After years of speculation, rumors, guessing, and leaks, it finally happened: Nikon has announced its first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7. This is a long time coming, ever since the Sony A7-series cameras shifted the tide of the photography world in the direction of mirrorless cameras. Now, the Z6 and Z7 sport some of the most impressive specifications of any Nikon camera ever, matching or exceeding the features on almost all their DSLR and mirrorless competitors.
Nikon Z6 and Z7 Specifications
Although we have already covered the Nikon Z6 and Z7 specifications in a separate article with plenty of detail, I would like to point out the most important features and differences of these cameras. Take a look at the below table:
|Camera Feature||Nikon Z6||Nikon Z7|
|Sensor Resolution||24.5 Million||45.7 Million|
|In-Body Image Stabilization||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis|
|Image Size||6000 x 4000||8256 x 5504|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||EXPEED 6|
|Viewfinder||Electronic / EVF||Electronic / EVF|
|Viewfinder Type / Resolution||QVGA / 3.6 Million Dots||QVGA / 3.6 Million Dots|
|Storage Media||1x XQD||1x XQD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||12 FPS||9 FPS|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 64|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 64-25,600|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Video Maximum Resolution||3840 x 2160 (4K) @ 24/25/30 fps||3840 x 2160 (4K) @ 24/25/30 fps|
|HDMI Out / N-LOG||4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes||4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes|
|Battery Life||310 shots/charge||330 shots/charge|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Weight||585g (20.7oz)||585g (20.7oz)|
|Dimensions||134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7″)||134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7″)|
Nikon Z6: The Real D700 Successor?
Let’s start with the Nikon Z6, which is the 24 MP version, selling for $1,995.95 (amazing price!). Call me crazy, but this looks like the first “D700-type” camera we have seen from Nikon in a decade. By that, I mean that this is the first camera since the Nikon D700 to take the specifications of the company’s top sports camera and repackage it in a less expensive, more portable body with very few other sacrifices. Even the Nikon D750 – a truly excellent camera (and our #5 favorite DSLR on the market today) – wasn’t really a D700-type camera in that respect.
But perhaps the Nikon Z6 is. Take a look at the Nikon D5’s specifications, and tell me they don’t sound similar to the Z6’s:
- 12 frames per second (same as the Z6)
- 4K video up to 30 FPS (same as the Z6)
- 153 point autofocus system (to the Z6’s 273 points)
- 20.8 million pixel sensor (to the Z6’s 24.5)
- 3.2″ diagonal touch LCD (same as the Z6, whose screen also tilts)
That is not to say the two cameras are identical, especially in terms of size and handling. The D5 also is almost certain to have a larger buffer than the Z6, too, as well as a higher battery life. And we still don’t know whether or not the Z6’s autofocus system will be up to the same level as that of the D5, especially with adapted lenses – though keep in mind that Nikon’s first attempt at mirrorless, the Nikon 1 line of cameras, had great hybrid autofocus, even when adapting from the F-mount.
What we do know is that Nikon crammed enough features into the Z6 – either to look good compared to Sony or just because they could – that the camera’s raw specifications are close to the level of their highest-end professional DSLR. That’s not something we expected to see at all, let alone for $1,995.95.
In short, the Z6 looks like a fantastic camera, either as a backup to a DSLR system or as a well-priced way for Nikon users to upgrade their frame rate, video, and potentially autofocus performance.
Nikon Z7: The D850’s Mirrorless Cousin
While the Nikon Z6 might draw comparisons to Nikon’s top-of-the-line sports cameras, the $3,399.95 Z7 shares its DNA more closely with the D850. Indeed, if you didn’t remember the D850’s specifications off the top of your head, you would be forgiven for thinking they are exactly the same as those of the Z7:
- 45.7 megapixels – check
- 4K video, 8K timelapse, and 1080p at 120 FPS – check
- Focus peaking and zebra stripes for video – check
- 9 FPS for still photos – check (if you’re using the battery grip with the D850)
- Tilting 3.2″ touchscreen – check
- Nikon EN-EL15 battery – check (technically the EN-EL15a on the D850 and EN-EL15b on the Z7)
- Wi-Fi, bluetooth, weather sealing, and other small features – check
It is more revealing to look at the differences between the D850 and the Z7 than any similarities, since their specifications are so close to one another!
One of the biggest differences so far is the autofocus system of the two cameras. Being a mirrorless camera, the Z7 was never going to have the same phase-detect system found on the D850 or other Nikon DSLRs. Instead, we get a 493-point hybrid system. Although no one knows yet how it will compare to the system on the D850, the least we can say is that the autofocus coverage on this new mirrorless is nothing short of insane:
The Z7 also has IBIS in its favor, which is a pretty big deal. It is also lighter and smaller, of course, with an electronic viewfinder rather than optical. The D850, in turn, has longer battery life, traditional DSLR controls, and potentially other performance improvements like extra weather sealing and a larger buffer, although we have yet to find that out for sure.
