How Good Is Raw Video on the Nikon Z 6?

Nikon recently released firmware version 2.20 for their Z 6 and Z 7 mirrorless cameras, which brought raw video to the cameras, a huge feature for many videographers. This excellent video takes a look at the new capabilities on the Z 6 to see just how much extra power the raw video features give you.

Coming to you from Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow, this great video takes a look at the new raw video features on the Nikon Z 6 while coupled with a Atomos Ninja V. Sudhakaran tests both N-Log and ProRes RAW with the combination. The raw video capabilities output 12-bit 4K UHD or full HD to Ninja Atomos V recorders over HDMI. However, there are two drawbacks. First, raw video outputs a tremendous amount of data and will require a large amount of storage and processing power to work with, so it is worth considering if you actually need it in specific situations. Second, unless you buy (or have already bought) the Z 6 Filmmaker's kit, enabling raw video costs $200 and sending your camera to a Nikon service center. Still, it is a massive upgrade for those interested in it and could be well worth the extra overhead. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

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14 Comments

Spy Black's picture

The raw option seems like an afterthought on Nikon's part, considering you have to send your camera back to them.

The technology was not available at launch date. Now that it is, Nikon is simply doing what is needed to make the capability available. It took one hour at a service center in Tokyo to update the Z6, which I find totally acceptable. The price is a bit high, but what other camera offers this capability at this price point while offering amazingly useful capabilities such as excellent video AF combined with eye-AF?

Spy Black's picture

"The technology was not available at launch date."

What makes you say that? A Nikon PR statement?

"It took one hour at a service center in Tokyo to update the Z6, which I find totally acceptable."

That's lovely if you can just walk in to Nikon service center down the block from you and drop your camera off, but how many people have that luxury?

"The price is a bit high, but what other camera offers this capability at this price point while offering amazingly useful capabilities such as excellent video AF combined with eye-AF?"

That's all very lovely as well, but that's all besides the point.

This is Atomos' tech, not Nikon's, so it really didn't exist at that point. You can ONLY use it with a compatible Atomos external recorder, as well.

chris bryant's picture

It seems that the legal spat between Red and Apple may have something to do with it.

Spy Black's picture

From a hardware perspective?

chris bryant's picture

DPReview said "it's probably no coincidence that this announcement comes after the recent settling of a long-running dispute between Apple and RED over the patent to Raw video. This may also explain why the update is paid, rather than available for free".

Spy Black's picture

Looks like people are just making things up to a fill a web page with words. Codec licensing is one thing. Engineering a product to be ready to take it is another.

Alec Kinnear's picture

The update was held back, due to potential licensing costs. Had RED failed to maintain the patent even in the short term (long term is not in yet), Nikon and Atomos might have released the update cost free or simply electronically (with a small cost).

Tony Northrup's picture

I suspect Nikon's marketing department decided the cameras could have raw video via a firmware update when they launched the Z6. When the engineering department finally got around to actually writing the code, they realized the hardware wasn't capable, which is why you have to send it in. MANY people think Nikon enabled raw video through a firmware update, which isn't at all true... the firmware update alone does nothing.

Spy Black's picture

Well, like I said, it looks like it was an afterthought. ;-)

chris bryant's picture

From DPReview "it's probably no coincidence that this announcement comes after the recent settling of a long-running dispute between Apple and RED over the patent to Raw video. This may also explain why the update is paid, rather than available for free."

How would you know? You cannot just add faster or different AUs to devices like that if hardware is not cabable. You might close or open some jumpers, that's it. There are no sockets because there is no space for them. Sockets with many pins need space. Instead everything is soldered onto the boards. Nikon would have to replace the main PCB. Anyway, just an hour work time would never be enough to tear down the camera (check it on the web), replace the PCB or add some parts (SMD!) and rebuild it. Not for $200 anyway. You just take a wild guess, do you?

Alec Kinnear's picture

No hardware changes at this price point Tony. Wrong again. Disinformation and click bait at every step.

The fee is to cover the licensing cost, while sending in is to make sure the upgrade is not distributed freely/pirated, which would open up Nikon to fairly heavy damages from RED (licensing fees for every Z6 every created).

The timing and evasiveness from Nikon points to the patent court case and licensing as the source of the delay and unannounced costs. It looks like RED is getting outrageous per device fees which don't take into account the price category of the original hardware (hence why Canon is comfortable dropping RAW into the 1DX III – at that price point, $100 or $150 per device fee only stings, doesn't take out all profit).

Eagerly waiting for details from the behind-the-scenes story.