Long term thoughts on the Nikon Z7 and system

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I’ve now had a few months, a few assignments and what I’d consider a decent amount of time with the Z7: long enough to be familiar with its various peccadilloes and figure out exactly where it fits in my arsenal. Think of it as an extended field test, and perhaps more important than the initial review that people seem to expect me to produce within hours of a camera’s announcement. Truth is, you don’t really know a camera until you’ve had a chance to use it as you normally would, for the kinds of subjects you normally shoot, for an extended period of time – it’s just not physically possible to cover that many scenarios in a short test. Trouble is, not many of us have the time to do that (and especially not sites that have dozens of cameras to cover every month). It also requires consistency in the way one works to provide a baseline of expectations. As usual, I preface my thoughts with the caveat that not everything will apply to everybody, and validity of course increases the more similar your photographic style is to mine. I may not cover some things that matter to you, and I may obsess over other things that are trivial. With that, and assuming we have a mature audience, let’s move on.

It seems through one means or another, the threshold for me seems to be around 5,000 frames: if a camera passes that limit, it tends to stay as a permanent long term member of the team until there’s a really good reason to replace it. My workhorse cameras make anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 images typically during their lifetime; I’m not a machine gun shooter but will do a lot of timed single shots and extended experiments. Those that stay tend to rack up the miles quickly; the Z7 passed the threshold in early October. Tellingly, I’ve been reaching for it over the D850 in every situation except for shooting watches in the studio – this may seem odd given that a permanent live view camera seems to be optimised for this, except the 85 PCE requires more clearance for some frequently used orientations than my focusing rail setup than the Z7/bracket assembly allows, and the larger body is simply better for this.

We might as well start with the good, I suppose:

  1. Image quality: every bit as good as the D850 in practice, and perhaps slightly better. The tonal response is not the same especially at the highlight end, and yes, if you are an idiot and decide to shoot 5 stops under and push all the time – then you will see noise.
  2. For the first time the JPEG engine in a Nikon is not just usable, but really good. It’d probably be as good as Olympus if we could edit the curves. As it is, what we give up on curve control we gain in highlight rolloff and sharpening precision. And the quality priority JPEGs are so low compression that there are almost no visible artefacts.
  3. The size and form factor: it’s large enough to balance well with legacy F mount glass, but with smaller lenses – either the kit zoom or something smaller and adapted – it’s really a pleasure to carry.
  4. Battery life is phenomenal for mirrorless. At least for the way I shoot; I’ve seen up to 1500 frames on one charge, and again: I don’t machine gun. It’s not as good as the D850, which will get 2500 or so under similar conditions, but this is enough that a single battery gets me through a day. The only other mirrorless camera that can do this is the Olympus E-M1.2.
  5. The sensor is very exposed, and gets dusty faster than other designs – but, the sensor cleaning is effective.
  6. Stabilisation is about as effective as Olympus system before the E-M1.2, which is to say very good indeed.
  7. The top deck OLED is not just useful, but always visible.
  8. I’ve changed my mind about USB-C: it’s handy for charging and file transfer, especially for Apple users. I can charge my camera and transfer files without having to carry another reader or charger – just use the same thing I use for my laptop. However, there are some catches (see Missed opportunities).
  9. The weather sealing is excellent. I’ve shot with it in some really unpleasant scenarios and it never missed a beat – ditto the fluorine coating on the finder and lens front element; it’s really easy to clean.
  10. Those U1-2-3 settings are rather handy…
  11. Overall: it just works. It behaves as you’d expect, when you’d expect, with no surprises or glitches. In short: it works the way you’d expect from a Nikon, and inspires confidence.

