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How Good Is the Autofocus on the New Nikon Z 6II?

Nikon’s second wave of mirrorless full frame cameras are about to hit the shelves and many will be asking whether the Japanese manufacturer has made changes to the autofocus system. Wedding photographer Taylor Jackson has put a pre-production model to the test.

As noted by Jackson, Nikon has addressed one of the major complaints regarding its first round of mirrorless cameras: the lack of a second card slot. This is a very welcome addition, particularly for wedding photographers who appreciate having the redundancy in order to sleep properly at night.

Jackson makes some interesting points regarding the Z 6II, suggesting that it was unfairly criticized in the past due to users not fully understanding how it works. Eye autofocus was often regarded as being the worst out of Canon, Nikon, and Sony, though firmware upgrades have definitely brought some significant improvements, and this new camera appears to be another step forward.

Jackson has made a ton of videos over the last couple of months aimed at helping wedding photographers, particularly those who are adjusting to the new “micro weddings” that are becoming more frequent during the global pandemic. You can check out his channel here.

Will you be buying a Z 6II? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Frank Hatcher's picture

Appreciate the insight/overview. I really enjoy my D850 and the one thing which held me back from giving the "Z" series a shot... no grip. It's great to see Nikon has added an actual grip this time around. The 2nd card slot is/was much needed. Good times! Hatch

Jan Holler's picture

Yes, and the grip is cleverly designed. The hot swap possibility of the front battery is a good idea. You can charge the batteries directly in the grip (USB-C with separate cover): no need for a charger to take with you.The grip also works well with the FTZ-adapter.

mark meerdam's picture

Like the Eos r it's probably good enough for most uses, but man this still looks like a rough beta compared to my new r5. I actually owned the original z7 and while it was a nice camera, compared to the Sony autofocus it was really a major generation behind. Canon made it's Eos r good enough with their firmware updates and I started to prefer it over the z7, probably because I had faster focussing glass for the ef mount than I had for the nikon. But when I see the eye tracking box of this z6ii it still reminds me of a early Eos r experience. It's probably sharp but the Evf just doesn't update quick enough to give you that - that's definitely sharp - confirmation. They can probably tweak it. still I would not be surprised the sensor readout speed of the dpaf pixel is just not on the level of the current generation Sony and canons. Sony will probably jump Canon in the upcoming generation a bit but both Sony and Canon have crossed the this will do for a long time threshold for me personally with their latest releases. When I see this z6ii i really fear for Nikon a bit. Also I'm not 100% convinced the image is really pinsharp on the eye, I haven't used the z6ii so I could be all wrong here but my z7 really was not on par in tacksharp hitrate with the Eos r at the moment I ordered the r5.

Hans J's picture

I have the R5 and the Z6 and the R5 feels cheap in the hand. The viewfinder is also nicer on the Nikon. The Canons feels like a mini TV while the Nikon feels like an OVF.

mark meerdam's picture

Only one answer: let's agree to disagree then.

Don Edirisinghe's picture

ummm.. but only women and children shoot Canon!

Hans J. Nielsen's picture

In another video out there, you can see the Z6 II eye AF working on a person wearing a mask + sunglasses in video-mode.

Max C's picture

I hate these lazy articles where you don't actually do anything yourself. I mean what's your added value to what Taylor already said in his video?