Gear: Nikon Z series finally arrived.

I finally got the Nikon Z6 with FtZ adapter. The camera arrived earlier then expected, supposedly it is because I’m an NPS member. It has been a week since I’ve received it and honestly, I can’t say I love it nor do I hate it. Mind you, most of my previous purchases were typically “OMG, I love this ___’.

Nikon Z6, has been a long awaited by Nikon users, especially after Sony started overtaking the photography world with mirrorless technology. I’ve used various Nikon film and digital bodies, digital Canon and Sony ML. My feedback is biased where I wish it was possible to get different parts from different brands and create a better one 🙂

Before I dive into my user-experience, few points on why I went with Z6.

  • I would have loved to go with Z7 and have native ISO 64. It has been a very long time since I photographed with base ISO/ASA of under 100. Nonetheless, in the studio, currently, I’m varying between ISO 100-200; not having 64, isn’t a big deal.
  • I would love to have a camera with super-duper 40+ megapixels of resolution. Since I was able to print 30″x40″ prints with my Nikon d700, a 12mp camera, I have no doubt that 24 is just as good and better. At same time, my main two bodies Df (16mp) and D750 (24mp), I have plenty of resolution to print with.
  • Focusing Points: It’s nice to have more (z7), but I’m not a sports photographer, and on those occasions where I do need specific piece of equipment, I can rent it.

Overall, for the benefits of z7, I couldn’t justify the cost of extra $1000, thus went for z6 model.

Gear Used:

  • Nikon Z6 with FTZ Adapter,
  • Lenses:
    • Nikon 24-70 2.8,
    • Nikon 50 1.4,
    • Sigma Art 35 1.4,
    • Sigma 15mm fisheye (manual focus – see Dilemma #1),
    • Nikkor 105 2.8macro (manual focus again).
  • Light
    • Flashpoint Transmitters for Nikon,
    • Flashpoint speedlights
    • Continues Video Lights

Without totally geeking out and reading the specs sheets, here’s my opinion after using this camera for one week.

The Good:

  1. Love usb-c port. I can charge my phone and my camera with the same cable, I can use my power banks when on the road, again, LOVE IT.
  2. Interchangeable batteries between Z6 and my D750 are great way to minimize purchase of additional accessories. $ less spent, is a $ made.
  3. Size/Weight. Even with adapter, Z6 is still smaller and lighter then my D90 (smallest camera body that I still use).
  4. Love the focusing, especially at the edge of the screens. Though never tested, but this is where Z7 would probably have the advantage.
  5. Love focus peeking with manual lenses (see the bad below lol)
  6. BT/Wifi transfer – love it, love it, love it. Quick story, I was driving with my crew after the shoot and wanted to review the images before loading them onto computer, I connected to the camera, while it is off in the trunk inside the camera bag, using my phone, reviewed images and had them ready for edit, all that before pulling up to the house. Another one was loading the BTS image from recent shoot, editing in a phone app and sharing on social media. Sony has been able to do this for years now, it’s nice to be able to do this on Nikon system.
  7. AF/touchscreen AF is pretty accurate and pretty cool. Specs say its great for video, but I haven’t had an opportunity to work with video end of it yet.
    1. AF Accuracy: I like to shoot at wide open apertures. However, given user error/shaky hands, anything wider then 2.8, takes more effort. However, with Z6, I was able to nail the focus quicker, with greater accuracy.
  8. Image Quality. Although I haven’t seen the printed product, I’ve noticed that skin tones are smoother and more pleasing to the eye.

The Bad… The Dilemma?

  1. One of the things I love about Nikon is the ability to use older lenses. Higher-end Nikon bodies have AF motor that allows for many of those lenses to be autofocused. Unfortunately, FTZ adapter doesn’t have AF motor, thus turning these lenses into manual focus lenses. Personally, use of AF is very important for me and my business, and not having this option on some of my lenses is a huge drawback.
  2. Optical Viewfinder vs Electronic Viewfinder. EVF is something to get used to. It’s different, its nice, it is something to get used to.
  3. AF Speed. Majority of my business is in-studio child photography where speed and accurate AF is a must. So far, and maybe it’s b/c I’m not used to it yet, I’ve yet to achieve results I was expecting for newer technology. My expectations were that AF speed would be significantly faster then with DSLRs, I haven’t noticed that to be the case.
  4. Single card. There are many professional photographers out there who will foam at the mouth saying how single card camera is an issue. For me, lack of AF motor on the FTZ adapter is more of an issue then single card. Nonetheless, it would have been nice to have 2 cards to record the images on.

Conclusion

There are many specs that I didn’t cover, like silents shutter, which is really cool and amazing. The AF assist in the dark room with on-camera flash, coming from dslr, is a nice feature, another advantage of electronic viewfinder. I mainly concentrated on my workflow and where I can benefit or loose the shot.

Digital photography has overtaken and replaced film photography in the mainstream. Will the mirrorless overtake dSLR, is yet to be seen.  I was hoping that Z6 would replace dSLR and would eventually switch over completely but until few quarks get resolved,  I can only see dslr & mirrorless working in tandem together to achieve optimal results.

As I was writing this blog, I thought of posting images that I was able to achieve, but opted out for several reasons 1) anything I post online is resized for web and to truly appreciate the images, they need to be scrutinized, on their original size 2) everything i photographed gets edits in one form or another. 3) For those familiar with nikon D3-generation (or later) products, image quality has only gotten better.

Every time I take Z6 into my hand, I ask: will I stick to mirrorless and add to my arsenal or will I send it back?