The not so good

  1. Tracking AF could use work, as could face detect. But I suspect this is mostly because we lack the lock-on behaviour options that the D850 and co have; even these cameras require tuning for your specific subject for optimal performance.
  2. The ergonomics in places are a bit messed up. The AF joystick is still too low and not in an intuitive position, and the mode switch/display button is in too critical a position for something so unimportant. I’d have swapped it with the AF joystick. The exposure compensation button is impossible to reach, and I suspect only placed there for consistency with other models. Fortunately there’s quick adjustment using the unused dial in PSA modes, so we’re ok in practice.
  3. I think there’s one customisable button missing, for AF modes. By the time you set up everything else, you’re one button short. Perhaps one of the other buttons on the top deck should be programmable.
  4. Overall, with the options being as extensive as they are, the menu system really needs an overhaul, and cryptic settings renaming – or at least a better explanation with the ‘?’ key.
  5. Some battery drain is present with the camera off. It’s not bad, but higher than previously for a Nikon; be aware that if you let the camera sit for a week or two without use, don’t assume it’s still fully charged. We’ve also lost the detailed battery status screen, so there’s no way to tell the age of a battery and exact % charge without putting it in another camera. (I stand corrected – it was there, somehow managed to miss it every time I looked through the menu). Fortunately, the five segment display seems to be linear.
  6. Wireless protocol implementation is a mess. The UI is not intuitive nor is the connection fast or easy to activate. Too bad, as wireless tethering was exciting…until it proved to waste more time than just ejecting the card and transferring.
  7. No more protect key, it’s buried in…a menu.
  8. The 24-70 displays pronounced field curvature at distance; one has to be very careful with this because whilst your centre might look great, your corners will need help (or stopping down). I suppose there has to have been some compromise somewhere for that price and size.
  9. It seems the sensor cover glass is thick enough to not play so nicely with non-telecentric wides: the edges of most M mount lenses under 35mm aren’t pretty, even known ‘good’ lenses for native M. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the native AF solutions, and hope that some of the promised size savings carry through. Teles are great though.
  10. Ergonomics on the FTZ adaptor are a bit clunky: that tripod mount ‘bulge’ can sometimes get in the way of comfort. Would be nice to have a square edge on at least one side for making an anti-rotation L bracket, though. Or better yet, an Olympus Pen-F-style grip pinky extension-cum-Arca bracket.

Missed opportunities:

  1. The top deck OLED doesn’t show other settings, e.g. when you have a shortcut button pressed and say WB options visible, they only show on the rear screen and then at the lowest (not variable) brightness – it’s impossible to see in bright sunlight.
  2. The touchscreen can’t be used as an AF trackpad, and the joystick isn’t really that fast to use in practice.
  3. USB-C file transfer requires separate software, rather than just appearing as a storage device. There is no way to set this.
  4. We have wireless transmission over bluetooth and wifi…but no inbuilt compatibility for Nikon’s own wireless radio-triggered flashes. Missed opportunity, or accessory gouging?

There’s one elephant in the room: lenses, or more specifically, the philosophy around which they’re designed. If you don’t like 35 or 50mm, or a 24-70/4 zoom, then you’ve got no choice but to turn to adaptors (fortunately, Novoflex has high quality options) for the time being, of which only Nikon’s FTZ will give full functionality, and only with F mount glass. The problem here is one of balance, much like Sony faces: you might save a bit of weight and volume off the camera body, but once you put a SLR-type lens on it, ergonomics suffer and the advantages are pretty much negated (other than the precision of having AF at the imaging plane). What I think is needed is not bulky and fast lenses, but a good practical compromise: f1.8 is fine if it allows size to remain balanced; collapsible zooms are good because they reduce packing volume. As much as I love how the AFS 70-200/4 VR performs on the Z7, I’d really like to have a collapsible option that can complement the 24-70 and not require a bag with a nearly 25cm long compartment. I’d even consider some really compact f2.8 MF pancake glass – maybe sell it in a 28-50-85mm set. It’s viable given just how easy MF is with this EVF and adjustable peaking; surely a risk now and then might be worthwhile, Nikon? MT

My ACR profiles and custom JPEG Picture Controls for this camera (and the D850) are available here.

The Nikon Z7 in various combination bundles is available here from B&H or Amazon. As usual, referral purchases cost you nothing extra but do help to support the costs of running this site.

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Comments

  1. michael leonhardt says:

    The Zeiss ZM Distagon 1,4/35 seems worth to consider. I own and use it on the Z6, accompanied by a ZM Distagon 4/18 which has some flaws in the corners. You may call it character 😉

  2. Hi Ming,
    I was missing the “key” button as well, but you can easily program it to one of the two buttons next to the lens mount at the right side. I found that to be even more handy when editing in camera, than the position on the D 850. I programmed the other with “go to my menu” which gives me quick access to a lot of functions that didn’t fit in the very comfortable “I”-Menue.
    Maybe this little hint makes working with the Z-Cameras more effektive and enjoyable.

  3. item #1: ‘tonal response, especially at the highlight end’….please elaborate. I am currently using D810, attracted by features (especially the mirrorlessness) of Z7. Does the highlight rolloff compare to 810/850?

