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Evaluate: Nikon Z6 is a superb all-around full-frame mirrorless digicam

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The brand new full-frame mirrorless Nikon Z6 is a extra inexpensive mannequin of the excellent Z7, maintaining practically all options whereas chopping the value in half.

We have already reviewed the large brother to the Nikon Z6 — the Z7 — which launched a pair months earlier, and had been left general impressed. The most important setback to the Z7 was the hefty price ticket that accompanied it. As superb because it was, it was clear that almost all customers may go for a extra inexpensive choice with a barely decrease megapixel depend.

The fundamentals

Getting the commonalities out of the way in which first, the Nikon Z6 is a 24.5MP full body mirrorless shooter. It sports activities an ISO vary of 100 – 51,200 in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV. Maxed out, it could possibly rise up to an ISO 204,800 equal.

It has a tilt-able LCD touchscreen on the again with a refreshed GUI to make controls straightforward. Powered by the latest Expeed 6 picture sign processor (ISP). Each fashions additionally use Nikon’s Z-mount system for added versatility.

Boxed up

Acoutrements included within the field embody the ENEL15b battery, wall charger, USB-C to USB-A cable, and the Z-series digicam strap.

Nikon Z6 in the box

Nikon Z6 digicam physique, battery, charger, USB-C cable, and strap

Many of those are acquainted just like the wall charger, athough some are barely tweaked for the brand new fashions. The ENEL15b battery is a slight variation on the frequent ENEL15 discovered in lots of different Nikons. However, this model of the battery will be charged within the digicam over USB-C. Different ENEL15 batteries with work within the Z6, they simply cannot be charged in-camera.

The digicam strap is primary, and first on our record to improve.

We want Nikon had opted for a pure USB-C to USB-C cable moderately than the less-needed-each-week USB-C to USB-A. Fortunately, if you happen to’ve acquired any current Apple gear such a MacBook Professional or iPad Professional, you need to use the USB-C cables you’ve got mendacity round. Skip Apple’s charging cable for this although, that solely transfers knowledge at USB 2.0 speeds.


A digicam spends not simply time on a tripod however in your hand. It can be crucial for it to really feel snug and safe, particularly for lengthy capturing periods.

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6 in opposition to a deck of enjoying playing cards

A lot significance was placed on this and it actually reveals. The Z6 is snug to carry and feels very safe because of the massive right-sided grip.

The digital viewfinder (EVF) juts out barely as nicely, so once you convey your eye to the viewfinder, your nostril would not rub in opposition to the touchscreen. We want different cameras would think about this.


Nikon’s management scheme hasn’t modified a lot, however the addition of the touchscreen makes it much more intuitive.

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6 publicity modes

When snapping a pic, a press of the i brings up the data overlay. Relying on the publicity mode you’re in, sure values are adjustable and others aren’t. Those that may be modified are highlighted, will be tapped and swiped by means of. It is vitally quick to make modifications by simply tapping what you are in search of.

Nikon Z6 Menu System

Nikon Z6 menu system and button format

The button format can be acquainted, with many user-customizable choices to make the digicam your individual. There have been instances that some controls had been tough to regulate in tandem, akin to urgent the correct operate button and rotating the entrance adjustment wheel.

Certainly one of our favourite options is with the ability to see and regulate all controls utilizing not solely the rear touchscreen however the EVF as nicely. When switching to the viewfinder, it mirrors what was on the massive show.

In case you’ve ever shot in shiny daylight and struggled to examine your concentrate on the show, you’ll perceive the practicability of this function.

Nikon Z6 ports

Nikon Z6 ports

The left facet of the digicam sports activities an array of ports together with a headphone jack, microphone enter, HDMI output, USB-C, and a distant shutter port.


Nikon is as soon as extra utilizing XQD playing cards right here, although there is just one slot accessible. On earlier fashions, Nikon normally had two slots, and the second would typically be the normal SD selection. This can be a large level of competition, general.

Nikon Z6 XQD Memory card

XQD 64GB reminiscence card

XQD is way quicker than SD, although the price of the media is larger, and it is just produced at present by Sony. XQD playing cards can learn at 440 megabytes per second and write at 400 megabytes per second, and this speediness is critical when RAW photographs can simply be as much as 50MB.

Going ahead, after a easy firmware replace, the Z6 will help the rising CFexpress format. Fortunately, CFexpress makes use of the identical format as XQD and is poised to be rather more fashionable and highly effective. Model 1 of CFexpress can be able to 1970 MB/s, or greater than six instances that of SD UHS-II.

Just one card slot is possible in a physique this small. Utilizing solely a single card slot might put some professionals off, nevertheless it is not a dealbreaker for practically each different shooter wanting on the Nikon.

Because the Z6 is aimed largely at prosumers, most can be comfortable with the tradeoff of quicker card speeds and smaller physique for a solo slot.

