I was speculating last month that the new camera would set the IQ level of DX and the D300s replacement would be essentially the same but with a few features that current owners have gone on record to value more than IQ: more than 6fps, heavier, a few single purpose buttons, an opened up version of the CAM4800 for which they are willing to pay a $800-1000 premium. The sales in recent years have increasingly to light weight, high performance cameras with a smaller percent gain in heavy large cameras. That shift in preferences by consumers in everything from phones to cars will probably continue to make the heavy bodies more and more niche items. With the bridge cameras and compacts creating images in resolutions that were not possible in pro cameras just a few years ago customers are starting to realize that large and expensive is not required for a high level of performance. The little Sony NEX looks like a toy but its noise, DR, speed and color would shame most pro cameras of 4 years ago in output. The D90 was really the first Nikon low cost consumer digital camera that was the results equivalent to more costly pro level cameras(D300) in a trend that continues with the D7000 except in reverse order. The lower priced camera set the bar first and the pro body version will be an operation legacy/habit oriented, rather than results oriented product differentiation. In the past new level of technology were unveiled in limited production cameras and trickled down. That timing cycle now would hurt Nikon too much because their income is from the mass items. The D7000 will sell millions so it was more important than in the past with less competition, to release the innovations first in their core product classes. The D400 will be an enhanced D7000, not something that blows it away, photos from either will be indistinguishable. Right now, until that new model comes out, the heavy body DX class will have stagnant sales for a while. Those who absolutely need a button in the old position, have their button now and are not going to upgrade to anything, they surely will not "downgrade" to a lowly D7000 even if it means better DR, noise, color, WB, metering and other trivial matters. The competition right now is D7000 and 7D, the D300s is not in the game right now as an upgrade or brand switcher. Some features of the new D400 to expect Same internals as the D7000 An opened up Multi-CAM4800 with more points and more cross points. Faster 14bit conversion Larger buffer 2 SD slots The move to SD was started with the 1/2 and 1/2 in the D300s and the new high speed, high capacity standards means the future is bright for the SD, and not for the CF which is losing market share, meaning development slowdown. Mic and Line inputs for audio chain Advanced alignment references for vertical and horizon 10fps Onboard flash able to control 3 channels in CLS 250,000 click shutter over 1mpx rear display Less emphasis on video(soon real video cameras will be released with DSLR mounts, APS-C or FX sensors which will make all the current hype about video DSLR disappear overnight) Slight ergonomic improvements $900 higher cost.
Overall, no revolutionary changes, just enhanced D7000 Just pure speculation based on trends and market realities. Stan St Petersburg Russia