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Nikon D6 Review - Performance

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Nikon D6 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

 

Nikon D6 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The camera delivers great results, with reliable exposure the majority of the time. Dynamic range is also good and can be enhanced using the D-Lighting controls. You can fine-tune the settings to give you results to your own personal tastes so that you can use the images straight away, without further processing needed. Colour options give you the option to fine-tune your results, with options for sharpness (sharpening, mid-range and clarity), contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. You can also adjust these after taking the photo with raw editing.

In-camera raw editing makes it quick and easy to adjust photos when needed, and adjustments can be applied to a single image or multiple images. Distortion correction options are built into the camera so that you can get the best results from Nikon lenses, and these options include: vignette control, diffraction compensation, and automatic distortion correction.

There are three different options for auto white balance (AWB), Auto0 - keep white (reduce warm colours), Auto1 - Normal, and Auto2 - keep warm lighting colours. Depending on the subject, you may want your images to be warmer (for portraits) or cooler (for product shots).

Auto Focus is rapid, particularly when using the optical viewfinder, and the camera's main focusing system. We used the cameras continuous shooting system and the 3D tracking option to track a running subject and were impressed with the camera's ability to keep the focus locked on to the target's face when they were in the focus area. Once the subject's face was outside of the focus area, the camera maintained focus on the subject's upper body, but focus on the face was no longer possible. 

However, switch to live-view and the focus system is noticeably sluggish, and can be frustrating if you end up waiting for the camera to focus the lens by going through its full focus range as we had to on occasion. It can also be fairly inconsistent and give out of focus shots when at the limits of the lens' focus range. This is going to have a knock-on effect on video focus, as this also uses the same live view contrast-detection AF.

 

Nikon D6 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise performance is impressive, with clean images up to ISO3200/6400, with even ISO12800 showing excellent results, although fine detail is lost. Some noise starts to creep in at ISO25600, but it's very well controlled. ISO51200 should give you usable images, depending on your needs. ISO102400 could potentially be useful but is likely to need further processing. At the higher (Hi1 - Hi5) speeds noise is strong (and weird), and these speeds are best avoided. Noise reduction options are Off, Low, Normal, High, and these were taken with the camera on the default setting of Normal.

For these shots, we used the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens and focused using live-view. As you go through the images, you'll be able to notice that the change in focus between shots shows that the lens and live-view combination was struggling to focus on this subject, which was at the closest focus distance, and you'll also be able to notice that the focus change between shots also changes the size of the subject in the image. This is just an observation, rather than a criticism, and could have been avoided by moving the camera further away from the subject or using a different lens.

 

Nikon D6 Digital filters

Digital Filters - We've shown some examples of some the different colour options (Standard, Vivid, Landscape etc), as well some of the additional, more creative effects, such as Dream, Pop, Dramatic, Charcoal to name a few. There are in total 20 different creative effects available. In playback, you can also correct the perspective, vignetting, adjust D-Lighting, and combine multiple images to create a composite image.

 

Video - Perhaps in an admission of the Nikon D6 not being aimed at videographers, there's very little mention of video features in Nikon's overview of features on the D6 on their website (currently). However, the camera does offer 4K UHD video, at frame rates of 30, 25, and 24fps, with MOV/MP4 video options. There's also time-lapse movie recording, plus time code support. You can use ISO100 to ISO102400, as well as all the way up to Hi5. Active D-lighting (off, low, normal, high, extra high) is also available.

There's a quite noticeable crop into the frame when switching from FullHD video to 4K video. Electronic VR is available when recording FullHD video, and crops into the frame to provide stabilisation. The "jello" effect seen when panning from left to right is quite noticeable. You can watch additional videos on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.


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