  4. After reading your posts on the Nikon Z7 I was inspired to purchase one (Z6). I have a question for you.. have you come across issues with JPEG images (out of Z cameras) not getting uploaded to Flickr or Google Photos? I’ve searched high and low online to see if anyone else having similar issues. JPEG upload issue being so generic and Z6 being so new I’m not able to find any definite answers / or related forum posts. I’ve tried to upload images from my other jobs (taken with D750) and they were fine (as per normal). And I tried again with images from other session (taken with Z6) no luck. Any one else having issues?

    • Nope, sorry – uploads work just fine as normal for me.

      • Thanks for letting me know. It must be something at my end. oh dear… what could this be…

        • At a guess, maybe strange color space or location data settings?

          • I thought that as well. Actually, as you were replying, I set the camera to airplane mode (which is new to me) and set the colour space to Adobe (it was originally set to sRGB which would have been fine), did a random shot. I had a raw and a JPEG. I exported those to small JPEG (sRGB.. the usual) and tried to Google Photos.. no luck. I’m thinking it must be their network issue. I won’t bother you again with this tedious issue. We have better things to do! 🙂

            • I upload from a computer though (I assume you are also doing this)…

              • yep.. mac osx using Chrome. I think it’s one of those days – one technology failure after another. I’ll report back to you tomorrow! 🙂

                • Suggests something in the browser…

                  • How did you know?? I just did a test using Safari and it worked. I wonder why.. I rarely use Safari. Bah.. this is doing my head in. What made you think it was the browser issue? Have you had something similar in the past with browsers? Thank you so much for ‘talking’ to me. It’s been so helpful.

  5. The New Nikons seem to be splendid cameras all in all. With respect to the dusty sensor I do like Canon’s solution of closing the shutter when power is off.
    I had wondered why this was not the case back when Olympus debuted their first mirrorless camera.
    It seemed that CAnon must have been inspired by the old Hasselblad V series.

    • Actually, I think it has more to do with a) the power-off state of the shutter (some are open, some are closed, depends on the magnet configuration); b) whether the engineers are more worried about dust or people poking the shutter curtains by accident, being much easier to do so with mirrorless due to the short flange distance; and c) whether the shutter needs to be open or closed in the standby/viewing state (open for mirrorless, doesn’t matter for DSLR since the mirror has to get out of the way before capture anyway).

  6. Nice review. With respect to dust on the sensor I would hope this is less of a problem because the sensor is vibrating constantly. I’ve been lucky with my A7II; just one visible spot so far. I’ll take it to a professional when it does need a clean*. Good that Nikon has upped their JPEG game.

    * Having totally screwed up my first DSLR, a Nikon D40, by trying to clean the sensor myself. The very English term for people like me is “ham fisted” btw.

    • So far so good; maybe the additional movement helps (or maybe not). I remember they did something with the mirror flap a while back on one of the entry level cameras to try and use the airflow to clean sensor, too.

      I had a D40 too – that was NOT an easy camera to clean because of the incredibly tight mirror box (and lack of ‘landing space’ for a sensor swab on either side)!

  7. Ming, I appreciate the thoughtful comments and useful inputs that I can apply as a kind of “template” on which I can expound my own critiques. I’ve been using the Z6/FTZ with the MF 50mm 1.2 Ai-s with great success because of the ability to zoom and peak directly off the sensor. It’s far more accurate than my D810 for manual use. I also find that if I use a pre Raw sharpen program with Z6 files I can get results very close to the D810’s resolution. Perhaps not the dynamic range of the D810, but not bad either. I prefer to not under expose too much to avoid banding anyway, but have been quite impressed nonetheless. Any thoughts on the 50mm 1.8 S or news of the 85mm 1.8S? All the Best!

    • 24MP is also quite a bit more forgiving than 36 when it comes to critical focus and optical corrections – and if you’re using it at 1.2, there’s not much practical resolution gain, either. This may explain your findings on the 50/1.2…

      Not used the 50/1.8S, I’ve also been taking advantage of the ease of MF and short flange to use my Leica 50/1.4 ASPH M. 85/1.8 S looks interesting but we’ll have to see how big it is…I admit that having one set of lenses to share between the D850 and Z7 is very convenient unless the native Z lenses have significant size or optical advantages. We’ll see I guess…

      • Hi Ming, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been shooting film Leicas with a 50mm, and have been waiting for a digital body to go with a manual 50mm M mount lens. Would you recommend the z6 for that combi? What was your experience like with the Summilux?

        Also, which adapter did you use? Thanks and hi from Singapore!

  8. Bukola Oloruntoba says:

    Thank you. Great review.

  9. I was under the impression that the word arsenal refered to a collection of weapons, especially. What battles have you fought Ming?

