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Nikon D6 release delayed by coronavirus, but should still make the Olympics

(Image credit: Nikon)

The Nikon D6, an incoming professional sports DSLR that was first announced in September 2019, has been delayed due to manufacturing complications caused by the coronavirus.

Originally due to arrive this month, the Nikon D6 will now be released in May 2020, with an exact release date still to be confirmed. That would still give the camera some breathing space before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics start on 24 July (assuming they too aren't postponed), but it couldn't really afford any further delays beyond that. The camera's price will remain at the original $6,500 / £6,299 / AU$9,999.

Nikon says the delay is the result of "delays in the procurement of parts and components from a third-party cooperating company, due to measures implemented in response to the spread of COVID-19". It also apologized to photographers, who will mainly be professional sports snappers, for the delay and inconvenience.

Of course, Nikon is far from the only company whose manufacturing has been affected by the coronavirus, but the D6's main rival – the Canon 1DX Mark III – was released last month and is already available from some online retailers, suggesting that Canon was wise (or fortunate) in its decision to release its pro sports camera a little earlier.

The Nikon D6's new May 2020 release date doesn't exactly sound like it is written in stone either, with the company adding "we will continue to closely monitor the situation and do our utmost to deliver this new camera as soon as possible". It also promises to "announce the new release date once it has been determined".

Nikon D6

(Image credit: Nikon)

Late to the game

This is all slightly disappointing for those who have been looking forward to seeing what could be the last big clash of the pro sports DSLRs, between the Nikon D6 and Canon 1DX Mark III, this summer.

Mirrorless cameras have taken the limelight from DSLRs in recent years, so it's been interesting to see these more traditional beasts reinvent themselves by marrying old-school strengths like optical viewfinders, battery capacity and great handling with new tech like advanced autofocus.

Still, it doesn't sound the Nikon D6 delay will be too significant and we should still get to see how it compares to its main rival soon – in fact, it's due to be on show at The Photography Show in the UK from 14-17 March.

The D6 packs a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, new 20.8MP full-frame sensor, and 14fps burst shooting, which is possible thanks to its new Expeed 6 engine. We're looking forward to comparing how this stacks up to its Canon rival very soon, despite the delayed release date.