( OUTDOOR WITHOUT EDIT ) Nikon z6 ii Videography Test in Wedding Video, Bridal Cinematography,Pre Wedding & Filmmaking

 With two processors comes the increased power to calculate autofocus movements. For me, it is these AF improvements that warrant the most attention when considering the Z6 II, as I think it is where there was the most room for improvement from the original model. Like the Z6, the Z6 II has 273 phase-detection AF points that cover around 90% of the frame – basically everything except the very edges. On paper little has changed in terms of specification, so it is with the increased processing power, and presumably, the new AF algorithm (which is available as a firmware update for the Z6), where the improvements will come from.

In single AF mode, the Z6 II is as fast and snappy as I would expect it to be. I didn’t find any issues using it and I would happily say that it matches the competition. One situation that is noticeably better is when shooting in low light. The Z6 II can AF at -4.5EV, which is a stop lower than the Z6. It can also now shoot as low as -6EV in a special Low Light setting. Nikon claims these figures are based on single spot AF and using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.

Without doing any stringent testing of this, what I did find was when shooting street scenes at night I didn’t experience any hunting that you would expect to get whilst occasionally framing the odd image. It is worth noting that the quoted -6EV matches the current ‘low-light King’ the Sony A7S III, which with only a 12.1-million-pixel full-frame sensor, has much larger photosites for gathering light. So hats off to Nikon for this feat.

Other improvements come with the Face and Eye Detection modes. More processing power increases the speed of recognition of these, and there is also Animal Eye AF, which came as a later firmware update to the Z6 and Z7. These modes are easily accessible from the ‘I’ quick menu where they can be chosen as companions to the Wide AF mode. This is much better than having them tucked away in the main camera menus or having to dedicate a custom button to switch Eye AF on or off.

I found that the Eye AF worked very well. It felt about as quick to detect and lock on to faces and eyes as the competitor cameras, such as the Sony A7 III. Of course, being able to draw a box on screen around an eye is very different from actually being able to focus on it, but again the Nikon Z6 II performed well when faced with the challenge of children running around, defaulting to Face detection where it couldn’t be sure of the eye and getting the vast majority of shots perfectly sharp.

So good is the eye detection that it even dealt with the challenge of focusing on the eye of my daughter whilst she was wearing a bright pink superhero mask, although it didn’t work 100% of the time. When the eye wasn’t detected the default face detection placed the focus probably around 1cm in front of the pupil, for a perfectly acceptable image. But to be able to shoot with a 50mm lens at f/1.4 and focus precisely on the eye of a superhero protecting her identity is impressive.

Shooting in AF-C using subject tracking via the touchscreen worked smoothly. Just touch the screen to place the yellow square over the subject you want to track and away it goes. There were a few times I noticed the back-and-forth wobble where the camera had obviously switched to contrast-detection AF, but again for moderately moving subjects, I found continuous AF worked well for a camera that Nikon is calling ‘The All-Rounder’.

If you are planning to shoot wildlife or maybe even sports, then it is the obvious choice in the Nikon Z system line-up. However, I still feel like there is more to come from this autofocus system. Nikon made firmware updates to the Z6 and Z7 II and I’m sure that with two processors there will be more to come from this AF system as more feedback is obtained from photographers. I also feel that there is room for a camera higher up in the range, along the lines of the Sony Alpha 9 II. Whilst the autofocus of the Z6 II is about on par with its peers, it still feels like there should be an elite-level camera for wildlife and sports comparable to the Nikon D6.

During my time using the Z6 II, and previously the Z6, I was very much reminded of my beloved Nikon D300. The Z6 II feels very much like the mirrorless successor of the D300, albeit with a full-frame rather than an APS-C size sensor. What I loved 10 years ago about the D300 was its versatility; it didn’t necessarily excel at any one thing, but could easily turn its hand to whatever you could throw at it. Given some tweaking of the exposure settings and some timing of when you pressed the shutter, you could always walk away with great images.

The Z6 II is in a similar place now, with its 24.5MP sensor resolving enough detail for the vast majority of enthusiast photographers. Landscape photographers wanting to make large prints, or wildlife photographers wanting room to crop, may benefit from the higher resolution of the Z7 II with its 45.7MP sensor, but for everyone else, the Z6 II will be fine.

I found the dynamic range to be comfortable enough to shoot landscape images, and on par with its competitors. One thing to note is that I found the evaluative Matrix metering to compensate quite a lot for a bright sky. I ended up dialing-in 0.3EV compensation for some landscape shots, and even then I felt I could have raised it 0.3EV more without damaging all but the brightest specular highlights. This does also come down to personal preference but is worth noting if you regularly use a priority shooting mode.


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