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The peak of Nikon's DSLR lineup, the D6 is a no-holds-barred camera with a focus on speed, performance, reliability, and precision. Adept in both photo and video realms, the D6 revolves around a 20.8MP FX-format sensor and an EXPEED 6 image processor that enables an impressive 14 fps continuous shooting rate, a native sensitivity range from ISO 100-102400 (expandable up to ISO 3280000), and UHD 4K video recording at 30 fps. When working with stills, a revised high-density Multi-CAM 37K autofocus system features 105 cross-type points that improve focusing precision and speed, and with 1.6x greater frame coverage, the need to recompose while shooting is greatly reduced. This focusing system also works with 17 customisation Group Area AF patterns to suit working in cluttered or busy scenarios or with fast-moving subjects.
As Nikon's flagship DSLR, the D6 is, of course, a tough camera, too. Its magnesium alloy construction pairs with extensive weather sealing to resist dust and moisture, and a reinforced shutter mechanism has been tested for 400,000 shutter cycles. For viewing, there is a large pentaprism optical viewfinder with 0.78x-magnification as well as a rear 3.2" 2.36m-dot touchscreen LCD. Additionally, the body design incorporates dual Cfexpress Type B memory card slots, which offer flexible file saving capabilities, and internal Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also benefit file saving needs as well as afford remote shooting control. For more robust connectivity, the D6 supports wired and wireless LAN connections, too. And, built-in GPS is featured, as well, for in-camera geotagging applications. In familiar form, too, the D6 also has a variety of configurable Function buttons across the body and an integrated vertical grip supports working in both horizontal and vertical shooting orientations.
20.8MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor and EXPEED 6 Image Processor
The FX-format 20.8MP CMOS sensor is paired with the EXPEED 6 image processor to offer a proven mixture of high sensitivity, nuanced image quality, and fast overall performance. At native values, a sensitivity range from ISO 100-102400 permits working in a broad array of lighting conditions, an can be further expanded to ISO 50-3280000 (Lo 1 to Hi 5) to handle the most challenging of situations. The mixture of resolution and sensor size also contributes to clean image quality and smooth colour transitions with reduced noise throughout the sensitivity range.
In addition to benefiting image quality, the EXPEED 6 processor also affords a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a top continuous shooting rate of 14 fps for up to 200 consecutive frames. For sound-sensitive situations, a silent 10.5 fps rate can be used for discreet shooting and, if choosing to work in a lower resolution and in live view, up to 60 fps shooting is possible at 2MP or 30 fps shooting at 8MP.
105-Point All Cross-Type Multi-CAM 37K Autofocus System
Dubbed "the most powerful AF in Nikon's history," the Multi-CAM 37K autofocus system uses an intelligent array of 105 all cross-type points to quickly and accurately achieve focus across the frame and in a variety of lighting conditions. This high-density system allows photographers to set focus almost anywhere within the frame in order to avoid recomposing. This unique design reduces the area of non-AF-sensitive areas in order to make the effective coverage 1.6x greater than in previous models, which allows for more accurate and faster focusing across the frame, with both still and moving subjects. When working with moving subjects, 17 custom Group Area AF settings can be used to set and maintain focus on subjects featuring busy backgrounds or fast subject movement. Benefiting the use of super telephoto lenses and teleconverters, 15 of the points are compatible with an effective aperture of f/8 and all 1053 points support working with effective apertures of f/5.6 or brighter.
Complementing the abundance of focusing points is a dedicated AF engine, which offers quick response times to benefit tracking fast and randomly moving subjects, even at the top 14 fps shooting rate. The AF engine also contributes to enhanced focusing sensitivity, with the ability to focus at -4.5 EV for working in very dark, low-contrast situations. Furthering the versatility of the focusing system, seven different AF-area modes can be selected to support varying types of subjects matter:
In addition to the range of AF-area modes, an AF lock-on function can also be used to improve subject tracking performance, and can be adjusted by two parameter—quick or delayed blocked shot AF response and erratic or steady subject movement. By configuring these settings, the AF performance can be optimised to handle a wide variety of subject movement types.
Lastly, a unique auto AF fine-tune function can be employed to ensure the best possible focus for each mounted lens. Rather than relying on photographing distance charts, this function lets you achieve precise focus manually in live view, and then have the AF system calibrate itself to the fine-tuned focus position in order to alleviate front- and back-focusing issues.
4K UHD Video Recording
Taking notice of multimedia image-maker's needs, the D6 incorporates adept video recording capabilities. Able to record UHD 4K at 30, 25, and 24 fps frame rates, Full HD and HD recording is also supported, along with the ability to save movie files to the in-camera memory cards or as an uncompressed file to an optional external recorder via HDMI out.
As with still shooting, the wide range of sensitivities is available for recording in low- and bright-light conditions, ranging from expanded ISO 100-3280000, and sensitivity values are manually adjustable via the dedicated movie-shooting menu. Also, a video-optimised Flat Picture Control mode can be used during recording to flatten the overall contrast curve for more control during post-production and colour grading.
In regard to handling, a dedicated power aperture button (Pv) makes it possible to achieve smooth, continuous exposure transitions when switching from light to dark areas, and Auto ISO can also be used to maintain consistent brightness when working in changing light situations. Audio recording can be handled using the built-in stereo microphone or an optional external mic can be added via the 3.5mm stereo jack for greater control over quality. Regardless if using the in-camera mic or an external mic, audio levels can be adjusted in 20 increments and live monitoring is possible via the headphone jack, which afford 30 different volume levels for playback.
In addition to straight movie recording, time-lapse recording, for up to 9999 consecutive frames shot over the course of up to one week, is also possible with up to UHD 4K at 30 fps output from the camera.
Body Design and Connectivity
Scene Recognition System and Exposure Metering
The intelligent Scene Recognition System with 3D Color Matrix Metering III utilises a 180,000-pixel RGB sensor to evaluate and analyse all aspects within a scene, including brightness, contrast, subject distance, and the scene colours, to quickly determine an accurate exposure and white balance setting to best render the scene at hand. The information gathered is also checked against onboard reference images to ensure consistency from image to image in regard to exposure, white balance, i-TTL flash settings, and subject-tracking AF performance.