Sports photographer Clive Mason on working with the new Nikon D6 camera

As we are getting closer to the Nikon D6 shipment date (Amazon lists the shipment date as May 31, Calumet lists it as May 21, I think the camera will start shipping earlier to NPS members), Nikon Europe published a new article on the sports photographer Clive Mason working with the Nikon D6 – here is what he had to say on the D6 AF performance:

Better AF performance with fewer focus points

How did the autofocus performance improve in the D6 with fewer focus points than the D5? Clive explains:

“The AF is, I would say, significantly quicker. When I’m shooting motor sport, there are areas that I want to put the car in. Imagine the whole frame, and I want to get the focus in a small area. It’s not that we use autofocus 100% of the time, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to just put the car where the AF sensors weren’t necessarily as responsive before. With the new 105 cross-type all-selectable AF points, they’re all performing at 100%, whereas before there were some dead areas. While the D6 technically has fewer AF points, now they all work 100% as well as the centre one does.

What used to happen in low light is if you moved off the centre focus point – maybe by one or two points, and you were working in low light – sometimes the autofocus system couldn’t find the subject, so the camera wouldn’t be able to lock on to it. Now it’s on it every time. Wherever that cursor is in the frame, it just picks it up straight away, every time – no matter how poor the light is. What you can say now is that you have greater performance and better coverage with fewer points. That’s exactly what it is. It’s significantly better.”

and one more quote on the favorite D6 upgrades:

Favourite upgrades in the D6

Isolating favourite features is never easy, but Clive has a few standouts. First up is file quality straight out of camera. “We need to touch on the quality of the file, because it is significantly better than the competition. When you’re filing from an event the picture desk will go, ‘Wow, that’s really sharp’. They can tell. Basically, the quality of the D5 files was brilliant, but these are another step up again in improvements. You can keep zooming in and in, it’s just an insane quality. And very, very sharp. It’s what we’re all after.”

Auto White Balance gets an honourable mention too. “I’m from the agency background where speed is of the essence. It has to look great straight out of the camera. I’ve always spent time fine-tuning and making sure I get the camera to replicate the colours as closely as possible. The AWB in the D6 is great. I haven’t really had to fine tune this. The colour’s great, the skin tones are perfect. It’s incredibly accurate.”

The Nikon D6 was announced in February and was supposed to start shipping in April, but was later delayed because of COVID-19.

The Nikon D6 is now available for pre-order: AdoramaB&H | AmazonWEX | Park Camera | Calumet | Camera Canada.

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