Basic Specifications
Full model name: Nikon Z6
Resolution: 24.50 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(35.9mm x 23.9mm)
Kit Lens: 2.92x zoom
24-70mm
(24-70mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 51,200
Extended ISO: 50 - 204,800
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 sec
Max Aperture: 4.0 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7 in.
(134 x 101 x 68 mm)
Weight: 41.4 oz (1,175 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 11/2018
Manufacturer: Nikon
Full specs: Nikon Z6 specifications
24.50
Megapixels
Nikon Z 35mm
size sensor
image of Nikon Z6
Front side of Nikon Z6 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z6 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z6 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z6 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z6 digital camera

Nikon Z6 Review -- Now Shooting!

by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 08/23/2018

Updates:
08/29/2018: Updated to state that the Z6 does have an optical low-pass filter. Also added some details regarding low-light AF mode.
11/02/2018: First Shots posted!
11/05/2018: First Shots retaken with native Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 lens

11/09/2018: Gallery Images added!
11/15/2018: Video Quality First Impressions added

 

 

Nikon Z6 Video Quality First Impressions

 

• • •

 

Nikon Z6 Preview

by Jeremy Gray

Nikon made a big splash with respect to its centennial celebration from July of 2017 into this year. Making it to 100 years is a huge deal for any company, but it's a particularly impressive accomplishment when you consider a camera company achieving the feat. The photography industry has changed radically over the past 100-plus years and Nikon was able to successfully push evolution and survive the advancements of others. Many cameras in its immense catalog continue to tug on the heartstrings of countless photographers and their DSLRs are in the kits of innumerable enthusiasts and professionals. However, times change, and more and more photographers have eschewed DSLRs in favor of mirrorless cameras.

When digital began to gain a foothold, Nikon was there, changing with the times. When mirrorless stormed onto the scene in the last few years, Nikon continued to develop very capable DSLR cameras and had only a very short-lived entry into consumer-grade mirrorless cameras with their Nikon 1 system.

Now, over 100 years into their existence, Nikon is changing with the times yet again, hoping to deliver photographers something rooted in their illustrious past yet very much a camera not only of the mirrorless present, but also of the mirrorless future. Enter the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, Nikon's first cameras in their full-frame mirrorless system.

Hands-on with the Nikon Z7: A video introduction to Nikon's flagship full-frame mirrorless camera (the Z6 looks and operates the same).

Nikon Z6 Key Features and Specs

  • Smaller and lighter camera body
  • New larger Z mount with shorter flange distance
  • 3.6M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen display
  • 24.5-megapixel full-frame backside-illuminated sensor
  • 5-axis in-camera image stabilization
  • 12 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 273 phase-detect autofocus points on sensor
  • Low-light autofocus down to -4 EV
  • Native ISO range of 100-51,200 (50-204,800 expanded)
  • 4K/30p video with full pixel readout
  • Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Camera Design and Body: Losing a mirror and gaining versatility

The first thing you notice with the new Z6 (or Nikon Z 6 as it is officially named), other than it looking identical to the higher-megapixel Z7 (Nikon Z 7), is that it is considerably smaller and more compact than a full-frame Nikon DSLR. The Z6 is 5.3 inches (134 millimeters) wide, 4 inches (100.5 millimeters) tall and 2.7 inches (67.5 millimeters) thick. With a battery and memory card inserted, the camera body weighs one pound, 7.9 ounces (675 grams).

This image shows the Nikon Z7, which shares the same camera body as the Nikon Z6, save for the logo to the left of the lens mount, next to the Nikon D850. As we can see, the Z6/Z7 is quite a bit smaller than the Nikon D850. Precisely, the Z6/Z7 is 0.4 inches (12 millimeters) narrower, 0.9 inches (23.5 millimeters) shorter and 0.4 inches (11.5 millimeters) thinner.

Nikon has established a style, control layout and overall design language over the years and they are not abandoning it. They have taken advantage of the opportunity of a new system to streamline aspects of the camera's design, but they are not reinventing the wheel when it comes to ergonomics, which this longtime Nikon shooter is very thankful for. The Z6 has been designed to be smaller and lighter and yet at the same time very familiar. If you have shot with enthusiast and professional Nikon DSLRs, the Z6 will offer a similar layout. For example, you will still find the ISO button on the top of the camera near the shutter release, you will find the AF-ON button in a similar location and the Z6 continues to rely on the tried-and-true dual command dial interface.

