Throughout my career as a photographer, I have trusted a brand that has always covered my technical and creative needs and has served me faithfully for many years. As you can already guess from the title of this article, it’s about Nikon.
As a long-time user of the brand, I owned various models such as F4 and F65, while still shooting on film, and at a later stage with the advent of digital photography I had models such as D80, D200, D300, D3s and D4s.

Over the years, I have accumulated a decent amount of F mount lenses and accessories for them, and I always have two bodies in my backpack, currently the D750 and D850 (which I rely on for a main camera).


When Nikon launched the new mirrorless system with the Z6 and Z7 models, I had the opportunity to test both briefly, but never invested in any of them. One of the main reasons was the lack of an additional memory card slot, because unfortunately my job as a wedding photographer does not involve risking damage or loss of the captured material.
In addition, during operation with both models, the autofocus seemed slow to me, difficult in low light, contrast-free environment, as well as in strong backlight.
So at this point I decided to wait until the next generation Z system came out.


With the announcement of the new Nikon Z6II and after reviewing the main improvements and innovations compared to its predecessor:

Dual card slot, dual processor, better autofocus with improved eye recognition, improved video performance, faster FPS with more buffer, and improved viewfinder efficiency,

I was very excited and decided to test its capabilities. Nikon Bulgaria was so kind to provide me with the camera complete with the following lenses:

  • NIKKOR Z 35mm f / 1.8 S
  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S
  • NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f / 2.8 S
  • NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f / 2.8 S

Due to the epidemiological conditions and the ban on events, my plans to test during a real one failed. That’s why I set myself the task to realize enough shooting time during the period in which I had the equipment. As a wedding photographer, my main interest was the ability of the Nikon z6II to handle scenes with more dynamic and difficult lighting conditions: low and high contrast, mixed lighting, low light, and the movement of objects in the frame. It was also important to evaluate the options that the new Z6II offers compared to my available equipment, as well as how reliable it is when working with an FTZ adapter and lenses other than the Z series.

I. Vintage winter

The first session I realized was aimed at putting the Nikon Z6II in different dynamic lighting and weather conditions. I wanted to know how the camera will cope with:

  • Stabilization of the image in the body;
  • Improved eye tracking focus;
  • Additional Expeed 6 processor.

I also wanted to feel the ergonomics of the body and try the battery life.

Together with Hristo and Mitko Lazarovi, who took the backstage shots during the tests and our models Ani and Stani from Vintage Summer Fashion, we started shooting before sunrise. The location I chose was Villa Ekaterina and the surrounding area in Vakarel, and the thick morning fog, strong wind, humidity and cold became an excellent opportunity for the realization of my idea.

The most significant innovation in the Nikon Z6II is the additional Expeed 6 processor, thanks to which there is an increase in performance and speed compared to its first-generation predecessor. The role of the dual processor is most noticeable in the innovations made in the autofocus system. The tracking focus turned out to be not only fast but also quite accurate. I will also mention the added new eye focus function in a limited area of ​​the frame, which is especially useful when shooting a group of people. I felt that I use this function most often during shooting.

In tracking focus mode, the Nikon Z6II can make 12 fps, and with a single focus point and a choice of lighter dynamic range of 12-bit RAW or JPEG – 14 fps with minimal blackout between frames.

Here is the series I shot in the early hours of the day, taking advantage of the low contrast caused by the strong fog, and I positioned the car’s headlights as a backlight to make it as difficult as possible for the tracking focus.

Annie and Stani did a great job, but I expected that because they both have experience in front of the camera. It took very little of Annie to know about the concept so she can prepare the styling. The clothes she was wearing were from their last winter collection and perfectly matched the pre-set color palette and the general feeling I was looking for as a final result. Their emotional and casual characters, as well as their sincere relationship, helped us successfully complete this first test session.

