Nikon D400: The next Pro-DX Digital Camera from Nikon

Nikon D400This year is shaping up to be huge for Nikon. A tumultuous 2011 brought many setbacks. First a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March which shut down their Sendai factory for several weeks. This halted production of their full-frame pro DSLR (D700, D3S, D3X) which were produced at the facility and delayed the release of the D4 and D800. Then in October, Nikon’s Thailand factory was flooded under several feet of water for weeks, stopping production of the rest of the DSLR line: D3100, D5100, D7000 and D300s. Worldwide shortages hit just before the holidays, severely affecting their revenue.

Amazingly, Nikon has bounced back as if nothing happened. In the first two months of 2012 has announced two new DLSR: the flagship D4 sure to win over sports and action photographers and the D800, the landscape photographer’s dream. Both cameras are scheduled to be delivered in March. What is next? The most logical new camera might be the D400.

Currently, there is a gaping hole in Nikon line. The D300/D300s is long in the tooth and has been technically surpassed by the enthusiast-level D7000. There is no new option between the D7000 at $1200 and the stunning $3000 D800 that was just announced. Nikon may keep the D700 in the lineup for a while alongside the D800, but it can’t sell the D300s or D700 in Japan due to its battery design. A top-end DX camera priced between $1600 and $2000 with pro-quality features and weather-sealed magnesium body would fit nicely in Nikon’s 2012 lineup.

A new D400 DX-format pro camera would fill the niche perfectly. Sony has a 24MP CMOS sensor. But Sony has had trouble of its own since its factory was flooded in Thailand. That same flood drowned Nikon’s facility where the D400 most likely was to be produced. Sony has been unable to deliver enough of their own 24MP-based SLT-A77 and NEX-7 cameras due to the floods. And there is still some doubt whether the sensor with its 24MP are too much for DX. Perhaps the D800 will change perceptions about pixel density.

What can the D400 offer that the D7000 currently lacks? Better video, higher continuous shooting frame rate, more advanced auto focus system, higher resolution, sturdier build as well as incremental improvements in ISO and dynamic range. What would you want in your Nikon D400? What would you be willing to pay?

4 thoughts on “Nikon D400: The next Pro-DX Digital Camera from Nikon

  1. I’d pay 2000$ for a FX D400 with at least 14MP, no video, ISO 100-6400 (sort of updated D700 version)… But maybe nothing, or less than 1500$, for a DX D400 with any MP from 12 to 24.

  2. I have been waiting for a (DX) addition for my superb D-300. Would like to see an 16-24 mp sensor, 51 zone AF, 3.2 ” H.D. screen, Dual (CF/SD) or (SD/SD) card slots, auto HDR, low noise at ISO 6400 +, with or without video.
    I predict that it will be a slightly downsized D-800 style body….. Just as the D-300 and D-700 shared similar ergonomics. Expected price point, $1800. to $2000.

  3. What the D400 should have:
    – At least 18mp sensor, preferably 24mp
    – D300 AF system ie 51 AF points and it must be tack sharp and snappy
    – 100% VF coverage, on demand grid and virtual horizon
    – Iso 100-102000 with excellent high iso noise
    – 5 steps bracketing for exposure, d-lighting, wb
    – HD movie mode minimum 1080 @ 24 with fast live view AF, unlimited recording length
    – Built in AF motor
    – Dedicated buttons for WB, ISO, meter mode, exposure comp, movie rec, RAW
    – Stacked lockable dial for shooting mode and drive mode
    – At least 3 fully customizable user banks
    – Dual card slots
    – Mag alloy WR body

    What I don’t care for:
    – In camera image manipulation except for maybe hdr and b&w
    – Scene modes

    Hope Nikon is reading this 🙂

  4. A Pro DX from Nikon is desperately needed here. Nikon shouldn’t bail out on those who choose DX as the format of choice. Besides the investment in DX lens going to waste there are many photographers who feel as I do that shooting DX at a pro level fills a perfect nitch.
    What I would like to see is the following:
    18 mp or higher Sensor
    Mag Body equivalent or better than the D300
    External Flash Sync -PC Connector
    Slightly Larger and Higher Res. Screen
    Programmable Buttons – D300
    Hi Shutter Count of 200K+
    Priced under $2000 ($1899) – or less
    With or Without Video
    ISO 100 – 6400, where you can shoot at 2000 ISO without comprimise
    51 point – AF Sysyem thats a faster and bit more accurate
    Dual Card Slots
    Battery thats good for 1000+ shots

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