Nikon Z6 First Shots: Big sensor, lower price, manageable megapixels (updated)


posted Friday, November 2, 2018 at 2:37 PM EST

Click here to see our Nikon Z6 Sample Images


[UPDATE 11-6-18: Since originally posting this news story our lab has received the new Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S, and we've now therefore been able to reshoot our Nikon Z6 First Shots with this lens. The Z6 crops below originally taken with an adapted Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G Micro have now also been updated to the newer Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 versions. In addition, we will be reshooting our Nikon Z7 lab images with this new lens shortly.]

• • • • •

First out of the gate for Nikon's all-new full-frame mirrorless system was the Z7, a high-end camera sporting a high-resolution 45.7-megapixel image sensor... and a rather high price tag. For those enthusiasts wanting a Nikon full-frame mirrorless camera at a lower price point, or for those wanting a camera that's a bit more speed-oriented (and with 4K video using full-pixel readout) the Nikon Z6 might just be right up your alley.

From the exterior, the Nikon Z6 is exactly the same as the Z7 -- same styling, same build quality and the same control layout. The only difference here is the Z6's 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor. The native ISO range is also slightly different, ranging from 100-51200 in the Z6, compared to the ISO 64-25600 range of the Z7. A different sensor also means alternate AF as well. The Z6 offers 273 on-chip phase detect points compared to the Z7's 493 PDAF points. For those shooting sports and action, the Z6 should be more your style, however, as its continuous burst rate is faster than the higher-res Z7 at up to 12 frames per second.

We just received our Nikon Z6 review sample today, so we've only just started our review process. Performance testing, AF speeds, video and more are coming soon, but for now, we have our classic First Shots series of sample images. Here, we can get a sense of the Z6's JPEG image quality across its full ISO range, both with default NR processing and NR minimized. As always, we have RAW files available for download. With First Shots, not only can you get a sense of the camera's image quality as the ISO rises, but you can also easily do side-by-side image comparisons against practically any other camera we've tested using our Comparometer.

Given the Z6's price and sensor resolution, its most natural competitor is the similarly-priced 24MP Sony A7 Mark III. And despite the slightly higher resolution 30MP sensor, the Canon EOS R is also a critical competitor against this enthusiast full-frame mirrorless camera. So, let's take a look at a few quick 1:1 default JPEG crop comparisons of these three cameras...

Nikon Z6 vs. Sony A7 III

ISO 100: Nikon Z6 (left) vs. Sony A7 III (right)
ISO 6400: Nikon Z6 (left) vs. Sony A7 III (right)


Nikon Z6 vs. Canon EOS R

ISO 100: Nikon Z6 (left) vs. Canon EOS R (right)
ISO 6400: Nikon Z6 (left) vs. Canon EOS R (right)


Nikon Z6 First ShotsComparometer