This camera and lens have received some shaky reviews online, but we like the Nikon D6 for what it is, and the Nikkor 120-300mm f/2.8 FL ED SR VR super-telephoto lens is absolutely fantastic. Here’s why we think so.
What are the upgrades that Nikon has put into the D6? First off, there are two CF Express card slots that are also compatible with XQD cards. We highly recommend you invest in some CF Express cards since the write speed and buffering is so much better with them.
The autofocusing system has also been upgraded, with a Multi-CAM 37K AF 105 AF point sensor module. Nikon says it’s their best autofocusing system to date, and from our testing, it really is good.
You also get 4K at 30 frames per second, but this isn’t a video camera per se, and you shouldn’t be getting this if you’re looking for a hybrid camera that can take excellent photos and videos. This is, for the most part, a photographer’s camera.
There’s also an upgraded processor inside, that speeds up autofocusing and everything else. ISO is from 100 to 3,280,000, which you’ll most likely never use at the max since the resulting image would be terrible with way too much noise.
The camera does have excellent low-light performance though, even in extreme low-light situations where photos turned out great. The display at the rear is touch-sensitive and is great for the initial filtering through photos on the camera itself.
Nikon is also touting a lot more connectivity in this camera, with GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an Ethernet port and more. The D6 isn’t a big upgrade from the D5, but with a camera like this, you’re not expecting huge jumps. The reason is that these cameras are meant for working photographers and they need to know where everything is at, they don’t want to fiddle with new features and risk having their camera not work when they need it most.
So these are incremental updates and we understand, but we also wish some things like the video capabilities could have been improved a little more.
The AF system is all cross-type and you can group them all, and Nikon has touted that you can really fine-tune the focus to your liking, but people are complaining that there are no focusing points to the edge of the sensor. Now, typically most people prefer the subject to be relatively near the centre of the frame.
We’re not quite sure which types of photographers would shoot with the subject at the edge of the frame and leave a lot of empty space in the rest of the shot, but that’s not us. So there not being any focusing points at the edges aren’t really an issue for us, or for most photographers out there.
The mechanical shutter goes at 14 frames per second, with 10.5 frames per second on the electronic shutter in silent mode, which is more than adequate.
Now, let’s talk about the lens. It’s everything you could want in a super-telephoto zoom lens. Nikon has made some great zoom lenses, and yes, this lens is going to be an investment because it’s pricey, but if you require this type of lens, you’re going to be well-rewarded.
There are 25 elements, 17 groups and it’s weighty, at 3.25kg. You get a 112mm filter diameter and the autofocusing system inside the lens is very, very quick. There are three modes for the Vibration Reduction, off, normal and sport mode. It’s built like a tank through and through, with a carbon fibre hood as well.
You’ll want to shoot this at f/2.8. It’s built to shoot at that aperture, and you’re paying good money for this lens, so you should really utilise it. Images are sharp, separation is excellent and the bokeh from the lens is beautiful.
So in conclusion, we understand the complaints about the Nikon D6 out there. But reading off the spec sheet and using the camera are two different things; it doesn’t have class-leading specs but it takes great images. The speed of the camera is fantastic, and the connectivity options offered here might be the tipping point for photographers who need those.
More information about the Nikon D6 (S$9,999) is available on Nikon’s website.
Content by Bobby Tonelli, written by Cheryl Tan