Bringing it into focus

The Nikon Z6 has 273 on-sensor auto-focus factors and resulted in some rock-solid auto-focus efficiency in our testing. There have been some situations the place the main focus needed to transfer previous and again once more earlier than locking in although, one thing we did not expertise as a lot with our Nikon Z7.

As much as 90-percent of the body is roofed in AF factors and makes use of a hybrid system that switches between focal-plane and phase-detect AF and contrast-detect AF on the fly.

Utilizing good object monitoring, topics can keep in focus as they transfer, which works nicely in slower conditions, however will get tripped up the quicker and smaller the topic.

Image good

The entire different design options do not depend for something if the digicam would not carry out in relation to photographs. Simply because the Z7 did, the Z6 carried out very nicely.

Nikon Z6 sample image

Here’s a pattern shot we acquired of our canine at 11:30 at night time with just a few mild forged from a road lamp. We additionally in contrast it to the identical shot we acquired from our iPhone XS Max. The outcomes look — nearly actually — like night time and day.

Nikon Z6 low light

Nikon Z6 versus iPhone XS Max at night time

This was shot broad open at f/4 with the shutter velocity nonetheless considerably lengthy at 1/10 of a second and the ISO set to 25600. It is not solely good — you attempt to get a pet to sit down nonetheless for that lengthy — however did remarkably nicely such little mild and nearly no noise within the picture. The stabilization supplied by the digicam additionally provides you added confidence for these long-shutter pictures.

One thing that we famous throughout our Z7 evaluation, that we nonetheless love right here on the Z6, is the stay show. The stay show is not only a video of what the digicam sees, however a stay preview of what our picture will truly appear to be.

The very best instance to clarify that is when capturing lengthy publicity pictures of water. For these difficult pictures, you want the shutter open longer, which permits extra mild. Meaning when in daylight, the ISO must drop all the way in which down (within the case of the Z6, that is 100). We additionally tighten up the aperture to round f/14 to restrict the quantity of sunshine coming in, and adjusted publicity compensation.

Usually, we might make our greatest guess, fireplace off a pattern shot, test it out, regulate, then fireplace once more. On the Z6, we truly get an correct stay preview of the picture. Once we fireplace the shot, the picture seems to be precisely the identical aside from the softness of the shifting water.

Once we strive the identical shot on an older digicam — just like the D500 — we’ve two large variations. The primary is a major quantity of shutter lag when utilizing Stay View.

Secondly, what you see on the show on the D500 doesn’t essentially symbolize what the picture will appear to be when truly taken. Once we went off the Stay View show, we acquired a really darkish picture as a result of the monitor didn’t take into consideration how lengthy the shutter stayed open, which performs an enormous half within the {photograph} captured.

We took the Nikon Z6 out in town for a collection of picture periods, of which had been minimally edited out of the digicam. There was fairly a little bit of gray on this dreary fall/winter climate of the northeast.

Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image

For readability’s sake, we moved extra picture samples to the tail-end of the evaluation.


When seeking to video, the Z6 can shoot 16:9 4K UHD/30p video in full-frame with zero cropping. Non-full body shooters lead to a cropped in type issue, making filming in tight situations tough.

Like in your iPhone, the Z6 is able to capturing 8MP stills whereas filming in both 4K or 1080P.

Because of the built-in intervalometer, as much as 9,999 photographs will be captured for stunning 4K time lapses, however extra software program is required to drag all of it collectively.

We shot quite a lot of movies for AppleInsider utilizing the Z6 and we observed how quiet the AF system is, with the noise of it not getting picked up on our exterior mic. We additionally used the Contact Display screen to rapidly pull focus between topics with out having to the touch our lens.

In case you use an exterior recorder like these from Atmos, you possibly can benefit from 10-bit output, or you possibly can shoot 8-bit 4K footage to each an exterior recorder and the inner reminiscence card concurrently.

Stabilization kicks in for video as nicely, lastly permitting customers to shoot handheld footage on a Nikon with out requiring an exterior stabilizer — although it would not harm.

It is all about that tumbler

Nikon has been recognized for his or her distinctive glass, and we discover that to be the case with their new Z-mount lenses. It has been practically 60 years for the reason that introduction of the F-mount, the Z-mount’s predecessor, and it’s time for Nikon to look to the long run with their lenses.

Nikon Z6 24-70mm lens

Nikon Z6 24-70mm lens

Z-mount has an elevated mount diameter which permits Nikon to create new large-aperture lenses just like the upcoming f/0.95 Noct lens launching early 2019.

These new lenses additionally drop the built-in vibration discount stabilization function that was included on earlier lenses. With the smaller physique, Nikon has included 5-axis in physique stabilization. For native Z-mount lenses, they get to benefit from all 5 axes.

Older lenses, utilizing the FTZ adapter, acquire help for a 3rd axis on high of the 2 contained in VR lenses. The in-body stabilization is stable sufficient to compensate for 5 steps of shutter velocity.

