Nikon Z6 Review

The Nikon Z6 is the 3rd Full Format mirrorless that I have tried thoroughly and the 4th ever considering the excellent Fujifilm XT-3 which uses a splendid X-TRANS sensor but in APS-C format.

Key specifications:

  • 24.5MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • Hybrid autofocus system w/273 phase-detect points
  • Up to 12 fps burst shooting (Raw + JPEG)
  • 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder
  • 2.1M-dot tilting touch LCD
  • OLED top plate display
  • Single XQD card slot
  • UHD 4K capture up to 30p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log output over HDMI
  • Up to 100Mbps H.264 8-bit internal video capture
  • SnapBridge Wi-Fi system with Bluetooth

I have been using Reflex for almost half a century, I started shooting with a Reflex at the age of 12, I have nothing against the mirrorless system but I have always supported a principle: the new one, towards which I declare myself very open mentally, must however FIRST convince me to be PROGRESS compared to the ‘old’ without ifs and buts, and certainly not because it is cool and goes out of fashion.
The Z6 I tested it for a whole day so enough to give me a very precise idea, AFTER testing the Sony A7M2 for a long time (equipped with screaming glasses as reported in my review here on Amazon) and at the same time as the Z7 also reviewed here. A few weeks later I tried for a long time the Fujifilm X-T3 also equipped with thrill lenses, and therefore I think I have tried at the moment the non-plus ultra of mirrorless on the market excluding the excellent Panasonic and Olympus also very mirrorless but on which I do not express myself because with them I just took a few sporadic shots.
Nikonista has always been (but adoring sony for the fixed-lens camera sector, i.e. non-interchangeable (bridge and Compact PRO) I was very curious to understand what disadvantage Nikon had accumulated in the mirrorless field, compared to the pioneer in this segment that was precisely Sony together with other brands, after decades of undisputed domination together with Canon in the Reflex sector.
And I leave (excluding Nikon Z7 who has its competitors in the Sony A7R markedly the M3 for sensor analogies (therefore resolution) and above all price, absolutely out of reach of the average amateur) from a comparison Z6 and A7 M3 of almost equal cost if it were not for the higher price of Nikon who provides the only body TOGETHER with the F-Mount/Z-mount adapter. And this is where the busillis is. And of course the know-how gap in the specific segment.
Nikon was born 100 years ago, for those who do not know, has NEVER changed its F-mount bayonet (unlike ALL its competitors, in 60 years of reflex production (the 1st exited the Nippon Kogaku Kogyo plants (which produced the legendary Nikkor objectives, which in the decade 37-47 also provided to the then born Canon), in 57. Nippon Kogaku marketed the first Reflex by changing his name to Nikon. (Source Wikipedia). He HAD TO do it because of the different pitching in a mirrorless body.
Just like, for the same reasons as Nikon, Canon had to do it too. As we will see Nikon did it very well (16 mm.of pull (flange/sensor distance) (against 46.5 mm.of F/Mount of his Reflex) and with a diameter of 55 mm. against 47 mm of the F-Mount bayonet). The consequence of this hugely increased size of the slow attachment flange will be that they will bring more light and sharper to the edges. An example I had by shooting with 50 f1.8 and it’s quite impressive to see a homogeneity of crazy detail throughout the frame. I guess what a 28 or a 35 f1.4 can give us!!!! And also there will be the possibility to design optics of extraordinary maximum aperture an example on all the stratospheric Noct (presented in these days) of 58 mm. and f0.95!!!! Authentic jewel of optical engineering. But it still had to change attack so IT NEEDS an adapter so as not to disperse the huge heritage of over 360 glorious Nikkor compatible objectives designed and sold over several decades in over 100 million units! No company in the world can boast such know-how and blazon.

