Nikon Canada Inc. has unveiled its latest Z series full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z 7II and Z 6II, which add more power and features compared to previous generation models.
The Nikon Z mount is larger than any other full-frame mount, says Nikon, letting in significantly more light for the best possible image quality. The wider mount also allows for new concepts in optical design. These new cameras offer performance upgrades with the new cameras.
At the heart of both cameras are two EXPEED 6 image processors, which boost performance, improve processing speed, and increase burst capability for stills while also increasing power efficiency.
Both feature updated autofocus systems and can quickly acquire focus and track subjects throughout the frame. For more precise autofocusing, Eye and Face-Detection AF is now available in the Wide-Area AF (L) mode, which works to avoid focusing on distracting elements by isolating selected portions of an image. Additionally, both models have an improved low-light AF detection range that is capable of acquiring subjects in challenging lighting.
Both enhance video output with an increased frame rate of 4K (UHD) 60p, plus Eye-Detection AF mode when recording video. While currently available in the Z 7II, the 4K 60p option is planned to be available in a free firmware upgrade for the Z 6II in February 2021.
As a result of pro user feedback, the models also allow users to reverse the focus ring orientation on the fly, benefitting those who are used to manual focusing using traditional cine lenses on set. For added flexibility in post-production, 10-bit N-Log and HDR (HLG)1 output offers more detail, dynamic range, and contrast in captured footage, while the optional 12-bit ProRes RAW upgrade2 delivers greater creative control for professionals and advanced videographers.
The cameras retain robust weather sealing and an intuitive interface as well as improvements like dual memory card slots, with one CFexpress (type B)/XQD slot and one SD card slot (UHS-II). There’s also a new optional MB-N11 battery pack with vertical grip.
As an upgrade to the Nikon Z 7, the Z 7II is designed for capturing detailed portraits, landscapes, weddings, events, and commercial photography. It has a 45.7MP backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor to help capture detail, ultra-shallow depth of field, and clarity. The clean native ISO range from ISO 64 to 25,600 offers freedom to shoot at wide apertures in bright light or in-studio with minimal noise.
With up to 10 fps maximum shooting speed at full resolution in Continuous H (extended), the Z 7II can handle fast burst rates with more than triple (3.3x) the buffer capacity of the Z 7 (in 12-bit lossless compressed RAW).
The Z 7II’s 493 on-sensor phase-detect autofocus points cover 90% of the frame, quickly and accurately acquiring subjects, even at its far edges. The Z 7II is capable of acquiring focus in half the light (as low as -3 EV5), making it the reliable tool for low-light scenes such as weddings and indoor events.
The Z 6II builds on the video capabilities of the Z 6. Capable of recording 4K UHD video quality with full pixel readout, it is capable of a variety of frame rates, including 4K UHD 60p with full pixel readout, which is planned to be available in February 2021 via a firmware update. It is also capable of 4K 30p, as well as Full HD 120p for slow motion.
Built with videographers in mind, the Z 6II’s AF speed and tracking sensitivity is adjustable to meet creative needs, while the focus ring is also reversible. Useful indicators for focus peaking, zebra stripes and timecodes help capture the best possible footage in-camera and simplify workflow.
For both models, 10-bit output to an external recorder with N-Log is possible as well as the capture of new HDR (HLG) video and output in 12-bit ProRes RAW with the optional upgrade. For upgrade customers, additional support will also be included for Blackmagic RAW when using the Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G HDR recorder. This upgrade will also be provided for existing customers who have already purchased a ProRes RAW upgrade for the Nikon Z 6 or Z 77.
The Z 6II and Z 7II are the first Nikon cameras to support Eye-Detection AF and Animal-Detection AF with video recording, enabling continuous focus on the eyes of humans, dogs and cats.
The Z 6II features a 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor and an ISO range from ISO 100–51,200, expandable up to ISO 204,800 equivalent.
Thanks to the addition of dual EXPEED 6 Processors, the Z 6II boasts a fast 14 fps continuous shooting speed, providing quick performance for capturing action, with more than 3.5x the buffer capacity of the Z 64.