It is sometimes the case that a smaller body can become less comfortable to hold and use. This is not the case with the Z6, it has a thin, but deep, grip which allows even larger hands to comfortably hold the camera. The Z6 also has two front function buttons, like the Nikon D850, between the front grip and the lens mount. The Fn2 button has a raised line to help you distinguish between the two buttons while shooting.

On the back of the camera, there continues to be familiarity. To the left of the viewfinder are playback and delete buttons. To the right of the viewfinder there is a display button surrounded by a switch for toggling between still and video shooting, and an AF-ON button. There is a rear command dial above the thumb grip, although you'll notice that the dial is exposed at the top, which is different from Nikon's higher-end DSLR cameras, as they often have the rear dial recessed. Beneath the AF-ON button is a subselector joystick for focus point selection, menu navigation and more. Further down, there is an information button, which will bring up a user-customizable menu, from which you can arrange custom functions from a list of over 30. Further down, there is a traditional OK button surrounded by a directional pad. Finally, there are four buttons at the bottom to the right of the large touchscreen display: zoom in, zoom out, menu and drive mode (burst and self-timer functionality is accessed via this button).

The top of the camera features a locking mode dial to the left of the viewfinder, a standard hot shoe on top of the viewfinder, an OLED top status display, shutter release and a trio of buttons: movie record, ISO and exposure compensation. The Z6 utilizes the same layout as the D500/D5/D850 DSLR cameras, which places all exposure-related controls within reach of your right hand. Regarding the camera's mode dial, it offers a relatively sparse, but pro-oriented, modes. P, A, S and M modes are present, there are three user-customized modes and finally an Auto mode. You won't find any scene modes or special modes on the dial.

A difficulty with electronic viewfinders, particularly for photographers moving from a DSLR, has been that it can feel like an unnatural experience. However, our first impression of the new Z6 electronic viewfinder is that it's excellent and certainly one of the best we have used. Nikon has invested extensive engineering and development in their new electronic viewfinder, including high-end Nikkor optics, complete with aspherical lens elements. The result of the engineering is a 0.5-inch 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder with 100 percent frame coverage, 0.8x magnification, a 37-degree viewing angle and OLED display technology. The EVF also features a 21mm eyepoint, a -4 to +2m-1 diopter adjustment, an eye sensor, and includes color balance and 11-level manual brightness controls.

Whereas a DSLR camera offers an optical viewfinder, which allows a photographer to always look through the viewfinder and see the frame, a mirrorless camera must instead use an electronic viewfinder. An electronic viewfinder needs to read from the image sensor to deliver a real-time view of a scene. While this results in lower battery life than a DSLR, the EVF offers distinct advantages over an optical viewfinder, including real-time preview of picture and exposure settings. You can also view the user-customizable "i" menu through the electronic viewfinder, allowing quick access and changing of settings including ISO, AF-area mode, Picture Control and more.
The rear display on the Z6 is a 3.2-inch tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 2,100K dots and a 170-degree viewing angle. The LCD offers 100 percentage frame coverage, 11-level manual brightness and color balance controls.

Despite the more compact and lightweight design of the Z6, it maintains Nikon's rugged magnesium alloy design and weather sealing. In fact, the Nikon Z6 features the same level of water and dust resistance as the Nikon D850, which you may recall doing incredibly well during our own weather testing.

It will be interesting to see how the Z6 performs during extensive long-term testing in the field, and how it holds up to adverse weather conditions, but all signs point toward Nikon having focused heavily on the ergonomics and control layout of their new mirrorless camera. Based on our time with the Z7 already, we can say that the Z6 is comfortable to hold and feels very well-built.

On the top of the camera, the Z6 includes an OLED status display, showing important shooting settings similar to the LCD display found on their high-end DSLR cameras. You can change the brightness of the top OLED display as well.

