Nikon Z 6 III Is the World's First Camera With a Partially Stacked Sensor

From PC Mag: Nikon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera promises a giant heap of improvements versus its forerunner, the three-year-old Z 6 II. It comes with a brand-new image sensor, and inherits many of the features that make the top-tier Z 8 the best reviewed camera in its class. These include a smart focus system that recognizes and tracks a variety of subject types and Raw format video capture. On paper the Z 6 III promises performance that's every bit as good as the Z 8, and outdoes competing models from Canon and Sony on several fronts.

The Z 6 III uses a new type of full-frame image sensor. Nikon is calling it Partially Stacked, as it shares some characteristics with Stacked CMOS chips, including onboard memory and high-speed processing circuitry, but uses a different arrangement and doesn't quite match the scan rates of fully stacked cameras like the Nikon Z 8. This means that the Z 6 III is capable of freezing action with its fully electronic shutter, but still relies on a mechanical focal plane shutter for flash sync (at up to 1/200-second). In contrast, the Z 8's faster readout allows Nikon to omit a mechanical shutter entirely.

An Expeed 7 processor powers the Z 6 III's sensor and provides a 20% faster autofocus than the Z 6 II's dual Expeed 6 chips. The focus isn't just quicker, it also smarter. It leverages the same 3D Tracking focus tech found in the Z 8 and Z 9 to lock on and follow moving targets, and recognizes several different subjects (people, animals and pets, airplanes, and trains).

As for speed, the camera supports up to 20fps continuous drive with tracking at 14-bit Raw quality, and can snap full resolution 24.5MP JPGs at up to 60fps. There's also a 120fps tracking mode using an APS-C (DX) crop from the sensor and a pre-shot buffered capture mode that records one second of action prior to shutter release. Note that both of these are limited to JPG capture. All of the high-speed modes rely on the electronic shutter, and the camera tops out at 14fps with its mechanical shutter.

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