The Z6 was Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and the Z6 II is the company’s second iteration of that model. The Nikon Z6 has been around for over three years and has held the title of our finest mirrorless camera.
However, there is still potential for improvement. With the Z6 II, Nikon has chosen to preserve the basic specifications and design of the Z6 while at the same time correcting some of its shortcomings.
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Consequently, the Z6 II has practically all of its primary characteristics inherited from the Z6. This includes the superb full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor, which is responsible for delivering photos with exceptional levels of detail, plenty of dynamic range, and solid high-ISO noise performance.
Compared to one of the Z6 II’s closest competitors, the 20.1MP Canon EOS R6, the additional pixels in this camera provide a little bit more versatility in framing and cropping. However, the EOS R6 has a slight advantage at higher sensitivities.
Regarding the outcomes, there is not much difference between the Z6 II and its other major competitor, the Sony Alpha A7 III.
Nikon Z6 II Design
Nikon has decided to maintain the design of the new camera practically identical to that of its predecessor to coincide with the release of the Nikon Z6 II a little over two years after the Z6 was first introduced.
Although this may appear to be a lack of imagination on the part of Nikon (and also a way to save some money on R&D costs), the decision to use the same body is not wrong. The Z6 is one of the best-handling mirrorless cameras available, with controls that fall easily to hand and critical settings that are easy to access.
The joystick, which is technically referred to as the sub-selector, has a great weight to it, and all of this is supported by a broad hand grip that is comfortable to hold and a thumb rest that is clearly defined.
Nikon Z6 II Features
Nikon has decided to keep the same full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor found in the Nikon Z6 for the Z6 II. This decision was made because of cost considerations. This makes it possible to have a native ISO range from ISO100 up to ISO51,200, with the ability to increase it up to ISO50-204,800.
Even while the Z6 II has the same sensor as its predecessor, Nikon was able to include a second EXPEED 6 CPU. This results in several enhancements, the most prominent of which is a boost in the burst shooting speed to an impressive 14 frames per second, up from an already rapid 12 frames per second on the Z6.
Although the Z6 II has the same 273-point autofocus technology as its predecessor, the Z6 model, significant enhancements have been made to the system. Performance has been increased across the board, and human and animal eye/face detection is now accessible in the Wide-Area AF modes in addition to the Auto-Area mode. Previously, this detection was only available in the Auto-Area mode.
Focusing in low light should also be improved, as the Z6 II can focus in light levels as low as -4.5EV, which is an improvement over the -3.5EV that the Z6 was capable of, and the Z6 II’s low-light AF mode allows it to attain focus at an astonishing -6EV.
Nikon Z6 II Performance
Even while the Nikon Z6 II can shoot at 14 frames per second, there is a catch: at this maximum rate, you can only use 12-bit raw files, and there is only room for one AF point.
This reduces to a still perfect 12fps if you want a bit more dynamic range in your files and want to make use of the Z6 II’s tracking AF, which is quicker than the Alpha A7 III’s 10fps and is on par with the EOS R6’s 12fps (though the R6 can shoot at up to 20fps using its electronic shutter).
The buffer ought to be more than sufficient for most cases, with the Z6 II being able to hold 124 12-bit raw files or 200 JPEGs at its maximum frame rate.
Although the autofocus system in the Z6 II offers 90% coverage throughout the frame, which is good when viewed in isolation, it lags behind the 693-point system in the Alpha A7 III and the 6,072-point AF system in the EOS R6, both of which top the pack in their respective categories.
Nikon Z6 II Image & Video Quality
The Z6 II uses the same sensor used in the Z6, as we have noted previously. This is excellent news, as the results obtained with the Z6 were virtually unrivaled in their category.
The Z6 II’s full-frame 24.5-megapixel backside illumination (BSI) sensor captures an impressive amount of information. If you need to print larger than A3 regularly, you could be persuaded to go with the 45.7-megapixel sensor in the Z7 II (or the D850). Still, the resolution that is provided here should be enough to satisfy most photographers.
It performs well across the sensitivity range, delivering excellent results at higher ISOs, thanks partly to the back-illuminated technology in the Z6 II’s sensor (which is missing from the lower-priced Z5). However, if you’re shooting JPEGs, it’s important to remember that the default noise reduction can be a bit heavy at higher ISOs, resulting in unnecessary loss of detail.
If you’re shooting raw, the dynamic range is also extreme, and you’ll have lots of leeway in post-processing to recover detail from the shadows and dial back the highlights.
A quick note on lenses before we wrap up: the 24-70mm f/4 is a good option that delivers excellent performance; however, since its introduction more than two years ago, the range of lenses available in Nikon’s S-series has significantly expanded. This range now includes some excellent f/1.8 primes as well as f/2.8 zooms.
Nikon Z6 II Specs
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6048 x 4024|
|Other resolutions||3936 x 2624 (DX crop), 4016 x 4016 (1:1), 6048 x 3400 (16:9)|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||25 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||25 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)|
|Processor||Dual Expeed 6|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|White balance presets||12|
|Custom white balance||Yes (6 slots)|
|Image stabilization notes||5-axis|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||5 stop(s)|
|Uncompressed format||RAW + TIFF|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal, basic|
|File format||JPEGRaw (NEF, 12 or 14-bit)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||273|
|Lens mount||Nikon Z|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||900 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Continuous drive||14.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2, 5, 10 or 20 secs)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 144 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 56 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 56 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM|
|Storage types||CFexpress Type B / XQD, UHS-II SD|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (mini HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11ac + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via MC-DC2 or smartphone)|
|Battery description||EN-EL15c lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||705 g (1.55 lb / 24.87 oz)|
|Dimensions||134 x 101 x 70 mm (5.28 x 3.98 x 2.76″)|
Nikon Z6 II Verdict
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Nikon has improved upon one of our most favored mirrorless cameras by addressing the primary flaws in its design. Although it is possible that the Z6 II is not the best in its class in specific crucial categories, the fact that it performs so well in every type makes it a very tempting option.