Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true

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The new Nikon Z6, the last without a mirror to reach the shop windows, was born with an important mission: to get the throne of cameras without FF mirrors. Achieving success is difficult, very difficult. But on paper and after a period of prudential time, we can say that we are in front of a model that will present a brave battle. It is too early to know. Now we know their virtues and their shortcomings, so let us know if this is a revolution or a good camera.

The Nikon Z6 is a mirrorless camera of the new Nikon Z system. At the moment it is the second in the ranking of the new system. Born in the fight against Sony A7 III and the new Canon EOS R. That’s his job. But the good thing is that you do not have to look at anything to become a camera with your own personality. Advance that this is not the perfect camera for any other reason we’ll see later, but far from it, it has as many gaps as many without trying.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true

In HaticiTECHS we have already tested the Nikon Z7 and we still had the Nikon Z6 that we have in hand. So let’s get down to work to see the virtues and defects, the lights and the shadows, of the latest Nikon mirrorless that has hit the market.

Nikon Z6, main features

We can not forget that this is the little sister of the new Nikon Z series. And yet it offers professional features like the full-frame sensor and the high-speed shoot.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
The back part
SENSORCMOS of 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm type FX (full format)
EFFECTIVE RESOLUTION24.5 Pixels
MOUNTZ Mount. Compatible with NIKKOR F mount lenses with mount adapter; restrictions may apply.
TYPE OF SHUTTERMechanical shutter of focal plane of electronically controlled vertical travel, electronic shutter front curtain; electronic shutter.
OBTURATION SPEEDFrom 1/8000 to 30 s, in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV; Bulb, Time and X200 options
SHOT ON BURSTUp to 12 fps. Continuous at low speed: from 1 to 5 fps. Continuous at high speed: 5.5 fps (NEF / RAW of 14 bits: 5 fps)
FOCUS SYSTEM273 single point AF points with phase detection. 90% vertical and horizontal coverage
ISO SENSITIVITYFrom 100 to 51,200 (extendable to 50 -204,800)
IMAGE STABILIZERMoving the 5-axis image sensor
VIEWFINDEROLED of 3,690,000 points with coverage of 100% approx, 0.8 magnification and ocular sensor
SCREEN3.2 ‘TFT LCD and 2,100,000 points. touch sensitive with 170 ° angle and angle of view, framing coverage of 100% approx.
STORAGESlot for an XQD card
VIDEO FORMATMOV and MP4 with H.264 / MPEG-4 video encoding
CONNECTIONSWiFi 802.11b / g / n / a / ac and Bluetooth 4.2 (wireless) USB Type C, HDMI Type C output and audio input / output minijack
FEEDINGLithium-ion battery EN-EL15b (the EN-EL15a / EN-EL15 can also be used with less autonomy)
DIMENSIONSApprox. 134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm
WEIGHTApprox. 585 g only the body of the camera (675 g with battery and memory card but without the body cap)

 

Everyone wonders what the real differences are with their older sister or their direct competitor Sony A7 III. We have already seen it in other articles of HaticiTECHS, but it is good to make a small list for those who can not wait:

Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7

The differences are small, but important. The most noticeable is of course the difference in pixels. The Nikon Z7 has 45.7 MP compared to 24.5 MP of the Nikon Z6.

Then it highlights the different range of ISO sensitivities, I imagine the difference of the pixels. The Nikon Z7 starts off with an impressive 64 ISO vs. 100 ISO of the Nikon Z6. However, considering the highest values, the Nikon Z6 achieves 51200 ISO compared to the 25600 ISO of the Nikon Z7.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
A detail of the top

And what makes the difference between the two models is the number of focus points. The Nikon Z7 has 493 AF points against the 273 AF points of the Nikon Z6. A major difference that tips the balance in favor of the older sister.

Another aspect that separates them with the overall logic is the number of frames per second. If you need to move more information, the Nikon Z7 stays at 9 frames per second compared to the 12 frames per second that the Nikon Z6 achieves.

Everything else is identical. They are twin sisters who are separated by the price. We will talk about this later, as it does not stop being a problem for the success of these teams.

Nikon Z6 vs Sony A7III

We all understood the move from Nikon to the presentation of the Nikon Z6. A perfect rival for the great success of Sony. But we can not forget that we face the first generation of the Nikon and the third generation of the Sony. The latter takes a long way in the mirrorless world and shows it.

