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Nikon Z 6 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.11
Reviewed Feb 19, 2021 at 09:02 am
Nikon Z 6 Picture
7.9
Travel Photography
8.5
Landscape Photography
8.2
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.5
Vlogging
8.3
Studio Video
5.3
Action Video
This camera was replaced by the Nikon Z 6II
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame

The Nikon Z 6 is a full-frame mirrorless camera with a premium, well-built design. It has excellent image quality, so your photos appear sharp and detailed. Also, its outstanding photo autofocus feature helps keep moving subjects in focus in your pictures. This camera also has decent video quality in 4k and FHD, but videos aren't as sharp as those recorded with some of the other cameras we've tested. Also, its bulky build may not make it ideal to bring with you on the go.

Our Verdict

7.9 Travel Photography

The Nikon Z6 is good for travel photography. It has excellent image quality, so your photos are sharp and detailed, and its superb autofocus feature helps keep moving subjects in focus. This camera is well-built and easy-to-use, but it's a bit heavy.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
  • Amazing image quality.
  • Superb photo autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
8.5 Landscape Photography

The Nikon Z6 is great for landscape photography. This well-built camera is easy to use, and its screen is readable even if you're shooting in bright sunlight. It also has amazing image quality, so photos look detailed and sharp. Unfortunately, this camera is a bit heavy, so it isn't the most portable.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
  • Amazing image quality.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
8.2 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Nikon Z6 is great for sport and wildlife photography. Thanks to its high continuous shooting speed, you can take bursts of pictures that help you get a clear shot of fast-moving subjects. Also, it does an incredible job tracking fast-moving subjects thanks to its superb autofocus system. It has amazing image quality and handles noise superbly well, too.

Pros
  • Amazing image quality.
  • Superb photo autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
6.5 Vlogging

The Nikon Z6 is okay for vlogging. It isn't very portable, and its tilting screen can't be flipped to point forward so you can see yourself while you record. It has good video quality in 4K and FHD, but but the camera does exhibit a noticeable rolling shutter effect when panning side to side. Fortunately, its video stabilization helps provide stable footage even if you're walking while filming.

Pros
  • Very good video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
8.3 Studio Video

The Nikon Z6 is great for studio video. It has good video quality in both 4k and FHD. Also, it has lots of inputs for commonly used accessories like a microphone and headphones. Thanks to its face detection feature, its autofocus does an incredible job focusing on the faces of moving people in both 4k and FHD, but it struggles a little more to stay focused on moving objects.

Pros
  • Face detection feature.
  • Lots of inputs for headphones and other accessories.
Cons
  • Video autofocus can struggle to keep focus on moving objects.
5.3 Action Video

The Nikon Z6 is inadequate for action video. This camera isn't very portable, and it isn't meant to be mounted on a helmet. It isn't waterproof, either. On the upside, it has good 4k and FHD video quality, and it can provide stable footage even if you're moving a lot while filming.

Pros
  • Very good video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
  • No water resistance.
  • 7.9 Travel Photography
  • 8.5 Landscape Photography
  • 8.2 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.5 Vlogging
  • 8.3 Studio Video
  • 5.3 Action Video
  1. Updated Nov 21, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
  2. Updated Oct 03, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  3. Updated Aug 16, 2022: After running into issues with RawTherapee during retesting for Test Bench 0.9, we decided to process the 'Photo RAW Dynamic Range' test scene in Lightroom instead. The test scene photo has been reuploaded.
  4. Updated Jul 29, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  5. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  6. Updated Jul 07, 2021: Corrected depth measurement in 'Portability' box.
  7. Updated May 06, 2021: Retested 'Test Scene Extract' tests in 4k and FHD, updated '4k Video Quality' and 'FHD Video Quality' scores.
  8. Updated Feb 19, 2021: Review published.
  9. Updated Feb 16, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nikon Z6 comes in 'Black'. We tested this camera with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens, and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

