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Nikon Announces Z 6II and Z 7II: Small But Meaningful Improvements

Nikon Announces Z 6II and Z 7II: Small But Meaningful Improvements

Nikon has just announced the second generation of their full-frame mirrorless bodies, updating the Z 6 and Z 7 to Z 6II and Z 7II. These feature updates improve some crucial areas of camera performance, but is it enough to keep them competitive? Check out the features that have changed and decide for yourself.

Firstly, the bodies are the same. Other than some slight differences to accommodate things like the new vertical grip (finally!), all the buttons and controls have remained in the same positions. This makes interoperability between cameras a breeze, but also reflects the very small degree of change involved in this update. With that out of the way, let's talk about what’s actually changed.

Dual Processors

The cameras now feature dual EXPEED 6 processors. These power a number of the camera’s features, so more power is always welcome. In this case, the greater available power has allowed for increased frame rates, with the Z 6II now able to shoot at 14 fps and the Z 7 at 10 fps.

More processing power also means higher potential frame rates for video. Now, the cameras can do 4K at 60p, up from the more limited 4K at 30p of the last generation. While this isn’t a class leading spec, considering other cameras are capable of 8K, it’s realistic and well implemented. I’d strongly expect less heat related concerns connected to this level of performance.

One final area of speed-improvements is with autofocus. In both regular and low light, performance has apparently been improved. Eye and face detect AF has been added to the Wide-Area (L) mode. Low light AF has an “improved… detection range”. Apparently the Z 7II can work down to a crazy low -3 EV.

To support the faster speeds, the buffer has been greatly expanded. In both cameras, the buffer size has more than tripled, a particularly impressive feat in a 45 megapixel camera where I never hit the buffer limit to begin with.

Small Enhancements

The single CFexpress/XQD card slot has finally been paired with an SD card slot. For me, this is way bigger than a single card. While I didn’t have reliability worries, I instead had an issue with the absurd cost of the XQD form factor for less performance-oriented shooting. I’m looking forward to just being able to throw a stack of SD cards in the bag when going for a hike or similar.

Video has received a host of additional updates, with support for 10-bit N-Log and HLG, as well as optional 12-bit ProRes raw. Even small changes like the ability to flip the orientation of focus rings to match other cine lenses show the attention to detail in this update.

The cameras also support USB power draw, enabling longer battery life than would be possible with just the built in battery. They mention “Portions of the information display can be hidden with still-image shooting and video recording, allowing an unobstructed view of the scene,” which hopefully refers to being able to finally get a clean, composition focused view via live view.

The cameras now support the MB-N11 vertical grip. Since release, the Z cameras have been missing a true, button rich vertical grip. This looks like a perfect option, intercompatible with both the Z 6II and Z 7II.

The cameras are available for pre-order now. The Z 6II retails for $1,999, and surprisingly the  Z 7II has received a price drop from the Z 7 to just $2,999.

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Yin Ze's picture


Yin Ze's picture

I think dpreview best described this lackluster two year effort as a "subtle refresh". they needed a grand slam trailing 3-9 in the 8th inning and hit a grounder to second. Nikon Z system is the best argument against transitioning from d850 or other recent Nikon DSLRs.

Yin Ze's picture

it's the 8th inning, son. late in the game. maybe the z9 will be their last hope.

William Faucher's picture

This is probably what makes me set aside my trusty D800 workhorse after all these years.

I was pretty much set on preordering this right away, but the prices in Europe are absurd. My local shop has their price set at $4300 here in Norway. Completely insane. Genuinely considering having this shipped to a friend in Canada, and shipping it to me here instead. What the hell. Hope the prices drop a little here once it's actually released.

Alex Coleman's picture

That's crazy. I've been seeing high price complaints for a number of recently announced tech, including the 3080. Wonder if it's tariff or exchange rate related?

William Faucher's picture

After thinking it through, a lot of it is because all taxes are included in the final price you see on websites. Tax isn't added at checkout. So because Norway has a 25% sales tax, that accounts for 25% difference when looking directly at the website. Then there's always regional differences, which can hike up the cost by a few hundred dollars give or take.

