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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Speculative Reviews: The Nikon D400

Introduction

Another article for the Speculative 'Reviews' series for today. Once again, to state the obvious: This camera does not exist as I'm writing this (July 2015), and it may never appear, either. I have no sources in Nikon (or elsewhere). This article is a product of my knowledge and experience, so, in other words, it is an educated guess. The purpose of these articles is to make us all think, what would this camera mean for Nikon photographers, how would it affect our shooting, and in which way would it affect the market.

Some years ago I traveled all around Iceland with a D300 and the Sigma 10-20 (and also a 50mm f/1.8). Would a D7200 give me the same things? For 95% of the shots, yes. It's the other 5% I'm glad I had the D300 for, and a D400 would have been even better.

General

Just like the (no longer speculative!Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 16-50mm f/2.8 DX and the 16mm f/2 , a Nikon D400 would be a massive signal from Nikon that it has not abandoned the DX advanced amateur (or semi-pro even) market. I'm willing to bet that the Nikon D400 (that is, a successor to the highly successful D300), is the most talked-about rumor in the Nikon universe. We're missing all kinds of lenses, we're wishing all kinds of things, but probably none is more missed and wished for than the D400 (others refer to it as D9300; it doesn't matter)


Scope

This is very simple to describe. The Nikon D400 would be the go-to camera for two very important categories of photographers: a) the wildlife shooter who needs reach and performance (both in terms of speed as well as image quality); b) the advanced amateur or even semi-pro sports shooter who needs speed, endurance, and reliability.

Basically, the D400 would be a D300 with a modern 24MP DX sensor. Or, if you wanna see it from the opposite side, a D7200 with a better body and performance.

Price

It's very hard to speculate on prices in any case, but especially so for a camera like the D400. The problem is that there is a lot of saturation both below and above the slot the D400 would occupy. To put it this way, it obviously can't be cheaper or about the price of the D7200. On the other hand, selling a DX camera (no matter how advanced) for a price higher than an FX one, will at first feel odd. It's not odd at all, but Nikon will need to show very emphatically why someone should opt for the DX camera rather than the FX - especially after the marketing effort they've made to convince people to switch to FX!

I'd say that a starting price of around $1600 should be expected, although it will fall rapidly - depending on supply, of course. Even at this price, it should sell very well - provided of course that it performs as well as expected.

Conclusion

Will there be a Nikon D400? I don't know.  But, based on the signals we've been receiving lately - the introduction of the Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 16-50mm f/2.8 DX 16-80mm f/2.8-f/4 lens being the strongest one, I think Nikon might indeed have something in store for all the advanced DX crowd. Stay tuned!

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