The Test: Nikon D850 vs Nikon z7ii vs Canon R6 mark ii comparison

Anyone who knows me knows two things – I don’t have the best spending habits, and I am awful at making decisions.  So this test was right up my alley because I’ve now bought three cameras in the last two years, as well as lots of lenses to go with them. Don’t worry – I’m selling one of them because it would be crazy of me to keep all three, but I really wanted to do a Nikon D850 vs Nikon z7ii vs Canon R6 mark ii camera comparison.

A little backstory – I’ve been a Nikon shooter for about 17 years.  Since I moved to my new studio almost 5 years ago, I’ve always struggled with having my white walls actually look white in photos.  There are multiple factors that come into play, including east (slightly south) facing windows, a small patio with a row of green hedges outside the shooting area, and changing colors with the changing seasons in MN, to name a few.  The light and temperature in my studio can look totally different from one hour to the next.  If I photograph in the morning (my preference) I need to block out a lot of light with sheers (which might also give a bit of a blue cast). If I photograph in the afternoon, the shooting area is very dark and blue looking.  It’s basically a hot mess, but I love my space so I’m learning to work with it.

About a month ago I was surfing The Motherhood Anthology group on Facebook, and I came across a photographer selling her Canon R6 mark ii camera.  She bought it and didn’t have time to learn it, so decided to sell it.  I took this as a sign that I should give it a shot.  If I didn’t like it, I could always sell it for the same price.

For a couple weeks I shot with both my Nikon z7ii and the Canon r6mii.  To my surprise, the canon edits were SO much easier for me!  The whites seems perfect and required little editing – something I wasn’t used to at all.  My next two sessions I photographed entirely with the Canon r6mii, and I had them both edited in less than 1 day each – which is amazing compared to how long it usually takes me.  During this time I also had a photography workshop in Tampa, FL (the Untethered Photographer workshop) and decided to test both cameras there as well.  One fun fact about me – I like to research the crap out of anything before making a big decision (it took me over a year to buy my last car because I had a list of 30 I wanted to look into/test drive).  So this is pretty par for the course, but in the end I know I’ll be happy with my decision.

So, on to the good stuff!  At the workshop I compared the Nikon z7ii and the Canon r6 mark ii.  I was absolutely blown away by how great the Canon images looks SOOC (straight out of camera).  We were photographing on a grey and white canvas-looking background, and with the Canon the background actually looked grey in most photos!  With the Nikon, every photo was different – grey, green, red.  Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference but to someone who stares at photos all day long, I could definitely tell.  I used auto white balance with both because I really wanted to see how the auto WB compared between the two (I’ve heard everyone rave that the Canon auto WB is great).

Here are some comparisons from the workshop, along with my settings.  Please note that the edits were just basic one-click LR edits unless noted.  Normally I will pull them into Photoshop for final retouching and minor adjustments, but did not do that for this post.


COMPARISON 1:  These photos were shot at a photography studio in Tampa, FL.  The windows were east-facing, with lots of light coming in pretty consistently throughout the day.

Nikon z7ii comparison with Canon r6 mark ii with woman sitting on stool with grey canvas backdrop


comparison of nikon and canon mirrorless cameras with woman sitting on stool with grey canvas backdrop

I honestly wasn’t thinking about doing a blog post or official comparison when I edited these, so I didn’t make note of what I did for editing them – I just did my “normal” edits for what I thought looked good.  Seeing them here, Nikon tends to look a bit cyan and Canon tend to look a bit more pink (in the grey background with my edits).



women in natural light against grey backdrop photographed with canon r6mii and nikon z7ii



women in natural light against grey backdrop photographed with canon r6mii and nikon z7ii

These two I edited after I had thought about the blog post, so I edited them both with the same preset – Refined II +1.