The downside is unfortunately the gaunt Z-Mount native optical fleet: only 3 lenses are available, 2 Prime lenses (50 and 35 f1.8 and a zoom 24-70 f4; but fortunately just a few days ago the situation changed somewhat having been presented two very valuable optics on the 24-70 f2.8 and the aforementioned 58 f0.95 Noct. The 70-200 f2.8 will not be presented until 2019 together with the 14-30 f4 and 20mm.e 85 mm f1.8. For the 14-24 f2.8, 50 f1.2 and 24 f1.8 we will have to wait as from Time Line Nikon in 2020. Same way to go for Canon. Sony and Fujifilm didn’t have to. By designing a mirrorless from scratch WITHOUT the boundless legacy of previous objectives to the system, they have created a NEW line of specific goals for their mirrorless. And here came the gap accumulated in almost a decade by Nikon and Canon towards Fujifilm and especially Sony which, back and much with reflex field numbers compared to Nikon and Canon who were almost monopolists on reflexes, he made All-In on mirrorless, designing from the forerunner A7 a series of 8 models (A7 M1-2-3 A7R M1-2-3 and A7S M-1-2 with high specificity for each line and very strong model implementations in model) and above all designing a whole line of spectacular lenses first of all with the G-Master series but also with the numerous Zeiss lenses with Sony E-Mount attachment, with very fast maximum iris openings, intended for a decidedly PRO audience, but also with a series of excellent f4 zooms and primary lenses of excellent quality intended for the public much wider than amateurs. Nikon and Canon who did little to believe (investing very limited nikon resources in the 1 series and Canon with the M series) in the mirrorless moved with culpable delay giving Sony a huge advantage precisely because Sony has already for sale for a long time its very valuable G-Master zoom and primary lenses therefore proposing to the user an already mature and complete system , while Nikon and Canon are just beginning designing lenses specific to their Z and R series, worthy of their coat of expertise.
Who read my nikon z7 review could understand how angry I was with Nikon who presented two top-notch bodies like Z6 and Z7 without…… the glass!!!!! In other words, with absolutely amateur optics and without at the same time presenting at least a hint of what could have come ex post. Unthinkable to present a bodysuit of 3,600 € equipping it with 24-70 f4 and a 35 f1.8!!! And that’s it!!!! It is unthinkable to buy a bodysuit from over 3500€ and put in front of a glass of 400-500 €. How to put under a Ferrari 488 GTB the tires of a Panda!!! I thoroughly tested Z6 and Z7 one after another in just a few days before Christmas 2018 when the slow situation in nikon house was what I described above, so I could only try the Z7 with 24-70 f4 but also with my 24/70 f2.8, 70/200 f2.8 and 85 f1.4 F-Mount attachment with the help of the adapter. Needless to describe how much music indeed the Light has totally changed when I have gone from the 24/70 native Z series to the F-Mount one even with the FTZ adaptor. So taking advantage of nikkor’s huge lens resources (the FTZ adaptor is compatible with all AF-Ss, AF-Is and AF-Gs equipped with an internal motor, will offer AF and AE while older AF-Ds without an internal motor, will offer only the AE but not the AF) designed for reflex in….waiting for Z-series glasses worthy of the two Z6 and Z7 bodysuits. Now, however, the right wheels have finally been presented to put under these very advanced bodysuits. Unfortunately, as I said, I have not yet been able to test the two Z6 and Z7 bodysuits with these new and performing glasses but I reserve the right to update these reviews as soon as I come into possession of these new objectives. Let’s come to the main differences with Z7: essentially two the 24.5MPX sensor on Z6 and 45.7MPX on Z7 and the number of points of MAF 273 for Z6 versus 493 for Z7. The natural and obvious consequence of the different resolutions of the two sensors are two bursts of Frame Rate up to 12ftps for the lowest resolution sensor (although very limited by the buffer despite the XQD card I will talk about later) of Z6 and 9 ftps but with AF fixed on the 1* frame (while falling to 5 ftps per continuous focus from 1* to the last ftg of the burst) for the higher resolution af of Z7. For everything else almost total analogies:

