While mirrorless cameras are nothing new—it’s been ten years since they first hit the market—they’ve remained enthusiast-level products for the Big Two camera companies. Neither Canon nor Nikon had released a pro-level, full-frame mirrorless camera, instead implementing the tech into products aimed more at the casual shooter: Canon with its EOS M line, and Nikon with the now-defunct 1-Series compact mirrorless cameras. But with recent news of Sony taking the #1 in the full-frame interchangeable lens market, it’s clear that there’s a strong demand for products in this niche. It seems that Nikon had been listening, because today they took the wraps off of a pair of impressive full-frame mirrorless cameras: the Nikon Z6 and Z7.
All-New Z Mount
The most notable innovation of the new cameras is the completely redesigned lens mount. Dubbed the Z Mount, it’s the first time Nikon has changed the lens mount on their flagship camera line since the F Mount debuted in 1959. This new mount is 25% wider than the existing mount, and while that opens up lots of new opportunities for Nikon (the ability to produce lenses with maximum apertures of f/0.95!), it of course means that no current Nikon lenses will be natively compatible with the new cameras. Thankfully, Nikon has addressed this with the Mount Adapter FTZ, an optional piece of gear that lets users mount F-Mount Nikkor lenses on the new cameras while still enjoying full lens functionality.
Z6 and Z7 Body Construction
A primary benefit of mirrorless cameras is the potential for a small body size that comes from removing the mirror box. Even while increasing the size of the lens mount, Nikon was able to significantly shrink the overall size of the new bodies. Both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 share a compact form factor, with a body much smaller than their DSLR siblings like the D850 or D750. Unlike many mirrorless cameras that go all-in on the , the Z6 and Z7 both have a very deep DSLR-like grip, so while the overall package is smaller and lighter, they should be just as comfortable to hold as a DSLR. Both bodies feature the same rugged, weather-sealed build as Nikon’s pro DSLRs, as well as articulated touchscreen rear LCDs.
High-tech Sensors and Video Specs
While the Nikon Z6 and Z7 are identical in physical construction, on the inside they are very different cameras. The Z7 is built for capturing maximum image resolution, thanks to its 45.7 megapixel backside-illuminated full frame sensor with a native ISO range of 64-25,600. The Nikon Z6 is positioned as more of the fast-action with a 24.5 megapixel sensor that can do 12 frames per second continuous shooting. Both Nikon Z cameras also feature robust video features, including the ability to capture 4K Ultra HD footage.
|Nikon Z7||Nikon Z6|
|Sensor Size in MP||45.7||24.5|
|On-Sensor AF Points||493||273|
|Continuous Shooting (Raw & JPEG)||9 FPS||12 FPS|
|Video Resolution||4K UHD||4K UHD|
|HDMI Output||10-bit N-Log||10-bit N-Log|
|Slow Motion||1080 120p||1080 120p|
In Body Vibration Reduction
One of the big surprises for the Nikon mirrorless cameras is the inclusion of in-body Vibration reduction, a first for any Nikon interchangeable lens camera. By baking the 5-axis VR system into the camera body, users now get the benefit of image stabilization with any lens. The in-body VR is good for up to 5 stops of stabilization for stills, and also operates to stabilize the sensor during video capture.
New Z Mount Lenses
You can’t announce a new camera mount without any new lenses to mount on it. Accompanying the Z6 and Z7, Nikon showed off a quartet of new lenses. The new Z lens lineup includes three very standard options—fast 35mm and 50mm primes and a constant-aperture 24-70 zoom—and one not-so-standard model—the 58mm f/0.95 S Noct.
And while the first three lenses might not raise any eyebrows, the final one surely does. Named after the legendary Nikkor-Noct 58 f/1.2, the new Noct is a no-holds-barred, “money is no object” type of lens. It’s not just a super-fast lens—with the widest maximum aperture of any Nikkor lens ever—the Noct is packed with some of Nikon’s most advanced lens technology, including new anti-reflection coatings and a digital lens information panel. It’s also a massive lens, built to take advantage of the Z mount’s extra width. Not only does this allow for the huge max aperture, it should theoretically make the Noct extra sharp from edge to edge of the image. The Noct will be available sometime in 2019, and while price has been set, internet guesstimates suggest it will be something upwards of $5,000.
The Nikon Z7 will be available in late September with a price tag of $3,400, while the Z6 will hit shelves in late November, costing $2000. Both models with be sold as kits paired with the new 24-70mm lens or the FTZ Mount Adapter, with each bundle offering a bundle discount. Pre-orders for all new Nikon products will be open at Abt.com shortly.