It’s 2019 and Mirrorless cameras are here to stay. I have used a couple of mirrorless cameras in the past, but never as part of my real workflow. My main cameras for the past few years have been the Nikon D4 and the Nikon D750. These two DSLR are full frame bodies that I am very comfortable using and they respond to me instantly and with the results I expect. In late December I received a Nikon Z6 evaluation unit from Nikon NPS. The camera came with two lenses, two batteries, battery charger and most importantly the adaptor that allows me to use my current Nikkor lenses with the new camera body. Lets be honest here, most people can’t afford to just switch over to a new camera system all at once, so to make it possible to have current working photographers use the new mirrorless body is to make it work with the current lenses without quality loss or light loss. Don’t get me wrong, the new lenses are amazing, but the camera doesn’t make sense to me without a way to use the older lenses. So while I have used the new lenses, most of the images I have shot with the Z6 are using the adapter.

Some initial things to get out of the way. There is only one card slot. So what? Both my other cameras have two slots and you know what I never do? I never use them as a backup. I do at times write the Raw file to the first card and a JPEG to the second card. But I have never used the second card to backup up the first card. The biggest reason why is that in all the years I have been taking digital photos, I have had a single memory card go bad, and I was able to recover those images. So while I like having two slots so that I don’t ever have to worry about running out of memory when shooting an exciting game or a long event. I will just have to start paying attention to the frame count again. Since I already use the XQD cards in my D4, I have them readily available along with card readers, so thats not an issue for me.

The next thing to touch on is the battery. This camera sucks battery juice, as do all mirrorless. Buy a second battery, they sent me two with the camera and I make sure they are both fully charged before leaving for a shoot. I have not run out of power but it is something that I have been paying very close attention to and switching out batteries before getting below 10%. A battery grip with an extra battery in it like the D750 would be good.

I had read that the Z6 and the Z7 really just felt like Nikons, and didn’t quite understand what the photographers were talking about. Now I get it. The camera feels similar to the other Nikons I use. It isn’t the same feeling as say the D3 and D4 had. but it does feel like a Nikon. The controls are not the exact same as my D750 and some controls (especially those used for focusing modes) are quite different. Some of the button placements are actually better, and I especially like the menu button placement.

Enough chit-chat… lets take a look at some photos.

San Diego Gulls vs Ontario Reign at the Pechanga Arena San Diego on December 21, 2018 (Photo by Alan Hess)
Nikon Z6 December 22, 2018 (Photo by Alan Hess)
Nikon Z6 December 22, 2018 (Photo by Alan Hess)
San Diego Zoo, Jan 4, 2019 (Photo by Alan Hess)

More to come…