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We had to wait a little longer for the Nikon Z6 to arrive than we did for the Nikon Z7. Still, this camera may have the most widespread appeal of Nikon’s two full-frame mirrorless models, especially among photography enthusiasts.
The Nikon Z6 and Z7 share the same design and identical spec sheets, but the two cameras have three significant differences. These differences include the resolution, the autofocus, and the burst shooting speed. Nikon adopted a two-pronged strategy similar to Sony’s system when it launched the original Alpha A7R and A7.
The Z6 is positioned as more of an all-around camera, in contrast to the Z7, which is Nikon’s high-resolution offering and features a sensor that is densely filled with 45.7 megapixels. Has Nikon, on the other hand, arrived at the party a little too late, considering Sony has already taken the lead thanks to the outstanding Alpha A7 III?
Nikon Z6 Price
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Nikon Z6 Body & Design
Large and comfortable handgrip Same level of weather sealing as the D850 Familiar control scheme and layout of buttons and dials
The design firm Italdesign is responsible for the aesthetic of some outstanding Nikon DSLR cameras, including the D4 and the D800. However, the Z6, which has a more realistic appearance, does not quite reach such heights.
As soon as you get your hands on a Z6, any concerns you might have had about how this would affect how it handles are immediately put to rest. Because of the broad and comfortable handgrip, the camera can be easily held with one hand. Those with larger hands may discover, similar to what we found with the Z7, that their little finger hangs just a touch off the bottom of the Z6, but this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most people.
Even though the Z6 is smaller than a typical Nikon DSLR, the build quality has not been compromised in any way by Nikon’s design choices. Along with a comfy thumb rest and plenty of high-quality textured rubber around the grip and backplate, the Z6 boasts magnesium alloy in its top, front, and back covers, much like the Z7.
The result is that the camera has a rugged feel, and Nikon says that the Z6 has the same amount of weather sealing as the D850. These factors culminate in a highly robust camera and high-quality construction.
A switch turns the camera on and off in the same area as the button that releases the shutter. However, there are separate buttons for video recording, ISO, and exposure compensation. Push down on the selected button, then use the command dial on the back of the camera to make the necessary adjustments, such as adjusting the ISO or dialing in exposure compensation. Any changes you make will be shown on the tiny LCD on the top plate.
While the control layout at the rear of the Z6 is slightly different from that of a Nikon DSLR, the various buttons are clearly labeled and easy to find. Additionally, the Z6 features the same joystick control as the D850. Formerly known as the sub-selector, this is weighted nicely and provides easy management of AF area selection. Finally, this product’s only marginally disappointing aspect is the fairly “Coolpix”-like a four-way control pad.
The methodology that Nikon employs to make the handling of its mirrorless cameras comparable to that of its DSLRs has been carried over to the user interface of the Z6. The numerous sub-menus run down the left-hand side of the display, which is indicative of this philosophy.
And although those who are already familiar with Nikon will indeed feel perfectly at home with the Z6, this accessibility is extended to those who are entering Nikon’s ecosystem for the first time – the Z6 is undoubtedly a camera that Nikon novices should have no trouble getting to grips with.
Nikon Z6 AutoFocus
- 273-point autofocus system with a 90% coverage of the frame
- Hybrid AF system
One of the most critical ways in which the Nikon Z6 and Z7 differ from one another is in the focusing system. The autofocus system on the Z7 is a 493-point phase-detect hybrid system, whereas the Z6 is a 273-point phase-detect hybrid system. Nevertheless, both of these systems are still remarkable, despite their differences.
The autofocus system provides coverage for 90% of the frame, which, when seen in isolation, appears to be quite thorough. However, this system is significantly inadequate compared to the 693-point AF system of the Sony Alpha A7 III, which provides coverage for 93% of the frame.
In the Z6’s Single AF mode, you can select Auto-area, Wide-area (with either small or big focusing areas), Single-point focusing, and Pin-point concentrate if you wish to achieve a high level of focusing precision.
