Photographing ice hockey with the Nikon Z6

Photographing ice hockey with the Nikon Z6 is by Joseph Nuzzo:

Nikon is making headlines all over with the introduction of its first set of full frame digital cameras that we have come to know as the Z6 & Z7. All over I’ve seen questions on blogs and social media sites debating if these cameras are good enough for professional level work.

I am lucky enough to work freelance for a New York based newspaper and get to cover NHL hockey and major concerts in the New York area. Recently, I purchased a Nikon Z6 camera with the hopes that I would be able to use it for shooting these types of events. I quickly put it to work shooting some smaller NY area concerts and the results were stellar.

But could it shoot pro sports? Recently while assigned to shoot a NY Islanders hockey game I decided to put the Z6 to the test.

Now let me start by saying that this is not a scientific test but just my observations as someone who has shoot pro hockey for many years.

A game of this type would typically be shot on a Nikon D5, however, the camera sensor and speed are very similar with the D5 coming in at 14 frames per second and the Z6 at 12. The Nikon Z6 has a slightly higher resolution at 24.3 MP vs 20.7 MP of the D5.

I knew some of the things that I would want to test would be the shooting speed as well as the battery life. I tend to shoot off the goal post and pre-compose my shots. My focus is on the goal area and I look to get the goaltender in action. So the test of the focus system wasn’t intensive.  I was shooting in Auto-Focus single using a single focus point. I used the EVF only and had the back monitor off as it wasn’t needed.

One of the first things I noticed when shooting was the weight of the camera. The Nikon D5 is slightly more than double the weight of the Z6. I appreciated that right away. The next thing I noticed was the camera would “go to sleep”. This prevented me from getting a few shots at first having to wait a second or two for the camera to “wake up.” I found this problem very easy to work around though by simply have pressing the shutter a second before I wanted to shoot.

One of the nicest surprises of shooting with the Z6 was the battery life. Before the game I updated the firmware and then shot almost 1200 images during the game on a single battery!

Overall, I was very impressed by how the camera handled, very impressed with the battery life, and my back felt great at the end of the game thanks to the much lighter camera body!

If you would like to read my full review on shooting the game with the Z6 check out the full article at If you would like to learn more about shooting ice hockey games check out some of my other articles here:

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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