Introducing Second-Gen Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II Mirrorless Cameras

After such a strong freshman effort, Nikon is back with the sophomore release of the Z 6II and Z 7II full-frame mirrorless cameras. Recognizing the initial strengths, the second generation of these foundation cameras for Nikon focuses on improving and evolving an already strong feature set and design language. Faster processing, quicker shooting rates, and fine-tuned design elements are all featured with these v. II models, yet they also retain the same beloved ergonomics and image quality.

Nikon Z 6 II
Nikon Z 6 II
Nikon Z 7 II
Nikon Z 7 II

When the original Z 6 and Z 7 were released nearly two years ago, they were groundbreaking cameras that effectively signaled Nikon's commitment to mirrorless. They were the first full-frame, or FX-format, mirrorless models in Nikon's lineup and they were the first two models featuring the then-new Z lens mount. Nikon has since added a couple more Z-system models, but the Z 6 and Z 7 have stayed the course as the top-of-the-line models, until today.

Nikon Z 6II Nikon Z 7II
24.5MP FX Format (With Optical Low Pass Filter) Sensor 45.7MP FX Format (No Optical Low-Pass Filter)
Dual EXPEED 6 Processors Processor Dual EXPEED 6 Processors
Up to 14 fps Continuous Shooting Up to 10 fps
124 Shots Buffer 50 Shots
ISO 100-51200 ISO ISO 64-25600
UHD 4K 30p (60p available via future firmware update)
FHD 120p
Full Pixel Readout
Video UHD 4K 60p
FHD 120p
273 On-Chip Phase-Detection (90% Frame Coverage) Focus Points 493 On-Chip Phase-Detection (90% Frame Coverage)
5-Axis In-Body VR Image Stabilization 5-Axis In-Body VR
1x CFexpress Type B, 1x SD UHS-II Memory Card Slots 1x CFexpress Type B, 1x SD UHS-II
3.6m-Dot OLED EVF Viewfinder 3.6m-Dot OLED EVF
3.2" 2.1m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD Monitor 3.2" 2.1m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen

These second-gen cameras, much like the first gen, are mostly similar but have a couple of distinguishing features to suit different types of shooters. The Z 6II is the all-around, multimedia model positioned for the photographer/videographer/do-it-allographer. It has a full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor that places it in the proverbial sweet spot for speed and resolution, and has a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200. Dual EXPEED 6 image processors bring a 3.3x larger buffer than the original Z 6, for recording up to 124 consecutive frames versus the 37 frames of the old model, along with a faster 14 fps continuous shooting rate with single-point AF or 12 fps with other AF modes.

Nikon Z 6 II Mirrorless Digital Camera

In terms of video recording, UHD 4K at 30 fps with full pixel readout is supported immediately, with 60p support coming via a future update. External 10-bit recording is available, too, along with N-Log and HLG (HDR) recording modes, and an optional firmware update will be available in the future to add 12-bit raw recording via an Atomos recorder. The Z 6II's sensor also incorporates 273 on-chip phase-detect focusing points that cover approximately 90% of the frame.

Nikon Z 6 II Sample Images

The Z 7II, on the other hand, is the more specialized model of the two, due to its higher-resolution 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor, which lacks an optical low-pass filter for higher sharpness and definition. Dual EXPEED 6 processors are featured here, too, which afford a 2.2x larger buffer than the original Z 7, an impressive 10 fps continuous shooting rate, and a versatile ISO 64-25600 sensitivity range.

Nikon Z 7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Despite the higher resolution, the Z 7II is still a capable video camera, with immediate support for UHD 4K up to 60 fps, along with 10-bit external recording, N-Log, and HLG support. Additionally, the sensor includes 493 phase-detection AF points that also cover approximately 90% of the frame for high accuracy.

Nikon Z 7 II Sample Images

Differences aside, the similarities between the two cameras are numerous and impressive. With both cameras now touting dual image processors, Nikon claims the 3.6m-dot OLED EVFs have greatly reduced blackout times and more fluid motion rendering. Like the predecessors, the cameras have a 3.2" 2.1m-dot tilting touchscreen, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity enable wireless remote control and image transferring, as well as firmware updating via Snapbridge. In-body 5-axis image stabilization is featured again for sharper handheld shooting, and low-light AF performance has been improved with sensitivity down to -4.5 EV.

