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Nikon Z 6

Nikon Z 6

from  $1999.95+
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89 Engadget Score
An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.
89

An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

After launching the high-resolution, expensive Z7, Nikon has unveiled the much more affordable Z6. It’s the best full-frame mirrorless camera on the market for video, offering a full-frame, full-pixel sensor readout for super crisp 4K video. You can output 10-bit, 4:2:2 log video to maximize dynamic range and shoot 1080p video at up to 120 fps. While the selection of native lenses is still limited, you can adapt any F-Mount DSLR lenses with an optional $250 adapter. Image quality and colors from the 24.5-megapixel sensor is excellent, and your images and video are more likely to be sharp and smooth thanks to the 5-axis in-body stabilization. Autofocus tracking can be a bit slow, and the single XQD card slot is unfortunate. But if you’re looking at Sony’s A7 III, especially for video, you should take a hard look at the Nikon Z6, too.

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Pros
  • Best full-frame mirrorless camera for video
  • In-body stabilization
  • Good ergonomics
  • Excellent images and color science
  • Relatively affordable compared to Z7
Cons
  • Mediocre autofocus subject tracking
  • Single card slot uses hard-to-find XQD format
  • Touch display doesn’t flip around
89 Engadget Score
An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.
89

An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

89
 

User Reviews

90
Steve
I switch to the Z6 from the D500 about two months ago and I'm still mixed on...read more
80
Jody
I upgraded from a D90...a 10year old camera, my first and only DSLR that I had...read more
90
Vivek
I have used Z6 extensively over last 1 month with two third party lenses, the...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
88
Average user Score
 
90
Steve
05.05.19
I switch to the Z6 from the D500 about two months ago and I'm still mixed on my feelings about the Z6. My primary disappointment is with the lens adapter -- it just doesn't work with my F mount lenses! With my Tamron 70-300, the autofocus doesn't work. This is an older, less expensive lens, so I'm not too surprised by this. My very expensive Nikor AF/S 16-35, I'm unable to change my aperture! Not good since I shoot mostly in AP mode. I also had a lot of issues with the AF not locking in. I purchased the Z-mount prime 35 and love it! AF is quick and silent and it's tack sharp edge to edge. Night shooting is great as well. I love that I can adjust the exposure compensation with my focus ring! do love the feel of the camera as opposed to the bulky D500, and the build quality is awesome as well. I really wish that they had a better lens selection for the Z mount -- I'd love a longer lens for my bird shots.
 