  10. Hi, Ming,
    Always enjoy reading your articles. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Z7. You mentioned that the Z7 has better JPG; however, I watched some of the Youtube sites complained Nikon’s JPG files include Z6/Z7, especially for the skin tones. What is your thoughts on the Z7 files for the skin tones?

    • Thanks.

      Upfront caveat: Sorry, but I put little value on youtube ‘reviewers’ who don’t actually shoot with the cameras. Social media that’s done for revenue and is traffic driven is always going to tend towards the sensational, the complaining and the trollingly shouty just to get attention. I have no incentive to say anything other than what I actually think – I’m not affiliated with any brand, not paid for by any advertiser, and at a point in my photographic career where I have the luxury of taking no prisoners. Put another way: I make a living making pictures. They make a living complaining. Wouldn’t be a very high traffic review if it said ‘good enough, operator dependent’! 🙂 Any opinion is only as valid as the person giving it and the applicability of their use case to yours.

      With that said, I find JPEG skin tones acceptable (but not as good as a Hasselblad in RAW, for instance). We don’t know how they’re shooting, setting up the camera (saturation, WB, exposure, choice of picture control) etc.; if you get those things right, the camera does what it’s supposed to.

      • Hear! Hear! Very well said on this dichotomy contrasting the livelihoods of the real reviews, like yourself, and the pretenders/complainers.
        Over the past 1+ year, the launch of the D850 and the Z Nikon system, especially, has showed up the youtube bleaters in all their dishonesty and facileness.

  11. David Burns says:

    Excellent thoughts Ming and great writing as always, thank you.

    Personally, I am slightly hovering between a D850, or (possibly) a Z7, to replace my D810, itself a superb camera. I have always said that I hated EVFs but when trying out the Z7 the other day, had to eat my words. It is superb. Sadly, I am not in the position to do any jumping just yet as I do not have any spare cash but probably will find myself upgrading in the next few months. I can feel the GAS worm wriggling inside me already! Not admirable really as the D810 is already more than I need!

    By the way, I agree with Felix. The troll is on the wrong site and should be lead carefully to the bin!

    • I felt the D810 had just a little bit more pixel acuity than the D850 and Z7 – I think that’s as much down to lens resolving limits as pixel pitch. I think you’d actually gain less on the sensor than the AF system and (maybe) ergonomics – so if you’re okay with those elements, feel free to feel content 🙂

  12. Couple of things. First, the top deck display is not “always visible.” It’s visible when the camera is active, turned off when it isn’t. This is different than the DSLRs.
    Second, I’m perplexed by your comment about editing Curves in Picture Controls. We’ve had the ability to do that from the beginning, but it requires you use a computer to alter the curves. Indeed, this ability predates EXPEED and Picture Controls. It was the way I provided a Velvia-like look back in the pre-D3 era for JPEGs. True, we can’t edit a Curve in camera as you can with the Olympus bodies, but there’s a bit more flexibility in how the Curve is made in Nikon’s approach. What Nikon never did and which they should have done, is to provide the ability to change the “base point” for a Custom Picture Control. The big limitation is that we have to base the Curve on a Nikon-supplied Picture Control. The same “Curve” will look different if you started with Vivid than if you started with Neutral, for example.

    • Depends how you have your standby timers set up, I suppose – I always switch the camera off between shots since there’s virtually no wakeup lag, and this saves power. But my standby timers are set long enough that it’s always active when it’s on – otherwise you might as well turn it off.

      Picture controls: yes, I’m pretty sure we had that even in the D2-era. But as you point out, the base points are based on Nikon’s own defaults, and those (as far as I can see) have changed: the D850 and Z6/7 generation seem to be a lot closer to neutral/reference color than the earlier cameras were. Highlight handling also seems to be a bit different. And since there were/are no HSL adjustments, that affects practical usability. Maybe I’m confused somewhere, but all I know is this: previously, even with the edited picture controls, JPEG color was not usable for me (so I never bothered mentioning it). It is now. What’s changed internally in the processing, only Nikon knows…

  13. Hi Ming,

    You wrote: “The sensor is very exposed, and gets dusty faster than other designs – but, the sensor cleaning is effective”, but do you think that the sensor cleaning is more effective than on DSLRs like the D810 etc.?

    One thing that is really a let down regarding sensor cleaning is this from the Nikon reference manual:

    “Do not touch the image sensor: Under no circumstances should you exert pressure on the image sensor, poke it with cleaning tools, or subject it to powerful air currents from a blower. These actions could scratch or otherwise damage the sensor. For
    information on cleaning the image sensor, see “Image Sensor Cleaning” (0419).”

