As I’m writing this in 2018, this has been an interesting year for digital photography. Something is clearly going on with industry sales as I’ve never seen anything like the marketing blitzkrieg that happened just before Photokina. Sony and to a smaller extent Leica have been the only players in the full-frame mirrorless space. Sony has quietly developed a very successful niche around this and now we have Nikon, Canon and Panasonic all jumping head first into this space with new mounts and new lenses.
Developing a new camera system requires a commitment to not only design and time, but also to production facilities as well. For 3 major companies to start making entirely new systems should tell you the industry is clearly changing and mirrorless is where everyone believes it is headed.
The Nikon Z6 is an excellent first version
Nikon have an incredible start with the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7. There are really only 2 areas that need improvement to really compete with Sony.
First they need dual card slots and second they need a faster and more accurate auto-focus system. Card slots are easier, autofocus is another story.
If we look at Sony, you can clearly see that their strides in autofocus are not only in the camera, but they’ve recognized that lens design requires the efficiency to keep up with speeds of autofocus adjustment up to 60 times a second.
Some Design Suggestions
There are 2 curious design choices about the Z6 – the addition of a XQD slot and the fact that there is only 1. XQD was chosen for speed which I understand, but to get 10-bit video you’ll need an external recorder. Panasonic are able to get 10-bit video on an SD card so I wonder if the processor is still the bottleneck? Also the burst speed on this camera is only 12 frames per second. Sony have 20 frames per second on the Sony A9 and 25 frames per second on the RX100 Va and RX100 VI compact cameras. All three of these models are SD card compatible – so where is the speed advantage?
Nikon have stated that the 1 slot was done for space reasons. I understand this as well – XQD is much thicker and larger than SD cards. But this is a huge point of contention with back-up conscious photographers.
Why XQD and why only 1?
Perhaps the XQD is a future proofing move? Will the next cameras be significantly larger leaving the Z6 as the “compact” choice? We’ll have to see on the next round of cameras.
This system is a blank canvas for Nikon. I believe they will use it and we have to remember this is a first pass.
But for a first pass its an incredible one. If you’re a Nikon shooter and want to move to mirrorless this is a great system to get into despite a few short comings. The image quality is there and that’s the important part. The rest of the bells and whistles are all features that are built on top of that.
Nikon got the image quality right on this one. While it doesn’t topple Sony, its an excellent start into the world of mirrorless.
Nikon Z6 Review Index
• 01 Introduction
• 02 EVF/LCD
• 03 Ergonomics
• 04 Autofocus
• 05 Menu System and Controls
• 06 Performance
• 07 Image Quality
• 08 Dynamic Range
• 09 Video Quality
• 10 Image Stabilization
• 11 Conclusion
• 12 Image Gallery