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News & Insight

4 Features That Need to Be in the Next Nikon DSLR

By Wendell Weithers on January 16th 2017

We all know that 2017 was poised to be a big year. The GH5 announcement, looming Sony updates, and of course Nikon’s 100th year anniversary. However, Nikon finds itself in a position that can be described as either perilous or full of potential. Perilous if Nikon offers a camera that only caters to their user base but doesn’t expand it, and the potential can be found in the fact that the maturing mirrorless systems, while impressive, haven’t quite hit their stride. Additionally, the next Nikon camera has the opportunity to be everything hybrid shooters hoped the Canon 5D Mark IV would be, but sort of isn’t.

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Fully Integrated Touch Screen

Most of us have been living in a touchscreen world for almost a decade. We’ve been trained to tap, poke, and swipe our way through the various menus and messages that our devices show us. Yet, instead of finding ways to quickly and competently implement this feature, Nikon has only partially integrated touchscreen technology, and not across the board. The ability to navigate, customize menus, or select focus points for stills and video are needed additions in the next Nikon DSLR.

Usable Video Autofocus

The previous feature will be far less useful if this one doesn’t accompany it. Yes, Nikon video autofocus is technically already a feature, it’s just not a feature that you’d use. The video autofocus in Canon and Sony cameras is smooth, accurate, and most importantly, usable. If Nikon wants their next DSLR to not only keep pace in the video market, but capture more of it, it needs to develop a well polished autofocus tracking system that video professionals can trust.

Robust Video Assist Features

The D750 and D810 were released in 2014, and both are amazing at stills and very capable video cameras with 1080p video at 60fps, a flat picture profile, and zebras. These cameras would have been even more fantastic…in 2012. However, in 2014, the GH4 and the A7s were also released. The era of affordable 4k had arrived. They record at higher frame rates, higher bit rates, and offer more flexible image profiles, and they also offer more video assist features, such as focus peaking. If Nikon wants the next generation of budget filmmakers or current class of professionals to think Nikon, they’ll need to push themselves – Nikon can no longer offer the minimum when it comes to video requirements; their next camera needs to offer 4k, a log profile, higher frames, and the all of the specs professionals expect.

IBIS

In-Body-Image-Stabilization is the all the rage these days, but it’s more than a fad and Nikon is at risk of falling multiple generations behind in this technology. It can be found in Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and Pentax cameras, and this is quickly becoming an expected addition to new camera, and it’s absence may start to be a deterrent to potential buyers. Canon has already passed on adding this feature and Pentax doesn’t have the same presence in the market, which presents a unique opportunity for Nikon to stand out in the mirrored market.

*Bonus* Social Media Integration

This one is way out there and probably has zero chance of happening, however, it’s an opportunity for Nikon to stand out, make waves, and garner some attention. The ability to install apps, or perhaps, teaming with an app developer to better integrate social media into their cameras would be phenomenal. Nikon is not an iOS or Android developer so perhaps the wise choice is sticking to one’s strengths and teaming with the experts in this field. Nikon’s apps are functional (SnapBridge has its issues) but they are nothing to write home about. A simple and reliable solution would turn heads.

Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kyle Stauffer

    D8XX – A D500 with the Nikon DF sensor – That is all

    P.S. Am I the only one that preferred the images SOC coming from Nikon cameras with Nikon sensors over the Nikon cameras with Sony sensors?

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    • adam sanford

      Confused. You want a high fps / low resolution camera?

      …Isn’t that just the D5?

      Surely the D820/D900 (whatever they call it) will be a high res / modest fps beast like the D810, 5DS R, A7R II, etc.

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    • Wendell Weithers

      I’d be surprised if Nikon released another FF with under 24mp.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      I Am not predicting Nikon would do anything like this in 2017.. Not a chance! Just A never ending story from the D700 crowd lol. Wanting an all-around bulletproof professional camera body with a super low light sensor (without spending $6K). A D500 with the latest and greatest combined with a DF sensor and 6-7 fps in it is my version of a perfect rig without killing the D5.

      I have always been a fan of the color SOOC the D4 and DF produce for portraits. I even prefer the images SOOC from the D700 over the D800. It’s just my opinion that the 36+mp files have a lot of wasted space for 99% of wedding photo’s at the expense of high iso performance. Are we or even brides going to be printing larger or using larger monitors in year 2020?? Most of them view their images on tablets or smartphones these days.

      The D750 is a fine little camera, but it’s not a D700/800 body. It’s a hole that the 5D line continues to fill, though not as bad due to the D750.

      Adam you mentioned the D810 upgrade in the A7RII and 5DS R group….. but not the 5D mark IV and A7SII group…. I assume that’s where the D750 comes in as direct competition and that’s my quandary.

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    • adam sanford

      Kyle, I hear you, but Nikon, Sony and Canon segment the FF market differently.

      Sony: Video / Enthusiast / Premium All-Around

      Canon: Enthusiast / Premium All-Around / Premium Max Resolution / War Machine

      Nikon: Enthusiast / Affordable All-Around / Premium All-Around / War Machine

      So few of the FF cameras truly line up head to head for the same price points in the same markets. D610 and 6D and the D5 and 1DX2 are the only ones. In the middle is a soup of offerings with different strengths and weaknesses.