80
Jody
05.04.19
I upgraded from a D90...a 10year old camera, my first and only DSLR that I had for 10 years. The Z6 is amazing, but I wish there were less tradeoffs, especially ones that cost me MORE money after dropping $2300 on the camera body (and adapter). I was never going to buy a Sony or Canon....but I still have to replace ALL my lenses...so in retrospect, why was I so against that? I probably could have gotten MOST of the big benefits by buying a D750, or D7500 without a lot of the tradeoffs or replacing all my lenses. *****Things I'm losing. By "upgrading"....***** * No wireless CLS flash system with TTL cause there's no built in flash (need to buy an su-800 or something else to control off camera flashes) * No wireless raw transfer to my phone (I had an eyefi type memory card)...this is literally not possible. What's the point of lightroom mobile? * A dead simple wireless shutter trigger (D90 - infrared $12... z6 uses snap bridge or some $200 thing) * Insanely good battery life ...I didn't own a 2nd battery until last year....I would go entire vacations without having to recharge the D90's...The Z6 lasts...a LOT less longer. I just bought 2 batteries to deal with this. * No more AF-A mode (didn't reallllly care, I use back button AF-C 95% of the time) * No easy flash compensation control * Need to buy new memory card(s)...at $150 each. *****Things I'm Gaining***** Game Changers: * ISO performance is off the charts compared to the D90 which honestly maxed out at 1600 before becoming a mess. * WYSIWYG Mode (settings applied to viewfinder) * In. Body. Image. Stabilization.!!! * Awesome auto ISO that's very easy to turn on/off (hold iso button, roll front dial) ..D90's sucked mostly because so much noise even at 800 or 1600. * Can use my dad's M42 mount lenses... awesome. They're manual focus, and the focus peaking is EXTREMELY awesome in helping focus...esp on the 50mm 1.4 that I have. AND they now get IBIS!! * Not just usable, but great video capability. The D90 was the first DSLR with video...and it sucked. Rolling shutter was horrendous so panning was basically not allowed. I never took video because of this...I'm excited to use video for, really, the first time ever. * Soon to be Eye-AF. Assuming it works well. Also good stuff: * Higher image quality * Face detection * Much better metering...D90 feels almost unusable now (maybe exaggerating) * LOTS of customizable buttons...but this is almost negated by all the missing dedicated buttons on the D90. For example, in my current configuration which takes into account the { i } button...which is less good than a dedicated button, I'm losing these buttons in the Z6 - Flash compensation/Flash setting (slow, etc), My Menu, Physical Autofocus/Manual focus switch...but most lenses have that so maybe who cares. * On screen level (that i keep forgetting is there, but my landscapes were perpetually off level with D90) * Silent mode. Ever take photos at a baptism in a quiet church? The D90 shutter was like a gunshot. Z6 is literally 0 noise. And it can deal with light flicker which is apparently a problem on other mirrorless cameras silent modes. * Built in focus shift shooting (excited to use this...never bothered with D90) * Interval timer & Timelapse movie (haven't used....but want to) * Face Detection...but it kinda struggles to do what I expect/want sometimes. * WAY more focus points. D90 had like 12, this has like, infinity. I don't care new stuff: * Up/down tilty screen (which is sometimes kinda useful...low shots & crowd shots I guess) * Prettier/bigger LCD * Faster FPS (that I don't use) * Insane buffer (that I don't use) * On screen histogram...but who cares cause you can see the actual photo before you take it with the WYSIWYG mode * Built in HDR -- would rather do in post * Touch screen * STAR quality settings for jpg. *****BAD***** Very Bad: * Lightroom automatically applied lens profiles that you can't turn off and thus spot and local image corrections are s...l...o...w. * My lenses aren't good enough. -- My screw type AF lenses don't AF anymore and need to be replaced (only 1) -- My DX lenses (all but the screw one) all make the Z6 have 10mp instead of the 12 I had on D90...literally a downgrade. They technically work, but why. -- My Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 has a bug that causes it to keep the IBIS on 100% of the time which kills the entire battery in like 1.5hrs. I THINK it's even on when the camera is off? Haven't fully tested, but my battery has gone down with that lens on and charging through the USB c * DUST! I literally never got dust on my D90 sensor. Z6 has had it almost everytime I shoot. Cleaning needs become a ritual, but the built in cleaning bzz bzzz feature seems to work pretty well combined with one of those rocket air blower things. Annoying: * U1/U2/U3 settings (that I don't use and screwed me into taking a ton of small jpgs instead of raw once) able. * Compared to the D90, it's SO. SLOW. to turn on after going to sleep * Bad situation with the FTZ adapter and tripods. Normal plates struggle to fit on the camera when FTZ is there, so if you're switching between Z and F mount lenses, you maybe have to have 2 plates ...one attached to the FTZ, and one directly on the camera. OR you could keep moving the plate...ew. * Lenses are expensive....kit lens is $900 if you didn't get the kit (like my dumb self) * Prime lenses are big...1.5 - 2.x the size of their F mount equivalent. Disappointingly Break Even: Weight. The D90 weighs almost exactly the same as the Z6 with the FTZ adapter. oh well.
 
