Nikon Z5 vs Nikon Z6 ISO Performance Comparison
Let’s take a look and see how the high ISO performance of the Nikon Z5 differs from the Nikon Z6. The comparisons below are only from ISO 1600 and above because ISO 100 to 800 looks identical on both. Here is ISO 1600 side-by-side (click to see full size):
Both look the same to me. How about ISO 3200?
Once again, I see no differences in ISO performance here.
Both sensors start to get some noise at ISO 6400, but it is still quite clean and looks more or less the same.
Although noise patterns are slightly different, the overall result is comparable. Here, we can see that the Z6 is starting to look slightly cleaner in comparison, especially in the shadows.
There is a lot of noise at ISO 25600 on both cameras and a lot of shadow detail is now getting wiped out. Here, I would say the Nikon Z6 looks a tad cleaner again.
ISO 51200 looks really bad on both, but the Z6 is clearly cleaner in comparison, especially in the shadow areas.
Lastly, ISO 102400 is basically unusable on both. However, the Z6 is much cleaner in comparison.
Nikon Z5 vs Canon EOS R6 ISO Performance Comparison
The Canon EOS R6 has a 20 MP sensor vs 24 MP on the Z5. In order to make the images below comparable, I extracted images at the same resolution, so the crops from the Z5 are slightly more downsampled in comparison. Let’s take a look at how the ISO performance of the Canon EOS R6 is when compared to the Z5 at different ISOs:
Both produce very clean images at ISO 1600, and I cannot see any differences.
I cannot see any differences at ISO 3200 either.
Once again, both cameras have a pretty even match at ISO 6400.
ISO 12800 is obviously quite noisy on both, but it is hard to spot much difference here, even in the shadows.
The situation continues at ISO 25600 – I cannot favor one over the other.
As we get to very noisy ISO 51200, I would say the Canon EOS R6 holds up a little better in terms of preserving details in the shadows.
And lastly, there is a clear difference in noise performance at ISO 102400, with the Canon EOS R6 producing a cleaner image with less chroma noise.
Overall, it looks like the Nikon Z5 stands its ground really well up until you get to ridiculously high ISOs above 6400. That’s where more modern sensors tend to do a little better. For me personally, those differences are not really relevant, because I never shoot at ISOs that high anyway. If you are concerned about the Z5 having an older CMOS sensor, don’t be – it is an exceptionally well-made sensor!
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