Z6II - First Impressions

Without good lighting, the camera missed focus every single time. It looks like EyeAF fell back on Auto-Area, found the edge of the softbox in the foreground, and locked focus on that in every shot.

I came across a Tony Northrup video on the Z7II, and he pointed out the same two issues I experienced and mentioned above.
  • Auto-area autofocus doesn't always work the way you want it to and will often grab focus on a random foreground element
  • Switching to a different focus mode is not something that can be done quickly without taking you away from the moment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=336&v=31n0NJiFcvM (start at 5:36)
"It's difficult to switch between focusing modes."

I've gotten more used to it by now, but it was still vindicating to see someone else notice the same issues.
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A few more observations after using the Z6II and Z-mount lenses for a few months.

Autofocus on native Z-mount lenses is fast and quiet. Continuous autofocus on the 24-70mm f/2.8 is as fast as any lens I've ever used, and is practically silent. Even if you listen for it in a quiet room, it's very difficult to hear any motor noise. The bigger surprise was the 85mm f/1.8, which unlike its F-mount equivalent, can focus fast enough to track fast moving subjects. It's a great portrait lens, but is perfectly suitable as a short tele walk around lens or even chasing my kid around in the yard. When using continuous autofocus, it makes a tiny bit of noise, but you still need to really listen for it, and it's nothing like any F-mount lens.

This one is a little nitpicky, but the focus ring on the Z-mount f/1.8 primes takes up almost the entire lens barrel. That's great when you want to use manual focus, but doesn't leave anything to hold when mounting or unmounting the lens. Whenever I switch lenses, I wind up turning the focus ring before remembering to grab closer to the body. It doesn't do any harm and probably just takes some getting used to, but after a few months with it I still grab the focus ring every time.

Lastly, I discovered yet another way the design of the FTZ adaptor is terrible. Most of my prior issues with it were solved by using an L-bracket permanently attached to the body. However, there is still the issue of trying to change lenses while the camera is mounted on a tripod. Even with the L-bracket providing a little more clearance, the FTZ adapter hits the Arca clamp on every tripod head I own from 3 different brands. This isn't something I do often, but occasionally I do not want to change the position of the camera even the slightest bit while switching lenses, and in those situations, I have no choice but to remove the camera from the tripod to do so if I want to switch between Z-mount and F-mount lenses. It's not really a new problem - the part that protrudes on the bottom just keeps getting in the way.

I will still conclude that I am very happy with the Z6II and Z-mount lenses, even with these minor complaints.
I can't say that I'm in the market ( I love my chunky D3 and D4) but you have provide a TON of very helpful information.
When in photo mode you can set the video record button to toggle the front and rear dial to switch AF-mode and AF-area. You can also select which modes it should include, so you don't have to scroll through modes you never use.
When in photo mode you can set the video record button to toggle the front and rear dial to switch AF-mode and AF-area. You can also select which modes it should include, so you don't have to scroll through modes you never use.
That's an interesting approach, I will have to give that a try.

My real complaint is that it doesn't remember the AF area mode for AF-S and AF-C respectively. On my Nikon DSLRs, I could set AF-S to use single-point and AF-C to use D25, and when I switched back to AF-S it would remember it was using single-point. On the Z6II (and I assume other Z-series bodies), it doesn't have this memory. If I switch to single point when in AF-S, it stays in single point when I switch back to AF-C. My secondary complaint, as I mentioned previously, is they got rid of the AF mode function button on the front left, which was much easier to use than having to hold the camera, press Fn2, and turn one of the sub selector dials, all with the same hand, which it sounds like your tip might help with.

What I ended up doing was simply removing AF area modes that I don't use so at least I can scroll through them faster. For AF-C, this includes auto-area with face detect, wide-area with face detect, dynamic-area, and single-point. AF-S also includes pin-point, and does not include dynamic-area. It's not ideal, but it's a little better.
A quick note on battery life 6 months in. I recently shot a wedding with my Z6II, taking 880 photos over a period of 5 hours, and at the end of the day still had 65% battery remaining. I should note that battery life in a mirrorless body is probably tied more to how long the EVF and rear screen are on than to how many shots were taken. I also shot in continuous high extended, resulting in a much higher number of shots than I would typically take in that amount of time. That being said, I brought 3 fully charged EN-EL15c batteries and didn't even use up half of the first one. I'd call that a win.

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