- EXPEED 6 image processor
- 3.69-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD with 2.1-million-dots
- OLED top plate display
- 5-axis Sensor-Shift image stabilization
- Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
- Magnesium alloy body
- Full weather sealing
- Smartphone remote control
- One XQD memory card slot
- 200,000 shutter life
I think we can all agree that Nikon knocked it out of the park with their Z6 and Z7 cameras.
I've field tested both of these rigs and found them to have many similarities, yet enough differences that make them distinct cameras on their own with distinct advantages over the other.
In this article, however, I want to put these cameras head-to-head on a number of different metrics so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your needs.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Essential Specs
In looking at the primary specifications of these cameras, you'll note a lot of similarities. In fact, both cameras share the following specs:
Additionally, the Nikon Z6 and Z7 are the same size and weight with the same dimensions, the same grip, the same button layout, and offer the same functionality in terms of ease of use and handling.
Both cameras use the new Z-mount lenses from Nikon as well.
So, at least from these perspectives, these cameras are all but indistinguishable.
There are, however, some significant differences.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7 Sensor
Though both of these cameras have 35mm high-resolution backside-illuminated sensors, the Z6 has "only" 24.5-megapixels while the Z7 has 45.7-megapixels.
It's important to note that the Z6's sensor has a low-pass filter and the Z7's does not.
This is important because the lack of a low-pass in the Z7 means its sensor produces images with improved details and added sharpness. See the Z7 in action in the video below by AdoramaTV:
In that regard, the Z7 is a better camera from an image quality standpoint. This isn't to say that the Z6 isn't also capable of producing beautifully detailed, sharp photos, but the Z7 is a step above.
Winner: Nikon Z7. If you intend to create large prints, its sensor is better equipped to create the image files needed to do so.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Autofocus
Both the Z6 and the Z7 sport a hybrid autofocus system that makes use of contrast-detect and phase-detect autofocus points. These autofocus systems have identical 90-percent sensor coverage, multiple settings to customize the focus area, and excellent subject-tracking performance.
Additionally, both cameras have face detection focus for both still photography and video.
The major difference is in the number of autofocus points. The Z6 is well-equipped with 273 autofocus points, but the Z7 has 220 more for a total of 493.
So, on paper, the Z7 would be the camera to get if you're looking for premium autofocus performance.
However, most photographers won't notice a difference between these two cameras from an autofocus standpoint. After all, once you get into the hundreds of AF points, you've got plenty of capability!
Winner: Nikon Z7. The nod goes to the Z7 simply for the sheer number of AF points, but the Z6 is no slouch.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Continuous Shooting Speed
These cameras are both equipped with superb continuous shooting speeds - the Z6 clocks in at 12 fps while the Z7 offers a more than respectable 9 fps.
Again, most photographers won't notice a difference in performance here, but if you're a sports or wildlife photographer, that extra 3 fps can make a world of difference.
Having said that, both of these cameras have some idiosyncrasies that make their continuous shooting speeds not all that great in practice.
First, both cameras have a minuscule buffer, so neither camera can hold their maximum shooting speeds for more than a couple of seconds before significant slowdown occurs.
Second, both of these cameras lock the exposure before continuous shooting commences, meaning, if you need to reset the exposure, you'll have to wait until burst shooting ends.
Winner: Nikon Z6. That extra 3 fps wins it for the Z6.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Video Capabilities
Aside from their sensor resolution, perhaps the biggest difference between these cameras is in their video capabilities.
I dive deep into this topic in my article on filmmaking with the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, so for a full comparison, check that out.
For our purposes, here, just know that the Z6 is a much better camera for shooting video.
Both cameras have 4K UHD recording at 30 fps and 1080p video at 120 fps.
However, the Z6 is capable of shooting full frame video and the Z7 is not. Instead, the Z7 shoots 4K UHD video with a significant crop, which means reduced video quality.
Get a detailed look at the Nikon Z6 in the video above by AdoramaTV.
Winner: Nikon Z6. It's hard to beat full frame 4K UHD!
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Price
Since these cameras are so close on so many measures, it might come down to price as the determining factor in your decision.
That's obviously not a small difference...
For some shooters, the traits that make the Nikon Z7 a better camera for some photography pursuits are worth the additional $1,400.00. For many other photographers, though, the added expense cannot be justified.
Winner: Nikon Z6. It's a fantastic camera with an excellent price.
Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7: Which is Best for You?
As noted earlier, there are plenty of features common to both of these cameras that make them indistinguishable in many ways.
But as we've seen in this head-to-head comparison, the Z7 has a more resolute sensor that results in better image quality. This makes it a better choice for landscape photographers and portrait photographers that want superb detail and the ability to make huge prints.
However, if video or continuous shooting speed are high on your list of priorities, the Z6 is clearly the better choice with 12 fps continuous shooting and full frame video.
Ultimately, either of these cameras is well worth the investment. The one you get will most likely depend on the purpose for which you need it and/or the size of your budget.