Top positive review
Fantastic Entry to Full-frame Mirrorless from Nikon
November 22, 2018
I'm a long-time Nikon user, going back to film camera days. I've eagerly awaited Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless cameras, and the new Z6 exceeds my expectations.
First, this is truly a Nikon. Build quality if outstanding, and the look and feel is 100% Nikon. If you've used a Nikon DSLR, you'l be right at home here. First and foremost, picture quality is just outstanding. Detailed images, with natural colors, especially skin tones. I've always thought Nikon's colors were a standout, and the Z6 continues in this tradition.
There's tons of options for shooting different effects, and the Z6 expands to include many additional filter effects I've not seen on prior high-end DSLRs (you can find these under the "Set Picture Control" option, most easily reached by pressing the "i" button on the back. The touch-screen is a great feature here, it makes navigation from the "i" button quite natural and easy. I didn't notice any banding or moire effects in various outdoor shots at smaller apertures (shooting both the 24-70 Z lens and a number of my older AF-S lense via the excellent FTZ adapter). Hi-ISO performance is stunning. Even at 12,600, there's amazingly little noise in the Z6 images. In sum, the Z6 produces excellent images in either Raw or out-of-camera JPEGs.
Highlights with the Z6 controls and usage are the huge, bright no-lag electronic viewfinder. This is a joy to use! Even in very-dark scenes, the viewfinder shows a bright, clear image, almost like night vision for very dark night scenes. There is truly no discernable lag here, either.
Nikon *finally* added U1-U2-U3 settings to the program dial, a much better system than the "shooting banks" from prior high-end offerings. This allows you to setup 3 different camera states (I use "landscape", "portrait", and "action") and recall each with a simple turn of the dial. So much easier than the old method.
Many early reviews (especially of the Z7) raised some issues with autofocus, especially in tracking modes of faster-moving subjects. I've just not had issues in this area in a few days of usage of the Z6. The single point modes are great, and cover nearly the entire image area. There's a "nub" controller on the back, perfectly placed under my right thumb, that allows you to move this point easily over your subject. The Z6 was tack-sharp in nearly every photo using this method, especially with the native 24-70 Z lens. The auto modes worked well, too. It's not quite as quick to pickup less-contrasty subject in AF-C modes compared to my D500, but it's pretty close. There is 3D subject-tracking mode under "auto". Press the center OK button, and a white box appears. Move this over your subject (by either re-framing or the nub control), and half-press the shutter. The Z6 will now track this subject throughout the frame. Give a full shutter press when you want to take the shot. The framing box will continue to track the subject, so you can keep taking shots as you like. Work's great. The Z6 uses a combination of shape and color info to recognize the subject, and follows it throughout the frame. To reset the box, you have to hit "ok" again, and you can start again. Easier to use than describe here, actually.
There's just so much more to say about the Z6. I haven't dived into video modes, but all the other reviews say this is an extremely capable video camera. In-body vibration reduction (called IBIS - in body image stabilization) is another game changer on older lenses that lack this feature. Focus peaking (courtesy of the electronic view finder) means use of older, manual focus lenses is quite easy! Between IBIS and focus peaking, those older Nikon telephotos are starting to look like a real bargain.
Mirrorless really is a game changer, and Nikon's first full-frame versions are an outstanding advance. So many features here: in-body stabilization, autofocus covering nearly the entire frame, an outstanding, high-res and no-lag viewfinder, tons of picture and shooting options, it all adds up to a highly recommended camera in a great, compact form.
I'm not selling my D810 or D500 just yet, but the Z6 has become my go-to camera for most usage (I'm still shooting wildlife on the D500). Well done, Nikon!