Best cameras under $2000
Published Jun 24, 2020 | dpreview staff
24MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor | In-body image stabilization | UHD 4K/30p video
What we like:
- Excellent image and 4K video quality
- Superb build quality
- Gorgeous 3.69M-dot OLED EVF
What we don't:
- High ISO noise reduction a bit heavy-handed
- Slight viewfinder delay makes it difficult to follow the action
- So-so battery life
The Z6 is Nikon's entry-level full frame mirrorless camera, offering a 24MP sensor, full-sensor 4K video and on-sensor phase detection.
The Z6's relatively small body is weather-sealed and very well constructed. It blends conventional Nikon control dials with a touchscreen interface. The viewfinder provides a detailed preview, though its a little laggy. The tilting LCD isn't optimal for video shooters. Overall, though, the ergonomics are very good.
The Z6 produces excellent quality stills and very good 4K footage
The Z6's AF is reliable in good light, but can 'hunt' in low light or with back-lit subjects. We also found that it doesn't always refocus on new subjects in Auto Area mode. Continuous focus is good when using single-point or zone AF, and Nikon has made AF tracking much easier to use via firmware updates. Battery life is decidedly average, rated at 330 shots per charge.
Image quality from the Z6 is near the top of its class, with high levels of detail and good high ISO Raw performance. JPEG noise reduction seems a bit heavy-handed at higher ISOs, however. Raw dynamic range is very good, with slight risk of banding if you try to make full use of this DR.
The Z6's 4K/30p video is very good and is supported by in-body stabilization and subject tracking AF, both of which work well. It can also output 10-bit video over HDMI, if you have an external recorder, and Nikon promises Raw video support in the near future. We noticed a substantial 'hiss' when using an external microphone.
While it's not the best camera in its class, the Nikon Z6 impressed us with its design and build, ultra-high res EVF and excellent still and video quality. Nikon has shown a dedication to updating the camera's AF system through firmware, which we applaud. Overall, it's an excellent choice for those seeking a hybrid stills/video camera for around $2000.
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