August 23, 2018

Nikon Z7 & Z6 Mirrorless Cameras Officially Announced

After weeks of speculation and rumors, here's what we know about the Nikon Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras. 

Nikon has been around since 1917, introducing the Nikon I in 1948, the Nikon F in 1959 (its first SLR camera with interchangeable lenses) and the Nikon D1 in 1999. The D850 has become its DSLR flagship.

Now the company is going mirrorless with its Z7 and Z6 cameras and new Z mount lenses. During a live stream event, Nikon introduced both cameras, four new lenses, and a new lens adapter into its ecosystem while teasing a future lens roadmap.

Sensor

Both Z7 and Z6 have a backside illuminated FX-format CMOS sensor (35.9mm x  23.9 mm) and tout its latest image processing engine EXPEED 6, which Nikon says "subjects are rendered more sharply than ever before" and "noise is also effectively reduced." The focal flange distance is 16mm and the inner mount diameter measures 55mm, allowing for apertures as fast as f/0.95 (a NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens is in development, but more on that later).

Both cameras feature focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels— 493 for the Z7 and 273 for the Z6—covering "approximately 90% of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically." The AF switches automatically between focal-plane phase-detection AF and contrast-detect AF. 

A mid-range sharpening tool has been added to Picture Control. This allows shooters to make "various textures within the screen sharper or softer, for both still images and movies." You must be shooting at "High Quality" in video mode to use the tool. 

Nikon
Nikon Z7 & Z6
Z7 v Z6 Comparison 

Both cameras are the same size and weight, have completely silent shooting modes, and feature a weather-sealed construction. Both have a 3.2" tilting touchscreen LCD (2.1 million-dot) with a 170° viewing angle, an OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and 0.8x magnification, top display, built-in Bluetooth and Wifi for data transfer, and a single QXD memory card slot. 

Additionally, a 5-axis stabilizer is outfitted on both, along with 4K UHD 30p, FHD 120p internal recording, a new N-log color profile that's supposed to have 12 stops of dynamic range, and the ability to send a 4:2:2 10-bit signal through its HDMI output. If you're wondering if you can simultaneously record internally and externally, it's unfortunately not possible.

There's also a 3.5mm audio input, Active D-Lighting, electronic vibration reduction, and focus peaking for 4K UHD and full HD movie recording. Here are the main spec differences: 

Z7: 45.7 MP, 493 AF Points, ISO 64-25600, 9 FPS

Z6: 24.5 MP, 273 AF Points, 100-51200 ISO, 11 FPS

https://youtu.be/kMXNWl5U30Q

Video

In terms of video specs, both cameras shoot the same resolutions and frame rates: full frame, no crop up to 4K UHD 30p, and full HD at 120p. For 4K UHD, you get frame rates of 30, 25, and 24. For full HD, you get those and 50, 60, 100, and 120 fps. Slow-mo offers 30 fps x4 25 fps x4, and 24 fps x5 respectively. Video files are MOV/MP4 with a H.264/MPEG-4 compression. Nikon also mentions that the camera offers timecode support. 

https://youtu.be/PsS4m75s61Y

Lenses

Three new lenses were announced: NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S, NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, and NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S. All three can be used directly with the Z mount system with more in development. Each lens received a new designation grade dubbed S-Line which Nikon says "clear stricter quality standards." 

Nikon
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 SCredit: Nikon
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S - $999

  • 0.3 m minimum focus distance 
  • ED glass element, an aspherical ED lens element, three aspherical lens elements
  • Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghost and flare
  • Weather sealed
  • Fluorine coat 

Nikon
NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 SCredit: Nikon
NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S - $845

  • Two ED glass elements, three aspherical lens elements
  • Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghost and flare
  • Weather-sealed

Nikon
NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 SCredit: Nikon
NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S - $599

  • Two ED glass elements, two aspherical lens elements
  • Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghost and flare
  • New, powerful stepping motor for improved AF control 
  • Weather-sealed

Nikon
NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S NoctCredit: Nikon
NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct (in development, available 2019)

  • Designed based on the original AI Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 from 1977
  • Manual focus lens
  • 58mm
  • f/0.95

Nikon
FTZ AdapterCredit: Nikon
FTZ Adapter

Confirming what we learned from an earlier teaser video, those with F-mount lenses will be able to adapt to the Z7 & Z6 cameras via the FTZ adapter. During the presentation, they mentioned roughly 360 F lenses will be compatible.

AE or AF/AE shooting will be available along with its in-camera VR (Vibration Reduction) in video or still mode. 

Nikon
Lens Road MapCredit: Nikon

Price & Availability

The Z7 will be available in September for $3,399. and the Z6 slated for October for $1,995. A 24-70mm kit will be available for $3,999 and $2,599. The lenses: 24-70mm ($999) and 35mm ($845) will be available in September. The 50mm ($599) will launch in October. As for the FTZ adapter, it runs $250. 

Nikon Z7
Nikon Z7
Nikon Z7
Nikon Z7

Z7 Tech Specs: 

  • 45.7 MP
  • 493 AF Points
  • ISO 64-25600 
  • 9 FPS
  • 5-axis stabilization
  • 4K UHD 30p, FHD 120P
  • 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output
  • N-Log color profile

Z6 Tech Specs:

  • 24.5 MP
  • 273 AF Points
  • 100-51200 ISO 
  • 11 FPS
  • 5-axis stabilization
  • 4K UHD 30p, FHD 120P
  • 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output
  • N-Log color profile

Your Comment

7 Comments

Who ever did the color grading on that N Log video didn't do a very good job. The highlights are blown out all over the place. It makes it seem like this camera has no DR.

August 23, 2018 at 11:44AM, Edited August 23, 11:44AM

0
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Alex Alva
928

Yeah, wtf. That color grading was terrible. Looks muddy in some shots, over saturated in others, and the highlights are pushed way too high. I’m always confused when camera companies release promo videos that are shot poorly. That video did this new camera no service at all and could actually dissuade buyers in considering it.

August 23, 2018 at 12:00PM

4
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avatar
Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
724

Basically both videos (the generic announcement and the one about video/n-log) look very crudely and cheaply made. Terrible direction, bad acting, cheap overused 3D graphics, etc. Very poor quality stuff...

August 23, 2018 at 12:41PM

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Wow, yeah Nikon Log demo is horrendous. That 10bit architecture looks promising, what a missed opportunity.

August 23, 2018 at 1:17PM

5
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avatar
Homer Gaijin
Director/DP - DI Supervisor at Panavision
86

this isnt graded, they just chucked a dodgy film lut on everything.

August 25, 2018 at 5:11AM

2
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keith
427

Also it has enabled timecode but I don't see how that matters when there's no SDI. You can't jam timecode via HDMI.

One other thing is that bitrate is a little too low on that 4k codec. Is that why the video is so horrendous? Does their codec fall apart easily?
10 bit HDMI is cool though.

August 23, 2018 at 1:22PM, Edited August 23, 1:22PM

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Alex Alva
928

I think Nikon does incredible work on the photography side of the house but they just cannot seem to get their video to look good

August 23, 2018 at 9:02PM, Edited August 23, 9:02PM

4
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