The Nikon DSLR Sweepstakes Game, mid 2018

Here's the thing. You've entered a sweepstakes and the prize is "any current Nikon DSLR, this year or next." Which one do you take? 

We have a couple of variations on how to play the game.

First up, DX only. 

In Spring 2018 your choices are D3400, D5600, D7500, and D500. The D5600 has the only swivel LCD, the D7500 has more features and performance, and the D500 is a mini-D5 in a DX package, but that also means that it lost the built-in flash. 

The current choice for me is easy: most of you should take the D7500, a few of you that have very high speed requirements should take the D500.  

Will the answer change in 2019? Probably not, but if it does, it would be at the low end. There’s also the chance that Nikon will enter the mirrorless market with a DX camera instead of updating the DSLRs.

Next, let's try FX.

In Spring 2018 your choices are D5, Df, D610, D750, and D850. That's a much tougher choice, because these cameras are all over the place. 

You can't pick the D610 or D750 because the D850 is just far better in image quality, frame rate, focus, features, and to a large degree, build. Both the D610 and D750 are now old consumer cameras that should be replaced by something new in the lineup (not yet though), so Nikon often drops their prices to make up for that age.

Many people should pick the D750 given its discounted pricing, but that's not part of the game, is it? The D750 is a very well balanced camera that’s got good technology and image quality tweaking (JPEG). The smaller size and light weight coupled with the swivel LCD are a nice surprise. But technically, the answer is D850 for most people. The D850 is still just the best all-around DSLR Nikon makes.

If you're always shooting at ISO 3200 and above and/or you need very high frame rates for what you shoot (e.g. sports), then you clearly pick the D5. 

The only reason you'd pick the Df is probably because you like dials. (It's not better in image quality than the D850; it's not better in frame rate, features and build than pretty much anything.) I write that a bit sarcastically, but the only other thing I could come up with is that the Df is a bit smaller and lighter than most of the others, or you are shooting above ISO 3200 an awful lot and don't care about frame rate or focus system. Most people aren't going to pick that way, I think. 

Will the answer change in 2019? Hard to say. One would expect Nikon to update the D750 soon, but there are rumors that such an update might be a mirrorless camera, not a DSLR. The D610 and Df will likely go away soon. 

Now it might seem silly to play this game, but it does have a function. One of the questions I get asked every day is "should I buy an X or wait?" Okay, play the game. What's your answer for Spring 2018? Now how likely is it that 2019 will change your answer? Right now it's only the D610, D750, and Df users that have a high probability to have their answer change in the coming year, I think. If you picked something else, then the answer is most likely "don't wait."   

So how long should you wait? New DSLRs tend to come in January, February, and August, with the much slimmer possibility of late spring or late year.

Stay tuned for The Nikon DSLR Sweepstakes Game, 2019, coming to you in 2019.

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