Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II Announced – Minor Video Improvements

October 14th, 2020
Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II Announced - Minor Video Improvements

Nikon just released two new full-frame mirrorless cameras to its Z lineup: the Nikon Z 6II and Nikon Z 7II. In a nutshell, these new cameras look similar on the exterior to their predecessors – the Z 6/Z 7; the image sensors are similar, but they now feature two Expeed 6 image processors, you get double memory card slots, you can recharge the new EN-EL 15c batteries via the USB Type-C port, and you can finally record video in 4K at up to 60 frames per second. Let’s take a closer look at these!

Nikon Z Lineup

The Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II are Nikon’s latest full-frame mirrorless cameras for their Z line of cameras. Both cameras are successors of the original Z 6/Z 7 that were released two years ago.

The Nikon Z lineup now consists of four cameras, including three full-frame models – the Z 6 II, Z 7 II, and Z 5 – and one model with an APS-C sensor, the Nikon Z 50 that was released last year.

Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II – Predecessor’s Similarities

The Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II do have many similarities with the original Z 6/Z 7. Looking at the exterior, the first and second generations look nearly identical. The cameras are still well built and made of magnesium alloy, are weather-sealed, with the same 3.2″ tilting LCD touchscreen – with no flip-out capabilities – and a 3.69MP OLED electronic viewfinder.

If you’re a Z 6/Z 7 shooter, you’ll feel at home with these cameras, as all the buttons and dials are at the exact same place.

On the inside, the Z 6II features the same 24.5 megapixels sensor, while the Z 7II does sport a 45.7MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with no low-pass filter. In-body image stabilization (IBIS) is available on both models.

Yet of course, there are also a couple of improvements that make these cameras better.

Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II – Improvements

You noticed it, the Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II are not revolutionary cameras compared to their predecessors, but they bring a couple of much-welcomed improvements:

On the inside, both cameras now feature not one, but two dual Expeed 6 image processors. This allows continuous shooting speed at up to 14fps for the Z6 II and 10fps on the Z 7II.

Image credit: Nikon

Both cameras now feature an SD card slot (SD UHS-II compatible) alongside the original XQD/CFexpress card slot.

On the battery side, the cameras are now powered via a new Nikon EN-EL 15c battery, which is claimed to be 15% more powerful than the previous batteries. Also, you can power the camera and recharge the batteries via its USB Type-C port.

The Nikon MB-N11 battery grip. Image credit: Nikon

An improved battery grip, the Nikon MB-N11, is launched alongside the Nikon Z 6II/Z 7II. For stills shooters, this grip now features dials to adjust your exposure/shutter speed, as well as an AF-On button and a joystick to move/select your focus box.

Talking about autofocus, Nikon claims that they improved it a lot, with the addition of a wide-area AF mode to benefit the 493-point and 273-point AF systems of the Z 7 II and Z 6 II. Various AF tracking systems are available in stills and video modes, including Animal, Eye, and Face detection. The autofocus in low-light shooting conditions should also be improved.

Finally, something small but useful, you’ll now be able to change/reverse the focus ring’s rotation direction when using native NIKKOR Z lenses.

Video Recording Features

The Nikon Z 6II/Z 7II will now be capable of recording video in 4K UHD at up to 60 frames per second. However, this feature will only be available at the launch of the Z 7II, and be available later this year on the Z 6II via a firmware update. At launch, the Z 6II will support 4K UHD video recording at up to 30p and FullHD at 120p. And, both cameras will have N-Log gamma and HLG (HDR) formats.

The original Nikon Z 6/Z 7 were already capable of ProRes RAW external recording onto the Atomos Ninja V that we tested. The Z 6II/Z 7II will still be able to record 12-bit ProRes RAW to the Ninja V via the HDMI output in both FX and DX-based movie formats. However, this feature will not be available for free, and you’ll need to send your camera to a Nikon service facility to get it enabled.

Nikon also claims that 4K/50p/60p and RAW video output on Blackmagic Design’s external recorder are planned for 2021.

