I’m really fortunate that Nikon UK are happy to let me test out new additions to their range. The latest piece of shiny new kit I’ve been getting to grips with is the Nikon D6. I say getting to grips, but then I already use, and love, its predecessor, the D5 and in terms of handling this feels very similar; maybe just a bit bigger but all the main controls are in the same position.
The D6 shoots very fast – of course I was expecting this, as all the information is in the spec, but it’s interesting to see how that speed translates in practice. My first test shoot, in and around Leeds, was with contemporary dancer Bobak. The speed of the camera was a real bonus in terms of capturing pictures that were sharp, in position and well framed despite the continuous motion through different moves and poses. That definitely seems to be the main improvement over the D5.
I started shooting with the ISO set at my usual level of 4-800. On previous cameras, pushing it higher resulted in a lot of noise, plus I don’t necessarily mind a bit of movement in my images. But clearly, improved sensors have made a big difference. I finished the shoot at ISO 6400 and looking at the images, the noise level I might have expected is considerably reduced, which is brilliant.
A further test session took me to Stanage Edge in the Peak District with yoga teacher Rachel. Again, great to photograph her in the process of forming shapes, responding to the landscape. With the speed of the D6, I captured the entire movement, including images that might otherwise have been missed. And again, everything in shot was completely pin sharp.
The camera also has a Bluetooth function that I haven’t actually tried yet. I can see how that would be a great addition for any pro working for press, or otherwise needing to share images in seconds.
In short, it’s not difficult to see why the D6 is pitched as a camera for sports photography. It has the ability to ‘get the shot’ and then file the shot rapidly, taking a lot of the stress out of the process. And I can imagine when I finally get to cover live music again, those benefits would come in really handy. Whether I want to upgrade my D5 on that basis..I’m not sure…especially as Nikon is about to launch a brand new mirrorless camera, designed specifically for professionals. Nikon are clearly spoiling us!