The A7 III is getting some good competition for the title of the best mirrorless camera from the Nikon Z6. The Z6 new mirrorless camera offers high burst shooting, 4K video recording, 35.9×23.9 sensor size for optimal image quality, great autofocus performance, and hand grips to make the camera comfortable to hold.
Why We Like It – Nikon Z6
Launching alongside the Z6/Z7 for the first time is three lenses in Nikon’s new S-Line. You’ll like Nikon’s new full-frame camera because it improves on everything that made the Nikon D750 so loved and even gives its older brother, the Z7, a run for its money in terms of performance and design.
- Great image quality across ISO ranges
- Easy and comfortable to hold camera body
- In-Camera image stabilization
- No shooting video raw
- Only average battery life
- XQD card slot instead of SD card slot
Nikon uses the touchscreen much better than the Sony A7 III by allowing you to go over the menu and setting instead of just choosing focus points, which is nice. The A7 III does have some advantages over the Nikon though, like its higher resolution electronic viewfinder, which provides a clearer view. It also has a wider dynamic range and access to more native lenses than the Nikon. However, the Nikon only has a single memory card slot compared to the dual slots on the Sony, so you have less backup if a card fails.
Unlike the Sony Alpha A7R IV, the Z6 Nikon has a 24.5MP back-illuminated CMOS full-frame sensor. This image sensor thus offers excellent image quality even with high ISO performance. The Z6 offers 4K video quality, but you will need to send your camera to a service center for a paid upgrade to your video camera for raw video shooting.
While this firmware update process may be inconvenient, the ability to shoot raw video after the upgrade is a big draw for professional photographers and videographers. In fact, RAW video captures more color depth and dynamic range than standard footage, allowing for greater flexibility in post-processing. The Z6 also features built-in 5-axis body image stabilization, which produces smoother handheld videos straight out of the camera. So, while the raw video update process is a hassle, the Z6’s stellar image quality, stabilization, and upgradable video specs make it a great choice for professionals looking for a hybrid stills/video camera.
The Z6 has a 273-point autofocus system (whereas the Nikon Z7 has a 493-point system), and AF Mode has a choice of Auto-Area, Wide-Area, and Single-Point options. The Z6 also has a continuous AF mode, where a focusing mode allows you to select additional AF points on top of the active one. The Z6 body is nice to hold, thanks to the hand grips on either side. If portability is your deciding factor in a camera, consider the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. F-mount lenses on the Z6 are possible via the FTZ adapter. To change settings you hold down the desired button and use the mode dial to make the change.
Battery life on the Z6 Nikon is 310 shots, the burst rate is 12fps, and while Nikon DSLR lenses have image stabilization, (think of a camera like the Canon EOS RP) the new Z mirrorless camera invokes an in-camera system. The Nikon Z has only one XQD card slot instead of two SD card slots like other mirrorless cameras, and focusing drops slightly in low light. The Panasonic Lumix G7 can offer you the traditional SD card slot if you really need it.
However, the Z6 excels when it comes to video performance. It can shoot 120fps slow motion in 1080p resolution. The larger Z6 mount also allows more light into the camera, benefiting video quality. While the video file sizes quickly fill up cards, the fast write speeds of XQD help handle the data rate. So if your priority is video, the Nikon Z6 delivers excellent quality and features. The single card slot may be limiting for some shooters, but for dedicated video use, the Z’s video mode capabilities shine despite a couple of shortcomings.
Nikon Z6 Wrap Up
As far as full-frame mirrorless cameras are concerned, the Nikon Z cameras are top-notch. Like the Nikon D750, this new camera looks to be gaining as much love. Nikon has come a long way since the Nikon F and the Z series cameras are continuing in Nikon’s high-performance tradition.