I got a new camera, the Nikon Z6. Now, after one week, I had the opportunity to get to know it a little and put it through its paces. In this post, I’d like to share a few first impressions with you, along with some photographs I took along the way.
I took the images I am about to show you on two short walks in a nearby woodland respectively park. All of them are test shots, which means that my goal was not to create beautiful artwork but to test the camera in certain situations and with specific settings. How well does IBIS perform? What is the ISO performance? How much dynamic range does the camera offer in a real-world scenario? In other words, how much shadow/highlight detail can I recover? I find getting to know the limits of my tool and my limits of handling it is fundamental for getting in a state of flow and hence, for working successfully with it.
Nikon Z6 – My findings
It may not come as a surprise that the new camera is superior to the old one in almost every way:
Stunning. Check out the screenshot in the gallery below.
Stellar. ISO 4000 is a no-brainer, ISO 6400 needs a little work but is definitely usable. ISO 8000 can be problematic in the darker parts of the image, but since I am a black&white shooter, I embrace what noise remains in those regions after noise reduction as grain and go with it. Heck, I even got usable shots with ISO 10000! With my old Nikon D7100, the absolute ISO limit was ISO 2500. What a fantastic improvement the Z6 is.
This means that I will likely get better results with less effort when it comes to my animal portraiture because, with less noise, it will be easier to mask out the background even in areas of intricate animal fur.
Wow! I can now handhold shots up to 1/10 sec., even at 70mm. This will be so helpful in low light situations. Now, I am looking forward to shooting at Christmas markets this season, especially with the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens I am going to order very soon.
I know, purists and sport shooters don’t like EVFs. But there are three reasons why I do nonetheless:
Reliable image preview. I can see the image as the camera will save it on the memory card. No more guesswork.
Histogram: Even more critical than the preview is being able to see the histogram before taking the shot. Will I blow out the highlights or loose shadow detail? Now I know. No more test shots before I can begin my long exposures.
Different aspect ratios. I love the square format. Now, I can set this up in my camera and compose accordingly in the field. Again, no more guesswork.
There is much more for me to explore. I didn’t have the chance to play with the autofocus system properly yet. The eye AF seems to work nicely, but I need to do more testing. The same is true for tracking capabilities. Overall, the AF has worked snappily and reliably so far.
Some small things, however, are not so nice.
At this point, the camera doesn’t work with my Tamron 150-600mm telezoom yet. The guys at Tamron say that they will offer a firmware upgrade for the lens to make it work with the Nikon Z6, but they don’t say when. Come on, Tamron, speed up your game!
The IR remote I used with the D7100 doesn’t work with the Z6. Now, I either have to buy a cable release (30-35€), a Bluetooth based one (45-50€), or a radio-based one (200-250€). Come on, Nikon! Was this really necessary?
The handling of the camera is IMHO less intuitive. Too many things have to be set up via the touch screen/menu. My D7100 had buttons for this. Much quicker, much more accessible. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to the new way, but for now, this is my first impression.
All in all, however, I am very pleased with this new camera and I am looking forward to (hopefully) many years of shooting with it.
So much about my new system for now. Now, I’d like to show you some of the images I have taken so far. As I said, I didn’t have any artistic ambitions while shooting. I also never meant the photos to be perfect. But it turns out that I produced a little series of autumnal nature shots. I find it not easy to convey the mood of fall in black&white since so much of our reception of this season is based on the yellow and red leaves of the trees. Here’s what I came up with. I also included the EXIF data for each photo.
If you have any questions concerning the camera, please don’t hesitate to ask. Also, don’t hold back with comments about the photos.