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Nikon Z 6II Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 13, 2021 at 09:42 am
Nikon Z 6II Picture
7.6
Travel Photography
8.2
Landscape Photography
7.9
Sport & Wildlife Photography
5.7
Vlogging
7.9
Studio Video
5.7
Action Video
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S

The Nikon Z 6II succeeds the Nikon Z 6 and offers similar performance and features, with a few minor upgrades. It improves upon its predecessor in a few ways, like adding a second memory card slot for SD cards and implementing dual EXPEED 6 processors. Otherwise, like its predecessor, it's a versatile full-frame mirrorless camera that delivers excellent image quality, with photos that look sharp and detailed even at higher ISO levels. It also has a good autofocus system for both photo and video and an excellent shooting speed, so you can easily capture moving subjects and keep them in focus. Its menu system is intuitive and easy to use, with a guide mode to walk new users through its settings and features. The camera also feels very comfortable to use, but it's heavy, so it's not the most convenient to take on the go. Its video quality is okay overall, and its in-body video stabilization feature does a good job of smoothing out camera shake.

Our Verdict

7.6 Travel Photography

The Nikon Z 6II is good for travel photography. It delivers excellent image quality, and it has a good autofocus system that does a good job keeping moving objects in focus. It feels very well-built and comfortable to use, and while we don't currently test for this, it's also weather-sealed to withstand elements like rain. It has a good battery life, but this can vary depending on settings and usage. The dual memory card slots are also great for those taking lots of photos who prefer having a backup memory card. That said, it's not the most compact or convenient to take on the go.

Pros
  • Good autofocus system.
  • Excellent overall image quality.
  • Well-built and comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
8.2 Landscape Photography

The Nikon Z 6II is great for landscape photography. Its image quality is excellent, delivering an impressive dynamic range so you can capture a wide range of detail in landscape shots. It also feels well-built and very comfortable to use. It's weather-sealed too, which is nice, though we don't currently test that capability. However, it's not the most portable, so it's not convenient to take to remote shooting locations.

Pros
  • Good autofocus system.
  • Great dynamic range.
  • Excellent overall image quality.
  • Well-built and comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
7.9 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Nikon Z 6II is an impressive camera for sport and wildlife photography. It has an excellent shooting speed that makes it well-suited to capturing fast-moving people or wildlife, and its virtually instant buffer empty time should let you fire off extended bursts without slowing you down. While its autofocus system does a great job of tracking moving objects, it struggles with tracking faces. That said, it has excellent image quality, with photos that stay sharp and detailed even at higher ISO levels. Its in-body stabilization feature does a good job of reducing camera shake, which is great for those who prefer to shoot without a tripod.

Pros
  • Good autofocus system.
  • Excellent continuous shooting speed.
  • Excellent overall image quality.
  • Well-built and comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
  • Disappointing face tracking for photos.
5.7 Vlogging

The Nikon Z 6II is a sub-par vlogging camera. It only has a tilting screen, so you can't use it to monitor yourself while recording. It's also quite heavy, making it harder to carry around for long periods. That said, video quality is good overall, and its autofocus system does a fantastic job of tracking moving subjects. It also includes in-body video stabilization that does a decent job of smoothing out camera shake.

Pros
  • Impressive video autofocus.
  • Good overall video quality.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
  • Screen isn't fully articulated.
7.9 Studio Video

The Nikon Z 6II is great for studio video. Video quality is very good overall, especially in controlled lighting conditions. It supports the N-Log shooting profile for extended dynamic range and in-depth color grading in post-production, and it can output video with 10-bit color depth over HDMI. It has a wide array of inputs and outputs, including a microphone jack, headphone jack, and a mini HDMI port that supports clean HDMI output if you want to connect an external recorder without any overlays. Also, while we don't currently test for this, you can connect the camera to an external power supply to maximize shooting time.

Pros
  • Impressive video autofocus.
  • Plenty of inputs and outputs.
  • Good overall video quality.
Cons
  • May overheat with extensive use.
5.7 Action Video

The Nikon Z 6II isn't for action video. It's not designed for mounting on a helmet or other action cam accessory, and it isn't waterproof. That said, it's weather-sealed, so it can withstand some wind and rain, although we don't currently test for that. It can also shoot at up to 60 fps in 4k and 120 fps in FHD for capturing fast action or generating slow-motion footage. It also has in-body video stabilization, which does a good job overall of reducing camera shake.

