Nikon Z6 Review: All About New Nikon Z6 II Camera and First Review

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Nikon Z6 Review

Nikon finally unveiled the next generation Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras. There were many expectations. Finally I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the novelty in person a few days before the presentation. Here is the first Nikon Z6 Review and main characteristics. Since the Nikon Z7 II is expected to ship a little later than the Z6 II, we were only able to get a feel for the Nikon Z6 II.

Nikon Z6 Review
Nikon Z6 Review

If you read the announcement or watched the online presentation, then you know that the new items received 99 percent of the same corpus as the first generation. The bodies of the Z6 II and Z7 II are identical, as was the case in the first generation, so all statements regarding the exterior refer to the new generation as a whole.

Left Z6 and Right Z6 II Comparison
Left Z6, Right Z6 II

The first and main difference of the case is related to the memory card compartment cover.

memory card compartment cover

Since the second generation received two slots, the lid size had to be increased – almost twice in height. However, if you own a cage for Z6 / Z7, then you can not worry, it will fit here perfectly, tested on the Small Rig cat. I was worried that the cover of the memory card compartment would not open, but there is no problem with that, so I won’t have to sharpen it.

There are a couple more changes that are not noticeable at first glance. Firstly, the shape of the viewfinder unit has become more cut. Secondly, a notch appeared under the display at the bottom, folding the screen for convenience.

Nikon EOS R, Nikon Z6 and Z7
Nikon EOS R, Nikon Z6 and Z7

Otherwise, no difference. All the same comfortable grip and the same rubberized coating (let’s hope that it has become better and more durable). According to Nikon, the coating problem was only in the first batch of Z6 / Z7 and was further fixed.

As you can see from the photos, the first and second versions are quite difficult to distinguish.

Nikon Z6 Review & First Appearance

The tilt mechanism of the display also remained unchanged. However, a useful function has appeared – when the screen is tilted, the viewfinder is turned off. Thus, power savings and unwanted automatic switching to the viewfinder can be achieved. The function must be said to be logical, because hardly anyone will look through the viewfinder when the display is open.

Nikon Z6 II Top View
Nikon Z6 II Top View

The arrangement of buttons, dials and switches, as well as the tactile sensation, have not changed. In fact, no improvements were required here, everything was implemented perfectly already in the first version.

Let’s talk about the functionality of the Z6. What’s the same? As already mentioned, this is the case and, by the way, a set of connectors. In addition, there are the same displays, a shutter resource of 200 thousand, a viewfinder, one-to-one matrix, the same 5-axis stabilization and the same ISO range of 100-51200. And now for the pleasant – what’s new?

Nikon Z6 II Back View
Nikon Z6 II Back View

The most important thing, and this, in fact, is the basis for other innovations, is a dual processor. Now the new generation has two Expeed 6 processors. By the way, even the D6 has only one Expeed 6 and an additional processor (without a name) responsible for autofocus.

The Z6 has become faster – 14 fps RAW 12 bit and approximately 12 fps 14 bit (and these are indicators with a mechanical shutter). Along with the rate of fire, the buffer also increased. It has increased quite significantly – 124 RAW (CFExpress / 12 bit RAW) versus 37 in the first version.

Nikon Z6 II Side View 1
Nikon Z6 II Side View 1

The increased processing power has doubled the speed of autofocus. And I noticed this immediately when I turned on the camera for the first time. The camera is much faster at detecting faces and eyes. However, we will wait for the serial sample for the test for a more accurate conclusion.

The new generation has improved autofocus sensitivity. Now up to 4.5 stops without Low Light function (up to 3.5). When the Low Light mode is on, the sensitivity remains at the same level up to 6 stops. New items are close to the speed of D5 and D6.

Nikon Z6 II Side View 2
Nikon Z6 II Side View 2

Human and animal eye recognition now works in video too. A new interesting autofocus mode has appeared – the detection of faces and eyes in the selected area. Such a function will be useful for shooting when there are a lot of people in the frame and the automation, in the case of detection throughout the frame, periodically jumps from the main character and you have to constantly switch with the joystick. By choosing zone L, the work will become more controlled and there will be less random jumps.

This mode is especially useful for video shooting. Moreover, in this mode, you can separately enable either the detection of human faces and eyes, or the detection of animal faces and eyes. The default switching is done by the front wheel while holding down the FN button. If you do not use some of the modes, then they can be disabled in the menu so that they do not interfere with work, and the switching occurs more quickly.

