconsistent?
PS with poor buffeting and considerable EVF-lag 20fps might not mean as much

Usman Dawood's picture

You have a point and I agree to some extent. The thing is, this time the difference on paper is so vast that we can make some educated guesses. Canon is head and shoulders above the Nikon.

The D6 still has the same sensor as the last and it wasn’t great at the time of its original release.

Both the Canon and Nikon cost basically the same but with Canon you’re getting a heck of a lot more.

Alex Yakimov's picture

Good point, mate. Canon might look better for a new uninitiated customer, but then, some might find that spending that much on basically old mount in both cases and old not a WYSIWYG approach in making pictures (OVF) with a relatively lowres senosors would be a bit unattractive for uninitiated ones or some system switchers. So my bet that only a handful of new recruits will dive into wonderful oldskool OVF world of sport photography because of new features.

Thomas H's picture

This article is not necessary, the more than Usman says by himself that he shoots Canon and does not know the Nikon system. So why to write this at all? This is why he earns so many thumbs-down votes on this one. We should finally abstain from negativity and hysteria on the web. The camera makers have it difficult anyways because of the overall collapsing camera market. Atop of this dilemma come these web-articles and videos with sensationalist underpinning. The "experts" try to explain how to run the the multi-billion corporation, without knowing details about their scope and the moving parts involved.

Thom Hogan stated something of interest here: Traditionally Nikon's even models (D2, D4 and now D6) were comparatively minor updates, and the odd numbered (D1, D3, D5) were the major updates. Both players Canon and Nikon used to leapfrog each other. I think that the D5 was an arguably better body than the 1MkII, so Canon went out and leapfrogged it after several years of working on it.
Of course, now with the raise of Sony this dynamics change, but I would not jump to conclusion just yet about the "specs" before actually using the camera. Talking about specs is childish. Look back at the Hi-Fi era. Instead of listening to music, we used to compare some esoteric noise-to-signal values, distortions 0.2% versus 0.18% and all such nonsense. Go shoot some pictures, stop the spec talk. As a light walk-about body I use the "horrible" (so the Gods of Youtube) RP, and for the most part, I like the little fellow a lot.

Usman Dawood's picture

I think in the past you may have had a point however that's not the case now. Previously the differences in specs were only paper thin but now there's a significant difference.

They both cost pretty much the same but Canon is offering a world more. To write this off as meaningless and just spec sheet riding is preposterous. This is how companies get away with producing mediocre products because defenders will allow anything as long as it's from their preferred brand.

The 1DX II was a better camera compared to the D5 although you could argue back and forth. This time that's not that's case.

Your analogy about Hi-fis doesn't really apply here because there are some genuine things that Canon has and offers which Nikon simply cannot do. I'm not discussing imperceptible differences like a tiny bit more dynamic range or 0.2mp more, it's much more.

They produced a more expensive camera with the same sensor that they released 4 years ago. It wasn't the best back then.

Fred Teifeld's picture

This reads like somebody laid out the spec sheets for each camera and read them.

Detailed experience is actually more helpful.

Usman Dawood's picture

In most cases, yes. This time the differences are pretty vast so it’s easy to judge even from afar.

Gordon Spencer's picture

I worked for Ford Motor for 24 years. I believed that Ford "offered" the best trucks. Okay that said, then why is there GM, Chrysler and who knows what. There is not one brand that is best for "all" the consumers. Period. If one brand of car/truck or camera is that overwhelming. Then they "would not", just have a majority percentage of their market, they would have it all. Don't go down the road in determining to us as consumers or customers what is the 'good-better-best'. Oh my goodness, aren't we more mature than this? When I was 10, by buddies and I sat on the curve and counted what car band passed us by. One of us said the since we saw Chevy's then they are the "best". And that's how we determined who "owned"market and who was the "best"! Silly and naive, but we were kids. Go to Texas and everyone has Ford Trucks, to NY and see, what?
Oh I forgot, there are 52 trucks world wide that's in competation to be the best overall light truck. There are too, cameras world wide for all customers. I have both Cannon and Nikon.

In 1989, Chrysler approached Ford Motor to be "bought" by Ford. Now look at them. There are cycles in any consumer product. Just hang on for the ride!

Bert Nase's picture

I think it's time to say goodbay to Fstoppers...

Deleted Account's picture

With these kind of nonsens articles Fstoppers really hit a low. We don't need these kind of YouTube influencer attention seekers.

Dale Karnegie's picture

Lee Morris Tagging you so you can read the comments plastered all over this article. Check out Usman's prior articles and the backlash he received there too. by continuing to post click-baity, poorly researched articles -- he's just makes fstoppers look bad.

Love your youtube channel and your pro tutorials -- but, man, you gotta vet your contributing authors more. Do you really want to be the perez-hilton of photography sites?

Robert Robbins's picture

AGREED! What a stain on our industry. I'm done. See you guys where true photographers go to share insight and build positive community in order to build up our industry.

stuartcarver's picture

I dont think that exists im afraid, DPreview articles have good intentions but the community on there is just horrible, an absolute stain on Photography.

Deleted Account's picture

Agreed on DPR. the community there is a disgrace for photography. Anyone interested in photography should stay away from it as far as possible. I am part of a positive community with photographers with all kind of equipment, It's the local photoclub of 50 persons who share the same interest, making photographs. But also on the internet there are more than enough smaller community's that are nice and motivating. For example; https://www.mu-43.com/

stuartcarver's picture

Yeah it’s good to see others feel the same about that absolute hell hole.. it’s a massive shame though because the articles in general are good and Chris/Jordan on YouTube are excellent too, it’s amazing how the comments section can be so influential in ruining the site.

