Learn & Explore - Z Series
Nikon Z 6 x Nature
Into the Mountains of Borneo
When traveling to world's most remote locations, and standing at the tallest peaks or amidst pristine rainforests and highlands, the Nikon Z 6 is a reliable companion in the outdoors and the FX-format mirrorless camera of choice of many adventure and nature photographers. Discover how this versatile and robust camera enabled me to capture wildlife and nature in its most genuine form. (Photo and report by Gab Mejia)
Nikon Z 6/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 24mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/50 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto/ Mount Adapter FTZ used
A winter's sunset unfolds high above the clouds en route to the 4,095-meter peak of Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia. The mountain draws in a sea of clouds in the horizon from the valley amidst the pristine rainforests and highlands, showing the scenic yet mystical unfolding art of nature. The Nikon Z 6 was able to capture this fleeting moment in very low-light conditions, capturing even the smallest of details of the shadows of the clouds.
Nikon Z 6/ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S/ FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/320 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Known for its swiftness, this Bornean mountain ground squirrel enjoys its afternoon meal of seeds and plants along the mossy trails of the mountains. These cute-looking mammals are quick on their feet, often seen pouncing and climbing the branches of the trees in the forest. The Nikon Z 6 was able to photograph the nimble actions of the mountain squirrel with its fast maximum 12 fps continuous shooting speed with full autofocus (AF) tracking, resulting in sharp images of even the smallest, and quickest of creatures.
With firmware version 2.00 and above on the Z 7 and Z 6, enjoy an extension of the low-light AF detection range, which makes it easier to capture sharp shots in dark lighting conditions. The addition of auto-exposure (AE) tracking capability to the continuous high-speed (extended) mode benefits your burst shots of subjects moving quickly through variable lighting, as it reduces the chances of shots in the series being under- or overexposed.
Nikon Z 6/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 15mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 25 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Mount Adapter FTZ used
From the tallest point of the mountain, the face of St. John’s peak divides the sky into the break of dawn and the end of night, as hikers light their way in the darkness beneath the shadows of Mount Kinabalu. At this point, the environment in the mountains changes so rapidly that winds become harsh and temperatures drop to freezing. Even in unfavourable conditions, the Z 6 was able to perfectly handle due to its weather-sealed body. A true testament of breaking the limits of the sky.
Nikon Z 6/ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S/ FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/1000 sec)/ ISO 2000/ WB: Auto
With only about 300 of these mountain blackbirds to be found in Borneo, this juvenile Borneo thrush with its white feathered coat perches on the thorny trees of the rainforest amid the pockets of fog coming from the highlands. Being able to take photos with the Silent photography feature allowed me to get a photo of the bird gracefully in its natural environment, photographing the bird’s alluring orange encompassed eye at its optimal sharpness.
The perfect match for nature and the wild
Bringing the Nikon Z 6 coupled with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens allowed me to break the limits of my work as an adventure and nature photographer. The impressive high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) was so natural to use that it felt like I was one with the natural surroundings I was in. There was no delay with what I was seeing through the EVF, which made it easier for me to track and focus on fast-moving subjects like birds and other wildlife, complemented by the Nikon Z 6’s ultra-fast AF and 12 fps burst shooting. Moreover, the EVF with its newly refined built-in optics offers both vibrant colours and crisp-sharp images which made it much smoother and easier on the eyes, allowing me to use it constantly without straining my eyesight, especially in long hours spent in the outdoors.
Supplementing the EVF with the large and impressive tilt-angle touchscreen LCD allowed me to further push my vision as a photographer, capturing wildlife and landscapes in different angles I could previously only imagine. I was able to seek unusual vantage points, placing the Nikon Z 6 in tighter and lower spots, as well as rougher ends of the mountains, wherein I was able to capture new breath-taking perspectives of the landscape.
With the Mount Adapter FTZ, I was also able to use my existing NIKKOR F-mount lenses, where I was easily switching from one lens to another in a matter of seconds, focusing on my subjects at the same speed and accuracy. I was able to quickly change from my NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens to the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED and vice versa, not missing any chance I have to get a different shot of the same animal in its natural surroundings. Plus with the amazing silent photography feature of the Nikon Z 6, I was able to be closer to my subjects—especially in dealing with elusive animals—getting photos of wildlife without disturbing and chasing them away, and even getting that right amount of bokeh with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens.
The Nikon Z 6 is indeed a dynamic and a versatile camera; a trusty adventure companion in the outdoors and nature with its light-weight and adaptiveness, which allows me to bring it anywhere, from the harshest environments of the tallest mountains to the most humid rainforests in the world. A camera matched for the adventurers and the wild-at-heart, its remarkable fast shooting speed and autofocus accuracy makes sure that I don’t miss any opportunities in photographing wildlife and nature, with the finest of details of either feather or fur reproduced with any NIKKOR lenses that I use. This camera stood by with me in the mountains at the break of dawn and fall of dusk, truly capturing all forms and scales of nature in its full glory.
Favourite feature on the Nikon Z series:
Light-weight and robust weather-sealed body with a solid grip
The whole build of the Nikon Z 6 is just the perfect fit for an outdoor and nature photographer like me. From its grip to its compact frame, I know I can trust my Nikon Z 6 as it—like the Nikon Z 7—features an advanced dust- and drip-resistant design similar to that of the Nikon D850, and remains capable even in the harshest of environments.
An adventure photographer, conservationist, and emerging storyteller from the Philippines who has travelled and covered some of the remote regions of our planet, from the receding glaciers of Patagonia to the island volcanoes of the Babuyan Channel in the Philippines. He is a National Geographic Explorer who aims to uncover and share stories of hope in our natural world threatened by today’s changing climate and society to inspire the future generations.