Nikon Z6 pushed to the limit without using flash

Organist in the Roswell Presbyterian Historic Sanctuary for the 8:15 am Worship service. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 2200, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28)]

Today I photographed three different worship services at my church using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. I arrived early and knew I had to shoot without a flash, but wanted to see could I shoot with the silent shutter.

So I switched the camera to silent mode. Here are the instructions from the camera manual.

After setting the camera to silent mode, I took a picture of the plain wall and got banding as you can see here. So I couldn’t shoot in silent mode. But with the Nikon Z6 it is still much quieter than with the DSLR.

Test Shot [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 8000, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 250)]
Dad helps his daughter to follow the song in the hymnal during worship at Roswell Presbyterian Church’s 8:15 am service held in the Historical Sanctuary in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday, January 26, 2020. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 20000, 1/200, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 92)]

I was shooting wide open apertures most of the time. I had the Auto ISO set so that I was @ 1/200 for shutter speed.

Rev. Jeff Meyers, Senior Pastor for Roswell Presbyterian, has Rev. Lyndsay Lee Slocum, Executive Pastor laughing during the 8:15 am worship service held in the Historical Sanctuary in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday, January 26, 2020. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 11400, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 210)]

In the historic sanctuary it was pretty dark. I was shooting for the most part ISO 2200 in the balcony with the organist. There was a flourescent light directly over her that kept the ISO lowest in the room. In the pews ISO 22800 in the middle of the room. I was able to shoot as low at ISO 8000 by the windows.

8:15 am Worship [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 22800, 1/200, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 98)]
8:15 am Worship [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 8000, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28)]
8:15 am Worship [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 20000, 1/200, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 100)]

After the first service I captured the minister talking to the people outside.

Bill Elder a member enjoys a light moment with Rev. Jeff Meyers, Senior Pastor for Roswell Presbyterian after the 8:15 am worship service held in the Historical Sanctuary in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday, January 26, 2020. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 220, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28)]
A member enjoys a light moment with Rev. Jeff Meyers, Senior Pastor for Roswell Presbyterian after the 8:15 am worship service held in the Historical Sanctuary in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday, January 26, 2020. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 180, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28)]

So for the first service I shot everything with the Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5–5.6. It worked just fine.

11:00 am Contemporary Worship [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 51200, 1/125, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

With Auto ISO set go to ISO 51200 I found the shutter speed was dropping to 1/15 at ISO 51200. I ran to my car and got my 85mm ƒ/1.8 and 35mm ƒ/1.4. Even with those fast lenses the light in the Contemporary Worship service was dismal. I was in a gym using mood lighting. It was dark.

I was still at ISO 51200 but at ƒ/1.8 I could have shutter speed of 1/125 when photographing the people in the congregation.

11:00 am Contemporary Worship [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 51200, 1/30, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

Some parts of the room I was dropping to 1/30, ƒ/1.8 @ ISO 51200.

11:00 am Contemporary Worship [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 51200, 1/30, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

With the 35mm ƒ/1.4 I was wide open at ISO 51200 and shooting 1/30.

There was just no way to photograph people in a dark room like this with a zoom lens. I needed the fastest prime lenses I owned.

Being with your best friend during worshiop is lot of fun for these two at Roswell Presbyterian Church’s 11:15 am service held in the Historical Sanctuary in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday, January 26, 2020. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 300)]

The last service was in the brightest room. I was able to pull out that 28-300mm and zoom in and capture these two friends enjoying worship together. I love my Nikon Z6, because it lets me focus on moments and the people. I did have to think and be sure I had the right lens on the camera, but the technology let me capture the moments that will help my church show they are a place where people can be themselves and feel welcomed and able to bring anyone they know to worship with them.