Nikon D3200 vs Z6 II
The Nikon D3200 and the Nikon Z6 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2012 and October 2020. The D3200 is a DSLR, while the Z6 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3200) and a full frame (Z6 II) sensor. The D3200 has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Z6 II 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 Nikon D3200 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3200 and the Nikon Z6 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the Z6 II is only available in black.
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 larger (13 percent) than the Nikon D3200. Moreover, the Z6 II is substantially heavier (40 percent) than the D3200. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z6 II is splash and dust-proof, while the D3200 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 D3200 gets 540 shots out of its EN-EL14 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|3.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|4.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399|
|5.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999|
|6.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|8.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|9.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|10.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|11.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|12.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|13.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|14.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|15.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|16.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|17.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3200 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 70 percent) than the Z6 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3200 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Z6 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Z6 II is 140 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.3MP, the Z6 II offers a higher resolution than the D3200 (24.1MP), but the Z6 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.85μm for the D3200) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z6 II is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 5 months) than the D3200, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Z6 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon D3200 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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 is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|16.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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 better video resolution than the D3200. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the D3200 is limited to 1080/30p.
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 D3200 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 viewfinder in the Z6 II offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3200 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the Z6 II has a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3200 and Nikon Z6 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|5.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3200 has one, while the Z6 II does not. While the built-in flash of the D3200 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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, the Z6 II is one of those camera that have an additional 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 Nikon Z6 II has 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 D3200 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 D3200 only has one slot. The Z6 II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the D3200 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 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 Nikon D3200 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|
|5.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the Z6 II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3200 does not provide wifi capability.
The Z6 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D3200 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3200 was succeeded by the Nikon D3300. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3200 better than the Nikon Z6 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3200:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More compact: Is smaller (125x96mm vs 134x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 200g or 28 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 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 (70 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2012).
Advantages 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 definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D3200 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z6 II is the clear winner of the contest (29 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Nikon D3200 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3200 or the Z6 II perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|2.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|3.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|4.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399|
|5.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999|
|6.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|8.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|9.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|10.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|11.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|12.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|13.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|14.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|15.||Nikon D3000||..||+||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|16.||Panasonic S5||4.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|17.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D3200 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||Nikon D3200||Nikon Z6 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2012||October 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon Z6 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.2 x 15.4 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||357.28 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.85 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.74 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||DUAL EXPEED 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1131||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon Z6 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon Z6 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||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-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3200||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||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3200||Nikon Z6 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
125 x 96 x 77 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
134 x 101 x 70 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||505 g (17.8 oz)||705 g (24.9 oz)|
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