Nikon Z6III leverages unique sensor design to speed up image capture

Nikon, today, officially introduced the Nikon Z6III. The new full-frame mirrorless camera features what Nikon says is the world’s first partially-stacked CMOS image sensor. This design promises faster data readout leading to higher frame rate capture for both photography and videography. The new camera also offers a collection of features borrowed from the Nikon’s flagship cameras, the Nikon Z8 and Nikon Z9.

“Offering a camera with this level of performance, reliability and an appealing price is a winning formula for all kinds of users who need a camera that will help them excel in every job or creative endeavor,” said Naoki Onozato, president and CEO, Nikon Inc. “The Z6III represents much more than simply a generational update–it’s a major leap forward that’s going to establish a whole new concept of what a mid-range camera should be capable of.”

Fast, fast, fast

The headline feature of the new Nikon Z6III is its unique partially-stacked CMOS sensor. This new sensor architecture stacks multiple layers of high-speed processing circuits along the top and bottom of the imaging area. This extra circuitry makes for faster data readout, speeding up the entire system.

This is sensor is paired with an EXPEED 7 image processor to deliver 3.5 times the readout speed of the previously-released Nikon Z6II. With this speed increase, the Z6III is capable of internally capturing video in resolutions up to 6K. Indeed, the Nikon Z6III can record 12-bit 6K N-RAW at up to 60 frames per second and 6K ProRes RAW at up to 30 fps. The camera can also record 10-bit 5.4K ProRes 422 as well as H.265 video formats. The 6K image sensor also allows capture of oversampled 4K UHD/60p video.

The image sensor inside a Nikon Z6III
Image courtesy: Nikon

Along with higher resolutions, the camera can also record higher frame rates. In 10-bit 1080p Full HD, the Z6III can record up to 240 fps. That results in up to 10x slow motion footage.

Nikon Z6III, for photo and video

The benefits of the Nikon Z6III extend to the photography side as well — the Z6III supports continuous stills shooting at up to an impressive 120 fps. Photographers can also take advantage of the camera’s pre-release capture feature. With this feature enabled, a half-press of the shutter button will trigger the camera to start buffering images. Then, pressing the shutter button fully will save images captured in the previous second.

Additionally, the Z6III offers Pixel Shift Mode, which can enhance color and detail by capturing a series of exposures. The result is a ultra-high-res image of up to around 96 megapixels.

a green and yellow bird just after taking flight

Focus on autofocus

Likewise, the autofocus system also benefits from the new camera’s boosted speeds. In fact, Nikon claims the Z6III offers a 20% autofocus speed increase compared to the Z6II.

The Z6III uses the same fast and accurate autofocus system found in the Nikon Z8 and Z9. That includes Nikon’s “highly-advanced” multi-subject detection. The camera’s AF system can detect nine different subject types automatically. Subject types include options like people, animals and a selection of various vehicles. The Z6III can track these subjects using AF tracking modes like 3D-tracking, auto-area AF, wide-area AF and dynamic-area AF. There’s also a custom AF mode that allows you to designate a specific area within the frame for AF subject tracking.

Finally, Nikon promises good autofocus performance, even in low-light conditions. The Nikon Z6III’s AF detection range extends all the way down to -10EV.

The brightest EVF and other features

Along with high-speed, high-res video and photo capture, the Nikon Z6III also boasts the brightest electronic viewfinder on any mirrorless camera to date. The 5,760k-dot EVF measures in at up to 4,000 nits brightness, promising a bright, crisp view of the image being captured. On top of being exceptionally bright, the EVF on the Z6III also supports a DCI-P3 equivalent color gamut, promising highly-accurate color rendition. Along with the EVF, the camera is equipped with a 3.2-inch rear vari-angle LCD screen.

Image of Nikon Z6III highlighting the tiltable LCD screen
Image courtesy: Nikon

That covers shooting in bright conditions. For low-light shooting, the Nikon Z6III features an ISO range of 100-64,000 (51,200 in video), expandable to 204,800. Additionally, the camera’s EXPEED 7 image processor supports “tailored noise reduction,” which Nikon says effectively minimizes noise while protecting image detail.

For handheld shooting and other shaky scenarios, the Z6III offers up to 8 stops of built-in vibration reduction. Also included is a feature called Focus Point VR, which prioritizes the active focus point for shake reduction.

Finally, Nikon promises sturdy build-quality thanks to the camera’s magnesium alloy and Sereebo construction. Coming in at 1.67 pounds, the camera offers dust and moisture resistance comparable to that of the Z8. The camera is also designed to operate in temperatures as low as 14°F.

The Nikon Z6III being used with a long telephoto lens in light snow
Image courtesy: Nikon

Pricing and availability

Nikon expects the new Nikon Z6III to start shipping soon — late June 2024. The suggested retail price is $2,500 for the body only. Kitted with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 lens, the Z6III is priced at $3,100.

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Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse is a professional writer and a curious person who loves to unpack stories on anything from music, to movies, to gaming and beyond.

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