It will take some serious testing to see how similar or different the Z7 and D850 are side-by-side, but one thing is certain – if the Z7 lives up to its closest DSLR cousin, it will be a truly amazing option indeed.
Photography Life’s Coverage of the Nikon Z Mirrorless System
If you have been watching Photography Life over the past few days, you’ve already seen some of the articles we have published about the Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless camera. Here’s a quick recap of our most recent posts:
- Nikon Z6 vs Z7
- Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 Design and Ergonomics
- Nikon Z vs Nikon F – What’s the Difference?
- Understanding IBIS in the Nikon Mirrorless Cameras
Over the next few days, we will continue publishing more information on these cameras, including comparisons with existing options on the market and a deeper dive into some of their most interesting features. So, stay tuned!
Nikon Z7 Product Images
Nikon Z6 and Z7 Promo Videos
Below are the promo videos for the Nikon mirrorless system:
Official Press Release
Here is the official press release from Nikon:
MELVILLE, NY – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the full-frame (Nikon FX–format) Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6 mirrorless cameras, as well as NIKKOR Z lenses, featuring a new, larger-diameter mount to enable the next generation of ultimate optical performance.
The new Nikon Z mount system is comprised of mirrorless cameras and compatible NIKKOR Z lenses and accessories. This system has been realized through the pursuit of a new dimension in optical performance. It has inherited Nikon’s tradition of quality, superior imaging technology, intuitive operability and high reliability, all innovated from its digital SLR cameras.
At the heart of the Z mount system is the new, larger-diameter mount, which unlocks further possibilities of lens design. The Z mount system will offer a variety of high-performance lenses, including the fastest lens in Nikon history, with f/0.951. Additionally, the new mount adapter will enable compatibility with NIKKOR F mount lenses, adding to the range of choices for photographers.
The letter “Z” represents the culmination of Nikon’s relentless pursuit of ultimate optical performance, and a bridge to a new chapter. It is about redefining possibilities to provide image makers with tools to pursue greater creativity.
Nikon will expand the value of mirrorless cameras through the pursuit of a new dimension in optical performance, and by upholding Nikon’s tradition of quality while responding to the evolution of imaging technology. By providing image makers with stimulating new products, Nikon will continue to lead imaging culture.
Z 7, Z 6 Product Overview
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with built-in focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6.
The high-resolution Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels, and supports a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64–25600. In combination with NIKKOR Z lenses, the camera achieves an outstanding level of sharpness and detail, all the way to the edges of the image.
The versatile Z 6 is an all-purpose FX-format camera with 24.5 effective megapixels, and supports the wide sensitivity range of ISO 100–51200. With superior performance at high ISO sensitivities and full-frame 4K UHD video capture with full pixel readout, the Z 6 responds to a variety of needs, such as shooting in dimly lit environments and high-quality movie recording.
These two models combine legendary Nikon reliability and a familiar interface with the benefits of a mirrorless, including rapid FPS, hybrid AF, silent shooting and advanced multimedia capabilities.
Primary Features of the Z 7 and Z 6
Equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination, Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6. The Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels and supports ISO 64–25600 range of standard sensitivities (reduction to the equivalent of ISO 32 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 102400 is also possible). The Z 6 has an effective pixel count of 24.5 megapixels, and supports a broad range of standard sensitivities, from ISO 100–51200 (additional reduction to the equivalent of ISO 50 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 204800).
A fast and accurate hybrid AF system with focus points covering approximately 90% of the imaging area
The Z 7 has 493 focus points and the Z 6 has 273 focus points, enabling broad coverage of approximately 90% of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically. This hybrid AF system uses an algorithm optimized for the FX-format sensor, to automatically switches between focal-plane phase-detection AF and contrast-detect AF when focusing to achieve focus. Newly-designed NIKKOR Z lenses take full advantage of this system, providing faster, quieter and with increased AF accuracy than previously possible for both still images and videos.
The new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine for sharp and clear imaging, and new functions that support creativity
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with the new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine. Employing the superior resolving power of NIKKOR Z and NIKKOR F mount lenses, subjects are rendered more sharply than ever before. Noise is also effectively reduced.
Additionally, a mid-range sharpening option has been added to Picture Control sharpness parameters. This option, along with existing sharpening and clarity parameters, allows users to make various textures within the screen sharper or softer, for both still images and video. The cameras also offer 20 options of Creative Picture Control, supporting creative imaging expression. The effect level is adjustable from 0 to 100.