    I have always cleaned my DSLR sensors using eyelead or sensor swaps, but apparently that should be completely avoided now.

    • Hard to say, given they’re deployed under very different conditions. For all we know it’s the same sensor cleaning unit (likely, given production economics).

      These are the only Nikons to date with moving sensors – IBIS – so you may well damage the mechanism in cleaning it. No idea how much force it can take in what direction and remain elastic. This is obviously not true for a fixed sensor DSLR…

  14. Ming, how much use does your X1D get now? For general usage, do you prefer to use the Z7 over it?

    • Sensitive question; in all frankness, not that much. The X1D’s sensor is still a bit better at lower ISOs, about the same at high ISOs and thus has some justification when working slowly, but if you’re in a hurry it is not a fast camera…the Z7 is pick it up, turn it on and you’re ready to go.

      • OK, that is what I figured. None of your recent images show credit to the X1D, so I was starting to wonder if it had been forgotten. Maybe if… *cough* ZEISS *cough* would help “grease the wheels” of motivation by release a line for the both medium mirrorless mount(s)? If only a ZEISS representative would read this… *cough* please get the hint ZEISS *cough cough*

        Please excuse my cyber coughing, this has been unexpected.

        Also, have you ever made a post on your safety protocols while out in the field? What you do to best protect yourself from thieves or other unwanted attention? Thanks, Ming.

        • One of the first things I tried while chief of strategy at Hasselblad was to do just that – many reasons why it didn’t work out…

          Also, have you ever made a post on your safety protocols while out in the field? What you do to best protect yourself from thieves or other unwanted attention? Thanks, Ming.
          No, for two reasons: firstly, you don’t want them to know what you’re not doing, and it’s much easier not to attract attention in the first place. Better for stealthy reportage images, too 🙂

  15. This isn’t actually about the Nikon which was good. But I’ve noticed your images have a very nice rich black and contrast with it appears with all your posts. Could you tell me how you do that? Is it photoshop or the processing your doing?

    Thank you sir keep up the great work.

  16. Thanks for a nice review.

    You wrote that: “USB-C file transfer requires separate software, rather than just appearing as a storage device. There is no way to set this.”.

    It actually works normally and when connecting a USB-C cable to the camera it appears as a storage device in Windows 10. Files can then be copy/pasted from a folder named something like: “Z 6\Removable storage\DCIM\101NCZ_6”. So no special software is needed saving the need for a special card reader which is really nice.

    • It should be noted that I used a Nikon Z6, but I suppose that the Z7 will work in exactly the same way when using an USB-C cable.

    • Good news for Windows users – on Macs here so wasn’t able to test that. For use you need to use the Image Capture program (fortunately built into the OS).

      • Correct. On a Mac, the Z cameras will show up in System Report under the USB 3.1 device tree. They’re assumed to be a transfer device, not a storage device. You access images on a stock Mac by going to Applications, selecting Image Capture, then selecting Z6 or Z7 under Devices.

  17. Thanks for your thoughts. How much better is this for M lenses than the Sony A7rIII? IQ and focusing?

    You make a few negative comments about the ergonomics and menu, how does this compare to the Sony A7rIII?

    • As far as I can tell (limited time with the A7RIII), corner performance is about the same. Focusing – I’ve always found the Sonys to peak on the wrong channel and appear slightly front or back focused; the Nikon seems to be a bit better.

      Never been a fan of the Sony menus personally…but Nikon is starting to irk, too. At least there aren’t options that are interdependent and get mysteriously locked out if you suggest something else. I’m personally more comfortable with vertical scrolling lists than horizontal and then vertical, but if you’re coming from Canon the latter may be more familiar.

  18. Jack Frost says:

    Nobody gives fucks what think! You Arrogant Smuck! You lost folkz coming with this shit… IIIII now had a few months, IIIII a few assignments and what IIIII’d consider a decent amount of time with the Z7: long enough to be familiar with its various peccadilloes and figure out exactly where it fits in MMMMMmy arsenal. IM NOT HATED BUT DAMN DUDE LETS HEAR ABOUT THE CAMERA… NOT HOW FUCKING AWESOME YOU ARE. The you go and use “peccadilloes” which half of your western audience never heard of. Stop being cute…

    • I’m pretty sure spell checkers and dictionaries are built into every computer now, but sadly not basic politeness. I hope this made you feel good about yourself; I couldn’t have said it better than your first two sentences. Readership here is free and voluntary. You’re welcome to point your browser somewhere else.

