Nikon Z6 II Review

The Z6 was Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and the Z6 II is the company’s second iteration of that model. The Nikon Z6 has been around for more than three years, and throughout that time it has held the title of our finest mirrorless camera.

However, there is still potential for improvement, and with the Z6 II, Nikon has chosen to preserve the basic specifications and design of the Z6, while at the same time correcting some of its shortcomings.

As a consequence of this, the Z6 II has practically all of its primary characteristics inherited from the Z6. This includes the superb full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor, which is responsible for delivering photos that have exceptional levels of detail, plenty of dynamic range, and a very strong high-ISO noise performance.

When compared to one of the Z6 II’s closest competitors, the 20.1MP Canon EOS R6, the additional pixels in this camera provide you with a little bit more versatility when it comes to framing and cropping, although the EOS R6 has a little advantage at higher sensitivities. When it comes to the outcomes, there is not much of a difference between the Z6 II and its other major competitor, the Sony Alpha A7 III.

Even though Nikon has not changed the sensor in the Z6 II, the company has added a second EXPEED 6 image processor to the camera. This results in a variety of performance enhancements, the most notable of which is an increase in the maximum burst firing speed from 12 frames per second to 14 frames per second.

That is on par with the speed of the EOS R6, and it is faster than the Alpha A7 III (although the R6 can shoot at 20fps using its electronic shutter).

Because the Z6 has an additional CPU, Nikon was also able to improve the 273-point autofocus system that is included in the camera. In addition to general performance enhancements and the ability to focus in darker settings, human and animal eye/face detection is now accessible in Wide area AF mode. This mode now has the capacity to focus in conditions where there is less available light.

If you’re going to be shooting a lot of action (or portraits), then the focusing systems in the EOS R6 and A7 III have the edge here. However, this does not take away from the fact that it is a reliable system that works well for general photography.

Nikon Z6 II Design

The design is almost identical to that of the Z6, and it now has a second card slot. The tilt-angle display is not ideal for watching videos.

Nikon has decided to maintain the design of the new camera practically identical to that of its predecessor in order to coincide with the release of the Nikon Z6 II little over two years after the Z6 was first introduced.

Although this may appear to be a lack of imagination on the part of Nikon (and also a way to save some money on R&D costs), the decision to use the same body is not a bad thing. The Z6 is one of the best-handling mirrorless cameras available, with controls that fall easily to hand and key settings that are easy to access.

The joystick, which is technically referred to as the sub-selector, has a great weight to it, and all of this is supported by a broad hand grip that is comfortable to hold and a thumb rest that is clearly defined.

To put it another way, shooting with the Z6 II is one of the most enjoyable experiences available among mirrorless cameras.

Nikon Z6 II Performance

  • a quick rate of fire during bursts
  • Very capable performance in the AF department
  • Longer runtime for the battery than the Z6.

Even while the Nikon Z6 II is capable of shooting at 14 frames per second, there is a catch: at this maximum rate, you can only use 12-bit raw files, and there is only room for one AF point.

This reduces to a still very good 12fps if you want a bit more dynamic range in your files and want to take use of the Z6 II’s tracking AF, which is quicker than the Alpha A7 III’s 10fps and is on par with the EOS R6’s 12fps (though the R6 can shoot at up to 20fps using its electronic shutter).

The buffer ought to be more than sufficient for the majority of cases, with the Z6 II being able to hold 124 12-bit raw files or 200 JPEGs at its maximum frame rate.

Although the autofocus system in the Z6 II offers 90% coverage throughout the frame, which is good when viewed in isolation, it lags behind the 693-point system in the Alpha A7 III and the 6,072-point AF system in the EOS R6, both of which top the pack in their respective categories.

Even though the systems in the Z6 II’s competitors are a bit more sophisticated when it comes to eye and face tracking, the Z6 II still does a very good job in this regard, locking quickly and accurately on to the subjects we tested it on. Those who primarily shoot people (or pets) may prefer the systems in the Z6 II’s competitors.

If you’re tracking subjects, the situation is exactly similar: use the Z6 II by itself, and you’ll be really impressed with the speed of acquisition, but it’s not nearly a match for the EOS R6 (which uses pretty much the same AF system as the flagship Canon EOS-1D X Mark III).

The image stabilization mechanism that is integrated into the Z6 II and offers 5 stops of correction delivers reliable results. Again, it is not nearly as spectacular as the 8-stop system that the EOS R6 has (which is reliant on the lens), but you are able to shoot at extremely slow shutter rates without having to worry about blurry or unsharp photographs being produced.

The battery is another important component that Nikon improved upon with the Z6 II. The Z6 was only able to obtain an official number of 310 shots (even though it performs better in real-world circumstances), but the Z6 II has an upgraded EN-EL15c battery that is rated for 410 shots when using the LCD and 340 shots while using the viewfinder. This is a much-appreciated advancement, although the Z6 II is still behind competitors in this regard, like the EOS R6 and the Alpha A7 III.

Nikon Z6 II Image & Video Quality

  • The same level of image quality as the Z6.
  • Outstanding clarity and fidelity of the details Good performance at high ISO

The Z6 II makes use of the same sensor that was used in the Z6, as we have noted previously. This is excellent news, as the results obtained with the Z6 were virtually unrivaled in their category.

The Z6 II’s full-frame 24.5-megapixel backside illumination (BSI) sensor captures an impressive amount of information. If you need to print larger than A3 on a regular basis, you could be persuaded to go with the 45.7-megapixel sensor in the Z7 II (or the D850), but the resolution that is provided here should be enough to satisfy most photographers.

It performs well across the sensitivity range, delivering great results at higher ISOs, thanks in part to the back-illuminated technology in the Z6 II’s sensor (which is missing from the lower-priced Z5). However, if you’re shooting JPEGs, it’s important to keep in mind that the default noise reduction can be a bit heavy at higher ISOs, which can result in the unnecessary loss of detail.

If you’re shooting raw, the dynamic range is also extremely strong, and you’ll have lots of leeway in post-processing to recover detail from the shadows and dial back the highlights.

A quick note on lenses before we wrap up: the 24-70mm f/4 is a good option that delivers very good performance; however, since its introduction more than two years ago, the range of lenses available in Nikon’s S-series has significantly expanded. This range now includes some excellent f/1.8 primes as well as f/2.8 zooms.

Nikon Z6 II Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6048 x 4024
Other resolutions3936 x 2624 (DX crop), 4016 x 4016 (1:1), 6048 x 3400 (16:9)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels25 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorDual Expeed 6
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)204800
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (6 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis
CIPA image stabilization rating5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File formatJPEGRaw (NEF, 12 or 14-bit)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points273
Lens mountNikon Z
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.8×
Viewfinder resolution3,690,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed900 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesFront-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Continuous drive14.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10 or 20 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 56 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 56 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesCFexpress Type B / XQD, UHS-II SD
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (mini HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (via MC-DC2 or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL15c lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)410
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″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Nikon Z6 II Final Verdict

Nikon has improved upon one of our most favored mirrorless cameras by addressing the primary flaws in its design. Although it is possible that the Z6 II is not the best in its class in certain crucial categories, the fact that it performs so well in every category makes it a very tempting option.

Nikon Z6 II Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Handling that has been refined 5-axis image stabilization system 14fps burst shooting
  • Excellent image quality
  • the highest standard of workmanship in its class
Need Improvements
  • Tilt-angle display, not vari-angle
  • There are other, more developed AF systems.

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