At noon, when the fog began to rise and we were all very cold, we continued shooting indoors in one of the bungalows of Villa Ekaterina. This time we used additional permanent lighting, which corresponded to our concept of warm tones and became an element of our little story. The small Aputure MC are so light and compact that they easily fit in your hand or can be attached to metal elements with the help of the built-in magnet. By installing several such lights, we managed to realize the scene we want.

Dynamic range

In terms of image quality, Nikon has tried to improve the dynamic range, and this is noticeable when processing the captured images, for example, when I try to get a detail out of the shadows. The automatic white balance is very good, both in natural and when mixing artificial and natural light.

For me, the biggest challenge was getting used to the work of the tracking focus, as well as the electronic viewfinder, because so far I have not had much experience with mirrorless cameras. In order to be sufficiently prepared and not to fail the photos, I flipped through the user manual of the Z6II, as well as took photos at home, as far as time allowed. This helped me feel the camera and get used to its basic functions.

After the end of the first session with the Nikon Z6II, I had about 1800 frames and two fully depleted batteries, and the third had about 2/3 life. Seeing the correctly exposed frame in the viewfinder is a great advantage and loss has been kept to a minimum. I have almost no focusless shots, even in continuous shooting mode.

II. Cinematic Portraits

The second session that I realized was quite challenging because it required a little more serious preparation. The main detail on which I built the whole concept was the location. Golf Club St. Sofia is a place I know from my work as a wedding photographer, and the big French windows in the main ballroom were one of the things that made me choose this place. The location was in preparation for major overhaul, expansion and renovation of the entire base and much of the furniture, as well as tables and chairs were stored and the hall emptied. Again, my supporters in the realization of this project were Hristo and Mitko Lazarovi, who took care of the shooting of the backstage shots, as well as to provide the necessary lighting in the field. For the purpose of the test we used one of the newest LED lights offered by Aputure – LS 600d Pro. Extremely powerful 720 W cinema lighting that can be easily modified.

The model I chose was also not accidental.

I wanted to shoot a ballerina or a dancer because of my desire to have more movement and grace in the scenes. Since I couldn’t find a ballerina, I turned to Dasha, a former gymnast. She is a professional and it was a pleasure to work with her.
I titled the whole series “Cinematic portraits” because it was inspired by my love of cinema and portrait photography. Each element of the selection tells a story refracted through the prism of my own imagination, my desire to meet the sun every morning and my thirst to travel

During the shooting we used a haze machine, through which we achieved volume and depth in the frame. This enhanced the ethereality and ease of movement of the model. The idea this time was to work in a more controlled environment. While in the first part of the series the lighting was soft and the environment more contrastless, then we switched to higher contrast work so that I could unleash the full potential of the dynamic range of the Nikon Z6II. The main lenses I used for this session were two: NIKKOR Z 35mm f / 1.8 S and NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S. I have been working mainly with hard lenses for a long time and after parting with my AF-S 24-70mm f / 2.8 I vowed never to use a zoom lens again. However, this one surprised me very pleasantly with its drawing, sharpness and good transmission of details, especially in the close-up.


As a photographer who travels a lot, I focused on the Nikon Z6II in addition to my available equipment, because of the advantages that the system offers. I think that with it I could improve my documentary approach at work and capture the decisive moment more and more precisely. After having the equipment provided to me by Nikon Bulgaria for more than two weeks, I was able to implement several additional sessions, which I have not described in this article. The overall result of all the footage made me invest and I now have my own Z6II and two Z lenses – 35/1.8 and 24-70/2.8. Of my personal f-mount lenses, the one I wouldn’t be able to use at full capacity due to the lack of autofocus is an old 85 mm D version. All others work perfectly with the FTZ adapter.

Thank you very much

to all who participated in the implementation of this project:
Hristo and Mitko Lazarovi,
Ani Cholashka and Stanislav Dimitrov,
Stoyan Tonchev,
Petya Lazarova,
Dasha Uzun
Tsvetan Ivanov,

* This publication represent the personal opinion and impressions of the author and is not for advertising purposes. Nikon Bulgaria has nothing to do with the allegations in this article.