Rumors are gathering momentum regarding what would be the first major product launch for Nikon in 2024: the potential Nikon Z6 III, which is tipped to succeed the Nikon Z6 II, a highly capable and polished mirrorless all-rounder that sits pretty in a number of our buying guides, including the best mirrorless cameras.
The list of likely headline specs is being fleshed out courtesy of Nikon Rumors, and majors on improved speed, which would be impressive given how capable the Z6 II already is.
The Z6 III is also likely to get the latest-generation Expeed 7 processor, which is also found in the Nikon Z8 and flagship Nikon Z9, and could delivering a blistering 40fps continuous shooting using the electronic shutter, rising to 120fps in the DX (APS-C) crop mode.
The third-gen model could also gain a 'dual data stream AF system', with updated autofocus algorithms that outgun even the Z8 – a major boon given that the Z6 II's autofocus performance feels a little dated and limited since the arrival of the Zf, Z8 and Z9.
The full-frame image sensor is reported to be an 'accelerated' version of the 24.5MP back-side illuminated (BSI) unit, likely the sensor in the Nikon Zf. So, while we might not see an increase in resolution over the Z6 II, the Z6 III might boast a faster sensor readout that could deal with rolling shutter more effectively.
A stacked sensor with the same 24.5MP resolution would be at the next level over an accelerated version, but that would incur a price hike that Nikon might not want to impose, and which consumers might not be willing to accept. Currently, the Z6 II is a sub-$2,000 / £2,000 camera, and if Nikon is going to maintain clear price-point separation between the Z6 III and Z8 there will need to be cutbacks somewhere, likely in the type of sensor used. We'd be highly, and pleasantly, surprised to see a stacked sensor in play here.
What we might get is a pixel-shift mode for high-resolution photography, as found in the Zf but not in the Z6 II. If it's the same multi-shot approach that we saw in the Nikon Zf, you might be able to shoot up to 96MP images with the Z6 III for static subjects.
According to Nikon Rumors, the potential Z6 III will also be bulkier than its predecessor, more in the mold of the Nikon Z8. That would be a bit of a shame – the Z8 is pretty beefy compared to several other mirrorless cameras that rival the Z6 II, like the Sony A7 IV and Canon EOS R6 II.
Video recording looks like it could be much improved over the Z6 II, with 6K up to 60fps and 4K up to 120fps in 12-bit N-raw, plus 4K ProRes 10-bit up to 60fps, with the option to select the shutter angle. There might also be 7EV in-body image stabilization, with an enhanced video stabilization mode.
As a Z6 II owner, I'll be keeping an eye on the latest rumors as they materialize. What I'm getting so far from the list of specs posted by Nikon Rumors is another iterative update that brings the next-gen model up to speed, with a faster processor, improved autofocus and video performance, without necessarily laying down the gauntlet for mirrorless camera performance. Will this be a missed opportunity to blow Sony and Canon out the water? We'll see.