Nikon Z6 Review


Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6 Review

After much anticipation from Nikon users, the Nikon Z series was announced to us in 2018, introducing the new Nikon Z6 and its higher resolution version, the Z7. That was how Nikon made its first approach to the world of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

A category that has been highly demanded by everyone that used a Nikon camera before. The Nikon Z6 is cheaper than the Nikon Z7, which could tell a lot about how the company is planning to expand this series. However, the Z6 holds a lot of features when it comes to performance.

There’s a lot that makes the Z6 stand out, and that’s what we will go through within this review, keep reading to find out how this camera almost eliminates all weaknesses usually found in any new release.

Specifications

Besides the fact that it is considerably cheaper than the Z7, Z6 actually tops the competition when it comes to a camera with these capabilities at this price. Its camera can shoot full-width 4k videos, and after the new firmware updates, it can allow an output of 12 bit ProRes Raw video into an Atomos Ninja V external recorder.

The latest firmware update also allows the camera to use the latest CFexpress format of memory card, which makes the camera very flexible with memory storage compatibilities. Subject tracking is enhanced with a new animal eye AF system.

The processor uses EXPEED 6, and the camera comes with a 24.5 MP FX BSI sensor. It provides a resolution of 6048 × 4024 and a native ISO sensitivity of 100-51 up to 200. It also provides dust protection and weather sealing, and the body of the camera is entirely made of magnesium alloy.

The max image size is 6048 × 4024px, and the max burst is 12fps with the focus locked on the first frame. It comes with an XQD memory card, a 3.2inch tilting touchscreen of 2100k dots, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Features

The Z6 was Nikon’s way of attracting new users and introducing its current users to the new mirrorless technology that is suited for silent shooting and for filming videos. It also allows its users to operate with any Nikon lens without restriction while using the new FTZ mount adaptor, even though the Z6’s mount has three new lenses now.

The only restriction that comes with the FTZ adaptor is that the two new cameras do not come with in-camera AF motors, so any existing or old lens will be set on manual focus only if it doesn't have internal drivers.

Nikon Z6 looks the same as the Z7. It comes with the same magnesium alloy body quality and provides a 200000-shot shutter life. The AF points of the Z6 are 273, which are spread along 90% of the width and height of its image. This shows how broad and wide its coverage is compared to a DSLR.

When getting a Z6, you get a wide range of pinpoints, you get a single point, wide-area AF, dynamic-area AF, and auto-area AF modes. However, the Z6 does not come with the eye-detection mode, which is used for portrait and people shots.

For the first time in a Nikon interchangeable lens camera, the Z6 and Z7 come with in-body image stabilization. A new feature that was not expected as many Nikon F-mount lenses do not have built-in VR or vibration reduction.


The Z6 offers an amazing continuous shooting mode that offers a speed of up to 12fps for JPEGs and raw files. At this speed, If you shoot raw, you are restricted to 12-bit files. For 14-bit files, the speed will have to be lowered to 9fps.

It can capture up to 37 raw files in a burst at that speed (12fps), or up to 44 raw files for JPEGs. For shooting bursts that are longer than 4 seconds, a lower frame rate needs to be selected. With one card slot and average buffer capacity, the Z6 uses the latest CFExpress format, which is one of the most common high-end memory card formats.

For video shooting, the Z6 offers full-framed uncropped 4k video that is downsampled from the oversampled 6k feature, which is the best way to shoot the sharpest videos.

The Nikon Z lenses are also designed with silent autofocus, reduced focus, and focus shift for zooming. With Nikon N-log, you can capture 10-bit video to an external recorder for later grading with an extended dynamic range or capture 12-bit ProRes RAW to an Atomos Ninja V.

The new camera comes with touchscreen control that offers touch focus and touch shutter modes, with a DSLR style status screen, which is located on the top. The Z6 also offers exposure that is down to -4EV with lenses of f/2. You can find the Z6 available in three kits, the Z6 24-70 kit, the Z6 24-70 + FTZ kit, and the Z6 FTZ kit.

The Body

The Z6 is small and slim compared to the Nikon full-frame DSLR, which makes it easier to grip, especially with large lenses. Compared to other lenses on the market, the Z-series lenses are much slimmer and elegant. For instance, the 24-70 f/4 comes with a retracting mechanism that shortens the barrel when the camera is not in use, it also comes with a cylindrical design that allows the camera to sit flat when it’s put down.

Because of its small body design, it does not come with an external drive mode dial, metering mode, or AF mode control. However, you can find an AF-ON button and a thumbstick for controlling the focus point around the image.

The rear screen works really well but tilts only vertically instead of a full vary-angle screen, which is good for shooting horizontal-format shots. What’s also good about it is the 2100k-dot panel, which is simple and sharp for use.

Performance

The Z mount lenses are amazing when it comes to auto-focus. They showed an impressive performance for maintaining a good focus on moving objects even on continuous focus mode. For 4k videos, the Z6 shows more efficiency in performance than the Nikon DSLR, and it provides a fast and silent Live View autofocus.

There’s also the option of 10-bit N-log output that provides extra grading flexibility, in addition to the camera’s in-body stabilization, which makes the hand-held video very practical to shoot. However, even though it is very effective for stabilizing static handheld shots, it is not as effective in run-and-gun videography, where you’re going to need a stabilizing rig to get more accurate results.

The exposure in the Z6 is also great for evening highlights and balancing the shadows and highlight exposures. The sensors will record very detailed shadows that show even in JPEGs with great quality.

Final Verdict

While the Z6 will always be a simpler cheaper version of the Z7, it still offers amazing performance for image quality. When tested, the Z6 showed a great dynamic range, corner-to-corner sharpness, and reduced noise with almost no distortion or chromatic aberration.

It’s also very good for shooting good quality images in the dark, as you can push it up to ISO 6400 or 12800 in dim lighting and still get amazing slightly clear images.

This shows high ISO performance that puts the Z6 at the top of the competition when it comes to shooting in low light. What makes the Z6 even more appealing for users is the overall Nikon steadiness in their price range and stream of firmware updates.


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Updated 6 months ago