I spent 10 days with the Nikon Z6 to see if it is worth buying instead of the Sony A7 III

I spent 10 days with the Nikon Z6 and found at least 3 reasons why I would like him to stay permanently in my photo bag, and 3 features that I still hesitate.

I do not hide, since the premiere of Nikon Z6, I have been waiting impatiently for the moment when it will come into my hands. Before I switched to a micro 4/3 system - which in the long run turned out to be a totally wrong idea - I've been photographing Nikon SLRs for years, and I still have a large set of Nikon F lenses at my home that my wife uses.

Switching from Olympus to mirrorless Nikon seemed a natural solution. The body, together with the FTZ adapter, allowing the connection of old glasses to the new camera, now costs slightly over 9,000. PLN, so within reason. I would miss the enormous costs of completing the set of lenses that I would have to bear immediately, choosing for example Sony A7 III.

For 10 days I checked how the Nikon Z6 will be included in my specific applications, thinking first of all about whether it is worth choosing a slightly cheaper and theoretically better A7 III, whose full review by Marcin Połowianiuk can be found here .

I will point out that this text is not a complete review of the camera. An excellent, cross-sectional test was prepared by Krzysztof Basel - you will find him by clicking on this link .

Here, on the other hand, I wanted to describe three reasons why I am seriously considering the purchase of zeta-sixs and three reasons why I still have doubts.

Nikon Z6 - 3x YES

First YES - quality and ergonomics

Immediately after taking Nikon Z6 into my hand, I felt that "this is it". It's Nikon. Body ergonomics is basically perfect. Grip deep enough to fit your fingers comfortably on it. The buttons have a great jump. The operation of the AF area selector and touch screen is pure pleasure. And the whole construction, although small and light, only slightly surpasses solidity even Nikon D750.

Against the background of the Nikon Z6 Sony A7 III seems to be a plastic toy. The design of the Nikon is much more durable, better sealed and without much more ergonomic. When I worked all day with the Sony A7r III (twin similar to the A7 III), at the end I only dreamed of finally resting my hands, so uncomfortable was the service. After all day with the Nikon Z6, I did not feel fatigue at all.

Nikon Z6 reviews

Keeping in mind the comparison between Sony and Nikon, Z6 also sweeps his rival with the quality of the electronic viewfinder and display. Especially the first is a completely different league (3.7 vs 2.3 million points) and taking pictures using it is a really great experience.

Of course, the viewfinder in the new mirrorless Sony is not bad, but it does not make up for what the Nikon Z6 presents.

To my full happiness in the Nikon Z6, I missed only two things - an additional knob to choose the shutter modes and manual AF mode switch, which I got used to in Nikon reflex cameras. Here they are replaced with a pop-up menu available under the function button. It is quite a convenient and quick solution, but not as convenient and quick as manual levers.

Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750

Second YES - picture quality

The 24.5-megapixel matrix produces a great picture, Nikon can not be accused of anything here. Regardless of whether we use glasses with a Nikon F mount or new S lenses - the picture quality is excellent.

In the work of a technology journalist, we can rarely afford the luxury of lighting anything with a flash, especially at conferences and fairs, where lighting is usually poor. And I know that the Nikon Z6 would work great in these conditions. At ISO 6400, the image is clean, and more importantly - it retains much more detail in shadows and x-rays than eg the Nikon D750, so even an underexposed photo can be saved in the Lightroom, removing shadows without compromising on quality.

After a year with the micro 4/3 matrix, the return to full frame is a great feeling, and after 10 days of juggling between the Nikon Z6 and Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk II, I was convinced that if someone claims that the difference between the matrices is not visible it is necessary to refer to an ophthalmologist.

Third YES - backward compatibility

If someone has a large collection of lenses compatible with the Nikon F mount, connecting them to the Nikon Z6 via the FTZ adapter is not a problem. And I'm not just talking about Nikkor lenses, but also the lenses of other producers.

I checked the Nikon Z6 with several Sigma lenses from the ART series and two Tamrons. Regardless of the chosen lens, the camera behaved completely as if I worked with native glasses.

Nikon Z6 reviews

What's more, connecting the lens to the SLR camera allows you to avoid one of the biggest problems of the mirrorless lens, which is the focus-by-wire mechanism. This is a great solution for those who like to sharpen manually during video recording.

Of course, the FTZ adapter significantly lengthens the whole structure, so after fastening a larger lens, the whole can be poorly balanced. I did not have the slightest problem connecting Sigma 24-70 f / 2.8 ART , but already monstrous Sigma 105 mm f / 1.4 significantly strained my wrist.

"Back compatibility" does not only include lenses. Anyone who has used a Nikon reflex camera will feel at home by browsing the camera's menu. It looks almost alive from previous company cameras and is incomparably more transparent than Sony's.

Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750

Owners of Nikon SLR cameras will also be pleased that the EN-EL15 batteries can be inserted into the Nikon Z6. It is true that they can not be charged via the USB-C port, like the newer EN-EL15b, but at least you can use them as backup energy sources.

