Nikon has launched an updated model, appropriately called the Nikon Z6 II, two years after the introduction of the first Z6 full-frame mirrorless camera. The new camera retains several of the same features as its predecessor, but Nikon has made changes in many key areas nevertheless. To see first-hand the improvements Nikon has made to its new full-frame mirrorless body, I went hands-on with the camera for my Nikon Z6 II Field Test.

A 24mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, image stabilization in the camera, a 3.2-inch tilting touch screen, and 4K video recording are available.

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Nikon Z6 II: Price

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Nikon Z6 II: Image Quality

With an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF), it obtains the same 24.5MP backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor as its predecessor. However, this go-around, a first for a Nikon camera, they’ve mounted two EXPEED 6 image processors. And this design offers quicker transfer of images and increases the processing capacity overall. And combined with the BSI architecture of the sensor, at higher sensitivities, the camera delivers cleaner images. Even then, the 14-bit RAW images from the camera offer the same clarity as the original edition. And there is a lot of dynamic range for images and a similar natural color representation, which needs limited post-processing if any.

However, the revised processors have contributed to notable improvements in the efficiency of continuous firing. And in this situation, the camera now provides a fast continuous shooting rate of 14 FPS without an AF or 12 FPS with an AF, corresponding to its D6 flagship. And this over doubles the 5.5 FPS rate of its predecessor with monitoring and is a major upgrade. At this rate, the processors have also decreased the camera’s viewfinder blackouts. Furthermore, they also assist in buffer clearing. And the camera now provides a 124 RAW or 200+ JPEGS deep buffer before slowing, which is about 3.5x greater than before.

Nikon Z6 II: Video Quality

It mostly acquires the same skills as its ancestor. It also shoots 4K UHD 30p with a full pixel readout in this situation, and it still shoots 1080p full HD video with audio up to 120p. Both resolutions record internally with an 8-bit 4:2:0 color and H.264 encoding in MP4 or MOV formats. Recording externally, however, unlocks the 10-bit 4:2:2 color. And, depending on the environment, 120p shooting automatically slows the video down to 24-30p for up to 5x slow motion. Though largely unchanged in this respect, the footage provided by this camera remains excellent. Both resolutions have significant detail, ample dynamic range, and detailed color rendering.

Nikon Z6 II: Low-Light Performance

The low light production is largely on par with its ancestor, but for the class it is exceptional. It features a native ISO range from ISO 100 to 51,200, which can be further expanded to a high 204,800 configuration. And users should expect, with minimal post-processing, functional images up to ISO 6,400 or 12,800.

Nikon Z6 II: Display and View-Finder

It gets the same 3.69M dot resolution and 0.8x magnification Quad VGA OLED optical viewfinder as its predecessor. And to make it easy to clean, the EVF has a fluorine coating on the outer component. The viewfinder, while unchanged, is fine. And there’s no decrease in resolution and no excessive lag.

It also gets the same 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD as its predecessor with a resolution of 2.1M dots. And while it’s not a completely articulated screen, while filming at high or low angles, the tilting nature also provides additional stability. Also, the screen itself is fine, offering adequate contrast, precise colors, and it’s sharp. Various gestures are assisted by the touchscreen itself, including touch focus, touch navigation, and control of settings.

Also, the camera gets the same top-deck LCD status as its ancestor. And when aiming at waist level, this screen shows important shooting parameters.

Nikon Z6 II: Specifications

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution6048 x 4024
Effective pixels25 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ISOAuto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
Lens mountNikon Z
Focal length mult.
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Max shutter speed1/8000 sec
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Storage typesCFexpress Type B / XQD, UHS-II SD
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
Weight (inc. batteries)705 g (1.55 lb / 24.87 oz)
Dimensions134 x 101 x 70 mm (5.28 x 3.98 x 2.76″)

Nikon Z6 II: Conclusion

This camera, especially with its fast shooting speeds, wide buffer, and dual card slots, is an excellent choice for athletics, nature, journalism, events, and weddings. And it’s actually Nikon’s best choice outside of the D500 and D6 DSLRs for these purposes. Present shooters with Nikon DSLR should consider updating. For much of their DSLR lineup outside of the D6 flagship, this camera is a comprehensive substitute. And now it’s a strong option with dual card slots, improved AF, and a stronger buffer, even more so if you want a compact hybrid camera with robust video capability.

Ultimately, the Z6 II builds well on its predecessor. And it’s obvious with this announcement that mirrorless is here to remain, and they’re committed to improving and optimizing the cameras of the Z system. And as a release, it helps close the distance between DSLR and mirrorless cameras in capabilities. Sure, that’s not an important leap forward. And, in several respects, it only competes in capabilities with the Sony A7 III date. But, unlike the original model, it helps fix much of the concerns users had. And although rivals at this price point can mostly overshadow this camera, it still remains a strong hybrid camera.



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