Nikon D760: everything we know so far

Rumors are growing that Nikon will announced a new full-frame DSLR in 2019. Expected to be called the Nikon D760 it will be an entry-level full frame camera that replaces both the current D750 and the now almost-forgotten D610.

We can thank for what little information we do have, but we can add what we already know about Nikon’s cameras, technologies and past strategies to make what we think might be some pretty good guesses at what the Nikon D760 will look like and its key specifications.

Nikon D760: overview

The D750 was introduced in September 2014, over four years ago. That’s a long time in the digital camera market, and even though the D750’s 24-megapixel sensor, tilting screen and well-rounded specs have proved an evergreen combination that’s still compelling today, it’s probably more than due for a refresh.

The D610 is even older, having been launched in October 2013. This simpler fixed-screen model was itself a replacement for the ill-fated D600 (launched September 2012) which was a fine camera but marred by oil-spatter problems that left users with spotty sensors.

Given the rise of mirrorless cameras, it would be no surprise to see Nikon whittling down its DSLR range. At the same time, DSLR still have advantages that often get overlooked, including a bright, lag-free ‘naked-eye’ viewfinder, better balance with big lenses and far superior battery life.

Nikon will have one eye on the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, it’s chief entry-level DSLR rival, and another on its own mirrorless Z6. It won’t want to steal any thunder from the Z6, but at the same time we’ve seen some new Nikon technologies in this camera that might provide a handy competitive advantage against its Canon rival.

Nikon D760: sensor

  • Likely that Nikon will stick to a 24MP sensor
  • New processing engine
  • Could transplant the Z6 sensor into the D760

There’s some speculation that the Nikon D760 might inherit the 36-megapixel sensor from the old Nikon D810 as a useful step forward, but there are some reasons why that may not happen.

First, that 36-megapixel sensor was used in a higher resolution band of cameras and has now been superseded by Nikon’s newer 45.7-megapixel sensor. Some camera makers migrate their old sensors ‘downwards’, but we don’t tend to see that from Nikon.

It seems more likely that Nikon will stick to a 24-megapixel sensor and preserve the two-tier camera hierarchy we see in the Sony A7 range, the upcoming Panasonic S1/S1R and in Nikon’s own Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras.

So will the Nikon D760 have an upgraded version of the 24.3-megapixel sensor in the D750 with a newer processing system? Maybe. But a more tantalising possibility is a transplant of the Z6 sensor into a DSLR body.

Nikon D760: stabilisation

  • In-body stabilisation is unlikely
  • Will stick with lens-based IS system
  • Technically possible though

In-body camera stabilisation is technically possible, but just because something might be possible, it doesn’t mean it will do it. The camera market is confusing enough already, and we suspect Nikon won’t want to make it worse by eroding the differentiation between its two camera types – mirrorless and DSLR.

Nikon D760: autofocus system

  • Uprated 51-point AF system unlikey
  • Could be based on Nikon’s high-tech 153-point AF system
  • Same system used by the D5 and D850

Nikon Rumors hints that the D760 will have an increase in the number of autofocus points. The current Nikon D750 uses Nikon’s highly-regarded 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 II AF sensor, and the only other unit currently available is the 153-point Multi-CAM 20K sensor used in the D850, D5 and D500, and that’s a pretty high-powered AF sensor.

Would Nikon develop a new intermediate AF system just to fill a gap in the market? It seems unlikely given the current state of the DSLR vs mirrorless market and the R&D caution DSLR makers must be feeling, so if the rumor is true then the D760’s AF system might indeed be based on Nikon’s high-tech 153-point AF system.

If Nikon uses an upgraded version of the D750 sensor with a faster EXPEED processor, then that’s the end of the autofocus story… but what if it puts the Z6 sensor in its new DSLR?

The Z6 sensor has a resolution of 24.5 megapixels AND 273 on-sensor phase detection AF points. That wouldn’t make any difference to its viewfinder shooting, but it would sure make a difference to the D760’s live view AF capabilities.

Nikon D760: continuous shooting

  • Likely to see a boost in performance
  • Increase likely to be conservative though
  • Find a balance with other Nikon cameras

Here, we’re in the realms of pure speculation. It’s not just about what Nikon CAN do, but what it wants to do, given that it’s got some other cameras to sell besides this one.

