How Does the Z6 III Compare?

We have two basic comparisons to make. Let's start with the one most likely to impact readers of this site: how does the Z6 III compare to previous Nikon Z6 models and the two other current Nikon Z-system models you might strongly consider instead? Here's the quick summary table:

You'll note that many features step up as you move across the table, including price ;~). Clever folk back in Tokyo, eh? Actually, this is traditional Japanese CE (consumer electronics) product differentiation, just about as clearly as we've seen it from Nikon. Pay more, get more. Wait longer, get more (and new). 

Yes, I've left a number of features off this chart—I don't want it to get too big—including things like control UX, autofocus options and performance, and more. But these, too, track pretty much the same way as you go up in price. More gets you more.

The real question you have to consider is whether the differentiated items are worth the extra money to you. Do you really need 8K video? Do you really need the compromised pre-capture options? How much customization do you need (and will really use)? Only you can make those determinations. In the Japanese CE lineups, there's always a strong attempt to get you to pay a little more to get more. Nikon and your camera dealer want it to be FOMO (fear of missing out) versus your credit card limit, basically. Your credit card wants the Zf. Your FOMO wants the Z8. Guess what sits in between?

The other comparison you'll want to know is how the Z6 III fares against the direct competition. Here's how that plays out in table form:

Here we start seeing some clearer differences, though a number of potential buyers will shrug off many of them. The difference that tends to get the most attention here is Sony's 33mp sensor, though that comes with a more limited frame rate. In point of fact, all the cameras in this class are pretty competitive, with each having a few unique attributes and a clearly defined personality that's different. Video users might be intrigued by the Panasonic S5 Iix, for instance, whereas bargain shoppers might gravitate towards the Canon R6 Mark II. 

I know a few will be grumping in Internet fora about how "uncompetitive" the Z6 III is, but I believe them to be wrong. At least today as it is introduced and what I know about the camera. The Z6 III fits in well with Nikon's current offerings, and it holds up well against the current competition. The only thing you might wonder about is whether it will continue to hold up as well for its expected two-year lifecycle on the market. Canon and Sony will surely iterate their cameras during that time frame, so the game of leap frog will continue. I don't believe you gain anything by playing leap frog along with the camera makers and constantly changing lanes (brands). All that does is make the banks happier that you're moving money through them. 

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