This camera is also compatible with other Nikkor Z lenses, and you can also purchase it without a lens at all. However, we haven't tested its performance in any other configuration.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Nikon Z 5

The Nikon Z 6 is a bit better overall than the Nikon Z 5, but the Z 5 still offers a lot of value for those just getting into full-frame photography. The Z 5 is Nikon's entry-level full-frame camera, while the Z 6 is a higher-end enthusiast model. Because of that, the Z 6 has a faster continuous shooting speed, can shoot 4k video without a crop and more frame rate options, and has a CFexpress card slot. However, it does have a shorter battery life than the Z 5.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
3.7
Design
Portability
Height
4.0" (10.2 cm)
Width
5.6" (14.1 cm)
Depth
3.3" (8.5 cm)
Volume
74.6 inยณ (1,222.5 cmยณ)
Weight
1.50 lbs (0.68 kg)

Update 07/07/2021: Camera depth incorrectly showed 3.7" (9.4 cm). This camera is actually 3.3" (8.5 cm) deep. We've adjusted the score accordingly.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Magnesium alloy body, mix of rubberized and hard plastic exterior feel solid
  • Dials and buttons are sturdy and offer good physical feedback
  • Battery and SD card compartments covered by hinged doors
  • Additional mini OLED display beside the thumb command dial
  • Input and output compartments are covered by rubber flaps

Design
Body
Body Type
SLR-Style
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
Z Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Nikon Z 6 camera body
  • Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens
  • User manual
  • AC battery charger
  • Nikon EN-EL15b battery
  • Sensor cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • Lens cap, lens fabric wrap, lens hood, and lens mount cover
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Cable management adapter

9.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • Lots of room between body and lens; thumb can rest out of the way of the screen without accidentally pressing any buttons
  • Viewfinder cover made of comfortable rubber
  • Textured hand grip is comfortable and grippy
  • Camera is a bit heavy

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
3.69 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.8
7.8
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilting
Screen Max Brightness
770 cd/mยฒ
Advertised Resolution
2.10 million dots
Size
3.2" (8.1 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes
9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

  • Menu system easy to navigate using the touchscreen
  • Using the shortcut/quick settings menu lets you access frequently used features and functions
  • Nikon SnapBridge app can be used to operate some of the camera's functions through your phone
  • Guide mode helps explain settings and features
  • A few functions are hard to find, like video assistants and focus assist

not tested
Design
Built-In Lens
Maximum Aperture
No built-in lens
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Minimum Focal Length
N/A
Maximum Focal Length
N/A
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
N/A
Light Falloff
N/A
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.5 MP
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Processor
EXPEED 6
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
3.20
7.4
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL15b
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
310 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
98 min
Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
NEF
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
7.2
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
1 fps
High Speed Continuous
8 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
8 fps
Raw Buffer Size
36 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
200 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
2 s
7.7
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
66%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
81%
10
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
100%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
100%
8.3
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/8 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Photo Image Quality
8.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
11.1 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
9.8 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
8.0 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
7.4 f-stops
8.7
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
2,389 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,926 LW/PH
8.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.89 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
39.94 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
38.41 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.37 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
33.92 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
31.18 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
28.62 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
25.85 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
23.08 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
19.3 dB
8.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
38.04 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.42 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
36.25 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
10 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
8.5
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.8
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
120 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
120 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
30 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
6.9
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
5.3
Face Tracking In 4k
9.2
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
No
8.8
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
9.0

Update 05/06/2021: The test scene extract shots have been retaken, as the original shots were out of focus. The camera's score in this category has been updated.

6.1
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
6.3ยฐ
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
124 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
24 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
30 min
7.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
6.3
Face Tracking In FHD
9.1
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
No
7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
8.0

Update 05/06/2021: The test scene extract shots have been retaken, as the original shots were out of focus. The camera's score in this section has been updated.

8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.0ยฐ
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
CFexpress
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Mini (Type C)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Discussions