Nikon Z6 Review

November 29, 2018 | Amy Davies |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24.5 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 12Mb.

Although the Nikon Z6 features far fewer pixels than its sibling, the Z7, that doesn’t mean you should expect significantly lower image quality.

The first of the new generation S lenses are extremely impressive performers, so combining them with the Z6 results in some great images. We’re particularly keen on the 35mm f/1.8 lens, but the 24-70mm f/4 lens is a great all-round performer as a kit lens.

While the Z6 may not be up there for super detail as the Z7, the overall impression of detail is still excellent, while fine details can be seen when viewing at 100%. Such detail is very well maintained up until around ISO 6400, but shooting at higher speeds, such as ISO 8000 also results in more than usable images. Having fewer pixels than the Z 7 actually makes the Z 6 the wiser choice for low light shooting, with slightly less noisy images at high ISO speeds. You’ll start to see obvious examples of noise and loss of detail when looking at images shot at ISO 12800, but if you’re keeping images fairly small then it shouldn’t be a problem. Even those shot at ISO 25600 can be useable, depending on the shooting conditions. In-camera noise reduction applied to JPEG images is fairly natural looking throughout the sensitivity speed range, but if you’re keen to extract further detail, working with the Z6’s very malleable raw files is a good idea.

Engaging matrix-metering (others call it all-purpose) usually results in pleasing exposures that don’t require too much tweaking. Similarly, automatic white balance puts in a good performance when challenged with a range of different lighting conditions, including artificial light.

Like the Z 7, the Z 6 includes in-body image stabilisation – which marks it apart from Nikon’s own DSLRs, such as the D850. It gives you a great advantage when shooting handheld in low light to keep your shots as sharp as possible while using longer shutter speeds.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon Z6 is ISO 100 but you can go down to ISO 50 (L1.0) if you wish. At the other end of the scale, the highest native sensitivity of the Nikon Z6 is ISO 51200, but two boosted settings, ISO 102400 and ISO 204800, are also available.

JPEG RAW

LO 1EV (ISO 50) (100% Crop)

LO 1EV (ISO 50) (100% Crop)

iso50.jpg iso50raw.jpg

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

iso51200.jpg iso51200raw.jpg

HI 1EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

HI 1EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

iso102400.jpg iso102400raw.jpg

HI 2EV (ISO 204800) (100% Crop)

HI 2EV (ISO 204800) (100% Crop)

iso204800.jpg iso204800raw.jpg

Low Light

The Nikon Z6 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. There is an optional long-exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when extremely slow shutter speeds are used.

Low Light

lowlight.jpg

Active D-lighting (ADL)

D-lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. Active D-lighting works “on the fly”, before the in-camera processing engine converts the raw image data into JPEGs. The available settings are Off, Low, Normal, High and Extra High, plus an Auto mode.

Off

adl_01.jpg
Low
adl_02.jpg

Normal

adl_03.jpg
High
adl_04.jpg

Extra High

adl_05.jpg

Auto

adl_06.jpg

Picture Controls

Nikon's Picture Controls are preset combinations of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. All 28 different Picture Controls can be tweaked to your liking, then saved and transferred to other cameras.

Auto

Standard

01-PictureControl-Auto.JPG 01-PictureControl-Standard.JPG
Neutral Vivid
03-PictureControl-Neutral.JPG 04-PictureControl-Vivid.JPG

Monochrome

Portrait

05-PictureControl-Monochrome.JPG 06-PictureControl-Portrait.JPG
Landscape Flat
07-PictureControl-Landscape.JPG 08-PictureControl-Flat.JPG

Dream

Dream

09-PictureControl-Dream.JPG 10-PictureControl-Dream.JPG
Pop Sunday
11-PictureControl-Pop.JPG 12-PictureControl-Sunday.JPG
Somber Drama
13-PictureControl-Somber.JPG 14-PictureControl-Drama.JPG
Silence Bleach
15-PictureControl-Silence.JPG 16-PictureControl-Bleach.JPG
Melancholic Pure
17-PictureControl-Melancholic.JPG 18-PictureControl-Pure.JPG
Denim Toy
19-PictureControl-Denim.JPG 20-PictureControl-Toy.JPG
Sepia Blue
21-PictureControl-Sepia.JPG 22-PictureControl-Blue.JPG
Red Pink
23-PictureControl-Red.JPG 24-PictureControl-Pink.JPG
Charcoal Graphite
25-PictureControl-Charcoal.JPG 26-PictureControl-Graphite.JPG
Binary Carbon
27-PictureControl-Binary.JPG 28-PictureControl-Carbon.JPG

Crop Modes

The Nikon Z6 is an FX camera, but it can also shoot in one of three other crop modes.

FX
FXcrop.JPG

DX

DX-crop.JPG
16:9
16by9crop.JPG

1:1

1by1crop.JPG