The big difference between the two models is the autofocus. Sony may have one of the best autofocus systems of today. Its approach to the eye is simply impressive. The Nikon Z6 focuses very well, but does not achieve the same results as the Sony. We’ll have to wait for the upcoming update they promised to see if it’s approaching … It’s a pity they forgot to integrate the 3D system of SLRs.

In all other aspects they are almost the same, although Nikon always wins. It has a better viewer, monitor, is a bit bigger … But it has the handicap of the XQD card. And over just one slot is something that is unbearable and a step back for many (among whom I can not). The standard card is safe in the future, but for the time being …

And finally I left the subject of the battery. The apocalyptists put their hands on their heads, but the difference between the two models is not as great as it seemed. It does not take as long as the last Sony, but I have easily made 700 shots with a load.

Design and ergonomics

The first feeling when you take it out of the box is that you have a Nikon product in your hand. The feeling of robustness has not been lost. It’s a lower-volume camera than a high-end SLR, but it still has a good weight. It’s only 165 gr lighter than a Nikon D750. It is not an exaggeration.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
With the camera in the hands

And despite everything, it’s nice to keep, thanks to the good grip. The feeling is the same as the Nikon Z7. It’s clear that you do not need any accessories to make it more comfortable in your hands. I notice that the little finger does not stay outside, as is the case with other models without mirrors.

It is clear that this is not a SLR, but we do not doubt for a moment that we are together with a product we know. Everything was where we used to be when we were lucky enough to work with this brand. It is a member of the family and we remember everything. Maybe a little closer, but everything within reach.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
A real wonder the diameter of the frame

Most noticeable is the size of the saddle mouth … There is no trace of this F-mount that has given so many joys and problems over the years. Nikon did not disappoint its users, but had to develop dozens of alternatives to evolve with a limited diameter. Despite everything, Nikon has some of the best possible goals.

Everything changes with the new Z-mount, as is the case with all manufacturers who made such a decision. The diameter has grown almost 19 mm. And that’s unheard of. Apart from the large appearance in the new housing, this diameter and the proximity of the lens to the sensor will favor the creation of new lens designs. It’s something they insist on advertising.

Regarding the issue of buttons, such as non-configurable and customizable, the feeling for those who own a Nikon device is the same. With this camera, we do not need weeks of instruction and trial / error to reach its full potential. And it’s something to be thankful for. Everything changes so that it stays the same. The controls are wherever. There are small aesthetic adjustments, good locking of the mode wheel, a readable screen … all Nikon:

  • The classic AF-ON .
  • Next to Disp , with the double position for photo or video, for the change of screen type.
  • The comfortable rugged joystick to move the focus point.
  • The I button for the quick menu, something essential nowadays
  • The dial that we find on the upper right is totally configurable.
  • And the buttons increase, confirmation, visualization, paper … All that the user Nikonist knows.

If you had to highlight something negative in the design, the Nikon Z 24-70mm 1: 4 zoom locking system. It will be very safe, but the turn that needs to be unlocked is heavy and slow. And many would prefer the screen to be folded sideways and rotatable, but that’s a matter of taste. Personally, I think it’s safer for photography.

Viewer and screen

Model after model, brand after brand, get more and more perfect electronic viewfinders. Again I had the sensation of looking through an optical viewfinder when I had this Z6 in my hands. It is an OLED of 3,690,000 points with 100% coverage approx . Once again, it is the best we have tested to date.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
One of the screens with all the information

Regarding the screen is easier. But with its 3.2 “and 2,100,000 points we need little more, of course it is tactile, it only has a 170 ° angle of view but I will say again that for the subject of photography it is more than enough. With the movement you have I can place the camera on a tripod and move the screen to avoid bending over.

The controversies of the card and the duration of the battery

In my opinion, these polemics, after trying them for a few days, make little sense in my opinion. The fashion works now with two cards. Many photographers use it only to increase the storage capacity. Many others for the famous backup copy. Some that are stored in one of the RAW and other JPEG dumps … In this case, we have only one slot and the XQD type.

