Melville, NY—Nikon Inc. unveiled its next-generation full-frame mirrorless cameras: the Nikon Z 7II and Z 6II. Both interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs) significantly improve upon the previous iterations by adding more power as well as more features.
The ultrahigh-resolution Z 7II is for those looking for impeccable details. It offers professionals and advanced photographers a sophisticated tool to capture immense resolution. Conversely, for dynamic creators who need a versatile device, the Z 6II balances performance and an expert-level multimedia feature set. Together, the Z 7II and Z 6II, along with new accessories, expand the Z series into a more robust mirrorless platform.
“As we evolve the Nikon Z series into the future, we continue to strengthen the platform; keeping the needs of our customers at the center of every new innovation and added feature,” said Jay Vannatter, executive vice president, Nikon Inc.
“These are the cameras that many have been waiting for from Nikon. The new Z 7II and Z 6II demonstrate our commitment to listening to customer feedback, while also establishing the new standard for performance, quality and versatility for every type of creator, photographer or filmmaker.”
Nikon Z Mount
The Nikon Z mount is larger than any other full-frame mount. As a result, it lets in more light for better image quality. The wider mount also allows for new concepts in optical design; it has given lens designers the flexibility to create Nikkor Z lenses with more edge-to-edge sharpness than previously possible.
Nikon Z 7II and Z 6II New Features & Upgrades
Moreover, at the heart of the Z 7II and Z 6II are two Expeed 6 image processors. They were added to turbocharge performance to improve processing speed as well as increase still burst capability. However, they also increase power efficiency.
The ILCs also boast an enhanced autofocus system to enable quick focus acquisition and subject tracking throughout the frame. For more precise autofocusing, eye- and face-detection AF are available in wide-area AF (L) mode. Consequently, it works to avoid focusing on distracting elements by isolating selected portions of an image. Both also have an improved low-light AF detection range to acquire subjects in challenging lighting.
The Z 6II and Z 7II are also the first Nikon cameras to support eye-detection AF and animal-detection AF with video recording. And in-camera vibration reduction (VR) provides camera-shake compensation equivalent to 5-stops.
Furthermore, expanding 4K UHD video capabilities, the Z 7II and Z 6II enhance video output with an increased frame rate of 4K (UHD) 60p. What’s more, while currently available in the Z 7II, the 4K 60p option will be available in a free Z 6II firmware upgrade in February 2021.
As a result of pro user feedback, the cameras also allow photographers to reverse the focus ring orientation on the fly. This benefits those who are used to manual focusing using traditional cine lenses. And for added flexibility in postproduction, 10-bit N-Log and HDR (HLG) output offer more detail, dynamic range and contrast in captured footage. In addition, an optional 12-bit ProRes RAW upgrade delivers greater creative control for professionals and advanced videographers.
Another improvement is the addition of dual memory card slots; there is one CFexpress (type B)/XQD slot and one SD card slot (UHS-II).
Nikon Z 7II
A powerful upgrade to the Nikon Z 7, the Z 7II is capable of capturing highly detailed portraits, landscapes, weddings, events and commercial photography. It features a 45.7-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor to also help capture ultra-shallow depth of field and clarity. Moreover, its clean native ISO range from ISO 64 to 25,600 offers the functional freedom to shoot at wide apertures in bright light or in a studio with minimal noise.
The camera also boasts a 10-fps maximum shooting speed at full resolution in continuous H (extended). In fact, the Z 7II can handle fast burst rates with more than triple (3.3x) the buffer capacity of the Z 7 (12-bit lossless compressed RAW).
What’s more, the Z 7II’s 493 on-sensor phase-detection autofocus points cover 90% of the frame, to quickly, accurately acquire subjects, even at its far edges. It can also acquire focus in half the light (-3 EV), making it a tool for low-light scenes.
The Nikon Z 7II will reach retail December 2020 in two configurations. The camera body alone will have a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,999.95. A one-lens kit with the Nikkor Z 24–70mm f/4 will sell for $3,599.95.
Nikon Z 6II
The Z 6II is the most versatile Z series camera yet; it balances speed, power and low-light ability. Notably, it provides advanced video features for creators who need pro-level performance.
The Z 6II employs a 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor and an impressive ISO range of ISO 100–51,200, which expands up to an ISO 204,800 equivalent. Additionally, thanks to the addition of dual Expeed 6 processors, the ILC provides fast 14-fps continuous shooting. It also has more than 5x the buffer capacity of the Z 6.
Its enhanced AF system features 273 on-sensor phase-detection autofocus points for subject acquisition and tracking throughout the frame. Capable of focusing in half the light (down to -4.5 EV), the Z 6II focuses in extreme low-light scenarios. As a result, it is an option for capturing nightscapes.
Moreover, building on the pro-caliber video capabilities of the Z 6, the Z 6II records 4K UHD video quality with full pixel readout. It is also capable of a variety of frame rates, including 4K UHD 60p with full pixel readout; this capability is via a firmware update scheduled for February 2021. It can also record 4K 30p video as well as Full HD 120p for slow motion effects.
Built with videographers in mind, the Z 6II’s AF speed and tracking sensitivity is adjustable to meet creative needs; its focus ring is also reversible. In addition, indicators for focus peaking, zebra stripes and timecodes help capture the best possible footage in-camera and simplify workflow.
The Nikon Z 6II will ship November 2020 in two configurations. Body only it will have an SRP of $1,999.95. A one-lens kit with the Nikkor Z 24–70mm f/4 will retail for $2,599.95.
More Shared Features
Furthermore, for both, 10-bit output to an external recorder with N-Log is possible. The ILCs also capture new HDR (HLG) video and output in 12-bit ProRes RAW with an optional upgrade.
For upgrade customers, when using the Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G HDR recorder, support is included for Blackmagic RAW. Nikon will provide this upgrade for existing customers who purchased a ProRes RAW upgrade for the Nikon Z 6 or Z 7.
The Z 6II and Z 7II also include in-camera exposure choices for up to 900 seconds; this permits the capture of super slow-shutter nighttime cityscapes and astrophotography.
In addition, the ILCs adopt the Z series’ magnesium alloy build and extensive weather sealing. They also retain user-focused ergonomics and an intuitive interface. Moreover, Nikon improved workflow with intuitive features and controls. The cameras enable iMenu access for autofocus modes, including the new wide-area AF (L) mode for people or animals. This permits users to quickly switch between controls while shooting.
Also new is the ability to enable USB power delivery while the cameras are in use. They draw power from the USB source first, to preserve the camera battery. Users may also charge the batter while the cameras are turned off (when using the EN-EL15b/EN-EL15c batteries).
Furthermore, the Z 6II and Z 7II work with the Nikon Webcam Utility software beta for webcam functionality. When using this function with a USB-C cable, power is supplied to the camera while using it as a webcam, making turnkey webcam functionality as easy as plugging in a USB-C cable.
Plus, in addition to file transfer and remote camera controls, users can employ the Nikon SnapBridge app to streamline firmware updates; it will wirelessly send the latest firmware file directly to the Z 7II or Z 6II.
The Expanding Z Ecosystem
In addition, Nikon is expanding the Nikkor Z lens lineup to complement these latest mirrorless cameras. There are 16 Nikkor Z lenses currently available, including the recently announced Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S and 14–24mm f/2.8 S. The lineup will expand to include a total of 24 optics by the end of 2021.
The company is also planning more accessories to join its new MB-N11 power battery pack with vertical grip. For the Z 6II and Z 7II. The new grip has convenient external controls for additional manual operation and customization. It also offers more comfortable portrait orientation shooting.
While battery life is extended to 1.9x (CIPA standard), the grip includes a hot-swappable chamber. The chamber permits users to remove or replace one battery while shooting, for uninterrupted power. The vertical grip also adds a secondary USB-C port for stand-alone charging and simultaneous communication with other devices. The MB-N11 battery pack with vertical grip will ship November 2020 for an SRP of $399.95.
Additionally, Nikon announced new wireless transceivers for remote triggering and radio-controlled lighting: the WR-R11a and WR-R11b. The wireless transceiver units use radio frequencies to communicate and offer minimal release lag when shooting wirelessly. They are also an option for those who use one or more remote flashes (AWL). The user can control additional remote cameras simultaneously using the WR-T10 remote, or via a main camera equipped with the WR-R11a/b.
The WR-R11a uses a 10-pin connector; the WR-R11b connects through the accessory terminal on Z series mirrorless cameras and select DSLRs. The units can also trigger Nikon radio-controlled flash units, such as the SB-5000 Speedlight, without an additional receiver unit.
The WR-R11a and WR-R11b (sold separately) will reach retail December 2020. Each will have an SRP of $199.95 (controller only). Nikon will also make them available as a set, including the controller and the WR-T10 wireless remote controller, for $279.95.