      But 12 MP cameras loaded with modern features are a thing of the past. Your best bet there is to adapt Nikon glass on an a7S II.

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  2. les mic

    ISO25

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  3. Randy Nickel

    How about truly noiseless ISO3200 shooting? The first camera that does that will change the wedding photography industry. As it is now, we have to delicately balance flash and natural light.

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  4. Stephen Godfrey

    None of these features are important to me.

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  5. Serge Lebrun

    For me, Nikon only needs to do one thing. Make me a digital version of my FE2! Like a Nikon version of that Leica with no screen. FX would good, as would autofocus. But I would buy a digital FE2 even if it was DX and had no autofocus,

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  6. William Johns

    None of these suggested features appeal to me as a professional wedding photographer. What would appeal to me in a D750/D610 replacement would be a much, much larger image buffer. Also, the round viewfinder eyepiece found in the pro level Nikons. Other than that, maybe an integrated vertical grip, or at least a more affordable one (come on Nikon, $400 for an accessory? How about a $200 option for an $1800 camera?)than the currently overpriced offering.

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    • Wendell Weithers

      Hey William,

      I’m not sure Nikon will grant you either of your grip wishes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you got a bigger buffer and the round eyepiece.

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    • Thr Truth

      How about you just buy a d5 then… that IS the professional camera…

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    • Nick Viton

      I’d be happy with just a full frame version of the D500.

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    • William Johns

      Hey The Truth,
      Why spend $6500 US for something that is easy enough to implement in a D750 replacement? I can understand the lack of an integrated grip, I DO NOT understand Nikon’s continuing decision(s) to cripple their mid-level cameras with a tiny buffer and lackluster viewfinder eyepiece. Those two changes do not warrant a $6500 camera. Like Nick Vinton said, give me a full frame D500!!!

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  7. Matt Hysz

    how about focus peaking, zebra, RGB parade, RAW video output. Then of course in-body image stabilization. That’s from the top of my hat.

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  8. adam sanford

    I presume you are referring to the D820 or D900 or whatever the D810 follow-up will be called. A few thoughts:

    1) IBIS is an enthusiast feature, IMHO. It works better on pedestrian focal lengths or smaller sensors. When you get to longer FLs, *lens IS* is markedly more effective, power efficient, etc. and that’s why Canon and Nikon prefer it. Also, I’ve seen some IBIS vs. Lens IS comparisons for video, and IBIS seems to be outclassed on that front.

    2) I think the 6D Mk II and D620 (or whatever they call it) will get the tilty-flippy screen action, but I’m less sure about the D820/D900. There is still a misconception that tilty-flippy screens fail at a higher rate and I just haven’t seen data to back that up. Only the most toxic environment people shooting out in a tundra or rain forests should fight against tilty-flippy screens at this point, and Canon and Nikon have bomb-proof gripped rigs for those people already.

    3) You totally forgot high resolution! If the D750 (and subsequent follow-ups) are meant to be the do-everything / all-arounder brand like the 5D3 was for so long, the D820/D900 needs a big bump in resolution for the landscape, studio, product crowd to keep pace with Canon and Sony. Consider: the 5DS R price has hardly budged since launch since no one else in FF can claim a higher resolution — imaging companies dream of premium product price/margins protection like that.

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    • Wendell Weithers

      Hey Adam,

      1. I think the technology for IBIS will eventually catch up. If Nikon takes their time and jumps in the game with a well polished IBIS then the wait will be worth it, but the ability to stabilize the old D series and G series primes would be great sooner rather than later.
      2. I totally agree I’ve never seen or heard of a flip screen breaking. I’m sure it has happened but, I’ve not seen complaints mount up to the degree that manufacturers should be discouraged from using them.
      3. I believe this depends on whether or not they plan on introducing only 1 or 2 new FF cameras. If they plan on replacing the D750 and D810 will one camera they will probably raise the pixel count. If they refresh both models, I can see them keeping one of them at 36mp or below.

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  9. Stephen Jennings

    No thanks on the IBIS or the touch screen. And Nikon is already decently integrated with social media.. during a wedding for instance I can take a shot, send it to my phone, throw it up on Instagram in about 2 minutes time. I do wish you could search for a photo by file name but other than that, I’ve never had a problem with Nikon’s wifi and getting raw photos, doing minor editing, and posting online all from my iPhone.

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    • Wendell Weithers

      Hey Stephen, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know that Nikon already has social media integration. That’s why its on not one of the major needs. I see it primarily as an opportunity for Nikon to do something that would stand out and catch the attention of shooters that aren’t committed to Nikon. Searching by filename would be a useful feature. However, IBIS really opens up different shooting options for stills and video. It’s a function you can turn off if you don’t want to use it. So if Nikon can implement it well, there is no reason not to put it in because there will be enough shooters who will use. The same goes for a touchscreen. If it’s a function you can turn off and on, there is no reason not to have it.

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    • Jay Cassario

      Now that I have a touch screen LCD, it has become extremely useful. I would be very disappointed for Nikon shooters if the D760 or D820 didn’t have a touchscreen. Not like the half assed D5 touchscreen, more like the Leica SL and Canon 5D MarkIV, where you can actually use it to focus in Liveview.

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