I guess I'm just not used to comparing prices internationally because I almost always buy local.

Alex Coleman's picture

Yeah, that makes sense - 25% sales tax is ludicrous, though. 7% is bad enough around here. I was in Oslo one time, jet lagged, and thought I was doing the Eur/USD conversion wrong when my coffee was coming out to like $13.

William Faucher's picture

Hahaha I had the same experience as you when I first moved here many years ago. Most expensive latté I ever had! I won't deny that 25% is a lot of money, and it took a lot of getting used to. I'm Canadian, so I was used to 15%.

But in Scandinavia, taxes are a very small price to pay for the quality of life that is offered to all its citizens. They vote these taxes on themelves.

Another reason why 25% isn't really a big deal is because, if you have a company, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc, you can deduct VAT/Sales tax as a business expense, which is what I plan on doing anyway.

Richard Richard's picture

Use someone like panamoz.

Deleted Account's picture

If I could justify the expense...

Bjarne Solvik's picture

If autofocus now are on the same level as Sony and Canon, I think these looks like great offerings. Z6ii is on pair with Sony A7iii.

At least for my part I need a photo camera that has ibis, dual slots, reliable af and eye-detect. Also in low light. For years Sony was the only offering. Now seems like Nikon is catching up. I hope so!

Alex Coleman's picture

Definitely seems that they’ve addressed the biggest complaints I saw with these bodies from gen 1. I’ll be curious to see if that’s enough.

Richard Richard's picture

In all ways bar AF the Nikons are better and more use able than the Sonys and have a decent road map of glass

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I don’t know about AF but shooting in continuous with eye detect I think maybe Sony is in class above. As a Sony shooter I find lenses expensive, but there are options from third party and second hand. With Nikon Z it’s like Sony five years ago. For those with legacy glass and adapter, a difrent story:) To me a small selection rather expensive Z glass.

William Faucher's picture

Do you know if the Z7II video uses the full frame of the sensor, now? I haven't seen anything about it yet. It's one of the things that makes me consider the Z6II over the Z7II

Marcelo Valente's picture

I watched a video from Adorama today, and apparently the z7ii has better video capabilities than the z6ii. It will even do 4k60 at 95% of the sensor and the z6ii will have a 1.7 crop.

William Faucher's picture

Respectfully, I think you are mistaken. It is the Z7II that has the 1.08x crop. The Z6II has full-frame video. It's what sets these two apart. Go z6 if you do video, Z7 if you shoot stills.

Jeremy Strange's picture

I don’t know why, but there’s something about the Nikon‘s I just like... tempting for sure.

Jim Cutler's picture

Me too. I'm so glad I stuck with Nikon. I have friends who switched with all the Influencer hype. Then they missed Nikon saying there wasn't really anything they needed that the Nikons didn't do. So now they're back. I get that. Although I think if you're shooting very fast moving birds and sports the rumored Z8 or 9 is more for you when that comes lat next year.

Richard Richard's picture

The user experience is great, great menu, great grip, great buttons, great EVF, great size etc. Sony user experience is poor. Canon is great but you pay through the nose for it.

Tammie Lam's picture

-3 EV doesn't seem like "crazy low"?

William Faucher's picture

-3 EV is what the Sony A7R IV has, I believe? So it's up to par with the latest competition.

Christian Gold's picture

To me it looks like the update which happened back then with the D800 to D810. That one was also dismissed by "the Internet" - but it was a very solid update. I'm seeing these updates very similar and have preordered the Z7II.

J Cortes's picture

Agree , it's more of an update. However, a very good one. I have the D810 and compared to the D800 it's a snappier camera . It's more about refinement and I'm fine with that. The Z's are solids cameras and despite what the influencers say only needed a few things to improve such as another slot and AF.

Ryan Mense's picture

B&H doesn't seem too bothered that they have been pre-selling the Z 7II at a $300 discount for the past eight hours.

Alex Coleman's picture

Right? I got in on that and TBH got anchored to that price point. Whether or not they honor it might determine whether or not I keep it.

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