The Single AF (AF-S) setting of the Z6 performs exceptionally well for shooting in everyday situations. Although we utilized Single-point mode the most here, with the joystick described before making it simple to shift the AF point across the frame, Wide-area mode on the Z6 can also be highly adaptable when moving around with the camera.
The focus process happens quickly, and the only time it takes longer is when there is less light. At this point, the autofocus assist beam will begin to aid you in acquiring focus; however, you can turn this feature off if you want.
Nikon Z6 Performance
- 12-frames-per-second continuous shooting rate
- The EVF is big and brilliant, and the touchscreen functions admirably.
The Z7 and Z6 are fundamentally distinct in terms of resolution and the speed at which they can take several shots in rapid succession. For example, the Z7 can shoot at nine frames per second, while the Z6 can shoot at 12 frames per second, which is a little faster than the Alpha A7 III, which can only shoot at ten frames per second and is on par with Nikon’s top D5 DSLR.
However, similar to what we experienced with the Z7, the buffer on the Nikon Z6 is relatively tiny; however, it should still be more than acceptable for most users. When we used a 64GB Sony XQD card with read and write rates of 400MB/s, we could shoot 12 frames per second with 35 raw files (12-bit NEF files). When shooting 14-bit NEF files, the burst shooting speed reduces to 9 frames per second, and the buffer size lowers to 33 raw files. Things will go much more smoothly if you slow the frame rate down to 5 fps and take 200 raw files at this rate.
Do you wish to fire in complete silence? The Z6 offers a silent shooting mode that replaces the Z6’s mechanical shutter with an electronic shutter while taking still photographs. The only minor issue is that this mode is hidden at the bottom of the Photo Shooting Menu and is not an option in the Z6’s drive mode list.
Nikon Z6 Image Quality
- Outstanding clarity and attention to detail
- Exceptional performance at high ISO
- The dynamic range provides a great deal of versatility.
Are 24.5 megapixels adequate for you? That depends depend on what you take and how you want to publish your photos, but for many people, the results from the sensor in the Nikon Z6 will be more than high resolution enough.
After putting the Z6 through its paces with the brand new 24-70mm f/4 and 35mm f/1.8 S-Line lenses, we found that the camera’s image quality more than lived up to our expectations. The metering is dead on, and there is a propensity to expose the highlights to prevent any detail from being blown out. Despite this, the photographs seem snappy and are richly saturated.
Detail is also exquisite; although more densely filled sensors undoubtedly have the advantage, with superb optics on the front of the Z6, you can shoot rich-in-detail photos with excellent corner-to-corner sharpness.
In addition, the Z6 works well over the whole ISO range; the results at ISO1600 hold up to scrutiny, and there is very little discernible difference between them and photographs shot at ISO100. When you go above ISO1600, the fine detail in your photos may suffer a bit, and you’ll notice some smoothness in your JPEG files. However, shooting at ISO3200 and ISO6400 will still provide very usable and good pictures.
Provided you go any farther, you may still come up with beautiful images at ISO 12,800 or ISO 25,600 if you are willing to spend a little time editing the files in post-processing. This is the case if you are ready to invest some time. Unless it were essential, we would refrain from going beyond those sensitivities.
The dynamic range is also quite good, allowing great versatility; it is possible to recover significant amounts of the shadow detail that would otherwise be lost.
It is possible to recover this shadow detail even at ISO1600 and 3200, and even though it diminishes above that, you can still push files to a proper degree. What is particularly impressive about this flexibility is that it is not limited to the lower sensitivity range of the camera.
|6048 x 4024
|3936 x 2624 (DX crop), 4016 x 4016 (1:1), 6048 x 3400 (16:9)
|Image ratio w h
|1:1, 5:4, 3:2, 16:9
|Sensor photo detectors
|Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
|sRGB, Adobe RGB
|Color filter array
|Primary color filter
|Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
|Boosted ISO (minimum)
|Boosted ISO (maximum)
|White balance presets
|Custom white balance
|Yes (6 slots)
|Image stabilization notes
|CIPA image stabilization rating
|JPEG quality levels
|Fine, normal, basic
|JPEGRaw (NEF, 12 or 14-bit)
|Optics & Focus
|Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive view.
