Nikon’s ambitions in the full-frame DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) area were talked about quite early on.
Now the rumours have come to an end: the Nikon Z6 and the Nikon Z7 have been introduced.
Nikon is finally present in the mirrorless professional segment and in particular targets the Sony Alpha 8 series, which so far has remained virtually unrivalled.
In the run up, there were many rumours about the new DSLM cameras from Nikon. That is reason enough for us to compare the Nikon Z6 and Z7 for their technical data.
Nikon Z6 and Z7 in comparison
|Nikon Z6||Nikon Z7|
|Megapixel||24,5 MP||45.7 MP|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame||Full Frame|
|Sensor Type||CMOS BSI||CMOS BSI|
|Low Pass Filter||No||No|
|ISO||100 – 51.200||64 – 25.600|
|Processor||Expeed 6||Expeed 6|
|Optical image stabilization||5 axes (5 EV)||5 axes (5 EV)|
|Burst Speed||Max 12 FPS||Max. 9 FPS|
|Video||4K @ 30 FPS||4K @ 30 FPS|
|Viewfinder||OLED / 3.7 million dots / 0.80x||OLED / 3.7 million dots / 0.80x|
|Display||3.2 inches / 2.1 million dots/ tilting LCD touch||3.2 inches / 2.1 million dots / tilting LCD touch|
|Memory card||XQD (1x)||XQD (1x)|
|Weight||675 g||675 g|
Similarities and differenced between the Nikon Z6 and Z7
Important similarities of the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7
If you are looking for external differences, you have to look very carefully: the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 share the same case.
So, it is unsurprising that they weigh the same.
Nikon fans who are currently using a DSLM camera will be happy about the familiar DSLM feel. Nikon seems to have made a conscious decision not to choose an ultra-compact case.
At the moment, the handpiece seems to easily come out.
By the way: the cases on the Nikon Z7 and Z6 are protected by magnesium alloy and waterproofing against adverse weather conditions.
Lens mount – Z bayonet
With its new DSLM cameras, Nikon is also introducing a new lens mount – the Z bayonet.
The Z bayonet has a large inner diameter of 55 millimetres, with which light-intense lenses in particular can be realised.
On Nikon’s lens roadmap there is already a lens with a light intensity of f/0.95. This is the maximum light intensity that the Z bayonet is capable of.
As with the introduction of every new lens bayonet, the choice of lenses will not be big right away.
From the launch of the Nikon Z6 and Nikon 7, the manufacturer promised two lenses (Z 24-70mm 1:4 S and Z 35mm 1:1.8 S). A further lens is to follow a month later (Z 50mm 1:1.8 S).
The lens roadmap promises six more Z bayonet lenses for 2019 – including plans for a Z 58mm lens with a maximum light intensity of f/0.95.
By 2021, there should be a total of 23 Nikkor Z lenses.
In the meantime, Nikon photographers can use the FTZ bayonet adapter, which should promise compatibility to all previously released Nikon lenses.
In general, the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 seem to attract photographers who have an F mount lens at their disposal and would like to switch from the DSLR world to the DSLM world.
Image stabiliser (5 axes)
The 5-axis image stabiliser, which is in both the Nikon Z6 and Z7, is a Nikon novelty.
According to the manufacturer, the image stabiliser promises an advantage of five aperture stops.
Nikon claims that the 5 axes image stabiliser also works together with stabilised lenses. How this exactly works is yet to be seen.
Nikon traditionally has a good reputation amongst photographers. Recently, however, the manufacturer is barely on the radar for videographers. Nikon wants to change this.
Both Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 now support 4K UHD videos (3840×2160) @ 30 fps.
If you film with a Nikkor Z lens attached, you can also adjust focus, aperture and exposure with low noise.
Video can either be stored on the XQD memory card or directly output via HDMI @ 10-bit.
Both DSLM cameras support videos in FX format. Only the Nikon Z7 has the additional DX format option.
Important differences between the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7
Indeed, both DSLM cameras have a full frame sensor (KB) attached.
The sensor is, however, one of the most important differences between the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7.
The key figures of the sensor on the Nikon Z6 are 24.5 megapixels with ISO 100-51,200, whereas for the Nikon Z7 these are 45.7 megapixels with ISO 64-25,600.
Bottom line, in terms of image performance, the Nikon Z7 can deliver more detailed pictures, whereas the Nikon Z6 may be more interesting in low-light photography.
By the way: Nikon has given neither camera a low-pass filter.
Both DSLM cameras have a hybrid autofocus.
The specifications of the autofocus of the Nikon Z7 make it seem more powerful: 493 measuring points are available in total.
This corresponds to a coverage of approx. 93% of the sensor area.
