While there aren’t radical differences between the Nikon Z5 and Z6 II exteriors, there are some differences inside. The Z6 II is more technologically advanced (although the battery life is better on the Z5). That includes faster FPS shooting, a newer sensor design, and better low-light autofocus, among other distinctions.
So, where does the Z5 triumph? Price.
The Z6II comes in at around $2000. The Z5 can be as low as $1000, although the price difference is commonly more like a few hundred dollars. That’s still a considerable price difference. That can give anyone serious pause. Is the price difference worth spending the money on? We’ll let you decide as we look at the difference even more closely.
Sensors: Both cameras have a 24-megapixel sensor. However, the Z6 II sensor is a newer design that’s also found on the Nikon Z6 and Nikon D780. The Z5 sports an older sensor, although not by much. (It’s the same one as on the Nikon D750.). The Z6II has the slight advantage of a higher ISO than the Z5.
Processors: Their processors are EXPEED 6 on the Z5 and Dual EXPEED 6 on the Z6 II. Because the Z6II has a more extensive processing capacity, it can shoot 14 FPS stills and 60p slow-motion 4K video. On the other hand, the Z5 comes in at 4.5 FPS stills and 30p 4K video.
Battery grip: The Z6 II is compatible with the MB-N11 grip with full vertical controls. If you prefer vertical controls, then you’ll like the Z6II.
Focus: The Nikon Z6 II has a slight advantage over the Z5. It enjoys better low-light focusing and the addition of eye-tracking autofocus in wide-area AF mode.
Shutter speed: The Nikon Z6 II has extended shutter speeds (up to 900 seconds in manual mode), making it ideal for long-exposure photography. The Z5 does have Time and Bulb exposure modes for shooting more than 30 seconds.
High ISO: There’s virtually no difference in image quality between the Nikon Z5 and Z6 II at lower ISOs. At ISO 1600 or 3200, you’ll see practically no difference. However, at ISO 6400, things begin to change with some noise introduction. Overall, it’s still not too bad, though, and both cameras produce about the same image quality. Go higher still, and there’s more of a difference. At ISO 12,800, you begin to see a better image quality with the Z6II. If you dare go higher, both cameras start to produce diminished image quality, but the Z6II has better imagery between them.