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Nikon Z6 II Review

Nikon Z6 II Review - the new Mark II version of the Nikon Z6 - find out what's new, what's changed, and how the new 24mp Z6 II performs in our full review.


|  Nikon Z 6II in Mirrorless Cameras
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Nikon Z6 II (1)
 

Quick Verdict

Like the Nikon Z6, the Z6 II, offers great image quality, and great handling, but with added "oomph" as well as the convenience of an SD card slot. The Nikon Z6 II and the other camera's in the Z series offer great handling, and the Z6 II offers a full-frame 24mp BSI CMOS sensor that is able to offer great noise performance. When combined with the extremely high-quality Z series lenses, you'll find your self extremely impressed by the image quality on offer from the camera. The images produced offer a level of sharpness and detail that is not always seen.

+ Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Extremely high-quality lenses available
  • High-speed shooting possible - 14fps
  • 5-axis image stabilisation
  • SD card slot a welcome addition
  • Excellent handling

- Cons

  • 4K 60fps not available till firmware update due Feb 2021
  • Some will wish the screen could face forwards
  • Battery life is still quite short
 

 

Nikon Z6 II (9)

The Nikon Z6 II is the "Mark II" version of the Z6 which we reviewed in 2018 and comes with a number of updates, including a new image processor, and faster continuous shooting offering 14fps continuous shooting. There's a 24mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, in-camera image stabilisation, a 3.2inch tilting touch-screen, and 4K video recording.


Nikon Z6 II Features

Nikon Z6 II (12)

If you're familiar with the Nikon Z series, then you'll know it's Nikon's full-frame mirrorless camera system, offering a more compact choice in comparison to Nikon's DSLRs, and featuring an electronic viewfinder (EVF) instead of an optical viewfinder. The Z series cameras use Nikon's Z lens mount, and a there is a range of Z series lenses available. You can use Nikon F-mount lenses, with an adapter.

There are three current cameras in the range, with the top-of-the-range 45mp Z7 II replacing the Z7, the 24mp Z6 II replacing the Z6, and the 24mp Z5 sitting lower down the range.

Nikon Z6 II vs Z6 improvements:

  • Dual Expeed 6 image processors
  • Improved AF, sensitive down to -4.5EV (-6 with low-light AF)
  • Improved burst shooting (14fps)
  • Longer shutter time (900s), Timelapse support
  • Improved buffer (200 JPEG shots, 124 12-bit uncompressed raw)
  • Faster write speeds
  • Improved EVF refresh rate, reduced blackout
  • 4K 60p available with firmware update due Feb 2021 (was 30fps on Z6)
  • Eye/Face / Animal detection AF for stills and video
  • Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) support
  • Second memory card slot (SD UHS-II and CF Express / XQD)
  • Slightly improved battery life (340 shots)

 

The Z6 II features a 24.5mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor. The camera has a 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation system, that works with Z mount lenses, but also works when you use a Nikon F lens with VR, with the FTZ adapter so that you can benefit from both image stabilisation systems. The system is said to give up to 5-stops of image stabilisation.

The camera offers 14fps continuous shooting, at full-resolution. There is a focus stacking feature. Flicker reduction is included to help when shooting under fluorescent lighting. There's also an electronic shutter option, for silent shooting.

Focus is taken care of with 273 phase-detection AF points on the sensor, which covers 90% of the frame. The camera will focus down to -4.5/-6 EV (with a lens that has an aperture of f/2 or faster). There's AF tracking, Pinpoint AF, and face and eye detection focus available for both humans and animals. The camera uses dual EXPEED 6 image processors. 

There's a locking mode dial on top, with 3 customisable user settings (U1, U2, U3). There are all the usual shooting modes, including P, A, S, M, and to switch to the video mode you use the photo/video switch on the back of the camera. There is an Auto mode, but no scene modes. There are a number of "picture control" options available, with different colour styles, which can be customised. You'll also find a number of "Creative Picture Control" presets, with effects similar to the digital effects you get on other cameras. 

Video features - The Nikon Z6 II records 4K (UHD) video at 30fps, using the full-frame of the sensor (without crop), and Nikon says they oversample from 6K, giving 4K footage with "spectacular fineness and detail". You can also record FullHD video up to 120fps. Video recording also benefits from the in-camera five-axis optical Vibration Reduction (VR) system, and the camera offers electronic image stabilisation which can add to the stabilisation system. A firmware update is due in February 2021, which will allow 4K video to be recorded at 60fps, with a 1.5x crop.

Wi-Fi / Bluetooth - Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in to the camera, and can be used with Nikon's SnapBridge software. This lets you transfer JPEG images, shoot stills, and record video remotely.

