A prediction of the D400.

Started May 31, 2013 | Discussions thread
jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,151
Re: Sensor?

McCool69 wrote:

Personally I am not sure if there really is a huge market for the D400 anymore.

Considering it has been more than 5 years since the D300 was announced (The D300s was not much of an upgrade), I think that a lot of those buying the D300(s) the first couple of years it was available have already moved on to other cameras. I know I have.

Even though the D400 clearly fills a gap in the Nikon lineup I am not so sure that people who have bought a D7000/D7100/D600/D800 - that otherwise would have bought the D400 if it had been available a year or two ago (and I know quite a few of those) - are going to switch 'back' to the D400.

A D400 would be primarily for the enthusiast who wants a camera optimized for shooting action or for the enthusiast who wants to stay DX, but wants the best Nikon has to offer and is willing to pay for that.

Nikon currently has zero cameras optimized for action other than the D4 (since there has been no followup to either the D300 or the D700), so some camera like a D400 is required if Nikon wants to keep action shooters in the Nikon brand who can't afford a D4 or don't want to lose the DX reach advantage.

Yes, a D400 will never sell as much as the D300 did because the product line has been expanded significantly since then (the D7100 is a very capable camera), but high-end action shooters are still willing to pay for a performance camera aimed at their needs (great AF, good buffer, strong build, top DX sensor, etc...) and a D400 would likely sell in significantly higher volume than a D4 if for no other reason than it would be priced less than 1/3 of it yet be a fairly top-end camera.  For some, it would be significantly better value than a D600 because a D400 would be a top-of-the-line all-around camera with a DX sensor in it whereas the D600 has many features trimmed down (buffer, AF, build, fps, etc...).

If Nikon cares to keep this type of DX customer, they will have to offer something better than the D7100.  Here are things they could offer in the D400 that would not only make it a great camera for those who shoot action, but also a top-of-the-line DX all around camera for anyone who wants the best without going FX.

  • New DX sensor (incrementally better than the D7100).  Not expecting miracles, but it could be incrementally better than what came before.
  • Newest generation DX AF.  This could either be a D800-level AF or it could be a generation improved from there.  One would expect it to not only have f/8 performance for long glass+TC, but it also could have improved software behind it for better tracking of moving subjects.
  • 8+ fps.
  • Large buffer.  With the relatively low cost of RAM, this could be as much as 5 secs worth of images (e.g. 40 14-bit RAW images).
  • Extremely fast memory card write times (decreases the recovery time when the buffer fills and extends the max shots you can take without filling the buffer)
  • Shorter mirror blackout time.  This improves the AF performance when shooting at max fps.
  • Focus peaking for those doing manual focus (like macro or using old lenses).
  • D800-style build and dedicated AF-ON button.
  • Compatibility with D4/D800 "pro" accessories (such as 10-pin connector, etc...)
  • Certified for NPS (so working pros can get prioritized service for a D400).
  • 100% view finder
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