One change that's sure to make everyone happy is a new dual memory card slot design, including one CFexpress Type B slot and one UHS-II SD slot, for flexible storage needs.

Some other notable updates for gen II: the cameras support full-time external power via USB Type-C and allow you to change the direction of the manual focus ring; Wide-Area AF has been added with Eye Detect support; timed long exposures up to 900 seconds are possible; and creative recording modes, such as slow motion FHD 120p video, multiple exposure stills, Focus Shift mode, and in-camera time-lapse recording, help extend the range of possible uses.

What are your thoughts on the second-generation Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II mirrorless cameras? What's your favorite new feature from these cameras? What would you like to see Nikon add to the next iteration? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.

If you are looking for more information, check out a recording of our launch even below. This launch panel featured B&H experts Derek Fahsbender and Robert Sansivero, Nikon product manager Mark Cruz, and professional photographers Joe McNally and Charmi Pena. They covered top features of the cameras, why they like the new cameras, and answer some common questions—so be sure to check it out.

83 Comments

Do you know if this camera has gyroscopic metadata built in? Just a random question

Sorry i meant internal gyro stabilization sensor.

In terms of stabilization, both cameras offer a 5 axis image stabilizer system. 

Seriously considering purchasing a D500 for my wildlife, fishing and action shots.  I have great F mount lenses and also a Z7 with some Z lenses I recently purchased from you. 
 

Question is; since Nikon isn’t replacing the D500 DSLR and I’d really like to have a Z mount with In-Camera Stabilization and around a 25 MP sensor, is it a short wait for the new pro DX Z Mount camera or should I go for the older but proven D500?

To our knowledge, Nikon hasn't announced the release of a new DX format Z camera just yet. For current needs, going with a Nikon D500 would be a solid choice. 

I'm a pro photographer and I must disagree with Kirk.  If you're shooting wildlife, fishing and action shots and you ALREADY have a Z7 with Z mount lenses, you may want to upgrade to the new Z II cameras because it retains the resolution you're used to but adds faster fps.  Wildlife shots will always need the most resolution and the D500 would be a downgrade in this area.  Also, if you switched to an F mount camera, you'd have to consider selling your Z mount lenses and Z7 unless you want a second camera for some reason (collector maybe?).  But I don't know why you would use the D500 if you have the Z7 as they are almost the same form factor but the Z7 is a superior camera (other than requiring an adaptor for your existing F mounts).  To me it doesn't make sense to go backwards to the D500 in terms of image quality.  If you want to retain the high resolution of your Z7 but want to ditch the adapter required for it, go with the D850 and sell your Z system.  If you want to move forward with the Z system, sell the Z7 and get the Z7 II as it retains the high resolution but with higher fps.

Also, something to keep in mind is that that D500 is a DX camera.  If your existing collection of F mount lenses are all DX, and you're trying to solidify your system for a lifetime, it might be time to sell the DX lenses and upgrade to more pro lenses with better optics and better resale value or keep investing in the Z system.  With any system, the investment should focus on the lenses, not necessarily the cameras.  Cameras come and go.  Optics last much longer and should be forward compatible.

Side note, I've owned two D850s since they dropped and I can't imagine needing anything else unless I'm shooting fast motion.  And I have a D4S for that which works great, but is a bit low rez compared to more modern offerings.  I have way too many F mount pro lenses to convert to the Z system, but if I were in your boat, I'd think about choosing one over the other.  Otherwise, you're chasing incremental change.  Hope this helps.

What about the audio pre-amps on the Z 6II for video?

We are not aware of any major improvements to the audio pre-amps.

Will there be a Film Makers kit forthcoming!

At this moment we have not heard any news on a filmmaker's kit.

Do I have to turn off internal vibration reduction to use Z6II with tripod?

It is best to turn off the built in stabilization when using a tripod to avoid any unnecessary blur in the image. 

I use a Z6 and a D850 and find the z6 tends to be a little less speedy in terms of image review and then going back to live view in the EVF.  So my first camera choice is always the D850.  Is there a way to speed up the Z6's switch between review and live view when shooting, or should I be resigned to buying a z6ii?

Unfortunately, I am not sure if there are any settings inside the Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera that would increase the transition speed from reviewing images to viewfinder Live View for image/video capture.  The best I can recommend would be to contact Nikon directly by calling them toll-free at 1-800-NIKON-US (1-800-645-6687) 9AM-8PM EST, Monday to Friday to see if they may have any setting recommendations that may work for your usage needs.