 

these new XQD I liked because they are more solid than the flimsy and small SD and at least they are just as fast

A change of cards always means an increase in the initial investment. You have to buy a new reader. This is an important issue. It is true that they could have kept the SD. Or go back to my dear Compact Flash … In the digital world, things get out of date too soon. But I really liked this new XQD because they are more solid than the weak and small SD and at least as fast. It was a clean slice of Nikon. Something risky but courageous.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
The famous battery

As far as the battery is concerned, everyone puts their hands on their heads for a short time. Nikon acknowledged that they were too conservative at the time of submitting this information with 300 shots. Many commentators curse the Japanese company without trying the camera. But the reality looks different. The battery is the same as the SLR models, the EN-EL15. For the Z series, they recommend model b. However, you can work with the EN-EL15a / EN-EL15. And to prevent misunderstandings, I was able to take about 700 photos with a single charge, look at the screen, test the shock, check the menus …

The autofocus of the Nikon Z6

Here is the Achilles heel of this model. The autofocus is lower than that of his older sister. And does not reach the proven quality of the top-class SLRs. Not much less than a Nikon D850. And it does not look like Sony’s. I do not mean that we are facing a bad autofocus. Just that it’s still a long way from its direct competitors (we’ll have to see the new update that’s as far as it looks and I’d like to try).

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
Nikon Z 6 24 Mm Iso 100 1/500 f7

For quiet, landscape, travel, even portrait photography, it is perfect. It has no problem, with the advantage of always being well adjusted thanks to the absence of the mirror. Indoors in low light you can achieve precise focus without problems. The problem is, as always, the continuous focus.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
Nikon Z 6 24 Mm Iso 100 1/100 f5

These new focusing systems are much more effective than the cameras used ten years ago. And we got focused photos without problems. But now we want more precision, a sharpness that sets us apart. And the Nikon Z6 responds perfectly, but can not work fast in compromised situations.

 

It is not an action camera. You can not forget us, even if you shoot at 12 fps

It is not an action camera. We can not forget, even if it shoots at 12 fps. If you take sports photos or always have to work in the dark in discos or greyhound racing, this is not your camera. Especially if you want 100% focused pictures. If you only need 70-80%, it’s your model. The problem is that there are other cameras that do this.

Picture quality

Since you see the photo on the LCD screen, you can see the quality of the image from the first moment. When you get a sharp picture, you can see every detail of the hair, the branches or what you have photographed. And that with a zoom lens. I do not want to know what it will look like when you attach a premium lens.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
Nikon Z 6 24 Mm Iso 100 1/640 Sec f7

It offers more quality than you ask from a camera in this price range . As you can see in the photo of the ISO test the noise is very contained up to 12800 ISO. We could even go one step further and bet on software noise reduction in the computer. The dynamic range, the representation of lights and shadows, is perfect.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
ISO Nikon Z6 test

We can not forget that we are as usual in front of an ISO-Less sensor. Restoration of the shadows is done if necessary without loss of information. Little can be done with the sensors. You just have to reach the 16 real bits like the medium format cameras and increase their dynamic range even further. Only a few people will need more.

Personally I would work with this camera with the automatic ISO between 100-6400 ISO equipped with luminous objectives. And I would have the security of having an excellent team in my hands. It would be one of my ideal cameras to travel light with a 35 mm. If you are not professional few things more you can ask a similar sensor.

Nikon Z6, our opinion

Nikon has laid the foundation for its mirrorless system. Far is the little miracle that was not known as Series 1. Somewhat inexplicable. The Nikon Z6 has everything to succeed in a market where the name of the company still has a lot to say. It appeared that it was a brand that was condemned by the crisis, but this new product line may suggest a revival. Or finally bury this story.

Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
Nikon Z 6 54 Mm Iso 3200 1/60 f4

But it has two very serious problems:

  • They have let too much time pass until they decide to take out a camera without a mirror, the last shout in the industry. And Sony has already three generations, with different ranges, of its famous A7 . That is a long time to be able to experience what works and what does not.
  • Continuous autofocus is worse than the systems of its rivals. It is not understood that they have dispensed with the 3D system of professional SLRs.
  • The price is excessive if you want to get a larger market share. It is really tall.
Nikon Z6 review: the dream of many photographers come true
Nikon Z 6 54 Mm Iso 3200 1/60 f4

The Sony A7 III, which measures this model, is superior. And that the Nikon has many positive things, such as the viewfinder, the wonderful menus of your life and a much larger target park thanks to the adapter. And they knew how to use the technology of stabilizing the five axles. However, this intangible point remains a round product.

Photos taken with Nikon Z6

Where to buy

We can not forget that these are the beginnings of the Z series. This is not the high end model. This is geared to the world of travel photography without pretension. But the audience of the networks demands more. Photographers know that they are facing a model that has many things to say, and that the next update that promises to focus on the eye can turn it into something else. We will see. They are the first chatter of a system just born. And it promises a lot.

 

 

90%
  • Features
  • Design and Ergonomics
  • Controls and interface
  • Performance
  • Image quality

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