New Z lens mount and adapter pave the way for flexibility, versatility and improved optics

One of the biggest (literally) aspects of the new Z mirrorless system is its new lens mount. It's an important part of not only the Z6, but the future of Nikon's new camera system. First, let's alleviate a worry many Nikon shooters are likely to have about a new mirrorless camera. You will be able to use your existing F-mount lenses on the new mirrorless cameras. This will be achieved via an FTZ adapter, which will be available alongside the camera. Every F-mount lens can be adapted for use with the Z6, and the adapter allows for full AF and AE compatibility with over 90 existing Nikkor lenses. Further, for all adapted lenses, the Z6's in-camera image stabilization will allow for image stabilization. VR lenses will be able to utilize their own stabilization and be further aided by the in-camera stabilization of the Z6. Nikon notes that Nikkor F-mount lenses will not offer the same level of stability as native Nikkor Z lenses.

To help appreciate the new mount, consider that the F mount, which is found on Nikon's latest DSLR cameras, was created in 1959. A lot has changed in camera and lens technology since 1959. The new Z mount is noticeably larger, especially when seen on the smaller Z6 camera body. Precisely, the mount has a 55mm diameter, a full 11mm more than the F mount. Further, the flange distance is a very short 16mm. The F mount's flange distance is 46.5mm. Nikon tells us that with the larger opening and shorter flange distance, the Z mount lets in 100 percent more light than the F mount.

The considerable differences in the mount dimensions and design has multiple effects. As we will discuss further later, the Z mount allows lenses as fast as f/0.95 (and even faster), which is notably faster than any Nikkor F-mount lens. Another important result is that Nikon has been able to engineer lenses with optimized central and peripheral luminous flux, which is important to image quality, usability and improving control of chromatic aberrations. You're used to having to stop down lenses to get the best sharpness, right? Nikon assures us -- and showed us examples -- of how this will not be the case with Nikkor S-Line lenses (the new Z mount lenses exist within the newly-dubbed S-Line), they will be at their best wide open! When you consider that Nikkor S-Line lenses can be designed with faster maximum apertures but also will be sharp wide open, that opens up many new possibilities.

First batch of Nikkor S lenses

A camera is only as good as the lens you use. Fortunately for Nikon, some of the initial pressure to create new lenses is relieved by their FT-Z adapter, allowing existing Nikon shooters to fully utilize the lenses they already own (although autofocus is not supported with older screw-drive AF Nikkors). For new shooters or for those wanting the latest and greatest for the Nikon Z6, there are a trio of lenses on the way. The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S and Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S, which is the new kit lens. These native lenses are smaller, lighter and will deliver higher overall performance. The S-Line of lenses are designed for both stills and video recording and include compensation for focus breathing, quiet operation, smooth exposure control and a new control ring. The lenses all feature weather sealing as well.

Using the FTZ adapter, you can attach any Nikon F mount lens to the Z6 (Z7 is shown here). Over 90 lenses have full AF/AE capabilities and can utilize the camera's in-body sensor shift image stabilization.

The new kit lens, the 24-70mm f/4 S, features a compact and lightweight design. When not in use, you can retract the lens to make it more compact. A neat aspect of the retractable design is that unlike many retractable lenses, you don't need to press a button to extend it. The weather-sealed lens features 14 elements across 11 groups and includes an aspherical ED element, a trio of aspherical elements and Nikon's Nano Crystal coating. The front lens element also has a fluorine coating. The lens has an impressive close-focus distance of 0.3 meters across the entire focal length range. Stay tuned for more information on the Z6's kit lens, which costs US$999.95 separately.

When the Z7 launches in September -- the Z6 launches two months later in November -- the Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S will also launch for US$849.95. This prime lens has been designed to offer sharpness across the frame and deliver consistent, pleasing bokeh. The lens features a new multi-focusing system which includes a pair of autofocus drive units for fast and accurate focusing. The lens has a pair of ED glass elements and three aspherical elements in addition to Nano Crystal Coating.

The first S-Line lenses. From left to right, the new 24-70mm f/4 S kit lens, the 35mm f/1.8 S and the 50mm f/1.8 S. As you can see, the three lenses share the same styling and design and are very similar in overall size.

Finally, in October, the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S will become available. This standard prime lens has been designed for high-resolution imaging and soft bokeh. The lens has a pair of ED elements and two aspherical elements. The lens features a new powerful stepping motor (STM) for quiet and accurate autofocus during still and motion photography. The lens will cost just under US$600 when it releases.