Nikon Z6 FTZ adapter

Nikon Z6 FTZ adapter

The aforementioned FTZ adapter is immensely useful out of the gate, as solely a handful of Z-Mount lenses can be found. Presently, there’s the 24-70mm f/4, 50mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8, with six extra lenses slated for 2019. Through the use of the adapter, it brings help for 400 present F-mount lenses.

We do want Nikon had gone for perhaps a f/1.4 or f/1.2 for at the very least considered one of their prime lenses, however they’re stunning items of glass regardless. In case you are accustomed to the earlier 35mm f/1.8 F-mount prime lens, you’ll discover an enormous distinction in dimension between the 2. The brand new lens juts out about twice as a lot, which is unlucky once you’re attempting to remain compact.

There are just a few tips baked into the brand new lenses, akin to the power to make use of the operate buttons to alter what the focal ring does. As a substitute of focusing, the ring might be used to regulate aperture or white stability. On the 24-70mm lens, Nikon has a locking mechanism to forestall the lens from inadvertently extending, and staying extra compact when not in use.

Nikon + Apple

There may be tight integration between Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras and Apple merchandise. With the brand new iPads and Macs buying and selling as much as USB-C, it’s easy to plug in your digicam. We love the flexibility introduced on with the brand new iPad Execs, tightly integrating them into our workflow.

Snapbridge app

Snapbridge cellular app

SnapBridge — Nikon’s cellular app — works on each iPads and iPhones for seamless pairing.

Over Bluetooth, the digicam can preview photographs and add geo knowledge to your photographs as you shoot. Switching over to Wi-Fi and you’ve got an entire host of different performance. The Z6 has 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi which is considerably quicker than the two.4GHz discovered earlier than when transferring photographs.

You may as well shoot remotely utilizing your iPhone or iPad. As soon as related, you possibly can simply change publicity modes from the highest left of the app. To the correct is a toggle for picture or video mode, adopted by extra digicam stats akin to battery.

Under the stay preview picture — that solely has a slight delay from the digicam — are all of the adjustable settings from white stability, to aperture, to shutter velocity. This distant images management will definitely turn out to be useful, whether or not you’re capturing a household picture with you included, or you’re doing long-exposure pictures the place digicam actions will be detrimental.

Nikon Z6 and iPad Pro

Nikon Z6 and iPad Professional

On the Mac, USB-C help remains to be great, however as is Nikon’s suite of free software program together with its picture switch utility and ViewNX-i administration/modifying app.

Versus the Z7

Nikon’s Z6 is a spitting picture of the Z7, with solely the refined designator on the decrease front-right telling them aside. Internally, there are just a few minor variations to distance them from each other.

Z7 has the sting in relation to decision, trouncing the 24.5MP of the Z6 with 45.7MP. That added decision additionally affords the power to shoot 8K time-lapses from these monstrous stills.

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6

In any other case, the Z6 is superior, at half the price. It performs higher in low mild with a 204,800 ISO, larger than the 102,400 of the Z7. You should have some artifacts within the picture at that worth, nevertheless it does carry out higher.

Z6 additionally has the sting with velocity, able to getting off 12 RAW pictures a second in opposition to the Z7’s 9.

Versus the Sony A7III

Launched earlier this 12 months, there can be numerous comparisons between the Sony A7III and the Nikon Z6. Each come outfitted with comparable megapixel counts — 24.2 vs 24.5 — and comparable costs — ~$2K for the physique alone.

Every digicam has their very own strengths, making it a little bit of a troublesome name for customers who don’t have any allegiance to both model.

The A7III is a highly regarded full-frame mirrorless shooter. It packs twin media slots, is barely slimmer, and has an extended battery life compared in opposition to the Z6. All these will be important for impassioned photogs. There are additionally 693 focus factors within the A7III which may make a distinction when attempting to concentrate on that nice shot.

Conversely, the Z6 packs just a few tips of its personal. The rear show has a considerably larger decision, there’s a secondary high show for additional information, and it’s considerably faster when capturing. Nikon’s show has 2,100,000 pixels whereas Sony solely packs in 921,600. The Z6 can energy by means of 12 RAW photographs in a second, simply topping the 9 max from the A7III. For these in search of format selection, the Z6 can even output in NEF and TIFF in addition to RAW and JPG (with on-camera RAW processing in addition). Lastly, for the Z6, it could possibly shoot time lapses natively.

An all-around shooter

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6

In an identical vein as to how Apple packed nearly the whole lot that makes the iPhone XS nice into the cheaper iPhone XR, Nikon saved the Z6 an all-around nice digicam for half the value. In case you are in search of velocity or low mild perks, the Z6 truly bests the Z7, whereas nonetheless costing much less.

In comparison with different cameras in the identical worth vary Nikon does come up quick with battery life and media card slots, however these weaknesses will be overcome.

Score 4 out 5

The place to purchase

Nikon’s Z6 Mirrorless Digital Digicam is offered for buy at B&H Picture with free subsequent day supply. The digicam physique sells for $1,996.95, whereas the package with a 24-70mm lens is priced at $2,596.95.

Extra pattern pictures

Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image
Nikon Z6 sample image

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