Pros
  • Good overall video quality.
Cons
  • Not designed for action cam mounting.
  • Not waterproof.
  • 7.6 Travel Photography
  • 8.2 Landscape Photography
  • 7.9 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 5.7 Vlogging
  • 7.9 Studio Video
  • 5.7 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  2. Updated Jul 13, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jul 07, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black W/ 24-70mm lens
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Black (Body Only)
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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
2.1
Design
Portability
Height
4.0" (10.2 cm)
Width
5.6" (14.1 cm)
Depth
3.3" (8.5 cm)
Volume
74.6 in³ (1,222.5 cm³)
Weight
1.58 lbs (0.72 kg)
Weight With Lens
2.65 lbs (1.20 kg)
8.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Looks and feels almost identical to the Nikon Z 6
  • Magnesium alloy body, mix of rubberized and hard plastic exterior feel solid
  • Dials and buttons are sturdy and offer good tactile feedback
  • Battery and memory 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
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
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 6II camera body
  • User manual
  • AC battery charger
  • Nikon EN-EL15C battery
  • Sensor cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Cable management accessories, including 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

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

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
3.69 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.8

Note: This camera has a magnification focus assistant, but we experienced noticeable lag and sluggishness with the EVF and LCD monitor while using it.

7.7
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilting
Screen Max Brightness
750 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
2.10 million dots
Size
3.1" (8.0 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes

Note: This camera has an additional OLED display on top next to the viewfinder that shows basic info like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and battery life for those who prefer not to use the back monitor and want a more 'back to basics' shooting experience.

9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

  • Menu system is easy to navigate using the touchscreen
  • Menu remembers the last option highlighted, making it easy to jump back in and adjust settings on the go
  • Includes shortcut/quick settings menu to 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

Design
Assistance Functions
Level Display
Dual-Axis, Photo & Video
Grid Lines
Photo & Video
Histogram
Photo & Video
Zebra Pattern
Photo & Video
Focus Peaking
Photo & Video
Waveform
No
6.9
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
4.0
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/4.0
Minimum Focal Length
24 mm
Maximum Focal Length
70 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
70 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
84%
Light Falloff
46.2%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.5 MP
Processor
Dual EXPEED 6
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
1.30
8.0
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL15C
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
340 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
112 min

Note: The camera and/or memory card may overheat when recording for long sessions. The Nikon Z 6II can be used while charging when connected to a PC and using Nikon's Webcam Utility app. Without the app, the camera will still charge but won't let you record or take photos. If you're on the go, you can also use an external power bank, specifically the Anker Powercore+ 26800 mAh, but we don't currently test this capability.

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

Note: This camera has many additional features, including 'Multiple Exposure', which lets you combine up to ten exposures into one image, an extended 900s shutter speed option for long exposure shots, 'Focus Shift' shooting, which takes a series of photos with different focus points and combines them to create an extended focus range, and 'Creative Picture Controls' that let you preview different filters in real-time. However, we don't currently test these features.

7.1
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
1 fps
High Speed Continuous
13 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
12 fps
Raw Buffer Size
200 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
200 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
21 s

Note: When selecting the 'Low Speed Continuous' drive mode, you can press down on the D-pad to choose a low-speed continuous shooting speed from between 1 and 5 fps.

Note also that we weren't able to fill the buffer in either RAW or JPEG when using the CFexpress memory card slot, but when using the UHS-II SD card slot, the RAW buffer size drops to 110 photos.

