NIKON Z6 II AND NIKON Z7 II OVERVIEW
A bit more than two years have passed since Nikon's first serious contributions to the mirrorless camera world with the Z6 y Z7. Now, after two months of Mark II for each model were unveiled, we finally had the chance of making a proper overview of them both as they come closer to become available for the general public. We won't compare them side by side, but will treat them as two separate models with each their pros and cons. Each camera has been designed to suit two specific types of content creators; and after over viewing them, you'll be able to make up your mind.
In short, it seems to us that Nikon has aimed the Z6 II to video content creators, while the Z7 II is more in the route of high quality still image making. So, Z6 II for video, and Z7 II for photography. But, let's see if this is true.
About the Brand New Nikon Z6 II
Let's start with the friendlier of them both, the Z6 II; and by that we don't mean entry level at all, especially when considering the $1,996.95 body only price tag. Which is also available with a nice 24-70mm ƒ/4 lens for $2,596.95, and you can even kick in an FTZ adapter kit for a grand total of $2,646.90. So, here are some of the main features according to Nikon regarding the Z6 II.
At 14 fps with AE/AF tracking and buffer up to approximately 124 shots (3.5 times more than the previous 35 shots in buffer found in the original Z6), one can expect some impressive high-speed continuous shooting with this camera. The average has been calculated using extended high speed continuous shooting using single point Autofocus with 12bit lossless compressed raw (L) with a Sony CEB-G128 CFexpress card.
And speaking of which, the brand new Z6 II comes with dual memory card slots supporting CFexpress and UHS-II SD cards. The more experienced shooters will know that this usually means reliable data backup and a more agile workflow. Personally, we like using dual card slots in the following way, if shooting stills, one could be used for storing raw files, while the other for JPEGs. But since this camera has been designed with video content creators in mind, one could use one for storing video files and the other for stills.
Pro Tip: Try using same-speed cards in both slots. If you encounter the situation of using a card which is faster than the other one, dedicate the faster card for raw or video files depending on the shooting scenario that you'll be using the camera the most.
This full-frame camera features a generous 24.5 megapixels sensor, with something which is still quite new in the photography world, dual image processing engines. The camera comes with the Dual EXPEED 6 image-processing engines which allows for continuous shooting at the aforementioned rate of 14 frames per second. With an ISO sensitivity range of 100-51200 (expandable to 204,800), one can expect this camera to perform exquisitely under low-light situations. Same which copes perfectly with the 5.0 stop in camera VR for embracing the darkness with nothing to fear!
One of the most interesting features of this camera is the focusing precision one can get thanks to the 273 AF points 100% functional across modes: photo mode, FX format, and single-point AF. For both stills and video, the Z6 II comes with eye/animal detection capabilities, and for the latter we are sure they are not talking about pets. This camera will perform at decent levels even under extreme wild-life situations, as long as you have a proper telephoto on the mount.
Another nice feature that we've spotted according to our shooting needs are all the different modes regarding white balance inside this camera. Auto (3 types), natural light auto, direct sunlight, cloudy, shade, incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), flash, choose color temperature (2500 K to 10000 K), preset manual (up to 6 values can be stored), all with fine-tuning except choose color temperature. For us, white balance is the keystone for ensuring that a photograph will transmit a message as the visual creator intends it to be.
With dimensions of approximately 134 x 100.5 x 69.5mm or 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8 inches and a weight of 705 g/1 lb 8.9 oz with battery and memory card and without body cap, one can tell for sure that this camera is both compact and sturdy. Making a great camera for any-sort of uses, from studio to landscape and continuous movie making too.
Some shooting options include time-lapse movie recording, electronic vibration reduction, time codes, logarithmic (N-Log) and HDR (HLG) movie output. It is also equipped with 4K/60p video capabilities, and it can be used with the new optional battery pack, MB-N11, which allows for comfortable vertical shooting, as well as the newWR-R11b wireless remote controller.
Oh, and last but not least, thanks to Nikon's efforts regarding optic solutions, the Z mount on this camera allows its users to take advantage of the growing lineup of NIKKOR Z lenses.
Overall, the camera features a lot of standard features, and delivers an extraordinary full-frame experience, especially if we consider DSLR cameras with similar specs (at double or triple the price too). Unfortunately, the camera has been highly criticized for not meeting with all the enhancements people were expecting Nikon to pack within the system. Nevertheless, we are confident about the new Z6 II, especially for people willing to upgrade into the wonders of both full-frame and mirrorless camera systems.
Therefore, this camera is not for the previous, and still powerful, Z6 users to upgrade into the mark II version of it. It is more like an extremely well crafted entry door for other photographers who are still considering if mirrorless camera systems are here to stay or not. Because, believe or not, there are still photographers who attach fiercely to DSLR systems. And the Z6 Mark II, along with the Z7 Mark II (which we will check out right now) are great examples of how powerful mirrorless camera systems can be nowadays.
