My Thoughts on the Nikon Z6: Flaws, Features, and More!
Test shot of Angel taken with a Nikon Z 85mm Lens, F1.8 @ 1/200sec ISO 560
Well, I did something impulsive this month.
I bought a second-hand mirrorless Nikon Z6 camera body! I even sold my DSLR Nikon 750 to help pay for it (along with a new set of Nikon Z lenses). Embracing next generation camera systems does means spending a bit more, unfortunately. Thankfully, Nikon offers an adaptor so I can keep using my Nikon F mount lenses with the Z6. I can also keep using my Lecia M lenses (highest-quality glass there is) with another adaptor. I have a newfound appreciation for adaptors, to say the least.
I'm already getting good feelings about this investment.
The Nikon Z6 has exceeded my expectations, checking off nearly everything on my list of what I want a camera to do. The standout feature for me has to be that the Z6 has a much lighter camera body than DSLRs. DSLRs are designed to be so heavy these days and are such a pain (both figuratively and literally) to carry around on your shoulder all day.
This is really important to me given my passion for animal and travel photography. In both cases, having a lighter camera body is a huge relief, and helps to move around far more efficiently. That paired that with the wheels I've recently put on my camera bag has made me much more mobile as a photographer.
If you're a travel photographer who'd like to take photos and move around more discreetly, the Nikon Z and the Leica M lens are the perfect combination. I myself am carrying this one around on a daily basis.
One of the features that really wowed me with the Nikon Z was the image quality, producing great images even in low-level light. The focusing system is also really good. It allows for a built-in vibration reduction system which helps to reduce or eliminate camera shakes with any lenses you're using.
If all that wasn’t enough, the camera also has wifi and Bluetooth capabilities. I can even send live images to my iPhone using Nikon’s SnapBridge app. This allows me to view images on my phone or iPad, store them on the cloud, and then share images with other people in real-time. Combine that with Adobe Lightroom and you have a great post editing system to work with. RAW image files still have to be uploaded directly to your computer, but still, this feature was something I never knew I needed.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor Z 85mm F1.8 S Lens
The Nikon Z6 isn't perfect, but the shortcomings are relatively minor.
The Z6 is technically a prosumer camera rather than a professional camera, and the fact that it's a first-generation model does show in some of its flaws. For example, when changing lenses, you have to be cautious not to get dust on the the image sensor. The Z6 also only has one card slot instead of two, and a shorter battery life than most DSLR cameras.
Another downside is that the current system offers a limited choice of lenses, though it looks like that's changing. Outside of some finding the lenses with zooms to be heavier, the reviews of the current Nikon Z lenses have been really positive. Many users have praised them for their sharpness and overall quality.
As of now, I'd definitely agree, though I only currently have the 85mm F1.8 portrait lens. It goes with the eye detection tracking system of the camera and is exceptionally sharp. It also has good bokeh, like my beloved Leica lenses, and has been great for taking photos of people, dogs, and streetscapes.
More lenses will probably be coming out soon, but I honestly don't think I'll need any more. Combining the Nikon Z 85mm lens with my Leica M prime lenses has been a perfect combination for me, partly because my Leica lenses are so much lighter. The fact that I get to retain the Leica quality in my images while using the Nikon Z has to be one of my favourite qualities about this system
From my point of view, the Nikon Z has been a great investment. It met and exceeded my expectations of what I want to get out of a good camera. I do think the Nikon Z6 is better than the current professional DSLRs and even the Leica M10 body that I used to own. The reason? The Nikon Z system offers far more flexibility in producing the images you're after. You'll find that flexibility in many of its details, such as the silent shutter. Smaller details like this are fantastic for those of us who want to operate silently when working with animals and humans alike.
I suspect that future Nikon Z models will include a professional version that addresses the negative points raised by critics. When the time comes, I can definitely see myself selling my remaining DSLR gear and upgrading.
I won't go too in-depth talking about the Nikon Z system, since there's plenty of informative reviews on YouTube and other websites. What's most important to me is feeling comfortable handling the camera, which the Z really delivered on. That comfort, or a lack thereof, is often reflected in the pictures I take, and I'm guessing I'm not alone on that.
At the top of the page is a test shot that I took with my new camera just minutes after using it for the first time.
You can see why I'm so thrilled with it. What do you think?