Nikon Z6 II (15)

Key Features

  • 24.5mp Full-Frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation (IBIS)
  • 3.2inch 2100K dot tilting touch-screen
  • 3.69m dot EVF, 0.80x magnification, 100% view
  • Top LCD display
  • Z-mount OVF / EVF size, features, magnification, resolution
  • 273 phase-detection AF points
  • 14fps continuous shooting
  • 4K UHD video recording (30fps now, 60fps with firmware update due Feb 2021)
  • FullHD video up to 120fps
  • ISO50 to ISO204800 (Extended)
  • Weather-sealed camera body
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • CFexpress / SD memory card slots
  • Headphone, microphone, USB-C, HDMI and remote ports
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Nikon Z6 II Handling

Nikon Z6 II (7)

Looking at the camera body, and comparing it to the Z6, there is very little (if any) difference between the cameras, except when you open the, now larger, memory card compartment, to find that there is now an SD card slot in addition to the XQD slot. The Z6 II weighs 705g with battery and memory card (without lens), compared to 675g for the Z6.

There's a large SLR style grip for your hand, with a front and rear command dial. The camera body is weather-sealed to the same standard as the Nikon D850. There is a soft rubberised texture surrounding the grip, and this also extends round to the back of the camera, as well as the left-hand side of the camera. The rear grip for your thumb is large and provides a solid point of contact. The top shutter release button, and surrounding on/off switch will look familiar to anyone who's used other Nikon DSLRs, and the layout of buttons around this is also the same, giving quick access to exposure compensation, ISO and video recording. 

There is a back AF-ON button, so you can set up back-button focusing. There's a joystick underneath this, as well as the Nikon i button. The labelling of buttons used should be very familiar to Nikon DSLR users, as these are very similar to other Nikon DSLRs, although the layout is slightly less spread out. The locking mode dial features an Auto mode, as well as P, S, A, and M, plus three customisable user modes, U1, U2, and U3. To switch between stills and video shooting, there's a switch that surrounds the display button.

There's a top LCD screen which displays the shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO speed, battery life, shooting mode, and remaining shots.

Nikon Z6 II (3)

Focus performance - The Nikon Z6 II has 273 phase-detection AF points, which cover 90% of the frame. Pinpoint AF is available, as well as focus peaking to assist with manual focus. Face and eye detection focus is available, as well as animal detection that works with cats and dogs.

Focus is sensitive down to -4.5 EV in normal shooting conditions or -6 EV with low-light AF active. The focus was reliable, with a very good success rate, especially in good lighting conditions, so much so that we didn't need to constantly check photos for correct focus after shooting. You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point, or you can use the joystick on the back, making it quick and easy to precisely set your focus point.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) offers a large, and high-resolution view of the scene, with 3.6m dots, and 0.80x magnification. With dioptre adjustment, it's easy to adjust it to your own personal view. We were impressed by the resolution and clarity of the display. 

The 3.2inch tilting touch-screen is large and clear, with a high-resolution of 2100K dots. The screen tilts up so that you can use it as a waist-level viewfinder, and the screen will also tilt down. You can use it to change settings, scroll through the menus, as well as set the focus point. Pressing the i button will bring up a number of on-screen controls, and you can use the touch-screen to change these as well or simply use the 4-way controller if you're not a fan of touch-screens.

In playback pressing the middle OK button will automatically take you to a magnified view of the photo showing you 100%. The 100% view is also signified by the zoom bar going green, just like on other Nikon DSLRs.

Nikon Z6 II (13)

Menus - The menus follow the same layout and design as other recent Nikon cameras, and each section is colour coded, to help you more quickly find your way around the options. There’s a dedicated video menu section, something you don’t always find on some cameras. The “MyMenu” section can be customised, so that you can add your favourite settings, giving you quicker access.

Nikon Z6 II Battery

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 340 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is low compared to some cameras, and a spare battery is therefore recommended, however, you mileage may vary depending on how you shoot, and you should get much more with continuous shooting modes. A new battery grip (MB-N11) is available to extend battery life.

Underneath the camera is where you'll find the tripod socket, as well as the battery compartment. The camera will take the same EN-EL15 battery as previous Nikon DSLRs, however, if you want to use the in-camera USB charging feature, then you'll need to use the EN-EL15B battery provided with the camera. Charging is via the USB-C port on the side, and you can charge the camera using a USB power bank.


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Nikon Z6 II Mirrorless Camera Body (24.5 megapixel, Ultra wide ISO, 14 fps Continuous Shooting, Duel Processor, Duel Card Slots, 4K Full HD Video)
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Comments


18 Nov 2020 11:44AM
Interesting review. A lot of existing Z series users would like to know how much improvement in AF there is now the camera has dual processors. Ive been very happy with the AF in my Z6/Z7 since firmware 3.0 for almost any subject but prefer my D500 3D AF mode for fast moving action - would be good to know how the mark II cameras compare to the Mark ones for AF performance.
Cynog 8 3 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2020 12:09PM
I wish reviewers would stop seeing the lack of forward swivelling screens as a "con". Yes, some people may wish the Z6II had one, but others (me included) are glad that it doesn't. I'm not a vlogger, nor do I take photos of myself. A tilting screen is ideal for my use case, though I would prefer something on the lines of the Fuji, which also tilts when the camera is in portrait orientation. It sounds like the reviewer was scraping the barrel to look for negative points. The battery life can be addressed by getting the grip, and 4K is coming.

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