About the Nikon Z7 II
Just like the Z6 II, the Z7 II is currently available in body only ($2,996.95), kit coped with a 24- 70mm ƒ/4 Nikkor lens ($3,596.95) and the all-inclusive bundle featuring the FTZ Adapter ($3,646.90). Despite the expected availability being set for december 14th of this year, we can have a very good idea about what to expect just from Nikon's specs.
It is true that there are a lot of features that both Z6 II and Z7 II share alike, therefore we will be centering on some features in which the Nikon Z7 II clearly excels, and some others that we simply did not consider when talking about the Z6 II.
Side Note: We highly suggest you to do a meticulous comparison if specs are crucial for your professional workflow.
And if the Z6 II impressed us, the Z7 II takes it all! Familiar in design, but with greater performance capability, this camera could be pared with a true flagship from the Japanese brand. With a high resolution 45.7MP FX-format BSI CMOS sensor and Dual EXPEED 6 image processors, this camera is undoubtedly targeted towards the professional visual content creator.
Sensor-wise, Nikon has decided to get rid of the unpopular low-pass filter in order to achieve a sharper image quality while shooting and recording. And for the landscape shooters, this will raise some brows, the sensor has a native sensitivity low value of ISO 64 for highly detailed raw files. The sensor also features a 493-point phase-detection AF system, which is clearly superior to the previous one found in the Z7, as well as the one built in the Z6 II. One of the coolest features we've been able to spot so far is the Eye-Detect AF in Wide-Area AF modes and during movie recording, which allows focusing in low light situations of -4.5 EV.
Regarding the interface, the Z7 II comes with a crispy high resolution 3.6m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder and a rear 3.2" 2.1m-dot tilting touchscreen LCD that works beautifully when shooting both video and stills. Dual memory card slot capabilities, which we covered in the previous section of this piece.
So, what's exactly the hype behind the II? Some of the goodies included are, the Dual EXPEED 6 image processors deliver an increased buffer performance, a faster 10 fps continuous shooting rate, and a considerably reduced amount of blackout times in the EVF. The USB Type-C port allows in-camera charging or continuous power for on-the-go charging or extended shooting times, something that comes quite handy during outdoorsy situations, meaning you could charge your camera via a solar power bank for example.
And for the robustness lovers, the Z7 II is built with a sturdy magnesium alloy chassis which happens to be dust and weather-resistant, ideal for some serious shooting under harsh climate conditions. The overall design is shaped to benefit handling for extended periods of time, and is further accentuated by an anti-slip material and a joystick for seamless settings and focus point selection. Also, the Z7 II features in body 5-axis sensor shift Vibration Reduction that compensates for up to 5 stops of camera shake no matter the Z-type lens mounted on it. And the system also works with F-mount lenses adapted when using the optional FTZ Adapter, where 3-axis stabilization is used.
A Bit More About the FTZ Adapter Kit
We've mention this little fella quite a lot during this brief overview, so it deserves some clarification, especially for those still-new to the wonders of mirrorless camera systems.
It is no secret that investing in a good lens is better than doing it on a camera-body. The latter tend to upgrade faster due to imaging technology progress, and lenses rarely need major upgrades (even when brands have managed to make us believe the opposite). And the main reason behind this dissonant relationship is because lens related optical engineering advances at a slower pace than computing technology.
Mirrorless camera systems offer greater image quality because they are capable of putting the sensor closer to the lens, allowing less artifacts and aberrations to be produced due to physical distance between the rear element and the sensor. This sounds great, but it needs camera manufacturers to produce new lenses that are capable of being mounted into this optical ecosystem.
Lenses rarely need upgrades because they have been designed and built to last for a long period of time. So, what do we do with all those lenses which can be easily traced back to the film era? Now, we can give them a second chance to see the light thanks to adapters like the FTZ Adapter from Nikon. By enabling the use of nearly any Nikon F-mount lens on Z-mount mirrorless camera bodies, the FTZ Mount Adapter is an elegant solution for quickly expanding the usability range of Z mount compatible lenses in no-time.
The FTZ Adapter is compatible with approximately 360 distinct F-mount lenses, making it ideal for using it with over 90 E, G, and D-type lenses, where it maintains autofocus and auto-exposure capabilities for a seamless use of the SLR lenses (film era) on a brand-new mirrorless body. The FTZ Adapter is also built to last from magnesium alloy and is also weather sealed. And if you have long and heavy telephoto lenses, you'll find the 1/4"-20 screw mount on the base to be quite handy indeed.
Wrapping it Up
Following the recent commitment towards delivering powerful mirrorless camera system options to the market, Nikon has freshened up its yet iconic Z6 and Z7 imaging solutions. Not all the expected improvements have been included, making those from 2018 still relevant cameras. In a confident way, we find that the Z6 II and Z7 II are aimed towards broadening the usage of mirrorless camera systems rather than giving the previous users a proper upgrade for their original Z6 and Z7 systems.