Price and Availability

The Nikon Z 6II will be available in November this year for $1996.95, while the Z 7II will be available in December for $2696.95. The MB-N11 battery grip will be available in November for around $396.95.

What do you think about these new Nikon full-frame mirrorless cameras? Did you ever shoot ProRes RAW with the Z 6/Z 7? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Stephen Sartori
Stephen Sartori
Member
October 15th, 2020

DP says the Z6 II will have Video Superior to
the Z7 II. Can you explain
this ? :
For video, the Z7 II is rather more competent than its predecessor, and now includes 4K/60p capture with a slight (1.08x) crop. It will also output 10-bit N-Log or HDR (HLG) footage to a compatible external recorder, and you can output Raw video in 1080p if you’re using the full sensor and 4K if you’re using a cropped APS-C sized region. We’d expect good video quality, but hardcore video shooters should set their sights on the Z6 II and its oversampled 4K video which should offer much better fine detail.

Jeff Loch
Jeff Loch
Guest
October 15th, 2020

Hi Stephen, I can’t confirm crop information, as I did not find any official info from Nikon at this time. These crop information might be based on the first Z6/Z7 cameras, it’s likely that it’ll be the same on these new ones, but I can’t give you a 100% yes at the moment. We will contact Nikon to learn more about it and update the article.

Nikon claims that the Z6 II “is capable of recording 4K UHD video quality with full pixel readout, demonstrating the advantages of mirrorless technology. The camera 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.”
Regarding Z6 II vs. Z7 II, usually, a camera with less MP is better suited for filmmakers, so the Z6 II might be a better choice if you’re focusing on video capabilities.

Tauri Taal
Tauri Taal
Guest
October 14th, 2020

Hmmm… BRAW? Wheres the catch?
How will it affect the image quality and DR?
Has anyone tested DR on 1st gen, with N-log and Prores Raw?
Is there a possibility for 1st gen Z6 to get BRAW or is it impossible due to processing power?

Christopher Dobey
Guest
October 14th, 2020

Using the Z6 on a daily basis for photo and video work as well as a webcam (thank you Nikon for the macOS beta webcam driver!) I find the product is well thought out and superb. Significant drawbacks include severe rolling shutter and lack of internal 10-bit N-Log though. If the new dual EXPEED 6 processors can greatly reduce video rolling shutter I believe the upgrade for current users will be worth it. Otherwise, a $200 price hike for an added SD card slot and APS-C cropped 4K60p in a future update cannot justify a two year wait to create the Mk II. Given how long the RAW HDMI firmware update was delayed, I find it hard to believe Nikon will deliver this update by February 2021. A huge thank you to Nikon for adding Blackmagic RAW support as BRAW is a joy to edit and now we’re not tethered to Final Cut Pro X just for the ProRes RAW : )

Billy Walker
Billy Walker
Member
October 14th, 2020

I am in 2 camps, Nikon and Canon. For stills my intent is to stay with Nikon. Nikon’s D850 and the D6 are excellent still cameras and there is no need for change. I am not criticizing the Z series lineup; they appear to be quite good. However, the mirrorless bodies are just too small in my opinion. It comes down to the fact there is zero need for me to change my current still cameras.

As for video I am a Canon owner. I currently own a Canon C200B with a Bright Tangerine cage. With the recent release of the Canon C70 my choice for video has solidified. I will be adding the C70 to my camera asset list. I will be surprised if the C70 doesn’t turn out to be one of Canon’s most popular platforms.

Oscar M
Guest
October 14th, 2020
Reply to  Billy Walker

C70 is a cinema cam. Nikon Z are hybrid. So I guess it depends on users needs. You need a Cinema Cam others need a hybrid.

Billy Walker
Billy Walker
Member
October 14th, 2020
Reply to  Oscar M

Yes, I know that – that’s why I mentioned Nikon for stills. I am aware some need a hybrid.

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