Nikon’s Z6 III is the first mirrorless camera with a ‘partially-stacked’ CMOS sensor

Nikon has introduced the $2,500 Z6 III with the world’s first “partially assembled” 24.5-megapixel (MP) sensor. This allows for high-speed shooting in both photo and video modes, while also unlocking features like RAW video and faster autofocus – making it far more capable than it already is. predecessor, Z6 II.

Stacked sensors are rare so far, only seen in expensive models Sony A1 and Nikon’s own Z8 and Z9. These chips contain all-sensor circuitry designed to read pixel data faster than conventional CMOS sensors.

In contrast, Nikon’s new partially assembled sensor has circuitry that only covers the top and bottom of the sensor. These still boost readout speeds to levels higher than conventional CMOS chips, but fall just short of fully assembled sensors – at a much lower cost.

Nikon Z6 III with partially assembled sensorNikon Z6 III with partially assembled sensor


This, along with the Expeed 7 image processor used in the Z8 and Z9, provides the gift of speed. The Z6 III can shoot RAW at up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter or 14 fps with the manual shutter (yes, unlike the Z8 and Z9, the Z6 III has a manual shutter). It also comes with a pre-shot feature of up to 120 fps, which works before you press the shutter, allowing you to capture fast-moving subjects that you might otherwise miss.

Nikon said it offers 20 percent faster autofocus (AF) than the Z6 III. At the same time, it works down to -10 EV2 in low light, “even better than flagship-level cameras,” the company claims. Nikon also carried over advanced object detection from the Z8 and Z9, which allows detection of nine types of objects, including people, animals and vehicles.

The video capabilities also look great. It supports 12-bit 6K/60fps N-RAW and 10-bit 5.4K/30fps ProRes RAW capture, 4K/60fps (uncropped) and 4K/120fps (1.5x crop) video, plus 1080p/240fps recording.

Nikon's Z6 III, Nikon's Z6 III,


Nikon now matches Canon’s EOS R5 with a 5-axis in-body stabilization system with eight stops of shake reduction. Although Nikon has yet to specify an exact readout speed, the rotating shutter should be minimal with a partially assembled sensor.

Other features are what you’d hope for in a hybrid camera. According to Nikon, it has a full-expression 3.2-inch rear screen, along with “the brightest EVF on any mirrorless camera” with 4,000 nits (and 5.67 million dot resolution). Finally, it has a CFexpress card slot for N-RAW video and fast photo burst speeds, along with an SD UHS-II slot.

It looks like a formidable alternative to the similarly priced 33-megapixel Sony A7 IV, offers faster speeds but slightly less resolution. It also competes with it Canon R6 II, which lacks features such as N-RAW video recording. Whether it can keep up with these models in the real world remains to be seen, but Nikon has certainly beefed up the lineup in terms of specs. It arrives in late June for $2,500 (body only) or $3,100 in a kit with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/4 /S lens.

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