The short answer is no.  The longer answer is related to the presence of an OVF in the D850 and the absence of one in the mirrorless cameras.  With the D850 or any DSLR, reviewing images on the rear screen is unrelated to the operation of the viewfinder.  Therefore, the OVF is instantly ready for use when you are finished reviewing images; it wasn't doing anything.  The image handling pipeline of the mirrorless cameras is a lot more complicated in a sense, factoring in the EVF.  The EVF is basically a miniature version of the rear screen.  So you have to switch from one electronic screen in the camera, to a different electronic screen.   There's a lot of computer processing inside the camera to accomplish that, and it's never going to be as fast as an old fashioned optical viewfinder.

Will the Z6II take traditional Nikon lenses? If I have to use adapter how much length does this add from camera body to base of lens?

The Nikon Z6 II would require the Nikon FTZ adapter to use Nikon F mount lenses.  https://bhpho.to/2RhPEgu

I use a lot of MF lenses and LOVE focus peaking!

Thank you asking the question Derek, and for your response Joe: your comments are greatly appreciated and have gone a long way towards pointing me towards the Z 7II (as a landscape photographer particularly).

Mark, I have to second everything Joe was saying about your technical expertise. Your presentation was the highlight of the initial reveal on Tuesday night.

I'm late to join the session, but I'd love to hear Joe McNally's thoughts about the dynamic range of the Z 7II sensor. Thanks!

Mr. McNally,

Is film still relevant, and what does it offer that digital cannot.

Thanks,

Johnny

Pro photog here.  Film is relevant as an artform separate from digital.  I don't see them as competing as they are very very different.  Film crosses over to digital often once prints or negs/positives are scanned and manipulated and distributed digitally.  There are some things that film can do that digital can try to replicate like cross processing and artistic film fogging.  But it's definitely an art that requires years of study and very slow trial and error.  In that sense, film can be a lot of fun to play with because the results can always surprise (or disappoint) you.  With digital, it's a different beast altogether because you get instant feedback from the camera and images are never really finished.  You can edit to your heart's content.  In terms of resolution, I don't think it matters anymore.  Hardly anyone prints anything anymore and digital cameras have a much easier printing pipeline at this point.  

Other things to consider are that good quality film is becoming increasingly rare and expensive.  And high quality processing is always hard to find unless you do it yourself which can be really fun and rewarding.  That's a very expensive route though.  The digital route is much cheaper and easier to access.  And for cataloging and keywording, digital is much easier.  Organizing and preserving film is a logistical nightmare over time. But there is something magical about it as it's a physical medium that you can see and touch without a computer.

Is the autofocus any better for birds in flight?? 

Based on our findings, the autofocus would work very well particularly when shooting birds in flight. 

When using wide area IAF, should you turn off back button focus?

If using Eye AF, you can still utilize the back AF button. 

Is z6 and z6II have the same sensor in terms of pixel density and pixel pitch?

Both the original Nikon Z6 and the Nikon Z6 II have a 24.5 megapixel full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with a pixel pitch of 5.94 µm.  The Nikon Z6 has a single Expeed 6 processor, while the Nikon Z6 II has Dual Expeed 6 processors.

Are there gonna be an upgrading offer to Z6 II/Z7 II for Z6/Z7 owners ?!

At the moment we have heard no news of an official upgrade path. You can always contact the B&H Used Department for the latest offers on your gear.

when is the z6ii being shipped if we preordered???

Unfortunately, we do not have an ETA on the Z6 II once it has been pre-ordered. However, we will send an e-mail confirmation as soon as the order ships out. We're sorry for any inconvenience. 

Does animal eye focus now work for more than dogs and cats??

As of the date/time of this reply, I am not sure.  According to the press release from Nikon issued yesterday on October 14, 2020, they state that "Eye-Detection AF and Animal-Detection AF can be used with video recording, enabling easy and accurate focus on the intended subject's eye, whether the subject is human, cat, or dog."  While it may be possible it may work with other animals, at this time, we have no additional information or confirmation of the above inquiry.

The main concern I have is with the Autofocus settings for wildlife/bird photography.  The lock on with the Z6 takes much too long, and especially if you are shooting a bird flying below the treeline, the AF gets very confused and will not lock onto the bird at all.  Has the AF been improved enough to handle this type of scenario now?

