Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II
Nikon Z6 II
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Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
August 23, 2018
October 14, 2020
Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II Overview
This is a head-to-head between two of Nikon’s finest mirrorless cameras. We’ll be looking at the Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II. The Nikon Z6 was released in 2018. And it was the flagship camera in the Nikon Z series. The Nikon Z6 II was released two years later as an upgraded version.
The newer Nikon Z6 II comes out on top when we look at the specs. But it’s a narrow victory over the older Z6. This comparison review examines the key differences between the Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II. We’ll show you where the Nikon Z6 II excels over the Z6. But we’ll also show that both cameras are worth your consideration.
Body and Handling
When people hear “full frame,” they often worry about big, bulky cameras. But Nikon has a good reputation with camera body design. And their excellent ergonomics have been carried over from the DSLR to the mirrorless range. Both cameras are comfortable to hold.
The Nikon Z6 II is slightly heavier than the Z6. But not by much. The Nikon Z6 has a body weight of 1.49 lb (675 g). The Nikon Z6 II is heavier by 0.06 lb (30 g), weighing in at 1.55 lb (705 g). The Nikon Z6 II is also slightly bigger. But only by a couple of millimeters.
Nikon knows how to design a camera. The controls are well-positioned with a simple and intuitive layout. Although the Nikon Z series is mirrorless, it won’t take long to get to grips with the controls if you have experience with their DSLR cameras.
Now we’ll look at the image creation capabilities of the Nikon Z6 and Z6 II. There’s very little to separate the two cameras in this category. But we’ll look at the details closely to give you the information you need.
Sensor and Image Quality
The Nikon Z6 and Z6 II are full frame mirrorless cameras, and they use the same sensor. It’s a full frame sensor measuring 23.9 x 35.9 mm. And both cameras have an image resolution of 24.5 MP. That doesn’t sound like much for a full frame mirrorless camera. But the FX CMOS sensor gives you incredible images.
Having fewer pixels on a larger image sensor can be beneficial. The pixels are larger, which improves image detail and dynamic range. It can also reduce noise in low-light photography.
The Nikon Z6 II edges the Z6 in image quality thanks to the image processor. The Nikon Z6 has an Expeed 6 image processor. And the Z6 II has a Dual Expeed processor. The dual processor increases processing power, giving you more power from the same sensor. This helps with dynamic range, noise in low light, and buffering speeds. Casual photographers might not notice. But professionals will appreciate the increased processing power.
ISO Range and Low-Light Performance
Both cameras have a wide ISO range. The top level goes all the way to 204,800 ISO. That’s fantastic for low light and night photography. There is a risk of noise at the high end of the scale. But the larger pixels on the sensor absorb more light and increase low-light sensitivity. And this reduces digital noise when using higher ISO settings.
We also get a low ISO setting of 50. That gives you incredible detail, color depth, and quality. You might need a tripod to make the most of this setting. But 50 ISO is ideal for landscape photography. Portrait and product photographers will also appreciate it.
The only thing to separate the Nikon Z6 and Z6 II is the image processor. Again, the Nikon Z6 II’s dual processor gives it the edge. The dual processor extracts more information from the pixels. And that improves low-light performance and dynamic range.
The Nikon Z6 and Z6 II both have image stabilization systems. Unsurprisingly, they use the same system. It’s a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system. It allows you to work with slower shutter speeds while reducing the risk of camera shake. It gives you more options for shooting from hand. And it allows for more opportunities to use the 50 ISO setting. This is a positive for both cameras.
Nikon Z series cameras have the Nikon Z lens mount. The Z6 and Z6 II are compatible with all Nikon Z-mount lenses. The Nikon Z-mount range isn’t as numerous as their F-mount series. But it’s a complete catalog of lenses. They have excellent options for all types of photography. And the quality is never in question with Nikon lenses. They have excellent auto and manual focus options.