By the way, the autofocus setting item has moved from the user settings (pencil icon) to the photo menu and the video menu.

Nikon Z6 II Back View

Finally, about the video. Now that’s 4k 60fps from full frame. Moreover, on the Z6, recording will be carried out from the DX crop, and on the Z7 with a slight 1.08x crop. The company has officially announced that the Z6 II’s 4k 60fps video quality will be better than the Z7 II’s.

It is worth noting that 4k / 60fps on the Z6 will only become available after a firmware update, which the company says will happen approximately in February. This update will be free. By the way, about paid updates. You still have to pay to enable ProRes RAW recording on an external recorder.

Why 4k / 60fps will only be available in February? As explained in the company, Nikon always adheres to the policy “it is better to do it later, but as much as possible finished”, so, apparently, 4K 60 frames have not yet been “finished”. Well, let’s wait… Let’s hope it doesn’t drag out as long as it did with the firmware for the ProRes RAW recording, which came out much later than the originally planned date.

Full HD remains the same – the maximum speed is 120 frames per second.

There are a couple of important updates left and you can breathe out. Of course, these are two slots for XQD / CF Express Type B and SD UHS-II memory cards. Everyone was waiting for this and, moreover, one XQD slot was often the main reason for refusing to switch to a new system. XQD is reliable, but also expensive. Everyone has SD cards, and to record video 24 frames per second with a bitrate of 150 Mb / s (like the z6 of the first version), even a simple UHS-I SD card of the U3 standard is enough, well, and UHS-II v6 / v9 can easily provide even recording 4k / 60fps. When it comes to burst photography, the larger buffer will allow you to shoot really long bursts, even on slow SD cards. If you need maximum speed and reliability, then there is a slot for XQD / CF Express. Now Z6 / Z7 have the perfect combination of slots for all levels and user requests.

There are several save scenarios. For photos, you can choose sequential recording, full backup, and separate RAW and JPEG saving. For video, parallel recording on both cards is not available, but there is a convenient functionality – when you select a card for recording, it shows how much recording time is available for the current format on each card.

I really hope that after adding 4k / 60fps we will not find out that Nikon will artificially limit the recording capabilities and such a video will be able to be recorded only on XQD / CF Express. Time will tell…

And last but not least – power support during operation and extended battery life. This is what I was expecting just like 4k 60fps. The Z6 II / Z7 II has a new EN-EL15C battery that first appeared in the Z5. External power supply during operation is an incredibly convenient thing, especially when working with a gimbal and power supply from it, or when installing a camera on a cage along with a Power-bank. It should be noted that the new battery will work with the first generation cameras, but there is no power during operation – this cannot be added simply by updating the firmware. By the way, regardless of the fact that the battery can now be charged via the USB Type-C connector in the camera, there is still a separate charger in the kit.

Nikon Z6 II USB Charging & Connectors
Nikon Z6 II USB Charging & Connectors

Along with the renewal of the power supply system, the new items were able to connect a new battery pack with MB-N11 control. With the installation of this accessory, in addition to increasing the working time by almost 1.9 times, a comfortable grip with control for working in portrait mode is added. Let me remind you that for the first generation there was only a battery pack, but no control. The camera’s battery compartment now has a contact pad where the battery pack is connected. MB-N11 can act as a charger, so by connecting it to the power adapter, you can charge two batteries at once. What’s especially useful when traveling is that you don’t need to bring additional chargers with you.

You may also like to read: Professional Cameras – Buying Guide, Ratings & Reviews

Conclusion

However, there is no wow effect. I expect a lot of dissatisfied comments. But, I can say for sure that this is a quality and thoughtful update. This is not a revolution, but a logical development of the line. There is definitely a step forward and this is the main thing.

The first generation Z6 II, I must say, has proven itself well, and the current innovations make the Z6 almost the best all-round mirrorless full-frame camera at the moment. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and wait for full testing.

Nikon z6 II Right View
Nikon Z6 II Right View

To Check Price & Buy Nikon Z6 II Online – Here is the Amazon Product Link

I will try to get new items for testing (both Z6 II and Z7 II) as soon as possible. Therefore, ask questions – so that you would like to know about each of the new products, so that you would like to see in future tests. We will definitely try to answer all your questions as much as possible.