Nikon Z6 ProRes RAW is “pixel binned” according to users

Nikon Z6 with Nikon F 50mm F1.2 and 8Sinn Cage

A test has shown all is not well with the Z6 in ProRes RAW mode to Atomos Ninja V. There seems to be significant moire and aliasing and a lack of 6K full pixel readout going on with the image.

Falk Lumo shows us why

This could be due to two reasons in my opinion:

  1. The image data might have to be compressed or binned in order to be transmitted via HDMI, with limited bandwidth available for the signal
  2. The sensor might have to run in a pixel binning mode to sample the data fast enough at the higher bit-depth (12bit compared to the usual 10bit for N-LOG)

It’s still a strange situation though, as the camera is clearly capable of a very nice 6K sensor readout in normal 10bit N-LOG mode via HDMI (YUV).

Falk Lumo test - Nikon Z6 ProRes RAW moire and aliasing pixel binning

Internally the Z6 has a crisp 4K image as well, oversampled from that lovely 6K sensor readout. Hardly any moire, or any aliasing. The Z7 uses pixel binning full-time due to the much higher resolution (over 8K) sensor.

So it seems users must make a sacrifice if they are going RAW with Nikon and the Ninja V.

If you want to record LOG internally, I offer my Z-LOG picture profile via EOSHD (see this page). This does use the full width of the sensor and all pixels to create the 3840 x 2160 LOG image. You can apply the same LUTs you’d use with a similar LOG shooting camera, such as one with Canon LOG.

I’ll see if I can ask Atomos and Nikon about what is going on.

My feedback for the future is very clear – if you are going to do a high bandwidth, high resolution RAW feed don’t do it over HDMI when USB C exists. In fact if you are going to do RAW at all, make internal recording the priority and externally optional – especially if you already have an XQD slot on the camera (albeit only one).

Nikon can be really incredibly stupid at times.