After the workshop I decided I wanted to dig in a bit deeper into the comparisons between cameras.  At the workshop, I wasn’t as focused on keeping the settings the same for both cameras.  For these next comparisons, I tried keeping them as close as I could (I upped the ISO once or twice out of habit).  These were taken in my studio, which has east/south east facing windows with a slight tint to them.  I also have a giant row of green hedges outside the patio of my studio next to the shooting area, and a giant tree that changes color throughout the year – all of which are constantly messing with my light and white balance.

This was my setup for the day:



For the first set of photos, I just edited in Lightroom them how I normally would, which isn’t the same for all three.  Different presets look different with each camera.



For the purpose of this blog post, I edited these all with the same Natural Touch presets (these have been, by far, my favorite presets for Nikon.  If you want to try them for yourself with a 20% discount, use code “MELISSA20” at checkout).



mom in blue hill house dress holding baby girl for comparison photos of nikon d850, nikon z7ii and canon r6 mark ii


mom in blue hill house dress holding baby against white wallclose up of mom holding baby for comparison photos with nikon d850, nikon z7ii and Canon r6 mark ii

These were again all edited with the Natural Touch presets.  Zoomed in photo to show closer details of skin tones, hair, etc.



I did most of my comparisons in auto white balance, because I wanted to see how it compared between the different cameras.  For this series, I adjusted my white balance to shoot in kelvin.  Side note – I never shoot in Kelvin so I winged it on what kelvin temp to set it at.


This was a one click edit in LR with a preset I made myself.  But, the Nikon z7ii has a lot of cyan in the whites, which is what I’m constantly struggling with, and always fixing in photoshop.


My final thoughts:

– the Nikon z7ii and Canon r6 mark ii are both fantastic mirrorless cameras.  I struggled with the cyan/grey walls with Nikon, and with Canon I can tell I’m going to have to work on reducing the magenta/reds a bit.

– for some photos I preferred the Nikon z7ii, but for most I loved the Canon colors (and mostly the lack of cyan in my whites when editing).  I feel like my white walls are brighter and more consistent with the Canon.

– I get less of a gradient of color on my white walls with the Canon r6mii vs the Nikon Z7ii

– I feel like the auto WB on Canon was way more consistent than with my Nikon Z7ii.

– the D850 is amazing, but feels super bulky and clunky now compared to the mirrorless cameras. I was also using a super old (7+ years) lens with this camera, and it definitely wasn’t as sharp as the newer lenses I was using with the mirrorless.  I will be keeping this camera because the outdoor colors are way better with the D850 than the z7ii, especially in the fall.  Can’t wait to try the Canon outdoors!

– the movie mode on the Canon is much more user friendly than the Nikon z7ii (which is why I wanted to try it in the first place).

– I hate the smaller file size of the Canon r6 mark ii compared to the Nikon cameras, so I may need to eventually upgrade to the r5mii once it’s released.

– I like choosing my focal point, and so far that seems WAY easier/quicker with the Nikon cameras vs Canon.  It could be that I’m just used to it with the Nikons, and I’m hoping I can figure out a way to quickly do it with the Canon because I don’t love using auto eye focus on either of them.

– If you want to see my previous comparison of the Nikon Z7ii and the Canon R5 – click here.


What are your thoughts?  Would love to hear!


EDIT TO ADD – I just finished comparing the Nikon z7ii and Canon r6mii to the Sony Alpha 7iii, so be on the look for that to be posted in the near future.



Some photos from the Untethered workshop in Tampa (all shot with the Canon r6 mark ii):

nursing photos of mom in beautiful white dress

Motherhood and nursing photos in natural light photography studiomom and baby on bed with flowersBehind the scenes from Untethered workshop in Tampa FLfine art maternity photos behind the scenes






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I am a custom portrait photographer in Lino Lakes, Minnesota specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography. Serving the general Twin Cities area, including (but not limited to) Minneapolis, St. Paul, Anoka, Andover, Apple Valley, Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Edina, Forest Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, New Brighton, North Oaks, Richfield, Roseville, Shoreview, Stillwater, Vadnais Heights, Wayzata, White Bear Lake, and more.


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