Image sensor: New 24.5-megapixel backside-illuminated full-frame sensor

The Z6's imaging pipeline is centered around a new backside-illuminated 24.5-megapixel CMOS full-frame image sensor. The sensor features built-in focal-plane phase-detection autofocus pixels, and is equipped with an optical low-pass filter (unlike the higher-resolution Z7). The Z6 is designed as an all-purpose FX-format camera compared to the Z7 in part thanks to the Z6's superior high ISO performance and full-frame 4K UHD video recording capabilities. Specifically, the Z6 has a native ISO range of 100 to 51,200 and can be extended to ISO 50 to 204,800. It will be interesting to see how the Z6 compares to the Z7 in terms of its high ISO performance. It will also be interesting to see how the new BSI CMOS sensor compares to other cameras with similar megapixels, such as the Nikon D750.

An image sensor is only one part of the image quality equation. Alongside the new sensor, there's a new EXPEED 6 image processor. Further, Nikon has added a mid-range sharpening option to its Picture Control sharpness parameters in addition to the existing sharpening and clarity settings users can adjust. There are 20 options for Creative Picture Control in total and image quality settings can be adjusted on a scale from 0 to 100.

Autofocus and Performance: 273 on-sensor autofocus points and fast continuous shooting

273-point autofocus system covers much more of the image area than Nikon's full-frame DSLRs

The Nikon Z6's image sensor includes 273 on-chip autofocus points. The hybrid phase-detection/contrast-detection autofocus system covers about 90 percent of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically. The autofocus system has been designed to perform well in low light in particular, as detection is rated down to -4 EV (ISO 100, f/2.0 lens, AF-S mode) in low-light AF mode which prioritizes the use of slower contrast-detect autofocus; the Z6 is rated down to -2 EV without low-light AF mode.

The camera includes AF-S, AF-C and AF-F (this mode is only available during movie recording) autofocus drive modes and includes the following AF-area modes: pinpoint, single-point, dynamic-area AF, wide-area AF (small), wide-area AF (large) and auto-area AF. You can lock focus by either pressing the shutter release halfway or by pressing the center of the subselector joystick. With the conveniently-located AF-ON button you should also be able to use back button autofocus, although that has not been verified. Face detection AF is supported, and touch AF & touch shutter functions (via the touchscreen display) are provided.

To ensure fast and accurate autofocus, the Z6 uses an optimized algorithm for full-frame image sensors to automatically switch between focal-plane phase detect autofocus and contrast-detect autofocus. This system is fully-utilized by the new Nikkor Z lenses. It will be interesting to see how this and Nikon's latest predictive autofocus, face detection and subject tracking technology works when we put the Z6 to the test. Nikon promises fast, quiet and reliable autofocus, which would not only benefit stills shooters, but will hopefully also help make the Z6 a versatile hybrid camera.

High-speed shooting powered by new EXPEED 6 image processor

As we have mentioned, the Nikon Z6 comes with a new processor to help provide it with high-speed imaging performance. The EXPEED 6-driven Z6 can shoot full-resolution images at up to 12 frames per second with full autofocus performance. There is a catch, however, as these speeds do not apply when shooting 14-bit RAW files. When recording 14-bit files, the camera tops out at 9 frames per second. Further, if you want full AF/AE, the camera shoots at 5.5 frames per second. We will need to assess buffer depth and buffer clearing performance in the lab once we get hold of a production unit.

Your pre-orders help this site!

Based on our hands-on experience with it, the new Nikon Z system should prove to be a
big hit and create great demand. So get in line early and pre-order now to avoid any
long-term supply problems such as the one experienced with the D850!

Ordering through the links below will cost you nothing, but will be a
huge help in supporting the work we do.

Nikon Z6 Body Only - $1,996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z6 + 24-70mm F4 Kit - $2,596.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z7 Body Only - $3,396.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z7 + 24-70mm F4 Kit - $3,996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 35mm F1.8 S Lens - $846.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 50mm F1.8 S Lens - $596.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 24-70mm F4 S Lens - $996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon FTZ Adapter - $249.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H

Thank you!

Metering and shooting modes

The Z6 utilizes a TTL metering system using the camera's image sensor. Metering modes include matrix metering, center-weighted metering, spot metering and highlight-weighted metering. Regarding center-weighted metering, this utilizes a 75 percent weighting toward a 12mm circle in the center of the frame, although you can also set the camera to meter based on an average of the entire frame. The spot metering is tied to the selected focus point and relies upon 1.4 percent of the frame. The camera offers plus/minus 5.0 EV of exposure compensation as well.

