Meeting an Old Friend – Nikon Z6

NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/16, 1/25 sec, ISO400)

Sometimes you meet an old friend and even though you haven’t seen him for years you talk like if the last time you did was yesterday. I had exactly the same feeling when I took the first pictures with the Nikon Z6.

I used to be a Nikon shooter. A Nikon was the first camera I bought with my own money. Before that I shot old manual SLRs that I borrowed from my father. This first camera was a Nikon F801 that just came out a couple of months before. We write the year 1988. Over 10 years later I upgraded to a Nikon F100 which happened to be my last film camera.

In 2002 I got of a second hand Nikon D1 and finally switched to digital. Then D2H, D200 followed before I switched to the Canon 5D. My last Nikon was a D300 that I got for my bird photography.

About another 14 years later I hold a Nikon Z6 in my hand and it feels like coming home. The ergonomics of a Nikon is just perfect. The body fits like a glove and the layout makes sense.

NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/4, 1/800 sec, ISO100)
NIKON Z 6 (70mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO100)

Right after the Z6 came out I handled one in a camera store in Tokyo. I handled the Z6, the Sony A7RII or III and the Canon R. The Nikon felt by far the best. I also remember that I wasn’t a  fan of the lock mechanism of the 24-70/4 but liked its size and weight.

I still love how the camera feels and I’m still no fan of the lock mechanism of the 24-70 but everything else is close to perfect. This is a camera of a company that knows photography inside out. Just like Fuji. A Sony A7XX might be more advanced regarding AF performance and some features but this Nikon Z6 feels so much better.

And while AF might be a step behind Sony it is still way ahead of my Fuji X-Pro2. And so is the Auto-ISO menu which on top of all the usual settings also chooses the shutter speed according to the focal length and even lets you fine tune this to shorter or longer shutter times. When the camera detects an eye it also automatically compensates for strong backlight and exposes for the face.

You can hand this to a person that never held a camera in his hand and he will still get perfectly sharp and perfectly exposed images. Impressive! In that regard the Nikon Z6 is like an iPhone only that it has a full frame sensor.

NIKON Z 6 (48mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO250)
NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/16, 1/25 sec, ISO250)
NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO100)

Does this mean that I will switch back to Nikon and to full frame after shooting with Fuji X exclusively for more than 5 years? No or at least not now. Never say never again.

This camera is a gift. It will stay with me until Christmas and then it will find a new home. It’s a present for another Nikon shooter. My mother in law. She shoots with Nikon since the D70. Her current camera is a Nikon D90 so this will be a massive upgrade. Double the resolution and double the sensor size, modern AF with face and eye detection for people and pets, excellent video capability and a much better noise performance and a much better dynamic range. To use the smartphone comparison again: This is like upgrading from an iPhone 4 straight to an iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s a completely different world! But because it is still a Nikon I’m sure she will feel right at home. She can even use her old lenses beside the excellent 24-70/4 because I also got the FTZ converter.

I got both camera and lens second hand at a very reasonable price so in case she doesn’t like it I can sell it or even better keep it. 😉 I really love this camera.

NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/16, 1/25 sec, ISO400)
NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/9, 1/25 sec, ISO180)

So I’m afraid that Christmas will come very early this year. Until then I will shoot with it as much as possible so that I can give technical support if necessary. And of course also to see if I have made a mistake by selling my full frame gear more than 5 years ago.

In my next blogpost I will put the Nikon Z6 next to my Fuji X-H1 and Fuji X-Pro2 and will let you know my thoughts.

NIKON Z 6 (24mm, f/9, 1/50 sec, ISO100)