Nikon Z5 vs Z6 II

The difference in price between the Nikon Z5 and Nikon Z6 II is substantial, despite the fact that both are full-frame mirrorless cameras with a lot of commonalities. Is the Nikon Z6 II worth the extra money? This particular comparison explains everything you need to find out to make your decision.

Let’s start by looking at the particular construction of the two digital cameras. As you can see, the front looks almost exactly the same, other than the name plates and a different texture in the right-hand side of the cameras:


The rear panel has no differences whatsoever (Z5 on the left plus Z6 II on the right):


On top of the cameras, you can see the only significant difference in construction between the Nikon Z5 and Z6 II. The Z5 doesn’t have a top LCD panel, while the Z6 II does (again, Z5 on the left plus Z6 II on the right):


As the top LCD is fine to have, most photographers possibly wouldn’t consider it essential. Instead, it’s the other features plus specifications that matter many when choosing between the Z5 and Z6 II. So , let’s take a look at those next.

Nikon Z5 plus Z6 II Specifications

Camera Feature Nikon Z5 Nikon Z6 II
Announced July 21, 2020 October 14, 2020
Sensor Resolution 24. 3 MP 24. 5 MP
Low-Pass Filter Yes Indeed
In-Body Image Stablizing Yes, 5-axis Yes, 5-axis
Sensor Size 35. 9  × twenty three. 9mm thirty-five. 9 × 23. 9 mm
Image Size 6016 × 4016 6048 × 4024
Pixel Size 5. 9 µm 5. 9 µm
Native ISO Level of sensitivity ISO 100-51, 200 INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 100-51, 200
Image Processor EXPEED 6 Dual EXPEED six
Viewfinder Electronic / EVF Electronic / EVF
Viewfinder Type / Resolution OLED / 3. 69 Million Dots OLED / a few. 69 Million Dots
Viewfinder Coverage completely 100%
Viewfinder Magnification 0. 80× 0. 80×
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Sync Rate 1/200 1/200
Storage Press 2× SD UHS II 1× CFexpress / 1× SD UHS-II
Max Constant Shooting Speed four. 5 FPS 14 FPS
Shutter Swiftness Range 1/8000 to 30 seconds 1/8000 to nine hundred seconds
Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter Yes Yes
Exposure Metering Sensor TTL metering using camera picture sensor TTL metering using camera picture sensor
Autofocus System Hybrid PDAF Hybrid PDAF
Focus Points 273 273
Eyesight AF Indeed Yes
Eyesight AF in Wide Region AF No Yes
Autofocus Detection Range (f/2 Lens, ISO 100) -2 to +19 EV  (-3. 5 to +19 EV with low-light AF) -4. 5 to +19 EV (-6 to +19 EV with low-light AF)
Video Maximum Resolution 4K @ up to 30p, 1080 pixels @ up to 60p 4K @ up to 60p, 1080p @ as much as 120p
4K Video Harvest Factor 1 ) 7× 1 ) 0× (24p and 30p), 1 . 5× (60p)
HLG / HDR Out No Yes
Eye AF in Video No Yes
Articulating LCD Yes, Tilt Only Yes, Tilt Only
Touch screen Yes Yes
LCD Size 3. 2″ Diagonal LCD 3. 2″ Diagonal FLAT SCREEN
LCD Resolution 1, 040, 000 dots 2, one hundred, 000 dots
Simultaneous Intervalometer + Timelapse Movie Yes Yes
Firmware Update via Snapbridge Zero Yes
Constant External Power Yes Indeed
Built-in GPS No No
Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes Yes or Yes
Battery EN-EL15c EN-EL15c
Battery Life (CIPA) 390 shots 340 shots
Max Battery-life (Rear LCD Only; Power Saver On) 470 shots 450 shots
Video Battery Life 115 min 100 min
Battery Grip MB-N10; no vertical regulates MB-N11; has vertical controls
Weather Covered Body Indeed Yes
USB Version Type-C 3. 1 Type-C 3. 1
Excess weight with Battery and Cards 675 g (1. 49 lbs) 705 g (1. 55 lbs)
Dimensions (L×H×D); Depth Excludes Protruding Viewfinder 134 × 101 × 70 mm (5. 3 × four. 0 × 2 . 9 in. ) 134 × 101 × 70 mm (5. three or more × 4. 0 × 2 . 8 in. )
MSRP As Introduced $1400 $2000
Lowest Price Seen $1000 ( check current price ) $2000 ( check current price )