Mechanical shutter speed range is 30s to 1/8,000s, plus there are bulb and time modes. A Silent Photography mode uses an electronic shutter to eliminate shake and noise caused by shutter release, however the top speed remains 1/8,000s. An electronic front-curtain shutter (EFCS) option is also available.

For increasing the dynamic range of JPEG images, the camera offers Nikon's Active D-Lighting. The available settings include auto, extra high, high, normal, low and off. You can also record HDR images in camera.

The Z6 includes a new 16:9 crop for recording still images, which Nikon states will make it easier to drop still images into a video workflow. In addition to the new 16:9 and standard 3:2 aspect ratios, the camera also offers a 1:1 aspect ratio and a DX crop mode which produces up to a 10.3-megapixel image file, though there is no mention of the Z7's 5:4 mode. We'll look into that once we get a production model into the lab. The Z6 records .NEF raw files in 12 or 14-bit color depth and can record large (24.3MP), medium (13.7MP) and small (6.1MP) .NEF files.

Regarding flash, the Z6 includes a standard ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and the camera offers a 1/200s flash sync speed. The camera can utilize Nikon's Advanced Wireless Lighting technology and take advantage of the wireless tech in the company's latest speedlights. The camera offers TTL and i-TTL flash control and -3 to +1 EV flash compensation.

The Nikon Z6 is compatible with Nikon's latest wireless lighting products. The Z6 is shown here with the SB-5000 Speedlight and WR-1 wireless communicator.

Built-in image stabilization delivers up to five stops of correction

The Nikon Z6 features built-in sensor shift image stabilization which can deliver up to five stops of stabilization. The system relies on a dedicated VR microcomputer and operates via a movable magnesium frame. The camera has detection for pitch, yaw, rotational and translation shake. It is a closed-loop system and has a trio of Hall-effect sensors which provide positional feedback.

Video: A powerful multimedia camera with 4K/30p video

Video has not always been a strong suit for Nikon DSLR cameras. For a while, features and specifications lagged behind the competition. Autofocus performance has long been a weak area as well because of the lack of phase-detect AF during video recording and video-optimized lenses, as we have noted in our numerous Nikon DSLR Field Tests. Nikon hopes to buck the trend with their new mirrorless system.

The Z6 records 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) video at up to 30 frames per second (progressive) and can also record at 25p and 24p frame rates. 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) video can be recorded at 120p, 100p, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p frame rates. There is also a Full HD slow-motion video recording feature, which allows for 4x slow-motion video at 25p and 30p and 5x slow-motion video played back at 24p. The camera records in MOV and MP4 formats and utilizes H.264/MPEG-4 video coding. Maximum clip length is 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

For serious videographers, the camera offers audio input and output jacks, timecode functionality, 10-bit N-Log recording and more. Regarding 10-bit N-Log, you can record 4:2:2 video to an HDMI recorder and view the footage with a normal look while recording, instead of the flat look typical of log video. The N-Log format features a 12-stop dynamic range according to Nikon. In addition to recording 10-bit video externally, you can also simultaneously record 8-bit video to the camera's memory card.

Via its audio input and hot shoe, the Z6 can use microphones, such as the Nikon ME-1 shown here.

The camera offers numerous usability improvements over previous Nikon cameras as well, including focus peaking during 4K video recording, organic exposure levels through the electronic viewfinder and quiet adjustments using the Nikkor S-Line lenses' new control ring. You can also adjust the autofocus tracking speeds across five different levels. Further, autofocus can be controlled via the subselector joystick while recording. During video recording, the Z6 has 231 PDAF points available because of the shorter 16:9 aspect ratio, and 91 in DX crop mode.

Unlike the Z7, the Nikon Z6 performs full-pixel readout for full sensor width 4K UHD video recording and thus does not perform pixel binning or cropping. It reads 6K video and then resamples to 4K output, like some Sony cameras do, which should yield very high image quality.

Additional features include Active D-lighting during video recording and the ability to capture in-camera timelapse videos. All in all, the Nikon Z6 is poised to be a better video camera than Nikon's recent DSLRs. It will be very interesting to see how the camera's autofocus performs compared to Nikon's DSLRs and also the current mirrorless competition.

