Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II
- Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II: Overview
- Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II: Imaging Performance
- Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II: Video Performance
- Final Thoughts on the Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II
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The Nikon Z6, and its successor, the Nikon Z6 II, are two of the most popular hybrid digital cameras on sale today. And if you are new to photography or trying to upgrade your current camera, they are two powerful and affordable options you absolutely should consider investing in.
In this Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II camera guide, we make a detailed head-to-head comparison of these advanced Nikon Z mirrorless cameras to determine which is the best Nikon camera. We compare them in terms of specs and features, photo performance, video performance, and more! Furthermore, because of innovative online platforms like MPB, buying a used Nikon Z6 or a used Nikon Z6 II has never been cheaper and easier.
MPB is a trustworthy and reliable online platform selling used photo and video gear at unbeatable prices. All their cameras and lenses are rigorously hand-inspected by skilled product specialists and backed by six-month warranties, allowing you to make your purchases confidently and worry-free.
We have bought, sold, and traded in countless photography equipment throughout the years using MPB’s online platform and have always been thrilled with the end result. That’s why we couldn’t be prouder to recommend them here today. With that said, let’s dive in and discover which of these great mirrorless cameras best matches your budget and needs in 2023!
Check out the video above by Jared Polin to learn more about the similarities and differences between these two amazing cameras.
Table of Contents
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II: Overview
The Nikon Z6 debuted in 2018, and the Z6 II came out in 2020. Internally, both cameras boast a high-resolution 24.5-megapixel Full-Frame BSI-CMOS sensor (so if you’re looking for a Nikon film camera, you’re out of luck!). The Z6 pairs the sensor with one Expeed 6 image processor, while the Z6 II has dual Expeed 6 processors. The extra processor increases the camera's overall speed everywhere from start time to autofocus.
Speaking of autofocus, both of these best Nikon camera options utilize a hybrid AF system and share the same amount of phase detection focus points – 273. While that’s way fewer points than the 693 on the similarly priced Sony Alpha A7 III, the AF is still very effective, and subject tracking is solid. The one big difference in AF is that the Z6 II has face/eye-detection autofocus (for people and animals) when selecting the “Wide Area” AF mode.
Nikon Z6 II
Stylistically, the two cameras are very similar. Their dimensions are nearly identical (the Z6 II is 2mm thicker), and they weigh nearly the same (the Z6 II is 30g heavier). Nikon made these tiny differences to incorporate the new EN-EL15C battery, which lasts 100 shots longer than the old battery.
A few more notable similarities include the tilting touchscreen LCD, the button layout, the customization options, and the menu system. Alternatively, one important design difference is that the Z6 II has dual memory card slots, whereas the Z6 only has one.
Here’s an in-depth look at the key features and specs of the Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II to show how these best Nikon camera options stack up:
Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II: Imaging Performance
When it comes to still photography, these two cameras are dead even in my eyes (although the Z6 II does have some minor upgrades). That’s no knock against the newer model, though, because the Z6 was already one of the highest-performing mirrorless cameras for photography on the market!
Pictures from both cameras have excellent image quality, regardless of whether you shoot JPEGs or RAW images. JPEGs have slightly bolder out-of-the-box colors courtesy of an algorithm that auto-sharpens and boosts the color science of photos. On the other hand, RAW files have a greater dynamic range, save more internal data, and are better for editing.
Nikon Z6 II
The only substantial difference between the Z6 vs Z6 II is in terms of max continuous shooting speed. While the original camera tops out at an impressive 12 frames per second (fps), the Z6 II shoots at speeds as high as 14 fps. That makes it the superior camera if you are a sports, action, adventure, or wildlife photographer.
Other imaging similarities worth highlighting are that the two cameras share the same high-resolution 3.68M-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF), they have huge native ISO ranges, and they excel in low-light conditions.
Which is the best Nikon camera for imaging? It’s a tie.
Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II: Video Performance
Nikon Z6 II
Here is where the Nikon Z6 II finally starts to separate itself from its predecessor. If you’ve read reviews or camera comparisons written right after the Z6 II debuted, most say these two Nikon cameras have the same 4K video capabilities. And while that was true initially, that’s no longer the case!
Thanks to a firmware update in 2021, the Z6 can now record UHD 4K video at 24, 30, and 60p frame rates. That’s double the max speed of the Nikon Z6, which films 4K at 24 and 30 fps. The one downside of the 4K/60p video is that the Z6 II applies a significant 1.5x crop factor to the footage, which limits its wide-angle shooting capabilities.
Another advantage of shooting video with the Z6 II is that Nikon expanded its video output options. While both cameras can output 10-bit Log footage, the Z6 II also has professional video formats such as N-Log, HLG HDR video, and 12-bit line-skipped 4K Raw. After export, you can encode the footage as BlackMagic Raw or ProRes Raw codecs.
Shared video features include 5-Axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), beautiful slow-motion video, and advanced audio controls. The IBIS enhances low-light performance and reduces camera shake, allowing you to record stunningly smooth handheld video. Slo-mo clips are filmed in 1080p/120p. And the audio controls help you capture crystal-clear sound.
Which is the best Nikon camera for video? The Z6 II takes it!
Final Thoughts on the Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z6 II
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to read our Nikon Z6 vs Z6 II camera comparison guide. While the two cameras are similar in many ways, we feel the professional upgrades of the Z6 II make it worth the higher price and worthy of the title of the best Nikon camera (at least in this head-to-head matchup).
With that said, the Z6 is no slouch and is a fantastic option for people on a budget!
Finally, here’s a list of a few of our favorite used Nikon Z Fit Lenses for photo and video to pair with your new-to-you Nikon Z mirrorless camera. You can now find incredibly low prices on all these lenses and more at MPB!