BSI CMOS SENSOR (Layered and Backlit (ultimate technology) 5-AXIS STABILIZER Excellent and equipped with brilliant movement blocking function of the camera sensor off.
3,690,000 pixel OLED EVF with beautiful dioptric correction rolled notch. Tiltable 2,100,000 pixel LCD TOUCH DISPLAY upper OLED shooting data (Spectacular! The price of the Ticket alone!!!) SINGLE SLOT (Unacceptable for Z7) (sufficient for Z6 given the different customer targets of the two models) XQD: I do not know if it is Nikon who is AHEAD or the OTHERS (ALL) to be wise. XQD at the status quo means a disbursement of ca. 200-250 € more to provide a card and reader. THE OTHERS opting for classic SDs (the latest have write speeds of up to 300MB/s or 2000X) will save their buyers this 200-250 € using SD cards already in their possession and idem c.s card readers. Personally the use of XQD instead of the very widespread and quite fast and reliable SD in ‘this life disturbs me you know’ somewhat!!! Video. 4K but at just 30fps although at FULL FORMAT finally without crop (Almost indistinguishable from FHD at 50-60). (Pana has reached 4K 60fps which shows the difference compared to the 60fps FHD) enough to make Nikon claim that the Z6 is the best camera ever designed by the Yellow-Black house. CONNECTION: Snapbridge WiFi 5 GHz and Bluetooth BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for immediate sharing of shots on mobile devices ready to be sent to social media in original or reduced format. And in real time while taking the photos are already on the device thanks to the bluetooth connection and the free App (IOS and Android) Nikon Snapbridge. ERGONOMICS AND CONTROLS: Excellent and very studied grip and on the Menu: Wendy I am at home! Jack Torrance shouted at the Overlook Hotel, just like any Nikonista who will find everything with extreme ease being the menus almost identical to any reflex model (What do decades of know-how in the Field Reflex real Sony?) Nothing to do with the brainy illogicality of Sony menus. However, I did not find (unless the function is customizable by assigning it to one of the many buttons on the camera body) the Af Mode Button. Beautiful and intuitive as always the Custom Setting section with all the customizations divided into cards to which various colors are assigned (On the bridges and compact Sony RX I have studied months to find a logic: nothing to do, if it does not help your memory you will be on tens of minutes to find the most hidden functions because they are less frequent). Dozens of customizations of rings and buttons with everything at your fingertips. The two main front and rear rings (classically times and openings together in Manual and in turn for Times (in priority of Times) and diaphragms (also set by the ring on the barrel of objectives) (in priority opening) or for isos, are exactly where you expect to find them under your index finger and thumb in an alchemical combination with your hand inserted between the front handle like a hand in a glove. TOUCHSCREEN: Can be used for AF point selection (but I found myself amazingly well with the Joy stick under my thumb) navigation Main menu, navigation in menu I and everything is extremely fast and of course also in Play to browse the frames taken and act on them with zoom (it is very reminiscent of a bumpy smartphone! (many know of my aversion to taking ‘pictures’ not Photos with a stupid finger pressed on the glass of a smartgiocattolo… Oops! Smartphones.) but so much so, there seem to be people who just can’t help but use a camera without a Touch. As far as I’m concerned you could easily do without it, but I have to acknowledge that Nikon did a great job designing this touch screen.

CONCLUSIONS: Nikon with this Z6 has designed an extraordinary mirrorless worthy of its best performing Reflex, and although lagging behind its competitors it has done it at its best. From the construction you can see an extraordinary level of design and given Nikon’s enormous design capacity in the purely optical field, the forecasts are of a certainly excellent future as it has been for decades in the Reflex field. The Z7 is a different way of understanding the amazing D850, but probably the most centered model of the, for now limited to two models, mirrorless range of the yellow-black house is precisely this Z6. Balanced, very performing, even in the video field, so much so that Nikon herself judged this Z6 as the best camera ever designed. Nikon’s design effort is evident from an Expeed 6 processor (not even present in the D5 and D850 flagships) and that in symbiosis with the sensor of this Z6 offers performance in low lights and high ISO absolutely relevant, a burst at 12 ftps, a 4K in FF, finally, without any crop factor, make a deep belief in the mirrorless system.
The very large size of the bayonet flange will make the optics design certainly lighter and less bulky with the same maximum openings that, together with smaller body size and weight than the top-of-the-range SLRs, will allow smaller total dimensions and weights for the mirrorless system. With regard to the quality of the shots produced outdoors, I was able to evaluate a quality more or less equal to that of an authentic best-buy such as the D750, but annexing to the latter a slight preference for studio sessions, and moreover the prices of the two rooms are quite close, although, at the moment, there is a marked preference for a native F-Mount optics system of the D750 that the Z6 still cannot boast given the limited , i repeat for now, PRO optical fleet of the mirrorless Z system.
I would not welcome a shift from a D750 to this Z6, both because of the gap that currently exists in terms of the highest available lenses, and because of the almost similar quality of the files, and LAST BUT NOT LEAST for the transition from SD memory media to, for now, much more expensive XQD and finally for those who produce many daily shots , for the autonomy certainly far less than the Z6 compared to a D750.
For those who are going to make the jump from APS-C sensor to FF sensor and then to a new purchase, the improved combination (obvious consequence of a project a few years older than that of Z6) sensor (BSI backlit)-processor (Expeed 6 that improves the already extraordinary qualities of the predecessor Expeed 5) and the savings (externally) of weight and size of the mirrorless , the very fast and very quiet electronic shutter, could suggest a choice in favor of this Z6.
As always, thanks to who will have read this review. Good Light to all.

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