Storage, power and connectivity

The Nikon Z6 writes files to a single XQD card slot. While it's disappointing that there's not a second card slot, Nikon tells us that the camera will be able to use faster CFexpress cards via a future firmware update. It's certainly utilizing very fast storage even if there's not a second slot.

With respect to power, the camera uses a new EN-EL15b battery. Interestingly, the camera is compatible with the EN-EL15a battery used in the recent Nikon D850 camera and even older EN-EL15 batteries, which will be appreciated by Nikon DSLR shooters that have them. The EN-EL15b version of the battery features new components which allow the Z6 to be charged via USB with the battery in the camera. You cannot charge the older ones in-camera.

As we touched on earlier, battery life is often a disadvantage of a mirrorless camera compared to a DSLR and that remains the case here. The CIPA standard battery life rating for the Z6 is only about 310 shots per charge when using the EVF (no word yet on an LCD monitor figure), but Nikon noted that early hands-on reports from pros using pre-release cameras out in the field indicate real-world battery life far exceeds the CIPA figure. To help maintain good battery life out in the field, you can press a button on the side of the viewfinder which kills all LCD functions and the EVF will only turn on when you bring it up to your eye. The LCD will light up when you press buttons but will otherwise remain off. It's a neat power-saving feature and we are curious to see how it works in the field and how it affects battery life. A further note, the Z7 comes with a charging AC adapter but the Z6 does not, it will need to be purchased separately if you would like this accessory.

Note the guide pin sockets for the optional MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack currently in development.

Nikon is also developing the MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack, which will hold two EN-EL15b batteries, effectively increasing the number of shots possible and/or movie recording time by approximately 1.8 times. It will provide the same level of weather resistance as the Z6/Z7, and will support USB charging using the EH-7P Charging AC Adapter.

The Z6 is a connected camera. It offers built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and SnapBridge 2.5 functionality. Via SnapBridge, you can add location data to image files on the camera. The built-in Wi-Fi supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless. Further, the camera offers a direct PC connection and allows for JPEG and RAW transfer directly to a connected computer. The Z6 is also compatible with the Nikon WT-7, allowing for FTP functionality.

On the left side of the camera, there are an array of ports, which are covered with rubber flaps and sealed against weather. There are 3.5mm stereo headphone and microphone jacks closer to the front of the camera , and USB, HDMI and accessory ports closer to the rear of the camera. The USB 3.0 and HDMI ports are Type C and the accessory terminal can be used with the optional MC-DC2 remote in addition to other accessories.

Price and Availability: Coming this fall at a competitive price

The Nikon Z6 will be available in late November for a suggested retail price of US$1,995.95 in a body-only configuration. The Z6 will also be available at the same time in a kit with the new Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens for US$2,599.95.

The future

While there is a lot to be excited about this fall, including two new Nikon Z cameras, three Nikkor Z lenses and an FZT adapter, Nikon has also announced numerous new products in the works. As previously mentioned, there is a weather-sealed MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack in development which will hold a pair of EN-EL15b batteries. There will also be an EH-7P charging AC adapter available at a later date as well. Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for information on these products as soon as it becomes available.

On the optical side of things, Nikon has announced that they are developing a Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens, which harkens back to the very popular 58mm f/1.2 manual focus Noct lens from the 1970s. It will be very interesting to see how Nikon takes advantage of the Z lens mount with new and distinct Nikkor Z lenses such as the new Noct prime.

Nikon also provided us with a lens roadmap. In 2019, users can expect the S-Line additions to include: Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, 20mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 and 14-30mm f/4. In 2020, Nikon has another three lenses planned, although of course more could be added to the roadmap later. These three lenses are the 50mm f/1.2 (a lens Nikon F mount users have longed for), 24mm f/1.8 and 14-24mm f/2.8. While product names and specifications have not been finalized, it's a versatile assortment of lenses covering 14mm to 200mm focal lengths.

Nikon Nikkor Z lens roadmap. Roadmap subject to change. Save for the Noct lens, lens names and specifications are not yet finalized. Click for a larger view.

Nikon Z6 versus the Nikon Z7: Trading megapixels for speed

There are many similarities between the Nikon Z6 and the simultaneously-announced Nikon Z7. The cameras share the same body, right down to the EVF, display, buttons and weather sealing. There are a few internal differences.

