Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nikon D400 Speculation: 16Mp, Full Frame, $1999 Retail Price

Nikon has been very busy since the start of the new year. First, there was the flagship D4, then the more economically-priced, 36Mp D800 dSLR, which is being hailed by some as the greatest camera ever made. Now, in going high Mp with the D800, Nikon seemed kind of stupid in that they abandoned the low-Mp, high ISO $3,000 market, which they had exclusive domain in with the D700. So, why would Nikon cede its monopoly in this market niche?

Answer, it won't, the D400 will be coming out later this year and it will be poised to take the place of the D700, but for $1,000 less than the D700's introductory price.

So, why such reason for hope?First of all, Nikon has been very generous in letting features trickle down from its top-tier cameras into lower-priced models, albeit after the new kings of the hill have been out awhile. Example: the D700 was 95% of the D3 but at half the cost. Another example: in 2010, Nikon essentially obsoleted its $1,800 D300s with the$1,200 D7000, with the D7000 equaling or beating its older, more expensive brother in every respect except affordability. With the D400, this could very well happen again.Another reason for hope: pricing. Ever since Nikon split its pro D# camera lineup into low and high resolution models, the high-res camera always cost about 35% more than the low-res one. Example: Nikon's D3 sold for just under $5,000 at release. Upon announcement, the D3x identical to the D3 except for its double resolution sensor) was priced at $8,000. Now, looking at the high-res D800 that sits at the $3,000 mark, it would fit the trend for Nikon to cram the 16Mp, FF sensor of the D4 into a D300 body, call it the D400, and sell it for $2,000.

Third reason for hope: the market void lack of a D700 creates. In phasing out the D700, Nikon leaves a market which it monopolized: an 'affordable' FF camera with its main selling point being speed and high ISO performance. Simply put, there was no direct competitor as the $3,000 cameras from Canon and Sony were high-Mp clunkers in comparison to the D700. For going on 4 years, Nikon had this market all to itself and it makes no financial sense to abandon it now.

In making the D400 16Mp FF, Nikon would be both filling the market gap it created and, at the same time, making its customers happy, a win-win for everyone involved.

In the end, though, only time will tell if The D400 will be a FF camera using the D4's sensor. Still, though, it's still fun to speculate on what the D400 could look like, so here goes . . .

16Mp FF sensor
6 fps (8 with battery grip)
95% viewfinder coverage
Single CF slot
Only a 3:2 aspect ratio
LCD: 3.2” non-brightness adjust
Less movie clip time as compared to D4

In all, the D400 will be a D4 lite, with some specific changes in order to make the D4 more appealing to people to shell out the extra money. After all, Nikon can't make the D400 too like the D4, lest no one would buy the latter. Still, though, by looking at how feature-dense the D7000 is and for the price it sells for, a sub-$2,000 FF camera from Nikon no longer seems out of the question.

Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?

For something even better, follow this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment