Last Updated on 02/21/2020 by Mark Beckenbach
With the latest firmware update for the Nikon Z6, it’s finally starting to perform like a serious camera.
As much as Nikon sometimes strikes me as a company that’s lost its way, I have to give them credit for the latest firmware update. Firmware 3.0 for the Nikon Z6 doesn’t only greatly enhance the speed of the camera, it also gives it the much anticipated Animal AF detection system. Photographers who buy the camera will be happy to know it works with dogs. In fact, we tested it with the Nikon 24mm f1.8 Z series lens and were pretty surprised by how it performed. Though the surprise comes with mostly good news to spread, it’s still not perfect and Nikon has some work left to do.
So, in quick summation, here’s what happened:
- The Nikon Z6 acquired focus very quickly on Kodak the dog
- It caught his eye
- It recognized that he’s a dog
- It successfully and quickly tracked him as I moved from left to right
- It did pretty badly as he moved closer to the camera to grab a treat from me
- When the Nikon Z6 tracked him moving from side to side, it wasn’t always doing so accurately
We’ve got a few good things with firmware 3.0 and things that still need to be fixed. But, what’s more important is that the Nikon Z6 is now not the camera with some of the slowest autofocusing in the Mirrorless world. (That prize goes to the entire L mount alliance still.) I tested it alongside the Panasonic S1 and the Panasonic struggled like the little camera that couldn’t. That’s super disappointing for such an expensive system and one with such stellar lenses. Despite this, Nikon needs to pick up the pace on autofocus tracking accuracy. I found the same problem with the 85mm f1.8 Z when I tried to photograph a model walking towards me a while ago.
Would I buy a Nikon Z6? Still, I really wouldn’t. They’re lightweight, weather-sealed, and have small lenses, but why would I when Sony delivers everything I’d want or need even better with more lenses? And why wouldn’t I go for Canon that has better lenses overall and far better autofocus? Or, why not go for Fujifilm that has an incredibly unique image quality and the size advantage? Sure, Nikon has better bodies than Canon and Fujifilm in some ways. But in 2020, I’m not buying into a camera system for just the bodies. The idea of buying a camera has to be tossed out the window; you buy into a system, and everything has to work. It’s the reason why people adore Apple and Google products so much.