Image sensor

The Z6 utilizes a 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor. The Z7, on the other hand, offers a new 45.7-megapixel sensor. This higher-megapixel image sensor has a native ISO range of 64-25,600 compared to the Z6's 100-51,200 native ISO range. It's unclear what the differences in dynamic range will be between the two sensors, but you should expect better resolving power from the Z7 and better high ISO performance from the Z6.

Autofocus

With autofocus points being phase-detect and on-chip, a different sensor unsurprisingly means different autofocus. The Z6 offers 273 autofocus points whereas the Z7 and its higher-megapixel sensor has 493 PDAF points. The Z7 may have more AF points, but its low-light autofocus should be better. (The specs we received say the AF detection range extends down to -2 EV for the Z6 versus -1 EV for the Z7 with an f/2.0 lens at ISO 100, however both are rated down to -4 EV in low-light AF mode.) It remains unclear if there will be differences in subject tracking capabilities or autofocus speeds between the Z6 and Z7.

Speed

Both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 are powered by the new EXPEED 6 image processor. With less megapixels and smaller files to write, the Z6 is able to shoot at up to 12 frames per second, which is 3 fps faster than the Z7 with locked exposure and a full 7 fps faster than the Z7 with AE/AF capabilities. In both cases, the cameras slow down when shooting 14-bit .NEF files.

Video

Video features and specifications are identical between the two cameras -- save for ISO speed options and the number of PDAF points available -- but the Z6 does have one neat trick up its sleeve: it can record full sensor width 4K video using full-pixel readout. The Z7 cannot record full width 4K video in this way.

Price

The Z6 costs just under $2,000 USD for the body whereas the Z7, which comes out in September instead of November, costs around $3,400 USD.

Our initial thoughts on the Nikon Z6

Nikon looks toward the future with the new Nikon Z6. Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for more information on the camera as we approach its November release.

There is a lot to be excited about with the Nikon Z6 on paper. We have had our hands on the camera in a general sense as we have spent time with the Z7, which is identical in terms of design and build, but we have yet to shoot with the Z6.

It will be interesting to see how the 24.5-megapixel sensor performs with respect to image quality across its wide native ISO range and how the 273-point PDAF autofocus system performs in terms of focus speed and subject tracking capabilities.

Nikon anticipates that their new Z6 mirrorless camera will prove to be a very popular all-around choice for enthusiasts and professionals alike, and from what we've seen so far, we'd have to agree. We can't wait to get one into the lab!

 

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$1998.00

24.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

Z6 vs A7 III

$1398.00 (43% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

25% smaller

Z6 vs A7 II

$2299.00 (13% more)

30.3 MP (19% more)

Also has viewfinder

19% larger

Z6 vs EOS R

$3396.95 (41% more)

45.7 MP (46% more)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

Z6 vs Z7

$4498.00 (56% more)

24.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

19% smaller

Z6 vs A9

$5995.00 (67% more)

24.2 MP

Also has viewfinder

52% smaller

Z6 vs SL (Typ 601)

$3198.00 (38% more)

42.4 MP (42% more)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

Z6 vs A7R III

$1099.00 (82% less)

25.56 MP

Also has viewfinder

28% larger

Z6 vs sd Quattro H

$5995.00 (67% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

95% smaller

Z6 vs M-D (Typ 262)

$1499.00 (33% less)

26.1 MP (6% more)

Also has viewfinder

26% smaller

Z6 vs X-T3

$1998.00

42.4 MP (42% more)

Also has viewfinder

24% smaller

Z6 vs A7R II

$798.00 (150% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

57% smaller

Z6 vs A7

$4959.20 (60% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

95% smaller

Z6 vs M (Typ 262)

$7071.66 (72% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

112% smaller

Z6 vs M10

$2398.00 (17% more)

12.2 MP (101% less)

Also has viewfinder

24% smaller

Z6 vs A7S II

$4499.00 (56% more)

51.4 MP (52% more)

Also has viewfinder

12% larger

Z6 vs GFX 50R

$1649.00 (21% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

22% larger

Z6 vs X-H1

$1099.00 (82% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

52% smaller

Z6 vs X-T2

$5979.67 (67% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

95% smaller

Z6 vs M-P (Typ 240)

$5499.00 (64% more)

51.4 MP (52% more)

Also has viewfinder

28% larger

Z6 vs GFX 50S

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