90
Vivek
05.03.19
I have used Z6 extensively over last 1 month with two third party lenses, the Sigma 50mm Art and the Tamron 85mm 1.8 VC. Primarily used for portraits and timelapse in an Island resort, plus a few events (birthdays, housewarming). I have been really impressed with the image quality. Coming from a D500(much second body now), I really enjoy the cleaner output. Plus what video!. AF-C focus follow works reasonably well. I do miss the option of assigning custom button to immediately change from Wide to Single point mode, as is possible on the D500. But then D500 is crazy customizable. Face detect works very well. I have minimal focus hunting issues and have nailed focus in all shots. XQD cards are much more hardy than SD and way faster and the whole 1 card issue is overblown. Yes, they are expensive. Get the Sony G series and reader combo and you are golden. I actually got a free 32GB card and reader free with my Z6 body +FTZ along with a free Nikon branded backpack here in New Delhi. Battery lasts full day and drains similar to my D500. I like that the I menu is customizable, unlike the D500 and that too separately for photo and movie modes. I find it a bit cumbersome to use the release mode button while composing from viewfinder. I feel that the Ergonomics are better that my bros A7iii but worse that D500. However, by setting the option wherein I can rotate the command and sub-command dials after depressing the desired function button, the issue of suboptimal placement of main command dial is partly negated. Unlike one comment here about rapid switching from auto to fixed ISO, just use the sub-command dial with ISO button. The best feature is doubtless the EVF that is crisp and clear and allows I menu, various display parameters and real life preview of exposure compensation, Picture modes etc. That's just a hands down win for camera. So while z6 does not everything right, it sure gets a whole lot pinned right down to perfection. It's a solid camera.
 
80
Negative287
05.02.19
I really want to love this camera, I do, but it seems like Nikon really jumped the gun on this camera as I tend to agree with many of the other reviewers when they say it feels like a Beta Release. First, Focusing is decent, but you only have one mode that actually does focus tracking and that mode doesn't allow you to change the AF Point sizes! Basically, you're stuck with either really fine AF Points or you're stuck with larger focusing points that can track subjects. Second, you literally cannot copy anything to the XQD Cards unless you buy the XQD Card Reader as a separate item... What does this actually mean? No Custom Picture Styles preloaded from the card and No Firmware upgrades without that card reader! This is absolutely ridiculous given the "Beta-Like" Feature set of the camera! Third, the Camera does struggle with banding in some lighting, I saw it for myself while walking around the DC Museums. It was not easy to get rid of when it happened. Fourth, the price of the lenses make the FTZ Adapter a must if you don't want to spend 3x the price for a 50mm lens and that's probably the lowest priced lens of the bunch. That's it for the cons... Now on to the Pros! IBIS is good, but not quite as good as the MFT bodies... Still, it buries the Sony bodies in my opinion. Color accuracy is also good, as is Image quality, and the ability to use custom picture styles. Another great feature is that soon you'll be able to use Canon and Sony AF Lenses on the Nikon Z Mount bodies with full AF and 3-Axis IBIS Functionality. As for the Storage, the XQD Cards are fast, but they're very pricey, even if they are extremely durable. The XQD Cards speed and durability almost make the lack of a second card slot a non-issue. Anyway, It's a decent camera, but given the trials with the body, I almost wish I skipped Nikon and went with the X-T3 as that's being called the the best camera of 2018 and the Nikon is not!
 
90
Amangup
05.02.19
Along with it's S prime lenses, the image quality is fantastic. My only gripe with it is that there is little highlight recovery, so you have to sometimes underexpose your shot to keep the details in the highlights. Ergonomics are nice, and it is very solidly built. User interface is good (much better than Sony A7 III, the main reason I went with Nikon), but can do with a round of tweaks. For example, if you're using Auto ISO, I can't just use the button-dial combination to go to a fixed ISO instead (if you're in A mode, ISO helps you set your shutter speed). This is something that my Olympus Pen-F allows. Their grid layout for composition is very intrusive. A few more such issues. The EVF is extremely detailed, and shows the continuous tones very naturally. Auto brightness for EVF can be distracting, though, and it's best to set it to a fixed brightness level. I don't shoot sports, and for me focus speed is fine but could be a bit faster. The upcoming firmware update would likely improve this. Default automatic metering is not necessarily great - I've seen some overexposed photos which unrecoverable highlights. Highlight preserve metering mode is better but while that maintains the details in highlights, the overall exposure is darker and this means you have to work in post.
 
100
David
12.21.18
Great camera for video. Also I like the stills for certain. The 24-70S lens is superb. Weather sealing is extraordinary. That’s was a Sony no go for me.with the FTZ I can use my numerous Nikon lens. Looking forward to the 200-500 5.6 fir wildlife video.