We have a hint from Nikon Rumors that the D760 will have improved image quality at high ISO settings and when we hear this from Nikon it always indicates an upgrade to its cameras’ EXPEED image processing system. The Nikon D750 uses EXPEED 4 while the new Nikon Z6 mirrorless model uses a much more recent and faster EXPEED 6 processor. If that processor is used in the D760 we can expect a number of performance improvements, and the continuous shooting speed (and buffer capacity) is one of them.

The limit here is not just processing power, however, but the physical mirror mechanism of the camera, so we would expect Nikon to improve on the 6.5fps maximum shooting speed of the D750 but not by much – maybe to 7fps. After all, it needs to preserve the dignity of the D850 (also 7fps without battery grip) and the advantage of the mirrorless Z6 (12fps).

Nikon D760 memory card slots

  • Likely two card slots maintained
  • Improved with UHS II compatibility
  • Could see an SD/XQD combination

The current Nikon D750 has two SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I memory card slots and it seems likely this will be upgraded in its replacement. Nikon might simply improve one or both card slots with UHS II compatibility, or it might swap one of them for the newer XQD format. The Nikon D850 offers this SD/XQD combination, and Nikon does use XQD cards exclusively in the mirrorless Z6 and Z7 models, so Nikon might be keen to keep this new memory card format moving forwards.

Nikon D760: ISO range

  • Could match ISO range of Z6
  • Up to ISO51,200 native
  • Extended range up to ISO204,800

The rumors suggest that the new Nikon D760 will have improved image quality at higher ISO settings, and when we hear this from Nikon it usually means an upgrade to the camera’s processor. The D750 uses a relatively old EXPEED 4 processor, while the new mirrorless Z6 has moved on to EXPEED 6. 

If Nikon does use an EXPEED 6 processor in the D760, the new DSLR could match the ISO range of the Z6, increasing by 2EV from the ISO12,800 native maximum of the D750, up ISO51,200, with an upper limit of ISO204,800 in expanded ISO mode.

Nikon D760: 4K video

  • Inevitable D760 will feature 4K video
  • No crop factor
  • Frame rates will probably be the usual 30/25/24p

It seems inevitable that the new D760 will come with 4K video, and following the example of existing Nikon models we’d expect it to capture 4K UHD across the full frame with no crop factor, and perhaps feature the 6K oversampling used on the Z6 for improved quality. Frame rates will probably be the usual 30/25/24p, but it’s possible the D760 will include the high dynamic range Nikon N-Log mode seen on its Z-series cameras.

Nikon D760: controls

  • Mode dial rather than the two-deck control cluster
  • Focus lever at rear
  • Touchscreen control

Nikon will be pitching the D760 at enthusiasts and first-time full-frame users rather than pros, so we’d expect it to stick to its ‘enthusiast’ control layout, as seen on the D750. This means a regular mode dial rather than the two-deck control cluster used on models like the D850 and D5. We do hear there may also be a focus lever on the rear and an AF-ON button, which would certainly enhance the D760’s AF operation and may tie in with a new and more powerful autofocus system.

The existing D750 uses a tilting 1229k-dot rear screen, a system now used across a number of Nikon DSLRs, and it seems inevitable that the D760 will add touch control. But what if Nikon took the bold route of swapping to a fully-articulating screen like those used on the APS-C D5600? That’s probably not very likely, but it would bring the D760 much closer to the design of its chief rival, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.

Nikon D760: dates and prices

  • Expected to be launched in the first half of 2019
  • Rumors are still at the early stage
  • Pricing could be around $2,299 / £1,799

An official announcement about the Nikon D760 is expected in the first half of 2019, with the camera expected to ship in the second half, so the rumors are still at an early stage and there’s time for Nikon to develop new technologies we haven’t yet seen in its existing cameras.

While it may be designed to replace both the D750 and the cheaper D610, we’d expect the price to be the same as the D750’s on launch, which was $2,299 / £1,799 body only. It is possible that Nikon will match the launch price of the Nikon Z6 instead, which was $2,099. 

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.