|Autofocus assist lamp
|Number of focus points
|Focal length multiplier
|Minimum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed
|ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
|Yes (via hot shoe)
|Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off
|Flash X sync speed
|Yes (2, 5, 10, or 20 secs)
|±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
|3840 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
|USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
|Yes (mini HDMI)
|802.11ac + Bluetooth
|Yes (via MC-DC2 or smartphone)
|EN-EL15b lithium-ion battery & charger
|Battery Life (CIPA)
|Weight (inc. batteries)
|675 g (1.49 lb / 23.81 oz)
|134 x 101 x 68 mm (5.28 x 3.98 x 2.68″)
Nikon Z6 Final Verdict
When you first hold up the camera, any concerns that it would fall short of expectations are immediately put to rest because it is clear that Nikon has not held back at all with the Z6.
The Nikon Z6 is a highly friendly camera to take pictures with because it has refined handling, a robust build, excellent image quality from the 24.5MP sensor, a brilliant electronic viewfinder, and a ton of other little touches that make the camera more enjoyable to use.
Adopting a new lens mount is a significant step for Nikon, but if the two lenses we tested are any indication, it will pay dividends in terms of improved optical performance as the lens range grows. Additionally, the availability of an optional FTZ mount adapter ensures that you won’t necessarily have to start from scratch if you’ve already made a significant investment in Nikon glass.
Is Nikon Z6 a pro camera?
There is a possibility that the Nikon Z6, despite its excellent camera, will not be regarded as a professional camera on the same level as the Nikon Z7 II or the Nikon Z9.
Is the Nikon Z6 full-frame?
The Nikon Z6 is, in fact, a full-frame rangefinder camera that boasts a high-resolution sensor and several other cutting-edge features.
Is Nikon suitable for wedding photography?
Because of its quick autofocus system, outstanding performance in low light, and ability to produce high-quality images with an excellent dynamic range, the Nikon Z6 can be a good option for photographers interested in wedding photography.
Is Nikon good for bird photography?
Even though the Nikon Z6 can be used for photographing birds, it is possibly not the best option because its autofocus system is not as advanced as the autofocus systems found in some other cameras that have been designed particularly for wildlife.
Is Nikon good for portrait photography?
Because of its high-resolution sensor, sophisticated autofocus system, and ability to generate high-quality photos with outstanding bokeh, the Nikon Z6 is a good choice for portrait photography.
Is the Z6 good for landscape photography?
Because of its high resolution, sophisticated image processing capabilities, and capacity to produce high-quality pictures with exceptional detail and dynamic range, the Nikon Z6 is a good choice for landscape photography. This is because the camera has an extensive dynamic range.
Is Z6 waterproof?
Even though it is not waterproof, the Nikon Z6 has been weather-sealed to withstand some dampness and grime.
Is Nikon Z6 compatible with Lightroom?
The Nikon Z6 is, in fact, interoperable with Lightroom and several other well-known picture editing programs.
Does Nikon Z6 have autofocus?
The Nikon Z6 does have autofocus and other sophisticated features like the ability to identify eyes and faces.
Does Nikon Z6 have eye detection?
The Nikon Z6 does come equipped with eye recognition autofocus capabilities.
Does Nikon Z6 have Bluetooth?
The Nikon Z6 does come equipped with Bluetooth communication.
Is Nikon Z6 suitable for sports?
Due to the Nikon Z6’s autofocus system not being as advanced as the autofocus systems found in some other cameras intended particularly for sports photography, it is possible that it is not the best option for professional-level sports photography. However, the Nikon Z6 can be suitable for sports photography.
Does Nikon Z6 have animal eye AF?
The Nikon Z6 does come equipped with animal eye detection capabilities.