Canon 90D vs Nikon Z6 II
The Canon EOS 90D and the Nikon Z6 II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2019 and October 2020. The 90D is a DSLR, while the Z6 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (90D) and a full frame (Z6 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 32.3 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 90D and the Nikon Z6 II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 90D and the Nikon Z6 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Z6 II is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Canon 90D. However, the Z6 II is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the 90D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the 90D gets 1300 shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the Z6 II can take 410 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15c power pack. The power pack in the Z6 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 90D||141 mm||105 mm||77 mm||701 g||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|3.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|5.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|7.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|10.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|12.||Fujifilm X-T4||135 mm||93 mm||64 mm||607 g||500||Y||Feb 2020||1,699|
|13.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|14.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399|
|15.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999|
|16.||Olympus E-M1 III||134 mm||91 mm||69 mm||580 g||420||Y||Feb 2020||1,799|
|17.||Panasonic GH5s||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||660 g||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 90D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the Z6 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 90D features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Z6 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Z6 II is 154 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 90D offers a higher resolution of 32.3 megapixels, compared with 24.3 MP of the Nikon Z6 II. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.23μm versus 5.94μm for the Z6 II). Moreover, it should be noted that the Z6 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the 90D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 90D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 90D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 34.8 x 23.2 inches or 88.4 x 58.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 23.2 x 15.5 inches or 58.9 x 39.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Z6 II are 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm for good quality, 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm for very good quality, and 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 90D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z6 II are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|6.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|13.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|16.||Olympus E-M1 III||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the Z6 II provides a faster frame rate than the 90D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Canon is limited to 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Z6 II has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), while the 90D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the Z6 II has a higher magnification than the one of the 90D (0.80x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 90D and Nikon Z6 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|6.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-M1 III||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 90D has one, while the Z6 II does not. While the built-in flash of the 90D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The 90D has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the Z6 II does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon 90D and the Nikon Z6 II both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 90D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the Z6 II uses CFexpress or SDXC cards. The Z6 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 90D only has one slot. Both cameras support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 90D and Nikon Z6 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Olympus E-M1 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
Both the 90D and the Z6 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The 90D replaced the earlier Canon 80D, while the Z6 II followed on from the Nikon Z6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 90D better than the Nikon Z6 II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 90D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (32.3 vs 24.3MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1300 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2019).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z6 II:
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.59x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z6 II is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 90D and the Nikon Z6 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 90D or the Z6 II perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 90D||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|3.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon R||4/5||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|5.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|7.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|10.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|12.||Fujifilm X-T4||5/5||+ +||..||5/5||5/5||Feb 2020||1,699|
|13.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|14.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399|
|15.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999|
|16.||Olympus E-M1 III||5/5||..||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2020||1,799|
|17.||Panasonic GH5s||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 90D vs Nikon Z6 II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2019||October 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 1,199||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||32.3 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6960 x 4640 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.23 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||9.57 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DUAL EXPEED 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CFexpress or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 90D||Nikon Z6 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1300 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
141 x 105 x 77 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
134 x 101 x 70 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||701 g (24.7 oz)||705 g (24.9 oz)|
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