Motti Bembaron's picture

The D780 offers much better upgrade to those who use D750, D500 or D850.

Brandon Friend-Solis's picture

The D6 is indeed a worrisome update. It would appear that Nikon has been putting all of its R&D somewhere else, I can only hope it is into the Z system and that there will be a “pro” level body here at some point soon with a vertical grip.

LA M's picture

LMAO....Next "Time to say goodbye to <INSERT CAMERA NAME HERE>"

Shannon Sands's picture

I've only ever made one comment on FStoppers, usually only coming on here to learn new techniques or ideas. This article, has to be one of the worst I've ever read on here. I don't shoot with any of the D"X" cameras from Nikon but to judge a camera that you will never use or have any clue about is hors**it. You are a Canon user? That's funny you should write this about Nikon as Canon has been one of the worst abusers of the incremental update in recent camera history. Why are you still with them? Where was this article about Canon for the last 10 years? Why don't you write some articles that actually help the photography community instead of this drivel....what a waste.

Paul Scharff's picture

I don't get what the big deal is. Us Canon users have seen nothing but incremental tweaks since the 5D2. It is ironic that *apparently* the 1DX3 is more of a great leap forward while the D6 is incremental, but so what? I'm still with Canon because of their interface, the consistency of layout and battery, and those colors, even if my IQ is five years behind NIkon and Sony. If this is a deal breaker, change systems. I certainly wouldn't over one release.

Stuart Mole's picture

I remember when Fstoppers actually had people that could write interesting articles. Now it just seems to have Fanboi's write pointless articles.
What's the point of having someone write about a camera that they have never seen? Especially when they have already posted an article admitting that they can't handle Nikon mounting their lenses differently to others.

Joel Gale's picture

This is a really bizarre dear diary post. I’m just really confused as to why an architectural photographer that shoots Canon would be writing about a Nikon sports camera. Your headline indicating that it’s time to stop using Nikon loses all merit based on your experience, well actually it’s lack of.
To come to a conclusion based on a spec sheet rather than user experience is incredibly unprofessional. Judging by all the user comments you’ve lost all credibility for writing an opinion piece.

What you fail to miss is the intended market and possible strategy that Nikon has. This camera isn’t even aimed at you. I’m all for a critique of Nikon and whatever new products they launch but I expect the critique to be professional.

Usman Dawood's picture

You don't see the irony of your comment, do you lol?

Joel Gale's picture

Please explain

Jason Levine's picture

Continuous double digit year over year revenue losses, a diminishing profit, and the overall shrinking of the camera market aren’t good signs for any camera company in 2020.

Nikons imaging division has shrunk so drastically that it’s forecasted to be surpassed in terms of revenue and profit by its precision equipment division this year. It’s still making profit but not enough to continue sinking money into R&D for new products. Nikon themselves estimated they will be operating at a loss going forward.

Similar reports can be found from almost every other camera brand.

David Ferebee's picture

Nikon's pro mirrorless Z8 is not slated until 2021. Rumored to be 60mp, dual slots, and functioning battery grip. My Z7 is killing it for portraits. Would get the D6 if I had to shoot sports. But I will wait for the Z8 before I jump ship.

Usman Dawood's picture

New mirrorless system is looking pretty good, a few tweaks and it could be some of the best cameras on the market.

Vincent Alongi's picture

So perhaps not yet time to say goodbye to Nikon? After all, eventually they're going to roll out a flagship mirrorless, yes? That's where the industry and technology is going, much like it went from SLR to DSLR. Technology will wait for no one.

So... after a few tweaks, and becoming some of the best cameras on the market, I think one would not want to say goodbye to Nikon.

The backpedaling continues. Sorry, Usman. I'm not getting personal, but beginning to think reading your article a few times for a sanity check before you're ready to have it published would be a good idea in the future.

Jim Cutler's picture

Mine too David. My Z7 and the 85 Z lens is bloody fantastic for portraits.

Hans J. Nielsen's picture

Usman. Just clarify a few things.
The Nikon D5 and D6 have a hardstop on their buffer of 200 shutter actuations, to prevent the shutter from running loose, if the shutter is accidental being pressed, like when you put the camera in your bag.
Only God and Nikon know how big the buffer really is.

I know it is up in time to give Nikon a hard time, but dont just be the next lemming in line.
Try to be original when you write a story about a camera. Any camera.
Don't just follow what everybody else is writing.

Deleted Account's picture

How about your camera is more than good enough and you don't need a new one.

Wonder Woman's picture

Usman knows how to get them clicks!

Maybe it's time to say goodbye to Fstoppers.

Alex Yakimov's picture

Sorry, but you are confusing people. You should send people to a correct place, meaning Puerto Rico.

Yin Ze's picture

But at least Nikon has a f.95 lens so there... z mount ftw

Harold Crossman's picture

This article follows an all-to-familiar pattern. Day 0, Brand X announces a new camera. Day 1, critics bash it. Day 3, consumers buy it. Day 4, critics bash it. Day 5, consumers love it. Day 6, critics bash it. Day 7, Brand Y announces a new camera.... As for brand loyalty, you're wrong. I'm loyal to a brand because of the benefits the brand brings to me.

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