Nikon Z6 II review – Pocket-lint

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Nikon Z6 II review - Pocket-lint

(Pocket-lint) – Through the spring of 2019 we spent weeks shooting with the Nikon Z6 around South Africa’s wine region and just about fell head-over-heels for that very good full-frame digicam.

So when Nikon introduced its follow-up, the Z6 II, simply 18 months after the unique debuted, we questioned what extra it may convey to the desk. The reply is extra processing energy, for extra velocity in burst capturing, together with a wider buffer for capturing extra pictures consecutively, and twin card slots.

Do not consider the Z6 II as an upgraders digicam, then, simply consider it as the unique enhanced for brand spanking new patrons. And fairly the digicam it’s too. However with stiff competitors, is it the full-frame mirrorless digicam it is best to contemplate shopping for?

What’s new?

  • Twin Expeed processing engine
  • Twin card slots (1x SD (UHS-II), 1x XQD)
  • 14fps burst mode, buffer to 200 JPEG High quality / 112 Uncooked
  • 4K 60p seize coming 2021

So the Z6 II – that is “two”, not “mark two” by any means, we’re instructed – provides a Twin Expeed processing engine. It is the primary time Nikon has put a twin system into any of its mirrorless cameras, that means the Z6 II can shoot at as much as 14 frames per second (up from 12fps within the unique Z6). Not solely that, however an elevated buffer measurement means as much as 200 JPEG High quality or 112 Uncooked recordsdata.

However one of many greatest modifications to the Z6 II is one thing you’ll be able to’t see from the skin: beneath the aspect flap are two card slots, one for XQD, one for SD (UHS-II), that means the selection is yours in the case of format – or use each do you have to need automated back-ups or a JPEG/Uncooked break up.

Pocket-lintNikon Z6 II review photo 6

As well as the II mannequin options enhanced autofocus – with low-light capturing to -6EV, which is claimed to be “quarter moonlight” – to additional cement its attraction. Though, as we’ll come to, we do not discover the system feels that totally different in use in comparison with the unique.

Design

  • Z sequence mount; FTZ adapter obtainable for F-mount compatibility
  • Magnesium alloy entrance, again & high covers; climate sealed
  • 3.6m-dot digital viewfinder (100% FoV, 0.8x magazine)
  • 3.2-inch tilt-angle LCD touchscreen

In terms of design and aesthetics the Z6 II is a mirror picture of its mirrorless unique. Which means the identical Nikon Z sequence lens mount, bringing tremendous high quality potential – it is a large mount, however not too large, smaller than the Leica one used within the Panasonic S1; whereas Z lenses aren’t as epic-massive as these in Canon’s EOS R both.

The Z6 II is properly constructed, sturdy, weather-sealed, it is acquired all of the buttons and dials in the precise locations so it is acquainted to make use of for any Nikon person or newcomer/fanatic. We notably just like the toggle to the rear that is splendid for fast changes – and it is positioned properly do you have to be utilizing the digicam as much as your eye.

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As we mentioned of the unique Z6, although, there’s nonetheless one slight change we might make: though the three.2-inch LCD display is of ample high quality, we might swap out its tilt-angle mechanism to a full vari-angle one for larger flexibility.

Efficiency

  • In-body stabilisation to claimed 5-stops (VR; vibration discount)
  • 273 phase-detection factors, masking 90% of body

Whereas Canon tends to choose for easy space give attention to a lot of its mirrorless digicam fashions, the Nikon method is a bit more assorted and exact. Not solely does the Z6 II provide 273 phase-detection autofocus factors, encompassing 90 per cent of the body, you’ll be able to regulate from auto to wide-area, single-area or pin-point focus.

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It is the pin-point mode that we have discovered actually helpful, particularly in low-light, as with a full-frame sensor at your disposal it is vital that focus and aperture choice are on level for pin-sharp focus. The automated modes are nonetheless very respectable at grabbing maintain of a topic and rapidly focusing although.

Swap to steady autofocus and that is the place Nikon says the Z6 II has ramped issues up in comparison with its predecessor. It is apparently more proficient at following transferring topics, however we have discovered the distinction slight to the purpose of probably not noticing – some extra lengthy lenses in testing could be wanted for us to actually see any distinction.

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Nonetheless, the system is succesful, simply not essentially the most completed out there. As we mentioned of the unique: we won’t shake off the truth that the Sony A7R III affords some unbelievable topic monitoring from its energetic focus system – and that system is a few years previous now.

One other main boon within the Z6 II is the in-body picture stabilisation. The bigger and extra resolute a sensor, the extra helpful picture stabilisation is at a picture stage. Positive, you’ll be able to’t see the energetic good thing about stabilisation as you’d by way of a lens-based answer, however having that added assurance that hand-held pictures shall be additional sharp at even pretty low shutter speeds is a reassurance.

