Nikon D780 vs. Z6: Is the DSLR Obsolete?

Digital Gear Reviews Videography
Nikon D780 vs. Z6: Is the DSLR Obsolete?

There’s been quite a transition over the past few years. The mirrorless camera used to be seen a fun alternative to the more formidable DSLR. For still photographers, they were these small cameras that videographers seemed to love, but they had no place in our professional kits. Now, all the major brands, including Nikon and Canon, are perfecting the mirrorless camera.

We used to see DSLRs being released with the best features first. Later, their new tech would be implemented in other cameras. But this has flipped. The Nikon Z6 — Nikon’s low-light mirrorless monster — was released at the tail end of 2018, and it wasn’t until just a few months ago the Nikon D780 DSLR was released with essentially the same technology and sensor as the Z6.

Before getting to the core of your own review, which I surmise for wedding photographers will be D780 vs. Z6, it is important to understand the essential differences between the two full-frame Z models and the two D models.

D750 Compared to D780

~$1,499 (currently)$2,300
24.3 MP24.5 MP
Max. 51,200 ISOMax. 204,800 ISO
6 frames per second12 frames per second
Released September 2014Released January 2020
1,229,000 pixel display2,359,000 pixel display
1,920 x 1,080 (1080p) video3,840 x 2,160 (4K) video

Z6 Compared to Z7

24.5 MP45.7 MP
Max. 204,800 ISOMax. 102,400 ISO
12 frames per second9 frames per second
Released November 2018Released September 2018
Full-Frame CMOSFull-Frame CMOS
2,100,000-pixel display2,100,000-pixel display
3,840 x 2,160 (4K) video3,840 x 2,160 (4K) video

So now to the core question: Is the DSLR now obsolete? Has the mirrorless Z-series replaced the DSLR as the go-to for wedding photographers and videographers? In Kai’s lighthearted and extremely fun review, he mentions the connection between photographer and videographer when looking through a viewfinder as opposed to the mirrorless cameras. While that might not be the first technical spec many would jump to, I don’t think it can be understated. Also, when comparing size, weight, and cost, the Z has an advantage; but, then again, battery life and dual card slots may be important to professionals, too. So the debate continues. Which do you prefer?

Lance Nicoll is a wedding photographer and InFullFrame founder with a background in fine-art and editorial photography. Lance also holds a graduate degree in graphic design with a branding focus and has done brand consulting for the apparel, fashion, and wedding industries. As an educator, Lance has had the opportunity teach college courses for over a decade and holds corporate education camps and wedding industry speaking engagements.
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