An electronic viewfinder that utilizes Nikon’s superior optical and image-processing technologies to offer a clear and natural view
The electronic viewfinder adopted for the Z 7 and Z 6 is comfortable and easy to use, comparable to optical viewfinders. Both cameras are equipped with an electronic viewfinder for which an approximately 3690k-dot OLED panel has been adopted. The electronic viewfinder has frame coverage and magnification of approximately 100% and 0.8×, respectively, as well as an approximately 37.0° diagonal viewing angle. It draws on Nikon’s superior optical technologies and image-processing technologies, ensuring a clear and comfortable view, with reduced aberration and minimum eyestrain, even during extended shoots. Furthermore, a fluorine coat that effectively repels dirt has been applied to the eyepiece protection window. In addition, the menu can be displayed in the electronic viewfinder, allowing users to quickly view and adjust a variety of shooting settings, including ISO sensitivity, AF-area mode, and Picture Control, all while looking through the viewfinder.
An ergonomic design unique to Nikon that enables intuitive and familiar operation
The Z 7 and Z 6 have inherited the superior operability that Nikon has cultivated over the years through its development of cameras. The bodies are compact, while boasting a firm grip that is easy to hold, and the sub-selector and buttons such as AF-ON, ISO, and exposure compensation are all placed so that they can be operated swiftly and easily. Additionally, a display panel has been placed on the top plate of the camera, where information about settings can be displayed, similar to high-end digital SLR camera models.
Video functions such as 10-bit N-Log that enables wide dynamic range, and timecoding that respond to professional needs
The Z 7 and Z 6 support recording of not only full-frame 4K UHD (3840 × 2160)/30p movies using the FX-based video format, but also Full-HD/120p movies. Sharper 4K UHD movies are made possible, using the full-pixel readout. Additionally, Active D-Lighting, electronic vibration reduction, and focus peaking can be used with 4K UHD and Full-HD movie recording. Nikon’s original N-Log color profile can also be used with 10-bit HDMI output. The N-Log setting utilizes extensive color depth and twelve-stop, 1,300% dynamic range to record a wealth of tone information from highlights and shadows for more effective color grading. Timecode support makes synchronizing video and sound from multiple devices easier. Additionally, the control ring built into NIKKOR Z lenses can be used to quietly and smoothly adjust settings such as aperture and exposure compensation.
Nikon’s first in-camera vibration reduction with approx. 5.0-stop effectiveness
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with in-camera vibration reduction (VR). The VR unit provides compensation for movement along five axes. The effects of vibration reduction are equivalent to a shutter speed up to approximately 5.0 stops. This function can also be used effectively with NIKKOR F lenses, including those not equipped with a VR function, with the Mount Adapter FTZ (sold separately).
- Same level of strength and durability, as well as dust- and drip- resistance, as the Nikon D850, offered in a compact body
- A 3.2-in., approximately 2100k-dot touch-sensitive LCD monitor, with a tilting mechanism
- Silent photography function eliminates shake and noise caused by shutter release.
- Peaking stack image function enables confirmation of the area in focus after shooting using focus shift, which is convenient for focus stacking
- High-speed continuous shooting (extended) at approximately 9 fps (Z 7) and 12 fps (Z 6) captures fast motion
- Interval timer photography that makes 8K (Z 7) time-lapse movie creation possible
- An extended low-light metering range allows users to easily capture scenes such as the transition from sunset to starry night sky, using aperture-priority auto exposure
- Built-in Wi-Fi® for direct connection to a smart device using SnapBridge
- Built-in Wi-Fi® makes the transfer of images and movies to a computer possible
- Support for existing digital SLR camera accessories such as the EN-EL15/a/b batteries, WT-7/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter (available separately) for transferring images and movies at high speed over a wired or wireless LAN, and radio-controlled/optical controlled Advanced
- Wireless Lighting, which makes flexible multi-flash photography possible
Development of the MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack
The MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack that is currently in development will hold two EN-EL15b, effectively increasing the number of shots possible and/or movie recording time by approximately 1.8×. It will provide the same level of dust and drip resistance as the Z 7 and Z 6, and will support USB charging using the EH-7P Charging AC Adapter. Information regarding the release of this product will be announced at a later date.
Price and Availability
The Nikon Z 7 will be available September 27 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3399.95* for the body-only configuration, or for $3999.95* SRP as a kit with the new NIKKOR Z 24-70 f/4 S lens. The Nikon Z 6 will be available in late November for the $1995.95* SRP for the body only configuration, or for the $2,599.95* SRP with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens kit. For more information on these and other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.