Nikon Z6 III: A Wedding Photographer’s Perspective

Today, Nikon started shipping its new camera, the Z6iii. Luckily for me, I was one of the first photographers in Ireland on the waiting list from my supplier, Bermingham Cameras. They got in touch today to say DPD would deliver it tomorrow morning.

As luck would have it, tomorrow I’m shooting a wedding in Ballykeely House in County Carlow, so I plan to meet my friendly DPD driver first thing in the morning, grab the camera off him and shoot the entire wedding with the new camera.

Nikon Z6iii Wedding Photographer Ireland

I’m a wedding photographer based in Ireland. I shoot specifically documentary photography with a little bit of portraiture too. I’ve been shooting on Nikon cameras for the last 25 years, going way back to the Nikon D100. More recently, I’ve been shooting with the Nikon D750. Well, by recently, I mean the last 10 years.

My Journey with Nikon Cameras:

In that time, I’ve made a few attempts to switch to some of the mirrorless cameras, which I’ll go into in a moment. The Nikon D750 is probably the best camera I’ve ever used. It ticks so many boxes. It does everything I need it to do in the right size body and it’s largely been perfect for me over the years.

When using the Nikon D750, I never have to chimp or look at the pictures on the back of the viewfinder LCD screen. I just know it’s going to work. I shoot with it so intuitively. In any scenario, I can even feel if the shutter speed is going to be too long. I know where all the buttons are. It really feels like an extension of my arm. This is why I like to use it, especially in documentary photography, that I can just immerse myself in the scene that I’m working in. I don’t have to worry about photography. I can just be present.

Nikon Mirrorless Cameras For Wedding Photography

Along my journey with the Nikon D750, I’ve tried out the Nikon Z7, which I switched to the Nikon D850. Both of these were absolutely amazing cameras. The Nikon D850, probably the best DSLR of all time. The problem with the latter for me was it was just a little heavy and the files were a little bit too big for what I needed for wedding photography.

The Z7 was an equally brilliant camera, too, but the files were too big, and its low light per focus performance was a little bit worrying.

I then picked up the Nikon Z6 II, which I held onto for a while. I liked this camera too, but the biggest problem I had with it was I felt the EVF tough to work it with, which sounds strange. Just a digital image in the viewfinder used to slow me down, trip me up, and make me second guess exposures or different parts of the creative process. So I kept on going back to the Nikon D750.

I even had one little stint with the Nikon D780s, which was great, too, and I’m not even sure why I went back to the D750s, but I did and kept on my journey with the D750s.

The Need For Change: Transitioning from DSLR to Mirrorless:

What has happened with me with the Nikon D750s in the last couple of years is coupled with the 28mm f1.4, which is my favourite combo, the weight is just getting too much. The shoulder blade on the right side of my back is protruding because I’m just so used to holding the camera in a single-hand operation. So the weight is a massive issue.

I also noticed as well that the shutter can be pretty loud in quiet scenarios, and I’m trying to stay, keep things low-key. That’s something I’m becoming more aware of, so I’d like to address that.

The Decision to Switch to Nikon Z6iii:

So I’m going to switch to the Nikon Z6 III. I’m really going to do it this time, I’m not going back because there’s too much in it for me now.

What I’m Looking Forward to in the Nikon Z6 III:
  • Electronic Viewfinder: The EVF on the Nikon Z6 III is stunning. Really bright, really sharp, nearly double the pixel density of previous models.
  • Lightweight Body: The lightweight body is going to be a huge draw and it’s going to take a major amount of strain off me.
  • Low Light Image Quality: The low light image quality with the Nikon Z6 III is going to be amazing.
  • Shooting via the Screen: I really want to shoot more via the screen and not via the viewfinder. The Nikon Z6 III allegedly has better focus, namely in face mode, which should help me with that above-mentioned shooting via the screen.
  • Silence of the Camera: The silence of the camera is going to be a major factor for me, as well as the possibility of shooting with an electronic shutter.

My Worries about the Nikon Z6iii:

  • Battery Anxiety: I could nearly shoot two weddings on a single battery with the Nikon D750s. I’ll have to remember to change batteries regularly.
  • Very Low Light Performance: Dance floor shooting is particularly important because the focus sensor focuses off of the image sensor. I tend to shoot at f8 on the dance floor, and I’m wondering if it will work the way I want it to.
  • Dust: Another issue I’m not looking forward to is dust.
  • Dynamic Range and Overall Image Quality: I really want to know how it’s going to react with my current presets, which tend to clip whites a little bit.