    • Clearly Jack is a half empty sort of guy. Jack, if half have never heard the word, it means the other half have. It’s also quite refreshing to read a review that exceeds high school English abilities. Thanks for the review Ming. I always enjoy that you skip the specs and talk about it from a photographer’s perspective, not a reviewer’s perspective.

    • It really is extraordinary how some people so directly and efficiently reveal their deep ignorance in every complexion of its meaning, without ever meaning to.

  19. Benjamin Davis says:

    Hey Ming. Do you post your U1/2/3 setting anywhere?

  20. Hi Ming. Thanks for this review/update! You mention “the edges of most M mount lenses under 35mm aren’t pretty” – does this story change when using the 5:4 or 1:1 crop modes?

    • It gets better the closer to the middle you get; APSC is fine, but a bit pointless because the wides aren’t wide anymore (and using a 50 instead of a cropped 35 would be better anyway). 1:1 is usable, 5:4 is borderline and depends on the lens.

  21. Ralf Weber says:

    Hi Ming, you mentioned the sensor cover glass a tiny Bit on the thick site. How
    does it compare to the X1D s sensor design?

    • Hard to say; you’re looking further into the corners of the image circle with the X1D, into areas for which 35mm format lenses were not designed. It’s pretty much the same: the telecentric stuff is great, the non-telecentric stuff (mainly wides) is not. I suspect the X1D may be slightly better in the corners of the 35mm region but I have not done any formal testing.

  22. Any experiences with z7 and legacy lenses?

  23. Hermann Dreßen says:

    “The exposure compensation button is impossible to reach (…). Fortunately there’s quick adjustment using the unused dial in PSA modes, so we’re ok in practice.”

    That would indeed be a very useful workaround, since I very much agree with your judgement.

    Unfortunately I won’t find the described option even though scrolling through the menu again and again.

    So, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    And, as usual, a very well thought out and balanced review, thanks a lot for your effort!

    • Item B2 in the custom settings. As the feature list balloons to include stuff we don’t use, it becomes harder and harder to find the stuff we do (I’ve used Nikons for >15 years and somehow managed to miss the battery status item…)

  24. Thanks for sharing your valuable insights!
    What are your thoughts on low-light AF, especially in AF-C mode? Or asked differently, would you use the Z7 (or, for that matter, the Z6) for weddings?

    • The Z6 seems to acquire focus in low light much better than the Z7, both with the 24-70; they do not have the same sensor/AF system. Both are better with faster lenses (PDAF is always better with more light). I prefer to work with single point AF and time my shots rather than rely on tracking (this also goes for the D850) unless I absolutely have no choice. I don’t shoot weddings, but I would be fine using either of them for the usual documentary/reportage work I do. But not with the 24-70 in low light – f4 is really limiting on your ability to freeze motion.

  25. What focal lengths are you seeing field curvature on the 24-70? When I tested its infinity performance it was a bit soft at the edges at 24mm but by 30mm and through 70mm it’s very sharp across the frame. Here’s a link to my test:

    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/61845261

  26. I love you writing. But did you know, Ming, that reading from your website is a real torture to one’s eyes. Fortunately, Feedy re-formats your posts to a much more comfortable form. I always read you on Feedly. I am sure you don’t care for your followers comfort. But if you do, pls, check it out. A reader needs an eagle eye and desire to scroll from left to right and back hundreds times because your lines won’t fit to a normal HD display with slightly enlarged fonts. You should know that 50% of human population has problems with vision. And your website is not very friendly to all these people.

    • I don’t know what browser you’re using, but it’s formatted for precisely that:
      Screen Shot 2019-01-12 at 17.17.43 (2) copy

      Are you seeing something else? Does anybody else not see this or if you do, find this difficult to read?

      • SInce you are in the topic…in computers the type size is good for me, but in mobile (smartphone, using a Galaxy S8 with Chrome) the font could be a little bit larger.

      • Michael Hanson says:

        I, for one, am very pleased that you format your website to be easily read with standard computer browsers and with no silly floating menus on the sides. I’ve also always liked your font and I just realized why: It’s sans serif with oldstyle figures, which is unfortunately rare on the internet. Is it Latin Modern Sans?

        • I admit I’m a bit OCD when it comes to fonts; the body is FF Meta, an Adobe Typekit font which (should) in theory be pre-supported by most devices; my header logotype and watermark is modified Orator Standard.

  27. Ruben Allen says:

    You brought this up in your initial review and again in this one about how the battery info screen isn’t as detailed. Not sure what you’re missing as the battery info screen in the menu contains the same info (% charge, shots taken, and battery age) as other Nikon bodies.