The Z 6II’s enhanced AF system features 273 on-sensor phase-detect autofocus points for easy subject acquisition and tracking throughout the frame, including at the edges. Capable of focusing in half the light (down to -4.5 EV5), the Z 6II easily acquires focus in extreme low light scenarios, making it an ideal option for capturing nightscapes and events.
Both the Z 7II and Z 6II adopt the Z series’ durable magnesium alloy build and extensive weather-sealed design for all-around protection in rugged environments. They enable convenient iMenu access for autofocus modes such as the new Wide-Area AF (L) mode for people or animals, with built-in Eye and Face-Detect autofocus, allowing users to quickly switch between controls while shooting.
USB power delivery can be enabled while the cameras are in use, drawing power from the USB source first, to preserve camera battery or charging while the camera is turned off (when using the EN-EL15b or EN-EL15c battery).
The Z 6II and Z 7II also include in-camera exposure choices for up to 900 seconds for capturing super slow-shutter nighttime cityscapes and astrophotography.
Both the Z 6II and Z 7II are compatible with the Nikon Webcam Utility software beta, ensuring seamless webcam functionality for all occasions. When using this function with a USB-C cable, power can be supplied to the camera to power it while using it as a webcam, making turnkey webcam functionality as easy as plugging in a USB-C cable.
In addition to its seamless file transfer and remote camera control, the Nikon SnapBridge app can be used to streamline the firmware update process by wirelessly sending the latest firmware file directly to the Z 7II or Z 6II for updating, no card reader or computer necessary.
Portions of the information display can be hidden with still-image shooting and video recording, allowing an unobstructed view of the scene.
In-camera vibration reduction (VR) provides camera-shake compensation equivalent to 5-stops.
Complementing the cameras are 16 NIKKOR Z lenses that are currently available, including the recently announced NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S and 14-24mm f/2.8 S. The lineup will expand to include a total of 24 models by the end of 2021.
The ecosystem is also expanding with more accessories, including the addition of the new MB-N11 Power Battery Pack with vertical grip for the Z 6II and Z 7II. This new grip features external controls for additional manual operation and customization, along with more comfortable portrait orientation shooting. While battery life is extended up to 1.9×10 (CIPA standard), the battery grip also includes a hot-swappable chamber, granting users the ability to remove or replace one battery while shooting for uninterrupted power- a true benefit for content creation. The vertical grip also adds a secondary USB-C port for standalone charging and simultaneous communication with other devices.
Additionally, Nikon has announced new wireless transceivers for remote triggering and radio-controlled lighting, the WR-R11a and WR-R11b. The new wireless transceiver units use radio frequencies to communicate and are designed for users who need minimal release lag when shooting wirelessly, or those that use one or more remote flashes (AWL). The user can control additional remote cameras simultaneously using the WR-T10 remote, or via a main camera equipped with the WR-R11a/b. The WR-R11a uses a 10-pin connector, while the WR-R11b connects through the accessory terminal that can be found on Z series mirrorless cameras and select DSLRs. The units can also trigger Nikon radio-controlled flash units, such as the popular SB-5000 Speedlight, without the need for an additional receiver unit. Engineered with a new hinged design, the WR-R11a increases durability when attached to a camera.
The Nikon Z 7II will be available in December 2020 in two configurations: body-only for an MSRP of $4,199.95 and a one-lens kit with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 for an MSRP of $4,999.95. The Nikon Z 6II will be available in November 2020 and will also be available in two configurations, body-only for MSRP $2,799.95 and a one-lens kit with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 for MSRP $3,599.95.
The MB-N11 Battery Pack with vertical grip will be available in November 2020 for MSRP $529.95. The WR-R11a and WR-R11b (sold separately) will be available in December 2020, and each will have an MSRP of $269.95 for the controller only. They will also be available as a set including the controller and the WR-T10 wireless remote controller for an MSRP of $379.95.