Nikon introduces a new APS-C Z series camera (DX format) in the mix, which begs the question: should you buy the more expensive Z6 full-frame mirrorless camera?

Both are designed to be versatile, but the additional real estate Z6 image sensor gives a price more than double that of the Z50. If you're a travel photographer, the Z6 is also bigger, heavier and bulkier.

In this comparison, we will discover the main differences between the two cameras to help you decide if you need to spend money or save money.

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Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: sensor and resolution

Of course, the sensor size is the main difference between these two cameras.yes The Z6 displays a full 24.5-megapixel image format (what Nikon calls the FX format), while the Z50 has a smaller 20.9-megapixel APS-C (DX-format) sensor. Although it has the same resolution as the Nikon D500 sensor, Nikon claims that the Z50 is not the mirrorless equivalent of the DSLR.

A full frame sensor is generally best suited for low light conditions, while the higher resolution also means it's more suited to capturing fine details. Whether you need a larger sensor depends a lot on what you like to shoot. If you're still shooting in dark conditions, the Z6 will probably do better, but if you're shooting in generally favorable conditions (like on a trip), the Z50 should be more than adequate.

The Z50 has a smaller sensor than the Z6

The Z50 has a smaller sensor than the Z6 (Image credit: Amy Davies)

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: Lenses

Both the Nikon Z50 and Z6 use the same Z mount. This means that all Z mount lenses available for the Z6 and Z7 can be used with the Z50. Since the sensor is smaller, you have to take into account the crop factor. The 35mm f/1.8 S series lens therefore offers an equivalent focal length of approximately 52mm.

Additionally, two new Z-mount lenses have been announced to pair with the Z50, specifically designed for use with the smaller sensor. This is a 16-50mm f / 3.5-6.3 lens and a 50-250mm f / 4.5-6.3 telephoto zoom lens. The former is designed to keep the overall system as compact as possible, and again ideal for those looking for a travel-friendly snapper.

Nikon recently released a lens roadmap that it says it will announce other lenses in 2020 and 2021 designed for its two mirrorless systems.

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(Image credit: Amy Davies)

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: LCD screen

Here's a good example of another big difference between the two models.

While both have a 3.2-inch LCD screen, the Z6 has a higher resolution screen, 2100K dots compared to the 1040K dots resolution on the Z50. Used in isolation, you may not realize what you're missing.

The Z50 also has an extra tip in its case: it can be tilted to face forward, which is ideal for selfies and recording vlogs on the camera. The Z6's screen can be tilted, but only down and slightly up.

Nikon Z50 vs. Nikon Z6: EVFs

Both cameras have electronic viewfinders, but the Z6's electronic viewfinder, which is the more expensive of the two triggers, is higher in resolution and size.

The Z50's EVF is a 239,000-pixel, 0.39-inch device, compared to the 6-pixel Z3690,000 option. Again, chances are if you just use the smaller EVF Z50 filter, you won't know what you're missing.

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(Image credit: future)

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: burst shots

Here's another point where the Z6 and Z50 are quite similar: the Z6 is shooting at 12fps, while the Z50 is only slightly behind at 11fps, with two speeds sufficient for sport and action shooting. In fact, you could argue that with the crop sensor and longest lens available (for the time being), the Z50 is the better of the two.

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: memory card

The Z6 uses a single XQD card, while the Z50 has only one SD card slot.. Although XQD cards are faster and more robust, they are also significantly more expensive and less easy to find than SD cards.

If you already use another camera, you may already have a supply of SD cards. Since the physical size of an SD card is also smaller, it helps to keep the overall size of the Z50 as small as possible.

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(Image credit: Amy Davies)

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: battery life

Another spec to save space: the Z50 uses a much smaller battery than the Z6.

The official CIPA rating of the new Z50 EN-EL25 battery has yet to be announced, but it will necessarily be lower than the Z6. That said, with a lower resolution sensor and lower resolution screen and viewfinder, overall power consumption will likely be lower.

As for the Z6, the life of its EN-EL15b battery is officially estimated at 310 shots, but you can actually draw a lot more, usually at least a full day for the average user.

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(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: dimensions and weight

This is where the Z50 has an edge, if your main concern is portability. Weighing just 450g (including battery and memory card), it's 200g lighter than the 675g Z6. On top of that, the 24-70mm f/4 lens for the Z6 will add an extra 500g to your bag, while the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for the Z50 is just 135g.

In terms of dimensions, the Z50 is essentially a miniaturized Z6. It retains deep grip and maneuverability while measuring just 126.5 x 93.5 x 60mm, compared to the Z6's dimensions of 134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm.

You may prefer the larger and more robust Z6, but it's hard to deny the Z50's appeal as a travel-friendly camera.

Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z6: Prices

So here's the big thing: the price. Both are excellent cameras, but if you're on a budget, the Z50 offers excellent value for money.

At the time of writing, it's around $856 / €849 (you'll only get kits in Australia), or €996 / €1,989 / €1,799 with the 16-50mm lens. You'll need to double your investment if you like the Z6, which will set you back roughly €1,996 / €1,699 / €2,999 alone, or €2,596 / €2,299 / €3,999 with Goal 24-70mm f/4.

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(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon Z50 vs. Nikon Z6: Conclusion

There's a lot to love about both the Z6 and Z50. We haven't fully tested the Z50 yet, but our first impressions are very good. To date, the Z6 is better known and we are very satisfied with its performance.

We would gladly recommend the Z6 as a travel-friendly camera - it's still small compared to equivalent DSLR cameras. If you want the best image quality, it is better to go for the full image option and of course it is cheaper than the higher resolution Z7.

However, if you want something small, light and versatile, the Z50 probably makes the most sense, especially if you primarily shoot in good lighting.

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