The Nikon Z5 and Z6 II clearly possess some differences despite their similar exteriors. The Z6 II is more advanced overall, with a newer sensor design, faster FPS shooting, better low-light autofocus, and various other benefits. In terms of features, the Z5 only wins out inside battery life and weight, but not by much in either case. But the Z5 has perhaps the biggest advantage of all: price.

Depending on the sales that will Nikon has at any specific moment, the Z5 could be as low as $1000 (which it is at the time I’m posting this article), compared to the Z6 II’s usual price of $2000. Even when the Z5 is not on sale, it’s still several hundred dollars cheaper compared to Z6 II.

Are the differences worth very much? Let’s go through them individually to see.

Nikon Z5 Image Sample #70
NIKON Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6. 3 VR @ 120mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/8. 0

Initial, there’s the difference in sensors. While both cameras have a 24 megapixel sensor, one found on the Z6 II is certainly Nikon’s newer design (borrowed from cameras like the Nikon Z6 and Nikon D780), while the one on the Z5 is a bit older (borrowed from the one on the Nikon D750). As you’ll see in the moment, this means there is a slight high ISO advantage towards the Z6 II over the Z5.

Then there’s the different processors: EXPEED six on the Z5, and Dual EXPEED 6 on the Z6 II. The larger processing capability on the Nikon Z6 II allows it to capture 14 FPS stills and 60p slow-motion 4K video, compared to 4. 5 FRAMES PER SECOND stills and 30p 4K video on the Z5.

The focusing program on the Nikon Z6 II also has some noticeable improvements over that of the Z5, including better low-light focusing and the addition of eye-tracking autofocus in wide-area AF mode. The Z5 is usually hardly bad in these places – it still focuses in dark conditions and it has Eye AF in the Auto Area mode – however the Z6 II does have the benefit.

Two additional useful benefits of the Nikon Z6 II are the extended shutter speeds (up to 900 seconds in regular mode) and the substantially much better external battery grip. The extended shutter speeds are extremely convenient for long-exposure photography , even though the Z5 still has Time period and Bulb exposure settings if you need to shoot beyond thirty seconds. As for the battery hold, one of the biggest complaints I see in regards to the Nikon Z5, Z6, plus Z7 is that the compatible MB-N10 battery grip had no vertical controls. Rather than being a serious grip, it’s a lot more like a glorified (and expensive) battery. By comparison, the Z6 II is compatible with the MB-N11 grip, which has full vertical controls.

Other than that, most of the differences between the 2 cameras are pretty little. The Z6 II includes a higher resolution LCD; the particular Z5 has slightly better battery life. The Z6 II can perform firmware updates over Snapbridge; the Z5 weighs in at a bit less. They’re just investing blows here and there, as most cameras tend to do.

Nikon Z6 II Image Sample #47
NIKON Z 6 II + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 25mm, ISO 100, 0. 6 seconds, f/11. 0

Before getting in my recommendations, let’s check out the Nikon Z5 compared to Z6 II in terms of high ISO performance.

High ISO Comparisons

At the lower ISOs, it’s impossible to see any kind of difference in image quality between the Nikon Z5 plus Z6 II. So , let us start by looking at ISO 1600. These are 100% crops through both sensors. The Z5 is on the left, and the Z6 II is at the right. Click to see larger:

Nikon Z5 ISO 1600 Nikon Z6 II ISO 1600

The two images look the same to me so far. Let’s take a look at ISO 3200 instead:

Nikon Z5 ISO 3200 Nikon Z6 II ISO 3200

Once more, I see no differences in ISO performance here. Both sensors look quite good considering that these are 100% crops. What about ISO 6400?

