Nikon Z6 vs D6

Joined
Nov 3, 2018
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154
I wanted many pixels so I got the Z7 and I am very happy with this camera since. But we all know now that the Z6 (with 24 MP) is not as good as the similar-MP D5, not to mention the yet-to-be-released D6. And I have to ponder why....

There are many good things about the Z6/Z7 compared with DSLRs, but as for the AF speed, particularly in continuous shooting mode, the new mirrorless Z6 is behind the old, old D5. Why? I cannot think of any good reason. The Z6 should be just as good, or even better than the D5.

I am sure the new D6 looks jaw-droppingly impressive with its large and heavy body, just like the D5 does. But the time is long gone that the professional camera is judged and admired by its heavy weight. With its flipping mirror mechanism, the camera body had to be thick, heavy and durable to support the mechanical movement. Now, with mirrorless, we got rid of this bulky mirror completely, it's a thing of the past. (A mechanical shutter will go soon.)

So, coming back to this AF performance issue of the Z6, the only moving mechanism needed for the AF operation is the AF motor - which, by the way, is residing in the lens, not in the camera body. So there is no reason that the tiny Z6 body cannot issue a lightning fast command to control the AF mechanism of the lens. The Z6 should be way better than the D5 or D6.

I think the reason the reality is not so is because of the software development. The new Z command software is not matured yet to do the AF control effectively, as in the mature D5 software. The D6 is just a tiny extension of the old D5, so no major software rewrite is needed. Once the Z software stabilization is achieved, the Z6 will fire that puts the bulky D5 to shame.
 
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Jan 13, 2006
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Walter Rowe
For your photography, is the advertised improvement in AF capabilities of the $6500 D6 worth the cost vs the $1800 Z6? How critical is the impact of the presumably less effective Z6 AF in your photography?
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
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Should evaluate the recent firmware update for the autofocus improvements. I have not tried yet so some further experimenting would be nice to see how things hopefully got better.
 
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Mar 4, 2005
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The Z6 will never be as fast as the D5/D6 with no amount of firmware to change that. For example the Sony A9 sensor is fundamentally different as explained here:


Nikon will need access to not only the sensor in the A9, but perhaps even the hardware. Nikon is really just buying time with the D780/D6, etc. until they get this figured out. I played with a 1DX mk.III the other day and even tested out the 20fps live view mode. Canon is much further in development when it comes to high speed fps than Nikon in this area. We'll see if Canon will catch up or exceed Sony though.
 
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Joined
Nov 3, 2018
Messages
154
I was just throwing my idea, thinking out loud about the difference between the D5 (DSLR) and the Z6 (mirrorless)....
I certainly would not think that next week Nikon will release a software update that will transform the Z6 into the D6.
But what is missing in the Z6 that is preventing the Z6 from achieving the same continuous AF operation that is comparable to the D5 -- or D6 for that matter? Again, the camera body does not contain the AF motor (the lens does). The camera simply controls the AF motor. If Nikon has a technology to achieve AF-enabled, 14 fps operation in the D6 now, then, if anything, it should be easier to achieve the same spec in the mirrorless, right now. Because there is no "mechanical" issue, no "sensor" issue (just use the same sensor). So, the reason that Nikon does not offer the mirrorless version of D6 now is -- I think -- software stabilization of the whole new mirrorless platform is taking time....

The D5/D6 is bulky, heavy, and EXPENSIVE, largely due to its state-of-the-art mirror mechanism (14-16 fps). The mirrorless got rid of that completely. The mechanical shutter will be a thing of the past soon. I would image (optimistically speaking from buyers point of view) that Nikon has a hard time justifying a similar price for the D6-mirrorless version when it comes out. Except for the control mechanism and computation power (I realize that is not a small thing), the D6-mirrorless is the same as the Z6, so how can you charge 7000 for it?
 
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Joined
Oct 8, 2018
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SE Michigan
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Chris
Well for one, the is a dedicated processor for AF on the D5 and D6 where the z series has everything on a single chip. Also the image sensors on the d series have cross type AF which makes the AF better. Not really an apples to apples comparison. The reason the D series are so much larger is not simply because of the mirror, it’s all the extra guts for processing the information which helps it achieve the better focusing performance.
 
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