Nikon Z6 Review

The Nikon Z6 is one of two full-frame mirrorless cameras introduced by Nikon in August of 2018. It's very similar to its big brother, the Z7, with the main differences being the sensor (24MP vs 46MP) and the decrease in resolution that comes along with it. The Z6 also has fewer phase-detect autofocus points (273 vs 493) due to the lower-res sensor. Otherwise, you're getting the same rugged body, the same (mostly) familiar controls and access to a small but soon-to-grow collection of Z-mount lenses.

Specs aside, the Z6 is for a very different audience than the Z7. The latter is for those seeking ultra-high resolution and would also be considering cameras like the Sony a7R III and Nikon D850. The Z6, on the other hand, is intended to be be more appealing to those looking to upgrade from crop-sensor cameras or previous-generation full-frame DSLRs.

The Z6 will ultimately be compared to its DSLR sibling, the D750 (which is getting on in years, but still very capable). While the two cameras have different designs, they operate similarly, with autofocus modes and video being the the most significant differences.

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
Out of camera JPEG | ISO 7200 | 1/250 sec | F1.8 | Nikkor Z 50mm lens
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

If those specs look familiar, it's because they're almost identical to that of the Z7, with resolution and the number of AF points being the main differences. You do reap the benefits of the lower resolution sensor when shooting bursts, with a top frame rate of 12 fps (versus 9) and the ability to capture more photos per burst. Otherwise, you're getting the same design and innovations found the Z6's big brother, which is significantly more expensive.

The Z6 is sold body-only for $1999 or with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm F4 S lens for $2599. If you buy the $249 FTZ (F-to-Z mount) adapter at the same time, Nikon will knock $100 off of the price.


What's new and how it compares

The Z6 uses the all-new Z-mount along with a full-frame 24MP sensor with 5-axis image stabilization built in, along with a hybrid AF system and oversampled 4K video.

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Body and handling

The Z6 has excellent build quality, familiar controls and a lot of customizability, though some favorites from Nikon DSLRs didn't make the cut.

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Operation and controls

The Z6 can be customized in numerous ways, and we appreciate its ability to have separate settings for stills and video.

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What it's like to use

The Z6 is extremely versatile and can handle nearly any shooting situation that comes up.

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Image quality

The Z6's 24MP sensor has excellent resolution and high ISO performance, though on rare occasions you may see banding if shadow areas are brightened.

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Autofocus

Nikon has put a lot of work into the hybrid AF system on the Z6, and the results are impressive for both still and video shooting.

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Video

The Z6 offers the best video quality and capability of any Nikon camera to date.

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Conclusion

While not a perfect camera, the Nikon Z6's design and build along with superb image and video quality make it strongly worth your consideration.

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Sample Gallery

See how the Z6's photos look in our extensive sample gallery.

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