I know I said I wouldn't talk about it. I know I said that images are better than words.  

The trouble is that the new system has just been delivered - well all but the spare Nikon Z6 body - and after an evening spent playing with it and shooting in light that I really wouldn't expect a Nikon D3S to deliver the goods I must admit to being astonished by the quality and ease of use.

My initial impression was that the body was even smaller than I remember from my only contact at Nikon UK with it, although as you can see it is about the same size as a 1959 Nikon F body. It feels as right in the hands as a Nikon F does, although only those older photographers will know what I mean, and oozes quality.

Once again Grays of Westminster pulled out all the stops and delivered the kit a day earlier than promised. It came with the Nikon FTZ Adapter to take F-mount lenses, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S-Line lens and a 64Gb XQD card and it didn't take me very long to set up the camera to function in pretty much the same way as my D3S bodies. For those used to the Nikon menus there is very little to get used to, other than a touch screen if you want it.

By the time the battery had fully charged it was dark outside so I contented myself with doing a few rudimentary tests in gloomy room light, not really expecting a great deal. The new NIKKOR 24-70mm really amazed me though, focussing rapidly and consistently in poor light and giving tack sharp shots with little or no noise at ISO 4000, despite being hand-held at speeds of around 1/30 sec or longer.

However when I fitted the FTZ Adapter and ran through most of my NIKKOR lenses, from an old NIKKOR AF 50mm f/1.4D, a Fisheye-NIKKOR AF 16mm f/2.8D and one of my favourites, the original NIKKOR AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D IFED, through to a new Micro-NIKKOR AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR and NIKKOR AF-S 16-35mm f/4G VR that I began to appreciate just how brilliant the Z6 is at retaining the loyalty of Nikon users. The Nikon Z6 allows them to use (with certain limitations of course) kit that goes back at least 50 years and possibly more, although I haven't had a chance to test this out comprehensively yet. I have just tried a 1963 Zoom-NIKKOR 8.5-25cm f/4-4.5 and a 1971 NIKKOR-Q Auto 135mm f/2.8 - both pre-AI - and they both work in Manual and Aperure Priority although without IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation).

One of the things that really interested me was the actual battery life as opposed to the quoted one of around 330 shots or so. Coming from a D3S where I could happily shoot thousands of shots without worrying about the battery, I must admit that I was concerned about the quantity of batteries that I should have to have with my Z6. I spent today out and about shooting 12bit RAW, lossless compressed, in a variety of modes, from single shot through to Continuous High Extended and frankly got bored waiting for the end of the battery life. I got 6740 shots with 21% charge left in the battery after what I consider to be an average day's shoot!

As this is merely the beginning of the Z-series I firmly believe that it can only get better. At the time of writing Adobe and Apple have yet to release the software that will allow me to fully utilise the new NEF RAW files without first converting them to DNG with the latest Adobe DNG Converter 11.1 Beta update, but it will only be a matter of days until that is accomplished, making it a system that is going to make my life much easier whilst allowing me to really push the boundaries of my low light photography and video production.


Nikon Z6 - Revolution