  28. There is a menu option which will display the proper battery condition – percentage as well as condition, I have it set as a shortcut in MyMenu

  29. I have the 50mm S and 24-70mm S lenses. I am pretty pleased with the 50mm and not-so-please with the 24-70mm S, but use it anyway because it is convenient. Anymore thoughts on the 24-70mm S.

    How does the Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens look in your opinion. I pre-ordered it, but fear it will be more like the 24-70mm than the 50mm S. Any thoughts?

    As for L-Brackets, I have tried several and have settled on the RSS-L-Bracket for the camera and the Markins L-Bracket for the FTZ adapter. These two adapters allow me to do horizontal and vertical work with both attached. Plus the RSS allows me to adjust the 90-degree vertical side so that I can have HDMI or various other remotes, etc. without interferance.

    Once again, thank you for sharing your experience and, as you can, would like to understand better how far we can push this camera for using the various “exotic” lenses I use with Z-Z adaptors or what other adapters you see that will be useful.

    Lots of questions, but others may also be interested in some of these.

    • No way to make judgements on yet to be released hardware. Doubtful I’ll be getting one as it just isn’t a range I use personally.

      The 24-70 has some strange field curvature, but it can be worked around and doesn’t (personally) seem to be an issue most of the time. Focus at the edges rather than in the centre if you’re shooting something flat and distant and we don’t seem to see the same corner degradation.

      Adapted lenses: works just the same as any other FF body with this pixel pitch sensor; you still need the same flange distance to hit infinity. What changes is your ability to hit infinity with much shorter flange distance lenses, like Leica M for instance…but this is nothing specifically new to the Z system.

  30. Thanks for this detailed report! And thank you for the profiles. Would you remind us, please, how to install them?

    I do have some concerns of my own about the Z7.

    I have purchased M42 and M39 adaptors and the Novoflex Adapter set for Visoflex II/III to Leica M. This gives added focus range to lenses like the very interesting Nikkor “O” CRT lens, and others.

    I am VERY interested in the announced NOCT S 0.95 lens, although it will be very expensive I fear. Since I do close-up stacked images, I am imagining that this COULD BE a key lens for my work, which involves very sharp wide-open fast lenses and kind of painting focus where I want it (like blocks of focus) and letting the rest of the image go to bokeh. Do you agree with my assessment of this forthcoming lens?

    And along with this new NOCT, do you believe that a very thin extension (Z to Z) (whenever they might appear) would allow me to move closer with the NOCT than it natively does without too much quality-image damage. I know. We will have to see, but just wonder what your thoughts are on this.

    • I’ve pulled the profiles for now, for two reasons – a lot of requests for the SOOC JPEG picture controls too (and for the D850), and the work required in producing them – so they’ll be a separate thing for sale later. I know how this stuff goes: I’ll be providing free technical support forever otherwise. If you were lucky enough to get the profiles, then they go in Users/[yourname]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw. .

      Noct 0.95: too big, too heavy, imbalanced, MF, probably stupidly priced, too. This lens makes no sense whatsoever for the majority of people as you’ll need to be on at tripod to really make the most of that DOF. Knowing what you shoot, it’ll probably be great for you, but I really don’t see a big enough business case beyond bragging rights.

      Extension tube: I don’t see why not, but effect depends on how telecentric the optical formula is. The better the tele centricity, the better the results with converters.

      • I feel the Noct 0.95 will be perfect for what I do, which is (except for travel) always on the tripod. And I have been using the ARCA C1 Cube for years, but the knob that controls the extreme tilt is “spongy” and I need a rock-solid tripod. So I am finding the Burzynski Ballhead VERY stable, especially for view cameras, etc. I did get the profiles, and not to cause trouble, they are really excellent IMO!

  31. Good information Ming. I’m interested in the Z6, so this is really useful. After four decades of SLR’s and DSLR’s, it would be my first serious mirrorless. I have a question that may seem a little bizarre, but here goes.
    If, for some reason, you could only keep the Z7 or the D850, which would it be?
    Thanks.

  32. Guido di Paola says:

    Hi Ming, so what is your currently preferred camera for taking pics of your family? It is not clear to me how the Z7 performs in terms of AF for portraits of “moving kids”… for me the king of portraits is still Fuji (X-T3) but this Nikon makes me want the FF resolution and quality (which of course I don’t really need..) for landscape.

  33. I wondered what happened to my longer comment and questions. I have more. LOL.

    Your comment on JPG images, that they are very good. Are they good enough so that you use them a lot? I wonder. I can’t see myself doing that.