Pocket-lintNikon Z6 II review photo 9

In terms of burst capturing the Z6 II affords 14fps, upping the ante in comparison with the unique mannequin. The buffer is way extra capacious, too, so in case you’re capturing Uncooked recordsdata then the capability is upped rather a lot – with the unique digicam we have been capturing three dozen in a single burst, however with the second-gen Z6 that is over the triple-figure mark, making it 3 times extra succesful in our fingers.

One other apparent good thing about this mirrorless digicam is that it may be fully silent – so in case you’re capturing, say, golf or attempting to be discreet whereas out on the road then its digital shutter choice is ideal. We used it to shoot hermit grabs on a seaside, lighting them with a cell phone, and as soon as they poked their heads again out of shell the shutter was of no concern – and out they remained!

Picture High quality

  • 24.5MP full-frame CMOS sensor (FX format)
  • ISO 100-51,200 sensitivity

The Nikon Z6 II has precisely the identical sensor at its core as the unique Z6. Which is to say that it actually excels with its picture high quality.

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That is right down to a mix of issues: the sensor and picture processing are an enormous half, however the Z mount has already proven off a number of the finest lenses we have ever seen within the shopper pictures house.

Along with the sharpness is the sheer depth that this full-frame sensor affords. That additional measurement simply creates melty blurred backgrounds and pronounced shallow depth of subject that may’t be achieved from lesser equipment. You will should be hyper crucial about focusing, as we mentioned earlier than, however the pay-off is properly price it.

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Equally spectacular is how the ISO sensitivity holds up. The bottom ISO 100 (which is native – no ‘Low’ setting required) delivers pristine pictures with quantity of dynamic vary – though you may need to shoot Uncooked to tug on the shadow and highlights particulars. Up the sensitivity to ISO 800 and it is troublesome to inform the distinction over the bottom ISO. Spectacular.

The upper ISO sensitivities maintain a unbelievable quantity of element with out extreme picture noise. You will see extra grain from ISO 1600 as much as ISO 6400, however it offers it a filmic high quality, whereas color noise will increase – however is simply marginal.

Push it to ISO 16,000 and it is much less spectacular, whereas the top-end ISO 51,200 is not a complete write-off, however it’s of actually restricted use. Even so, take a look at the ISO 10,000 shot of a bead-made butterfly that we took whereas on away vacation.

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If 24.5-megapixels is not fairly sufficient for you then the Z7 II is probably going the higher path so that you can take, with its 45.7-megapixel sensor. It will not carry out fairly as properly in low-light, thoughts, neither is it as speedy fireplace, however that is the trade-off to contemplate (oh, and never forgetting the sizeable worth bump).

Video specification

  • 4K video succesful at 30/25/24fps, Full HD at 120/100/60/50/30/25/24fps
  • 10-bit HDMI clear out (with N Log / HLG)
  • 4K 60p coming February 2021

Nikon has an extended historical past with video seize from its digicam. It was the primary to place it right into a DSLR. However then it largely did not sustain. The identical type of rings true with the Z6 II: it is completed, able to capturing 4K footage, however its 60p replace will not be obtainable till a while in 2021. That is not an issue, per se, however with Sony crusing forward on this sector it is laborious to disregard.

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The Z6 II at the moment affords 4K capabilities at 30, 25 or 25 frames per second on the time of writing, together with as much as 120fps at Full HD (1080p). There’s additionally 10-bit clear HDMI out and N Log – together with two 3.5mm jacks for headphones and microphone – so it is properly geared up for high quality seize, whether or not informal or on a rig.

Verdict

The Nikon Z6 II is, identical to the unique Z6, a mighty spectacular digicam. That is as a result of this full-frame mirrorless brings the advantage of an unbelievable lens mount, delivering distinctive picture high quality from the precise lenses.

Nonetheless, the second-gen mannequin would not add an enormous quantity over the unique. Sure, it is good to have Twin Expeed processing for sooner frame-rate and a bigger buffer. Sure, it is nice to have twin card slots this time round. However that is more-or-less your lot. So do not consider this digicam as an improve and that is simply effective.

It is nonetheless not a very excellent digicam although. We might wish to see additional steady autofocus enhancements as a result of there isn’t any denying Sony’s grip on this space. And the place’s the correct vari-angle LCD display?

General, the Z6 II is among the most succesful full-frame mirrorless cameras available on the market. It is acquired the lens mount proper, the standard proper and, regardless of robust competitors and never being an enormous improve over the unique mannequin, it is simply distinctive in so many areas.

Additionally contemplate

Nikon Z6

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It is barely any totally different – and picture high quality is similar – so if you wish to save a couple of hundred and might discover it on a deal then go for the first-gen mannequin as an alternative.

Writing by Mike Lowe.

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