IMAGES The ISO test shots were of a night scene with the only light supplied by street lighting – it was a challenging scene. All in-camera noise reduction was turned off, and only default noise reduction was applied in Raw processing. The Z 6II was fixed to a Leofoto LS-324C tripod and the exposure for the ISO 100 shot was 20secs at f/8
Spoiler alert! The Z 6II has an excellent ISO performance. At its slower settings, images are clean and very finely detailed and both Raws and JPEGs are impressive. Climb the ISO scale and matters change little, until you get to ISO 1600 and above. At ISO 1600 (viewed on screen at 200%) you see some digital noise in the smooth areas of even tone, ie regions that are prone to noise. But grain levels are low and certainly acceptable at this speed. I think the same applies at ISO 3200, and even 6400, where fine detail is still crisply recorded and image quality is very acceptable, although noise levels are slightly higher. Colour noise in the shadows is more evident from ISO 12,800 and detail starts to suffer, but considering the high speed, image quality is pretty good and, of course, could be improved further in processing.
PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE
Raws from the Z 6II had reasonable tolerance to
Final word Verdict
exposure abuse, especially to underexposure where even the corrected -3EV shot was recovered very successfully with little gain in noise and minimal negative impact to colour reproduction. The -2EV corrected shot looked virtually identical to the correctly exposure image. On overexposure, the corrected +3EV didn’t look well at all, with highlights grey and veiled. The +2EV shot was better in the highlights, but in the test shot here you can see that the sky has gone a strange colour. Modified processing would help, but it is surprising that the +2EV shot was this poor. The +1EV shot looked fine, though. IMAGES Taken with the Z 6II in auto bracketing mode at ISO 100 using the 24-70mm f/4 S standard zoom, and the correct exposure was 1/60sec at f/8. The Raw files were corrected in Adobe Lightroom
The Nikon Z 6II is an upgrade and typical of such models. We are not talking giant strides, but significant steps and the improvements are very worthwhile. A second card slot should be standard on cameras at this level, and there’s enhanced performance thanks to the extra processing power brought by the Expeed 6 chip. The end result is a camera that handles really well and turns in excellent image quality, even when you venture into the high ISOs, and there’s no denying that the Z 6II is a very capable hybrid and great value.
FEATURES The Z 6II wants for little in the features department and scores highly HANDLING No camera is flawless, but this Nikon has fewer shortcomings than some PERFORMANCE Invest in the Z 6II and you can be sure of sharp, well-exposed images time after time VALUE FOR MONEY A leading full-frame hybrid for £1999 rates as good value OVERALL The Nikon Z 6II is a fine camera, capable of excellent stills and video and is good value
THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO MAKE GOOD USE
PROS Having SD and CFexpress B/XQD card slots, image quality, ISO performance, optional MB-N11 grip CONS No touch and drag AF, some features reset
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Issue 86 | Photography News 53
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