Sadly, The Nikon Z6 II and Nikon Z7 II Aren’t Innovative

Both the Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon Z7 II aren’t doing anything unique for Nikon.

While in the call with Nikon the other afternoon, I showed visible excitement for these new cameras. The Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon Z7 II can probably expect a refresh in another two years. But honestly, I think next might be a better choice. As the presentation went on, they kept listing cool and exciting features, but I began to realize they were all things other manufacturers have. In some ways, the current iteration of Nikon feels like Sony Part II. This barely resembles the innovative company I knew for the better part of the past decade. The Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon Z7 II aren’t doing anything to change the game. Instead, the company is relying on their lenses and their image quality to keep up. Sadly, I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

Here are the specs for the Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon Z7 II.

Nikon z6 II Tech Specs

  • 95% or more identical to the original
  • 24.5 MP
  • 4k 60p in full pixel readout
  • 14 fps in single-shot 12 fps in tracking
  • 273 AF points
  • ISO 100-51200
  • Dual Xpeed 6 processors
  • XQD/CFe and UHS II SD
  • New vertical battery grip
  • USB C charging
  • New battery with more juice but the same shape
  • Over 3x buffer capacity
  • Even more reduced blackout time
  • Face detection for humans and animals in wide AF, brought onto the surface level menus
  • – 4.5 EV Autofocus
  • 900-second exposure capabilities
  • You can finally reverse the manual focus direction
  • Finally, you can upgrade the firmware via the Snapbridge app
  • Contrast/and Phase-detection. Pinpoint is forced contrast detection
  • 5 axis IS
  • Multiple exposure editing
  • Optical black magic raw support
  • In-camera time-lapse movie mode
  • Wifi transfer direct to PC or mac
  • 3.6 VGA EVF
  • 2.100K Dot LCD
  • You can have nothing on the screen if you wish except the photo
  • CF-Express type B
  • $1,999.95 body only in November

Nikon z7 II Tech Specs

  • 95% or more identical to the original
  • 4k 60p inside but cropped to 93% of full-frame
  • 45.7MP
  • 493 focus points
  • ISO 64 native to 25,600
  • 10fps
  • Dual Xpeed 6 processors
  • XQD/CFe and UHS II SD
  • New vertical battery grip
  • USB C charging
  • New battery with more juice but the same shape
  • Over 3x buffer capacity
  • Even more reduced blackout time
  • Face detection for humans and animals in wide AF brought onto the surface level menus
  • -3 EV Autofocus
  • 900-second exposure capabilities
  • You can finally reverse the manual focus direction
  • Finally, you can upgrade the firmware via the Snapbridge app
  • Contrast/and Phase-detection. Pinpoint is forced contrast detection
  • 5 axis IS
  • Multiple exposure editing
  • Optical black magic raw support
  • In-camera time-lapse movie mode
  • Wifi transfer direct to PC or mac
  • 3.6 VGA EVF
  • 2.100K Dot LCD
  • You can have nothing on the screen if you wish except the photo
  • CF-Express type B
  • $2,999.95 body only in December

Our Thoughts

Before I sound incredibly salty, I’m going to make some very positive comments about Nikon. Their cameras feel great in the hand. They’re showing that they’re trying with firmware updates. The Z mount lenses are awesome. Quite honestly, I’d rely on them for professional work: they’ve improved that much. So if you haven’t gotten into the mirrorless game yet, Nikon could be an option. You’ve also got fantastic image quality. The Nikon Z50 has the cleanest high ISO output for an APS-C sensor we’ve seen. But they’re not doing anything to make me want to leave Canon, Sony, or Fujifilm. It used to be that I spent more time cleaning Sony’s sensors than actually shooting with them. But that’s mostly changed with recent cameras. And for me, it’s incredibly weird. Nikon still doesn’t feel like they have a niche or that there’s anything special to them. On paper, the cameras seem like an iteration of something Sony would make. But in the hand, the Nikon Z series feels a million times better. The performance still isn’t as good as Canon or Sony though.

It’s been past due for Nikon to take the gloves off in the camera wars. All these companies are competing for a shrinking market. None of them are finding ways to appeal to newer masses. But more people picked up cameras out of boredom during the pandemic. Still, I’m sticking to my guns. Cameras need to follow the way of the watch. They need to become cult classics and develop a similar following. The affordable stuff still needs to offer a whole lot. The higher-end stuff should cater to the professionals. And there really should be a market for the luxury shooter.

Personally speaking, I think that we should see a Nikon Zf. It would be a mirrorless version of the Nikon Df. Or, we should see a smaller version of the Nikon Df that’s similar to the original F mount cameras. I’m sure Nikon could do it and make it a novelty product. This may in some ways sound crazy. I think that there are too many good cameras and lenses. But there aren’t enough positively exceptional cameras and lenses.