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Nikon D6 vs D780

The Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2020 and January 2020. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D6 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the D780 provides 24.3 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D6
versus
Nikon D780
Nikon D6 Nikon D780
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
20.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-102,400 (50 - 3,280,000) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2 LCD, 2359k dots 3.2 LCD, 2359k dots
Fixed touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
14 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
3580 shots per battery charge2260 shots per battery charge
160 x 163 x 92 mm, 1270 g 144 x 116 x 76 mm, 840 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D6 vs Nikon D780
Compare D6 versus D780 top
Comparison D6 or D780 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D780 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Nikon D6. Moreover, the D780 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the D6. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D6 gets 3580 shots out of its EN-EL18c battery, while the D780 can take 2260 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D6 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. The power pack in the D780 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D6 160 mm 163 mm 92 mm 1270 g 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 i
2.
 
Nikon D780 144 mm 116 mm 76 mm 840 g 2260 Y Jan 2020 2,299 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1440 g 2850 Y Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i
8.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499 i
9.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i
10.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
11.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999 i
12.
 
Nikon D600 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099 i
13.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D780 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the D6, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D6 and Nikon D780 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the D780 offers a higher resolution of 24.3 megapixels, compared with 20.7 MP of the D6. This megapixels advantage translates into a 9 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the D780 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 6.44μm for the D6). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D780 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D780 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D6 are 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm for good quality, 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm for very good quality, and 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The D780 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Nikon D6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-3280000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D780 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

D6 versus D780 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p...... ..
2.
 
Nikon D780 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p...... ..
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.214.53248 91
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.92862 85
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.53207 88
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p...... ..
7.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.32343 88
8.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.33074 89
9.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.52956 93
10.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.42925 94
11.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.12965 89
12.
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.22980 94
13.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.71992 88

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D6 and the D780 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D6 has a higher magnification than the one of the D780 (0.72x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D6 and Nikon D780 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D6optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon D780optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIoptical Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
7.
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D600optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n

The Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The D6 writes its imaging data to CFexpress or XQD cards, while the D780 uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D6 and Nikon D780 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D6YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
2.
 
Nikon D780YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIYmonomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
6.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
10.
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D600YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3XY----mini2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D6 and the D780 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The D780 replaced the earlier Nikon D750, while the D6 followed on from the Nikon D5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D6:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 12 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3580 versus 2260) on a single battery charge.


Advantages of the Nikon D780:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.3 vs 20.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x116mm vs 160x163mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 430g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D780 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D6 04:07 D780

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D6 and the Nikon D780 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D6 or the D780. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D6......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 i
2.
 
Nikon D7805/5..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2020 2,299 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III..+ +..4.5/54/5 Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II4/5+80/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D5....89/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i
8.
 
Nikon D4S5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499 i
9.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i
10.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
11.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999 i
12.
 
Nikon D6004/5+ +87/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099 i
13.
 
Nikon D3X....86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D6:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D780:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D6 vs Nikon D780

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2020 January 2020
    Launch Price USD 6,499 USD 2,299
    Sensor Specs Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 858.01 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 20.7 Megapixels 24.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5568 x 3712 pixels 6048 x 4024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.44 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.41 MP/cm2 2.84 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 102,400 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 3,280,000 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 6 EXPEED 6
    Screen Specs Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.72x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 2359k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 14 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy400 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CFexpress or XQD cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D6 Nikon D780
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL18c EN-EL15b
    Battery Life (CIPA)3580 shots per charge2260 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 160 x 163 x 92 mm
    (6.3 x 6.4 x 3.6 in)
    144 x 116 x 76 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1270 g (44.8 oz) 840 g (29.6 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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