We predicted that the Nikon D300 would be replaced with a Nikon D400 some time this year in our Nikon 2009 Predictions article, and now the rumors are really heating up.
Back in December, detailed specs were widely circulated across the Internet for a D400, however these appeared to be more of a wish list than anything else. However since then, Sportshooter.com has added a D400 box on its site (a site frequented by a large number of pros, some of which may be testing new cameras for Nikon). NikonRumors published a scan from a Russian magazine featuring a 14.3 megapixel D400 with 1080p (24fps video) capable of 7 f.p.s. (here). NikonRumors is also reporting that the price increases in Austria and Germany hit just about everything in Nikons lineup, except the D300 which is going down (which they are speculating as implying the D300 may be about to be replaced).
The Nikon D300 was announced in August 2007, so it is clearly nearing the end of its product life cycle (typically between 18 months and 2 years based on recent history). With Canon having a semi-pro camera with 1080p HD Video in the Canon 5D Mark II, it would make a lot of sense to add 1080p Video to a new Nikon D400, especially since it should be priced significantly lower than the 5D Mark II.
One thing that is certain is that at some point the Nikon D300 will be replaced, most likely with a camera called the Nikon D400. The question is when?
The rumors are currently building with the intensity normally only seen shortly before an announcement. PMA 2009 is a few weeks away, beginning Tuesday March 3rd 2009, which would be an ideal time to announce the Nikon D400. However given the intensity of the current rumors, combined with negative press from the D3x launch, and to help distract people from the global Nikon price increases, announcing the Nikon D400 sooner may be a good PR move for Nikon giving people something positive to focus on.