The Nikon Z6 covers the same amount of sensor area, but it has to make do with a total of 273 measuring points.
How these differences in autofocus between the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 are actually different in practice, is yet to be seen.
Consecutive/burst shooting speed
Both DSLM cameras are fast: the Nikon Z7 can do up to 9 fps and the Z6 can do up to 12 fps.
The Nikon Z6 can take consecutive shots quicker probably due to its lower resolution.
This is how the differences between the sensors on the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 impact on the consecutive shooting rate.
Only the Nikon Z7 has an 8k time-lapse mode, which has already been seen on the Nikon D850 (see also the notice for the Nikon D850).
The Nikon Z7 also reservedly stays in FX or DX format when filming, depending on your choice.
Reactions to the Nikon DSLM cameras in the photography community
Generally positive reactions to the first test reports
Final and complete tests for the Nikon Z7 and Z6 are still in short supply.
But the first test reports will be available soon.
There are already some initial reactions, as Nikon has already equipped some photographers with pre-production models before the announcement date.
So far, in a first, summarised echo of various sources, the ergonomics of the case, autofocus, video function as well as the electronic viewfinder has been praised.
For example, DPRreview has published a comprehensive hands-on review. (see YouTube).
More details can be expected when the first Nikon Z7 and Z6 reviews are released.
Critics’ views on the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7
Only one memory card slot and XQD format
The Nikon Z6 and Z7 have settled in the professional segment – and within that many photographers were expecting a second memory card slot.
This is particularly helpful to prevent a loss of data if the memory card becomes damaged.
Additionally, Nikon relies on the relatively new XQD format.
These memory cards are more expensive than a conventional SD card. Furthermore, it is hard to find suitable readers for PC or Mac.
Price policy of Nikon DSL cameras
The prices of the new Nikon DSLMs also make for conversation.
The Nikon Z6 costs 2,450 euros (case only, but comes with an FTZ adapter), the Nikon Z7 costs 3,850 euros (case only, but comes with an FTZ adapter). Both are the manufacturer’s prices and are certainly not high-street prices.
You could compare the Nikon Z6 with the Sony Alpha 7 III, for example, which currently costs around 2,300 euros.
It is important to make sure that the FTZ adapter comes with the Nikon camera.
Sony also has a lens adapter for A mount on E mount. The current adapter, Sony LA-EA4, must be bought separately and currently costs around 230 euros.
Since the street prices for the Nikon DSLM cameras can be cheaper and the lens adapter is already included, the Nikon Z6 is thus moving at about the same level as that of the Sony Alpha 7 III.
Lens for the Z bayonet
Nikkor Z lenses available in 2018
In the same year as the launch of the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, three will initially be Nikkor Z lenses:
- Nikkor Z 24-70mm 1:4 S (standard zoom lens, kit lens)
- Nikkor Z 35mm 1:1.8 S (wide-angle fixed focal length lens)
- Nikkor Z 50mm 1:1.8 S (standard fixed focal length lens)
The first two lenses should be available at the same time as the release of the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, the latter lens will be released about a month later.
Roadmap for the Nikkor Z lens
For a new camera with a new lens bayonet, the availability of lenses is definitely critical to its success. Nikon obviously knows this too.
Nikon is promising a total of twenty more Nikkor Z lenses in the next three years: 2019 (6 lenses), 2020 (6 lenses) and 2021 (8 lenses).
That is based on a roadmap diagram published by Nikon (see here)
Along with the firmly announced Nikkor Z 58mm 1:0.95 S Noct, for 2019 there are also plans for two more fixed focal length lenses (20mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8) and three zoom lenses (24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 and 14-300mm f/4).
For 2020, Nikon has announced two fixed focal lengths (50mm f/1.2 and 24mm f/1.8), a zoom lens (14-24mm f/2.8) as well as three non-specified lenses.
It is not yet known what sort of lenses will follow in the eight lenses announced for 2021.
Conclusion: Nikon Z6 vs. Nikon Z7
The DSLM cameras Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 promise an interesting debut from Nikon in the full frame DSLM segment.
It seems as though Nikon has decided to blow right from the beginning. A lot has been taken over by the reliable Nikon D850.
It probably has something to do with Nikon’s intense concern with the Sony Alpha 7 series.
In comparing the technical specifications of the Nikon Z6 vs. Nikon Z7, the Nikon Z6 is the more universal camera, whereas the Nikon Z7 is appeals primarily to professionals who need maximum image performance.
Z lenses are still in short supply in the beginning, but with its adapter solution, Nikon seems to target mostly photographers who want to plunge into the DSLM world with existing F mount lenses.
This has turned up the competition in the full frame DSLM segment.
It remains exciting to wait and see what Canon has planned for this year. Two full-format DSLM cameras are expected from Canon this year as well.