    Nikon users might want to learn about video because the Z6/Z7 is bringing it on. I have worked with video for years, first with the Sony FS-700 with 4K raw enabled exporting to the Convergent Design 7Q and currently with the Sony FS5 and exporting raw to the Atomos Shogun Inferno, both cameras providing 4K raw in different formats. Because of the above cameras I did not take Nikon’s video seriously until the Nikon Z6/Z7, which will work with the Atomos recorders, even the Inferno that I already have.

    And the Atomos devices solve a big problem for DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras: sound. The Atomos devices totally handle XLR input and record sound as well as video. I’m even considering selling my Sony FS5 and using the Nikon Z7 for video, but I’m not quite there yet.

    • JPEG: Yes, they’re good enough – moreso if you bother deciphering the picture control utility and put custom curves in.

      Video: Go with the Z6 for video, not the Z7. Rolling shutter is much better, as is downsampling (none) and overall IQ.

  34. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Fine for those who love ’em – I’ve gone with a pairing of the D500 and the D850, and on my budget, at my age, that’s probably going to be “it”, for me. Still – it’s interesting to see what’s happening. Maybe I’ll be able to pick up a portrait-length mid-range zoom to finish rounding out my selection of lenses, as people taking up with the Z-mirrorless range swap over to the incoming new range of lenses. 🙂

    • Still some things I prefer the D850 for, like low light work or AF tracking of erratic subjects. As for the portrait length zoom – the 70-200/4 VR is really excellent…

  35. Paul Petersson says:

    Nice review as always!
    BTW, will you test the Ricoh GRiii when it arrives? Any thoughts on the coming Sigma FF Foveon camera?

    • Thanks. No current plans to review either; I either have to buy them or get a loan from the local principals who too often either don’t have anything to lend or expect sycophancy. I only review hardware if a) it’s useful for what I do and b) interesting enough to merit doing so. Wouldn’t have a meaningful opinion anyway if that wasn’t the case…

  36. Have you used your Summilux 50mm 1.4?

    • Quite a lot actually. Pairs well.

      • Rene Sterental says:

        Which adapter do you recommend?

        • For Nikon G – only Nikon’s FTZ gives you full functionality (and a tripod mount) – given it’s usually bundled, that’s a no-brainer.

          For the other mounts, I like the Novoflex adaptors…

          • Rene Sterental says:

            Thanks! I forgot to add that the adapter was for Leica M lenses. Any Leica M lenses you don’t recommend to use with the Z7?

            • The wide stuff is mostly a no go; 35mm is about where things start to transition. 50+ and good to go.

              • Rene Sterental says:

                Got it. Do you think the 50 Summilux is going to be better than the 50 Z lens from Nikon in image quality on the Z7? Aside from the maximum aperture difference?

                • Hmm, tough to say. From what I’ve seen, by f4 they’re probably identical; wide open the Nikon will have the edge in the corners, but centers are pretty much identical – better than the sensor can resolve. Can’t speak as for rendering…

                  The Nikon definitely has the edge in price though. Unless you have a Leica 50 already lying around or must have the absolute smallest thing, the extra 2/3 stop printable isn’t worth four (or more) times the cost.

                  • Rene Sterental says:

                    Thanks! I’ll have to get an adapter and try to compare them.

                    • I’m honestly not sure it’s worth the cost – I didn’t buy the Leica 50 for this; I had it already for use on the X1D. If I didn’t, the 50 S would be a no brainer.

                    • Rene Sterental says:

                      Oh, I agree. I already have it, which is why I asked. I’m trying to simplify and reduce my gear, so I was planning to sell my Leica gear and stay with the Nikon. I just thought I could try it first, to see if I decide to keep any Leica lenses. I just got the 50S and I like it very much. With the adapter, I could try the 35 f/2, the 50 f/1.4, the 75 f/2 and the 135 f/3.4. I have equivalent Nikon Glass, but thought I might choose to keep one of those, maybe two. The adapter is back-ordered at BH Photo, so I have time to rethink if it’s wirth buying it or just using Nikon glass only.
                      Thanks for all your insights and advice.

                    • I’m fairly confident all of those on the list should work quite well, except the 35/2. The 135 is interesting because there isn’t a similarly sized equivalent; ditto 50. 75 is a bit of no-mans-land for me personally (and there’s an 85/1.8 S coming). I’m also cognisant that you could probably sell just any one of these and have several 1.8 S lenses…

                    • Rene Sterental says:

                      Yes, you are correct. I’m reconsidering my plans. Thanks again!

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