A True Multimedia Powerhouse? Nikon Z6ii
As a video focussed website, the launch of the Nikon Z6 ii was a camera we were pretty excited for. For sure Nikon have fallen behind in recent years, with regards to video focussed bodies, but all the rumours were that the Full Frame Mirrorless Duo of the Z6ii and Z7ii would be set to change that.
Firstly I should really acknowledge the bigger brother of the pair, the Nikon Z7ii. This is of less relevance to us here as it seems to be aimed more squarely at the more traditional hybrid users. With a 45MP sensor, it’s going to be overkill for the 4k video use this camera can supply you. Also when you drill down into the actual video specs, it seems that these cameras have the same video offerings under the hood.
The Z6ii Specs
- 24.5 MP BSI Sensor
- 35.9mm x 23.9mm Sensor Size (Full Frame)
- Multiple Card slots – CF Express II – UHS2 SD – XQD
- 4k UHD at 30FPS
- 4k UHS at 60FPS (in 8bit with crop)
- 120FPS in 1080p
- 5 Axis VR Image Stabilisation (with Nikkor Z Lenses)
- WiFi File Transnfer
- Tilt Mounted – Rear View only – Articulating Touch Screen
- Clean HDMI Output
- 10Bit NLOG – Via HDMI after future Firmware Update
- 12bit ProRes & BRAW – Via HDMI after future PAID Firmware Update
12Bit ProRes/Braw in a Hybrid?
Yeah the headlines were true… well sort of. When I saw the rumours that the Z6ii would be able to record Nlog at 10bit 4.2.2. and 12bit ProRes, I genuinely thought that this could be the camera that not only brings Nikon back into contention for my affections, but also that saves the Nikon brand from fading into obscurity.
However, as always there’s an asterix next to that headline spec. In fact if you look at the Nikon website the specs are full of them – caveats, moments where Nikon almost touched the perfection needed with this camera, but then decided to shy away and instead settle for just calling it a Multimedia Powerhouse.
If you want to record 10Bit NLog video, (and why wouldn’t you?) then this will have to be done via the HDMI output… that in of itself isn’t a big deal, but it does seem a little restrictive for a multimedia powerhouse with ‘Dual Processors’. Also this feature isn’t actually available at launch and comes in the form of a future Firmware update.
If that wasn’t disappointing enough, if you want the 12bit ProPres/Braw files then you also have to use the HDMI output… again not a massive deal breaker, but this not only comes in the form of a future firmware update, but it’s also a paid one. Reading this in the press release made my heart sink.
Nikon’s Final Muted Swan Song
I know it feels like I’m being overly critical of Nikon, and I am, but they really needed to get this release right. It not only needed to perform with it’s contemporaries, but in order to win people over from the other brands it needed to offer some serious ‘wows’. Like we saw when Panasonic released the S1H or Canon announced the EOS R5. True wow moments, that as video shooters we find hard to ignore. The restrictive nature of promised features in future paid updates isn’t that and it leaves me worried for the future of Nikon cameras. The camera world needs this brand to be competitive in order to push competitors into better offerings and pricing, which ultimately benefits us consumers, but currently they look to be fading into obscurity.
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