Tomorrow’s Plan:
Tomorrow, when I take the cameras out of the box and load them up, I’ll give myself an hour to get used to them. Nikons are brilliant; they haven’t changed much over the years. If you use one, you know how to use all of them. I’m going to see if I can copy the settings from the D750 and if it will actually work to import them into the Nikon Z6 III (it didn’t!). I’ll take it handy with focusing, too; I normally just go on a single point in continuous mode. I won’t try out any of the more extensive focusing capabilities and give myself a chance to get used to that. I mainly shoot on aperture priority F4, so it should be pretty easy to get the hang of.

I’m only shooting up until dinner call tomorrow, so when I get home I’ll have a chance to have a good look at the images and try and edit them with Adobe Lightroom. And what I plan to do then is put those images up here and give my further thoughts on this camera, which I have high, high hopes for.

Nikon Z6 III First Impressions

This morning I picked up the Nikon Z6 III from Paul, my DPD driver. I opened the box to ensure everything was still there and headed to Ballykealy House for the Wedding. I had six batteries charged. It’s interesting to note that of the six batteries, four were non-Nikon branded (Hahnel) and two were the Nikon branded batteries.

Nikon Mirrorless Battery Predicament

I popped in the first battery that came to me, which happened to be a Hahnel. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, it didn’t work. I tried all four batteries, and none of them worked. Only the official Nikon batteries would work with these cameras.

This put me in a predicament. Would I make it through the day with just two batteries, or would I have to switch back to my Nikon D750 setup, for which I had plenty of power? I decided to shoot the preparations for an hour or so and see how I got on.

So I updated my preferred settings to the camera and attached the 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The grounds of Ballykealy House were gorgeous, and I walked around to get used to the camera. My first impression? Wow, the EVF is amazing—sharp, clean, and really cool. I quickly got over my Electronic Viewfinder Finder phobia and started shooting as usual.

I worked extra hard to maintain the power settings on it, switching off the camera whenever it wasn’t in use. That actually worked out really well. After an hour and a half of shooting preparations with about 450 frames taken, I’d only used 30% of the battery. I ended up making it through the entire Ballykealy Wedding with only 2 Nikon camera batteries.

Mid-Wedding Review

For the ceremony, I switched to the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 S on the second body. This lens is a beast—smooth, buttery focus, and easy to handle despite its weight. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and my mid-wedding review is that this setup is solid. I just need to get used to the focus and other elements, especially the eye focus settings. I’m unlikely to go back to the D750.

Family Photographs and Bridal Portraits at Ballykealy House

After the ceremony, we took family photos and did bridal portraits. Again, stellar performance even if the 27-70mm was starting to feel a little heavy. Then we moved to the drinks reception. I was excited to try the 28mm f2.8 pancake lens. This small, lightweight setup was perfect for candid shots. The 28mm is probably my natural focal length, and the camera’s compact size made it easy to capture people unawares. I also used the 40mm f2 pancake lens for some intimate portraits, and it nailed the focus every time.

The Wedding Drinks Reception – a Street Photographer Dream

The drinks reception was a blast, and I played around with different settings. The camera consistently delivered sharp, useful images. In fact, it felt like I was cheating. I was able to concentrate on photos and not have to worry about focus points. The flip screen came in handy; I was able to take my eye away from the viewfinder, which gave me a few more seconds of anonymity. The only test left was its low-light focusing ability. Usually, with my Nikon D750, I use ISO 800, 1/125th shutter speed, and f8 aperture for dancing shots, with a low-power flash. The Z6 III focusing didn’t quite meet my expectations in low light, but I think it might need some tweaking or a focus assist with on-camera flash. This is the only grey area I’m left with so far.

Final Thoughts on the Nikon z6iii for wedding photography

I texted one of my friends and said this camera is a game-changer. I know the way that I capture is going to open up so much more for me. It’s going to help me stay discreet and invisible a lot more. I know it’s going to give me good images in low light. I’m looking forward to editing these photographs from today to see how the final results turn out. Take a look at the images below, edited in Adobe Lightroom with my own custom preset.