8.2
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
86%
Face Tracking Success Rate
54%
Face Detection Distance
157" (400 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
273
7.8
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/13 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Photo Image Quality
9.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
SNR 18% After Exposure Recovery
31.55 dB
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
12.5 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 800
11.3 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 3200
10.2 f-stops
9.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo Sharpness
JPEG Sharpness At Base ISO
1.084 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.12 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.303 pixels
RAW Sharpness At Base ISO
2.370 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 800
2.358 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 3200
2.405 pixels
9.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Color Accuracy
Color Difference (dE2000) At Base ISO
6.65
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 800
6.73
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 3200
7.14
8.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
38.38 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.91 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
36.31 dB
8.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
41.03 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
40.07 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
38.51 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.63 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
34.07 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
31.46 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
28.75 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
26.03 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
23.31 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
19.45 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
9.1
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.41 x

Note: The Nikon Z 6II can shoot in 4k at 60 fps or 50 fps with a crop after updating the firmware to version 1.10.

6.8
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
2
8.8
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
8.0
Face Tracking In 4k
9.2
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes

Note: When recording 4k video, the camera locks itself to a 1/125 shutter speed by default, and we couldn't find a way to adjust it. Because we used different settings for this test, the results may not be fully comparable with other cameras we've tested.

Also, we achieved significantly better AF tracking results when using 'Auto-Area AF' instead of the touch tracking feature that lets you manually select an autofocus subject by tapping the touchscreen.

7.1
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
Walking Test In 4k
12.29 pixels/frame
Running Test In 4k
30.34 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
Yes
4k Video Stabilization Crop
1.1 x

Note: This camera's digital stabilization feature, called 'Digital Vibration Reduction', isn't available when shooting at 60 fps in 4k, meaning you can only choose between 'Normal' and 'Sport' VR at 60 fps, but neither of these incurs a crop the way digital stabilization does.

8.8
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
9.0
6.1
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
6.3°
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
125 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
12 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
30 min
8.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
8.0
Face Tracking In FHD
9.2
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes

Note: We got significantly better AF tracking results when using 'Auto-Area AF' instead of the touch tracking feature that lets you manually select an autofocus subject by tapping the touchscreen.

7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
Walking Test In FHD
6.62 pixels/frame
Running Test In FHD
14.54 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
Yes
FHD Video Stabilization Crop
1.1 x

Note: This camera's digital stabilization feature, called 'Digital Vibration Reduction', isn't available when shooting at 120 fps in FHD, meaning you can only choose between 'Normal' and 'Sport' VR at 120 fps, but neither of these incurs a crop the way digital stabilization does.

7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
8.0
8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.0°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
CFexpress
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-II

Note: Card slot 1 supports XQD cards as well as CFexpress cards.

9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Mini (Type C)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Note: This camera supports wireless photo transfer to a Mac or PC over Wi-Fi, but it requires Nikon's Wireless Transmitter Utility software.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nikon Z 6II only comes in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see our unit's label here. We tested it with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens. It's also compatible with other Nikkor Z lenses, and you can purchase it without a lens. However, we haven't tested its performance in any other configuration.

If you come across another variant or your Nikon Z 6II doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update the review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony α7 IV

The Nikon Z 6II and the Sony α7 IV are both excellent full-frame cameras, although the α7 IV has a bit more to offer when it comes to autofocus performance and video features. Unlike the Nikon, the α7 IV can record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, meaning it can capture more color information and give you more leeway when editing and grading your footage. When it comes to photography, both take sharp, high-quality photos with a wide dynamic range and excellent noise handling. The Sony is a great option for landscapes thanks to its 33-megapixel sensor, giving you a bit more room to crop in without losing quality. However, the Nikon is better suited to sports and wildlife photography since it can shoot uncompressed RAW photos at 10 fps, whereas the Sony is limited to 6 fps.

Nikon D780

The Nikon Z 6II and the Nikon D780 are both premium full-frame cameras, but they use different technologies, each with advantages and disadvantages. The Z 6II is a mirrorless camera with an electronic viewfinder that lets you preview your exposure settings directly through the viewfinder. It's more portable than the D780, which is a DSLR and has an optical viewfinder that gives you an unfiltered, lag-free view through the lens. The Z 6II has in-body image stabilization, and it can shoot at a faster burst rate. It also has a slot for faster CFexpress cards in addition to an SD card slot. The D780 has a hybrid autofocus system that combines the AF system from the Z 6 when shooting in Live View with a more typical DSLR AF system when shooting through the viewfinder, giving it a bit of added versatility.

Discussions