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Nikon Z6 II Review - Performance

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Nikon Z6 II 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 Z6 II Sample Photos

Sample Photos - As expected, colour reproduction is very pleasing, with rich saturated colours, and anyone who is a fan of Nikon's colour reproduction will be extremely happy with the results from the Z6 II. Skin tones are particularly good, as you would expect from a Nikon camera. Autofocus in low-light was good, with a high success rate.

Nikon's D-Lighting ensures that shadows are not lost, and highlights are kept. There are a number of levels, or you can leave this on Auto. This means that the dynamic range captured by the camera is very good. There is also a built-in HDR mode that will automatically merge a number of shots to record a greater dynamic range. You can, of course, process the raw files if needed, either on your computer or in the camera.

An electronic first curtain shutter option is available, designed to reduce the risk of shutter shock. The in-camera image stabilisation system helps to keep images sharp and help avoid image blur.

You can shoot JPEG, JPEG+RAW, RAW (NEF, 12-bit and 14-bit). At the time of writing, the latest version of Adobe Camera RAW (v13.0.2) does not support Nikon Z6 II raw files.

Lens performance - it doesn't seem to matter too much which Nikon lens you use with the Z series, as they all perform extremely well, with excellent levels of detail and sharpness captured by the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens! Have a look at some of our reviews to see if there's a lens for you: Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S, Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Z NOCT (MF), Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S, Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S, Nikon Z 14-30mm  f/4 S, Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S (used in this review). 

The camera has built-in lens correction, which includes correction for vignetting (dark corners), diffraction compensation, and auto distortion control (which is on by default with Nikon Z lenses), and we saw very little evidence of these problems in our images.


Nikon Z6 II ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low from ISO50 all the way up to ISO1600/3200. Fine detail starts to drop at ISO3200, and continues to go at ISO6400. Noise becomes more noticeable at ISO12800, and again at ISO25600. Results may still be usable depending on your needs, as colour saturation remains good even up to ISO51200. Noise is very high at ISO102400 and above, and these settings are best avoided.

Noise reduction options include Off, Low, Normal, and High, with the default being Normal. These photos were taken on the default settings.


Nikon Z6 II White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten, with a slightly warm result on default settings (Auto1). There are a number of different Auto White Balance (AWB) options, including 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), although the difference can be quite subtle. You can also adjust the auto white balance more precisely if needed. The tungsten preset does a great job. Auto white balance gives a reasonable result under fluorescent lighting, and there are a number of fluorescent presets available, so that you can choose one that most matches your lighting. AWB performs reasonably well under mixed lighting as well.


Nikon Z6 II Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of preset colour modes, and these can be customised, with quick sharp (adjusts all sharpness settings quickly), sharpening, mid-range sharpening, clarity, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue. You can leave this on Auto if you want. 

After going through the standard colour settings, there are 20 "Creative Picture Control" options, which includes presets such as Dream, Morning, Pop, Sunday, Somber, Dramatic, Silence, Bleaches, Melancholic, Pure, Denim, Toy, to name a few. There is no automatic panoramic mode.


Video - The Nikon Z6 II records 4K video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (UHD) at 30p (progressive), 25p, and 24p, with stereo microphones built-in. 4K video uses the full width of the sensor, so that there is only a crop at the top and bottom of the image, as the aspect ratio changes from 3:2 to 16:9 aspect ratio.

FullHD (1920 x 1080) video can be recorded at speeds up to 120fps, with options for 100p, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p. You can also record high-speed video at FullHD resolution for video playback at 30p (x4), 25p (x4), and 24p (x5) for slow-motion footage.

Almost the full ISO range is available for video recording from ISO100 to ISO204800.

N-Log video recording is possible (via HDMI only) for greater dynamic range, and later grading of footage. The built-in sensor-based 5-axis image stabilisation helps keep the video steady when using the camera handheld, and video quality is good, with sharp and detailed footage captured. Wind noise can be an issue, so you may want to adjust the camera's settings or add a "dead cat".


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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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