While I am not sure if your specific situation has been addressed, in the press release issued by Nikon for the Nikon Z6 II Mirrorless Digital Camera, they did state that there has been performance updates with the autofocus system for more precise autofocus, better low-light autofocus performance, and allows you to use Face and Eye Detection and Animal Eye AF in the wide area AF mode, for more precise selection than the "Auto AF" mode required with the older Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and works both in still and video recording modes.  You may have to test the camera to see if the autofocus updates also assist with your wildlife/birding photography usage needs, especially if you are currently using the Auto AF focus mode, or if the use of one of the other modes has prevented you from using the more advanced focus modes.

I have the D750. more of a prosumer shooter, not my day job. Have 3-4k worth of lenses for that camera... Why would I want to upgrade?

Depends on how you use the camera.  The D750 had an excellent image sensor that produced beautiful low noise images with Nikon's usual awesome color rendition and great dynamic range.  If you are a landscape photographer or shoot stuff that moves around a lot, the excellent quality image files and the instant split second focusing of a DSLR should serve you well.   On the other hand, mirrorless cameras are better at just about everything else.   Nikon DSLRs are incapable of just about anything in live view, it's a hopeless and pathetic endeavor.   Mirrorless cameras are in live view all the time, and do everything pretty darn fast.  No, the EVF doesn't operate at the speed of light like an OVF, but it does show you exactly what's coming off the image sensor and it lets you make videos.  The only videos you can get from a D750 are on a tripod with a fixed focus subject that's not moving; i.e. worthless.  Beyond that, the Z cameras are lighter, have fewer moving parts, are more reliable, and offer a bunch of cool features you never dreamed of in your DSLR like real subject tracking and eye AF.  Nikon won't do any more development of DSLRs; their time is over.  The future is in mirrorless.  Sony figured that out 10 years ago, abandoning the A series mirror cameras for the E series mirrorless.  The rest is history.

Will z6 take traditional Nikon lens without adapter.  

I own the Z6, and the only way to use an F mount lens is to use the FTZ adapter.

Both the original Nikon Z6 and the new Nikon Z6 II require the Nikon FTZ adapter to utilize Nikon F mount lenses. Depending on the type of lens, you may have limited capability. 

https://bhpho.to/2RhPEgu

I am a proud owner of z6 and several z lenses. Love the z camera and lenses, coming from D800E.

The lens lineup is missing 105 1.4 and 135 1.8 portrait monsters. Can we hope for Nikon to make those in very near future?

While the most recent Nikon Z-mount Lens Roadmap has a 105mm Micro lens listed as a lens to be announced by 2021, there are no specifications about the lens' aperture or other features.  As of the date/time of this reply, I do not currently see any indication on the roadmap of a Nikon 135mm Z-mount lens to be announced/released in 2021.

Are you kicking initial Z7 adopters to the curb with respect to significant updates? Thanks

The Z7 II now offers a dual processor, dual card slots and a newer battery with longer life. Whether those significant updates depends on the user's needs. The Z7 is still a pretty solid full frame mirrorless option, but if those updates are most important, an upgrade may be in order. 

If the "you" is meant to be Nikon, the answer is absolutely YES!  Consider yourself kicked.  Your 2 year old model is now worth half the new price.  Hope you didn't buy it last month.  That's the deal with early adopters, you should have known going in that a better model would replace yours and you'd lose a couple thousand in the process.  And anyone who thinks Nikon will update old cameras to spec of a new model, that's ludicrous.  Manufacturers never do that.   They sell new models.

I agree with Lawrence C. except that the Z7 is still a great camera.  You should be happy to have that camera.  Just because a newer model comes out doesn't mean that your existing model is suddenly worse in any way.  It's just not the "new hotness".  It's still a Nikon which means its going to be nearly bulletproof for the whole time you own it and it's going to continue to help you create fantastic images.  Just because the new model has dual procs and 10fps doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the one you bought.  Also, significant updates belong to cameras that have problems when launched.  You aren't owed a new camera every few years for free.

For Joe...what are your thoughts on EYE detection?  Do you currently use it?

Will the Battery Grip also fit the original z-6?  Thank you

Unfortunately, the Nikon MB-N11 Battery Grip is specific to the Z6 II/Z7 II. 

This limitation really puts early Nikon Z7 and Z6 fans in a bind.

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