Why I chose the Z6 as my new camera system for the next 10 years

Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
13,896
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
My Current System
My current system based on the camera body shown below for the last ten years has grown to include:

Nikon D7000
Tokina 12-24mm zoom
Nikon AF-D prime lenses at 35mm, 85mm, 180mm and 300mm focal lengths
Tamron 90mm macro
Two Nikon SB800 flash units

I use every lens except the macro when I travel. I use the macro lens, the 35mm lens and flash units in my makeshift studio.

Travel, Family and Tabletop Photography
Over the last month or two I have carefully evaluated the benefits of several systems with regard to those three primary types of photography. I considered five mirrorless systems from Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, FujiFilm and Nikon, and two dSLR systems from Nikon. Sensor formats included M4/3, APS-C and full frame. My comparison chart took into account 17 characteristics (3 that are must-have, 7 that are important, 5 that are helpful and details about weight and the cost of buying new equipment).

My New System (not yet purchased - EDIT: all purchased except the 70-300mm lens)
Nikon Z6 camera body
FTZ adaptor
Native Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S lens
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-P VR lens
Tamron 90mm macro (holdover from current system)
Two SB800 flash units (holdover from current system)

All of my decisions about those products were made with the idea of using equipment that is high-quality but not extravagant.

Primary Advantages Compared to Current System (no order of importance)
Focus peaking
Focus bracketing
Image in view finder changes when exposure settings change.
Histogram displays before releasing the shutter.
Captured image can be displayed and magnified in the view finder (great when bright light makes viewing the LCD difficult)
Ease of using zoom lenses
Only two lenses while walking around; only one lens while hiking
Image stabilization built into the camera and the 70-300mm zoom
Far superior high ISO (I've seen acceptable images at ISO 51,200)
Tilting (though not fully articulating) LCD
Automatic switching from LCD display to viewfinder display
Full-frame and APS-C modes
Eye auto focus
Image stabilization built into the camera, lens or both (none in my current camera or lenses)
Diffraction compensation
Equipment typically carried in my bag weighs 2.5 pounds (37%) less
IBIS in the camera and VR on the 70-300mm lens
Rear LCD is a touch screen.
Virtual horizon also indicates how much the camera is pointed upward, downward or not at all.
Top LCD doesn't need to be brightened in low light; contrast is far superior.
Polarized sunglasses don't affect the display in the viewfinder.
Mode dial that locks into place.
Cropped shooting modes of 1:1 and 16:9
Green focus indicator easy to find in the viewfinder


Primary Disadvantages Compared to Current System
No vertical grip with button and dials that control the camera -- OUCH!
Effective longest focal length reduced from 450mm to 300mm
Can't use existing memory cards
Can't save settings to a low-capacity, cheap memory card (because none exist in either of the required formats)

Upcoming Purchases
I'm in no rush to buy the new equipment and might take up to the end of this year to make that happen. That's because I'll be looking for excellent sale prices of new equipment and for refurbished and otherwise used equipment. See my next post, please, for specific questions about equipment.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
478
Location
MN, USA
I see that B&H, as just one example, is selling an XQD card with the camera body. Is there any reason to buy a CFexpress card instead?

Can any of the Nikon Teleconverters be effectively used with the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-P VR lens?
Don't know enough about the CFex/XQD differences to point you in one direction or another. Much of the chatter suggested that CFexpress cards may be cheaper because of a wider range of manufacturers (and the Sony exclusivity on XQD) but I haven't seen that yet.

No Nikon Teleconverters can be used with the 70-300. Here is the compatibility chart.
 
Joined
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Joined
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SE Michigan
Real Name
Chris
Somehow I am not surprised to see such a well thought out and thorough comparison list from you, Mike haha. In one of your “negatives” you state that the longest effective focal reduced to 300 vs 450. If you’d shoot in DX mode, wouldn’t that give you the same crop effect as the old camera, making the effective focal length the same?

As for your questions about which memory card to purchase, I would say CFEXPRESS based on speed capabilities alone but I would temper that with price. If the prices are the same then CFExpress. If xqd is cheaper (for a 400mb/sec card) then maybe for the time being do that. I haven’t attempted a camera write speed test for CFexpress yet so I can’t say definitively if there is in camera benefit.
 
In one of your “negatives” you state that the longest effective focal reduced to 300 vs 450. If you’d shoot in DX mode, wouldn’t that give you the same crop effect as the old camera, making the effective focal length the same?
I haven't taken the time to determine if the Z6 in DX mode creates an image file as large as measured in pixels as the file created by a D7000. I'm not even sure I know how to do that and would appreciate someone confirming the details about that.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
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Central Ohio
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Andrew
Mike, regarding the XQD vs CF Express -the big difference between the 2 is going to be in speed.

I’ve had no issues with the current crop of XQD cards running in my D500 or Z6 for buffer clearing after extended continuous high release shooting or in recording 4K video internally.

I’d recommend for now just getting the XQD cards and save yourself the money.

I don’t see me getting any of the CF Express cards anytime soon.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2008
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2,553
Location
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA
Real Name
Bill Mellen
I am drinking a glass of rather inexpensive Williamsburg Winery‘s ”Two Shilling Red” to help keep me straight while replying :)

The Z6 is an absolutely wonderful camera, your choices of lenses are fine. As for cards, the least expensive slowest XQD cards are pretty much faster and more reliable than any SD format card. Any of them will be more than enough for still photography. The CFExpress cards are only meaningful for high resolution video. Buy the cards that meet your budget.

You have made a great choice, I hope you get it soon and am looking forward to seeing the pictures you make with it!
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
478
Location
MN, USA
I haven't taken the time to determine if the Z6 in DX mode creates an image file as large as measured in pixels as the file created by a D7000. I'm not even sure I know how to do that and would appreciate someone confirming the details about that.
Per the manual:
Z6 in DX mode, Image Size Large yields and image 3936 x2624. About a 10.3 Mpx
 
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