And these will certainly come in handy and in large numbers, which leads me to three things, through which the Nikon Z6 will not go to my arsenal.

Nikon Z6 - 3x NO

The first NO - work time on a single charge

Nikon Z6 is not as bad as, for example, Fujifilm X-H1 or the previous generation of Sony mirrorless cameras, but it is significantly different from the current generation of Sony A7, not to mention SLRs.

On one EN-EL15b battery charge, I managed to extract about 250 photos and about an hour of video in 4K. On the old EN-EL15 the result dropped to only 200 pictures. These are not the results I can call "satisfactory." For everyday snatching or sessions in controlled conditions are of course sufficient, but in "field" conditions are almost unacceptable. The more so that the Sony A7 III can squeeze out of the battery 3x.

Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750

What's worse, we can not buy a grip for the Nikon Z6. Theoretically, it is in the pre-production phase, so it will go to the market someday, but it will not be a full grip, with a set of function buttons, and just a container for additional batteries.

Second NO - autofocus

For the sake of clarity - the Nikon Z6 autofocus is not bad. Neither in pictures nor in video.

In single-AF mode, the Nikon Z6 behaved decently, regardless of the lens attached, although I honestly admit that the aged Nikon D750 still sharpens better. In continuous mode it was ... different. Rather, I would definitely not risk using the Nikon Z6 during a sporting event, since when I tried to photograph a running dog, an average of 7 out of 10 photos turned out to be out of focus.

Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750

In total, the autofocus is not bad, but the problem is that the Nikon Z6 does not even come close to being the best in this matter. Both Canon EOS R and Sony A7 III (and all indications are that also Panasonic Lumix S1) simply have a better focus system.

Not to mention how much Nikon overtakes Sony with his Eye-AF, which in Z6 simply does not exist. Yes, the update should add this mode in mid-May , but according to the first premises it will still not be as good as what we see in the Sony A7 III.

Third NO - a single memory card slot

Yes, XQD cards are faster than SD cards. Yes, XQD cards have a more durable housing than SD cards (although not so much, so as not to be afraid of damage). But no, a single slot with a theoretically "better" card will not replace two slots with theoretically "worse card".

After all, it's not about better media, it's about data security, and this single slot for memory card does not provide absolutely. If for any reason the card is damaged, we will accidentally format it or any other accident will happen - it's over. We do not have a backup that would save us from potential loss of photos, videos and - knock - money.

Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750

Nikon Z6 is a camera on which many wedding photographers are watched, planning a change from the worn-out D750. I asked a few friends and my wife, and everyone agreed that there is no option - they will not change to the camera with one memory card slot.

I am also of the opinion that this apparent saving (in total what? Money?) Does not serve anyone. And the lack of a spare slot for a memory card is rightly treated by photographers as a deal-breaker, because in a reportage situation, the loss of photos is simply unacceptable.

And let me add that the XQD cards have not taken the crowds yet. They are terribly expensive, the cheapest versions are not noticeably faster than fast SD cards, and their availability is very limited. This is a good example of "innovation", which brings with it more compromises than real advantages.

And what about the video?

Well ... it's good, but not as good as I would like.

The Nikon Z6 is without a doubt the best Nikon to record video in history. It has a lot of useful features, it records a beautiful picture in 4K, it also has a very useful 120 fps mode in Full HD and allows you to record in the LOG format. Anyway, even without it, the neutral profile is so flexible that it can be easily colored in post-production.

The problem is ... Sony is still better. Every day I work with files from Sony A7 III by Marcin Połowianiuk, editing movies on Spider's Web TV and I see that it is still a different league.

https://youtu.be/gd-s9dvxGkI

What's more, the Sony A7 III also has a more predictable matrix stabilization. It is not perfect, but any vibrations can be quite easily stabilized using the Warp Stabilizer. Meanwhile, the work of stabilizing the matrix in the Nikon Z6 is quite chaotic, and the image in one shot can change from slightly vibrating to completely unusable.

The biggest problem, however, are the Nikon preamps. During the tests, I only had a Rode Video Micro microphone that uses power from the camera. And - unfortunately - because of him I was unable to record anything that could be presented to the world above the short videos posted above. Own noise with automatic intensity setting is huge. And from what I've heard from Z6 users, with other microphones the case does not look any better.

The Nikon Z6 is a fantastic camera. But I still do not know if it's for me.

After 10 days with this equipment I have mixed feelings.

Deciding to release nearly 10 thousand. PLN on the camera, I have the right to expect that it will meet my requirements in 100%, without major "buts". In the case of the Nikon Z6, these "buts" were a bit too much, especially against the Sony A7 III, where the only "but" is the ease of use (which you can probably get used to) and the need to buy lenses for the start.

The Nikon Z6 is a good choice for those who do not want to part with their Nikon reflex cameras and would like to enter the world of advanced mirrorless cameras. However, as a co-owner of a set of great lenses for the Nikon F bayonet, I am not convinced enough to decide for them to buy a Nikon Z6 instead of the much better Sony A7 III .



I spent 10 days with the Nikon Z6 to see if it is worth buying instead of the Sony A7 III

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