While the Nikon Z7 might become grabbing all the headlines, Nikon’s other new full-frame mirrorless camera, the particular Z6, is perhaps going to have the wider appeal, especially amongst enthusiast professional photographers.Nikon is adopting a two-pronged strategy similar to that employed by Nokia when it launched the original Alpha A7R and A7. This Nikon Z6 and Z7 reveal the same design and a pretty-much similar spec sheet, with three notable differences – resolution, autofocus and even burst shooting speed – and with the Z6 marketed as more of an all-round digicam compared to the high-resolution Z7.
We received our hands on a pre-launch style to see if all the fuss has been more than worth it.
Nikon Z6: features
While the 45.7MP Z7 is Nikon’s high-resolution mirrorless offering, the Z6 features a back-illuminated 24.5MP full-frame sensor which has a native ISO range running by ISO100 to 51,200.
Like the Z7 the Z6 characteristics Nikon’s new Z mount, having Nikon having dropped its long-established F mount for its new full-frame mirrorless cameras. The mount opening up is 11mm wider than the F mount at 55mm, while the flange focal distance is 16mm.
Nikon believes the bigger design and short flange distance will enable its lens manuacturers to design optics that surpass existing F mount designs and make by far the most of the full-frame sensor, allowing lighting to easily reach all the way to the edges of the frame.
Launching with the Z6 and Z7 are the first 3 lenses in Nikon’s new S-Line range: a 24-70mm f/4 regular zoom, a 35mm f/1.8 wide-angle prime and a 50mm f/1.8 standard prime. The fresh mount diameter also allows for contacts with maximum apertures as fast as f/0.95, with a high-end manual focus 58mm f/0.95 prime upon Nikon’s roadmap.
For existing Nikon users who are looking to make the opt for the new mirrorless cameras, or seeking to shoot with one alongside their own Nikon DSLR kit, there’s a brand new FTZ Mount Adapter that will be suitable for approximately 360 Nikon lenses, all of which will support the Z6’s full AF speed with over 90 lens.
The Nikon Z6 features a 0.5-inch 3.6-million dot Quad-VGA electronic viewfinder with an outstanding magnification of 0.80x, which usually edges out the Sony Alpha A7 III’s 2.36-million dot and even 0.78x display. The Z6 also uses Nikon’s own optical, which are supposed to deliver even greater quality, while the EVF has a fast display screen rate of up to 60p.
Supplementing this is the large 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen display with a 2,100,000-dot quality, while the Z6 also benefits from a compact top plate LCD displaying important shooting information.
While Nikon’s Digital slrs use a lens-based image stabilization program , for its new mirrorless cameras really opted for an in-camera system, while using Z6 featuring a 5-axis system which provides up to five stops of compensation. For anyone wanting to use their F-attach VR lenses on the Z6 via the mount MTZ adapter, the camera’s built/in VR system will adjust by itself to support the lens-based process.
There’s also an electronic Vibration Reduction system designed to reduce your impact of camera shake if shooting movies handheld; speaking of which usually, the Nikon Z6 can capture 4K UHD video up to 30p, while there’s also the option to capture Full HD video in 60p and even 120p slow-motion footage in HI-DEF format.
Like a host of other the latest Nikon cameras, the Z6 attributes the company’s fairly clunky SnapBridge picture transfer system. This uses a low-energy Bluetooth connection between the camera along with your smart device , with images downscaled to 2MP and transferred from camera to device as you shoot. In the event that you’d rather get your hands on the high-res pictures, you can individually select them in-camera, with a Wi-Fi connection established in the event you opt for this method. Alternatively, the Z6 will offer an open Wi-Fi connection in order to sidestep SnapBridge.
While you might anticipate finding a couple of SD card slots on the Z6, Nikon has opted for a single XQD slot. This is quite a brave proceed considering the limited availability of XQD cards, with just Sony versions you can buy . This performance advantages are clear although, and Nikon’s hope is that once CFExpress cards become more widely available, this will be the greater future-proof solution.
The Nikon Z6 gets a new rechargeable Li-ion power supply, the EN-EL15b, but the camera is usually compatible with the EN-EL15a battery found in the likes of the D850; however not like the older unit the EN-EL15b supports USB charging. Disappointingly Nikon only quotes a 310-shot battery-life, 400 shots down on the Alpha A7 III’s 710 shots; apparently in real-world make use of you’re more likely to get around 600 photos, but we’ll have to put the fact that to the test ourselves.
Nikon Z6: build and handling
While some standout Nikon DSLRs, like the D4 and D800, have been penned by design company Italdesign, the Z6 doesn’t very hit those heights, sporting a much more functional look.
It’s not about how precisely the camera looks though, and the design means it fits very well in the hand when you pick it up due to large and comfy handgrip. For those thinking about swapping from their Nikon DSLRs, typically the transition to the Z6 should be smooth thanks to the familiar controls and switch placement, while Nikon claims the Z6 has the same level of conditions sealing as the D850.
The similar goes for the Z6’s user interface, which uses a design and navigation which is familiar to users of Nikon’s current range of DSLRs, with the a variety of sub-menus running along the left-hand area of the display.
Nikon Z6: autofocus
The autofocus system is one of the important areas where the Z6 and Z7 part company. While the Z7 incorporates a 493-point phase-detect hybrid autofocus technique, the Z6 features a slightly more simple 273-point phase-detect hybrid system.
Coverage is over 90% of the frame, which seen in isolation looks to be extremely comprehensive, but it’s slightly deficient compared with the Sony Alpha A7 III’s 693-point AF system, which uses 93% coverage.
The Z6’s AF mode features a choice of Auto-area, Wide-Area and Single-point modes, or Pin-point if you want to end up being really precise with your focusing.
Switch over to Continuous AF mode for the Z6 and there’s now an extra Dynamic AF focusing mode. Mainly used for focus tracking, you can customize how many additional points support typically the active AF point, while you may also adjust the tracking sensitivity and also other focusing parameters.
Nikon Z6: performance
Along having resolution and focusing, the other important difference between the Z7 and Z6 is the burst shooting speed. While the Z7 is capable of 9fps, the Z6 is that bit faster at 11fps – that’s also a touch quicker than the Alpha A7 III’s 10fps. This is thanks in part to the camera’s reduced pixel count compared to their high-res sibling.
Want to capture silently? No problem: the Z6 includes a quiet shooting mode that views an electronic shutter take over from the Z6’s mechanical shutter for silent images capture.
If you’re making your best foray into using an electronic viewfinder , moving from an optical system on a DSLR, any concerns you may have will be quickly dispelled. The EVF is large and even bright and delivers an incredibly crisp display, even though the fast refresh rate of 60p means the image is nice and clean.
The Z6’s 3.2-inch tilt-angle display can be a touch bigger than the A7’s 3.0-inch display, while the higher quality offered by the Z6’s screen , indicates the clarity and sharpness will be that bit better.
Nikon in addition has integrated a much wider degree of touchscreen display control on the Z6 compared to Sony’s A7 III. While on the A7 III touch control is limited to focus selection, triggering the shutter and examining images, the Z6 also offers control of navigation of the menu and configurations.
Nikon Z6: Cons
Our first impressions of the Nikon Z6 are incredibly positive. The adoption of a fresh lens mount is a big maneuver for Nikon, but it should pay dividends in terms of improved optical performance, even though the optional FTZ mount adapter helps to ensure that you’re not necessarily starting from scratch should you have already invested in a lot of Nikon glass.