Nikon Z6 II
The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
6048 x 4024 px
6048 x 4024 px
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
23.9 x 35.9 mm
35.9 x 23.9 mm
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Dual Expeed 6
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II Video Performance
The Nikon Z6 and Z6 II are both hybrid cameras. They produce fantastic video as well as high-quality stills photography. They both give you stunning 4K videos. But the Nikon Z6 II beats the Z6 in the video mode department. That’s thanks to the increased frame rate options.
The Z6 shoots 4K video at 30 fps. That’s smooth enough for most filmmakers. And it’s more than enough for social media content. You also have fast frame rates of 60 and 120 fps for slow-motion videos. But you need to reduce the quality to Full HD.
The Nikon Z6 II also has the slow-motion frame rates at Full HD. And you can shoot 4K at 30 fps. But unlike the Z6, you can shoot 4K at 60 fps. That’ll give you super-smooth footage. You can use that for professional videography. But you do need the 2021 firmware upgrade for this feature.
The Z6 and Z6 II have the same audio recording equipment. They have built-in stereo microphones. And each camera has a microphone port for external recording devices.
Nikon Z6 II
Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
Features and Benefits Comparison
We’ll compare the main features of both cameras. Let’s see if the Nikon Z6 and Z6 II have what you need in a mirrorless camera.
The Nikon Z6 II has the better autofocus system. The Z6 has a phase detection system that uses 273 focus points with a 90% frame coverage. It has face and eye detection AF. And it tracks moving subjects across the frame.
The Nikon Z6 II also has 273 focus points. But it’s a hybrid AF system that uses phase and contrast detection points. That increases its sensitivity to movement. And it makes subject detection and tracking more reliable. And you also have low light AF mode for darker situations.
The Z6 II beats the Z6 with a faster burst mode. The Nikon Z6 has a continuous shooting speed of 12 fps. But the Z6 II has a faster continuous shooting speed of 14 fps. It’s a narrow victory for the Z6 II. And both burst modes have AF tracking.
Electronic Viewfinder and LCD Screen
Both cameras use the same hardware for these features. The electronic viewfinder is bright and accurate with a 3.69M dot resolution. And the LCD touch screen has a 2.1M dot resolution. They look fantastic and work well. But it’s a shame we don’t see any improvement from the Z6 to the Z6 II.
Neither camera has a built-in flash. But they do have a hot shoe connector for external flashes. The lack of a GPS will disappoint some users. But they have wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Nikon Z6 II
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.
Storage and Battery Life
Users were disappointed with the storage of the Z6 when it was released. It only has a single memory card slot. And one memory card fills up fast when you’re working with RAW files.
Nikon listened to the criticism. And the newer Z6 II has a dual memory card slot, doubling the camera’s memory. All professionals now expect two memory card slots. And the Z6 II meets those demands.
The Nikon Z6 II has better battery life than the Z6. But neither can claim to have great battery life. Full frame mirrorless cameras tend to have battery life issues. And both the Z6 and Z6 II suffer from the same problem. The Z6 gives you 310 shots. And the Z6 II gives you 410 shots.
You can increase the power with a battery grip. The MB-N10 works with the Z6. And the MB-N11 fits the Z6 II. The MB-N11 is the superior battery grip, giving you more power and control.
Storage and Battery
Nikon Z6 II
SD, CFexpress Type B / XQD (UHS-II compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
DXO Mark Scores
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Nikon Z6 II
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II—Our Verdict
The Nikon Z6 II is the better of the two cameras. There’s no significant difference in many areas. And both cameras feature much of the same hardware. The Nikon Z6 was a landmark mirrorless for Nikon. But users were quick to identify a few problems.
The Nikon Z6 II is the answer to those criticisms. It’s not a series revamp. But it resolved the issues users had. The dual Expeed 6 processor gets higher performance from the same hardware. You have more professional video options. And you have improved battery life and storage. They aren’t groundbreaking changes. But they are improvements photographers appreciate.
If you are choosing between the Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II, you can go for the Nikon Z6. It’s an excellent camera with a lighter price tag. But Nikon Z6 II is what the Z6 should have been in the first place.
Nikon Z6 II
B&H photo video