Nikon Z5 ISO 6400 Nikon Z6 II ISO 6400

There is a bit of noise in these photos in ISO 6400, but it continues to be quite clean and looks pretty much the same on the Z5 and Z6 II. Here’s INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 12, 800:

Nikon Z5 ISO 12800 Nikon Z6 II ISO 12800

In the pictures above, we can see a slight advantage to the Z6 II, especially in the shadows. However , the differences are still pretty small. Here’s ISO 25, 600:

Nikon Z5 ISO 25600 Nikon Z6 II ISO 25600

At this point, there exists a lot of noise on both digital cameras, and we’re losing substantial shadow detail. The Z6 II does look a bit better, though. Let’s increase to ISO 51, 200:

Nikon Z5 ISO 51200 Nikon Z6 II ISO 51200

ISO 51, 200 looks really bad on both, but the Z6 II is clearly cleaner than the Z5, particularly in the shadow areas. Finally, here is ISO 102, 400:

Nikon Z5 ISO 102400 Nikon Z6 II ISO 102400

This type of high ISO is practically unusable on both cameras. Nevertheless , the Z6 II does look much better by comparison.

Which One Should You Obtain?

This evaluation is a classic example of the particular diminishing returns of increasingly more expensive camera gear. Yes, the Nikon Z6 II is better overall, but the Z5 holds its own and has a very good set of features overall. If you’re happy with 4. 5 FPS and a slightly older digital camera sensor, you can save quite a bit of money (or put it toward much better lenses) and get the Nikon Z5 without missing a lot.

That’s especially true if you find the Nikon Z5 when it’s on sale pertaining to $1000. It’s a good worth even at the original associated with $1400, but Nikon has been heavily discounting the Z5 in an effort to get people to in order to the Z system. At $1000 for a full-frame camera with very few flaws, it’s perhaps the best value of any camera on the market today.

So , what’s the judgment? For landscape and traveling photographers, I would go with the Nikon Z5 and put the additional money toward lenses (maybe the amazing Z 20mm f/1. 8 T ). You’ll miss out on the extended 900 following shutter speeds, and you will not be able to autofocus in conditions that are  very as darkish, but I don’t think many photographers will find those benefits to be worth the difference in price.

For videographers, I’d jump up to the Z6 II thanks to its slow-motion 4K video, smaller 4K crop, and eye AF in video mode. They are substantial improvements that are value paying a bit more to get.

For portrait and event photographers, it’s 50/50. I suppose I lean towards the Z5 so that you can find an extra lens (such because the Z 50mm f/1. 8 S   or Z 85mm f/1. 8 S ). However , you might prefer to spend more within the Z6 II to get somewhat better high ISO efficiency, eye AF in wide-area mode, and 14 FPS shooting. It depends a bit at the type of events or portraits that you take. For more stationary, studio work, I don’t think the Z6 II’s advantages are worth the money; with regard to faster-paced shoots, they might be.

For sports and wildlife photographers, neither digital camera is perfect, but the Z6 II definitely has the advantage thanks to its maximum of 14 FRAMES PER SECOND shooting. By comparison, the Z5’s 4. 5 FPS taking pictures – though perfectly effective at capturing the right moment – isn’t nearly as impressive. Between the two, I’d recommend the Z6 II if you are planning to photograph a lot of fast-moving action (though you may consider other cameras on the market instead, like the Nikon D500 ).

Overall, though, you can not go wrong either way. The Nikon Z5 and Nikon Z6 II are both fantastic digital cameras, and they’re also 2 of the best values on the whole photography market today. In case you remain on the fence following this whole comparison article, be assured that you could flip a gold coin and still be guaranteed of having a good camera.

Nikon Z5 Image Sample #21
NIKON Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6. 3 VR @ 97mm, ISO 100, 1/80, f/8. 0
Nikon Z6 II Image Sample #23

If you want to read more about the Nikon Z5 and Nikon Z6 II, you should check out the following articles:

I hope a person found this comparison helpful! Feel free to leave any queries, comments, and impressions below.

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