Preliminary Impressions of Nikon Z7 Mirorless

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HDFan, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Tony and Chelsea Northrup have an overview video of the Z6 and Z7 Nikon mirrorless comparing it with D750, D850, Sony a7R III. They also have a chart listing the rollout schedule of the lens for the new lens mount (adapter for older lens is available):



    Their second video was after the press release in New York. They emphasized that these were initial impressions, not a final review, restricted by the fact that they had only an hour or so to use a pre-production camera indoors only. In general they found a number of problems, ranging from focusing problems, no dual memory card slots, eye detection missed focus most of the time, high price of the new 50 mm F1.8 lens $850 vs the $200 current 50 mm F1.8. The words "disappointed" and "like the 1st Sony mirrorless" were interesting.



    DPReview seems to have a pre-production camera in hand, but I didn't find their review to be as informative:

     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #2
    The DP Review seemed more like a promotional video for Nikon.
     
  3. kenoh macrumors demi-god

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    #3
    Thing is the A7 was a bit clunky at first. They will improve it in next generation I am sure but I am a bit confused how they missed the obvious easy wins of big battery and dual cards. Dual cards less so but battery life is an obsession for mirrorless shooters.
     
  4. tizeye, Aug 26, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018

    tizeye macrumors 6502

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    First a disclaimer - Film was primarily Canon. When I transitioned to digital, Canon released me to the world as my FD lens wouldn't fit anything, and began with a Nikon D40, progressing though the various models and crop to full frame with the D650. Was debating the D750/D800, however borrowed a friend's original Sony A7 for one of my annual European trips (daughter's wedding in Canary Islands with side trips to Barcelona and Madrid). It was night and day vs prior years lugging the D650. Wasn't heavily invested in great f2.8 glass so made the transition to a Sony A7RII as neither Canon nor Nikon offered anything I could use, and mirrorless attempts they offered would at best be considered compromised disasters.

    Really want Nikon (and Canon) to succeed as would be good for the market. However, as I look at the specs, have to wonder if Nikon is trying to re-live it's Nikon One days with a full frame model. Each of the shortcomings - short battery life, one card slot, slow focusing, native lens availability, etc - were hot buttons in the Sony world which Sony has addressed with subsequent models. That is where the conclusion line for Nikon reviews, wait for future models, comes from. But reality is - these were known hot buttons available for Nikon to blow it out the park - yet they chose otherwise. Add to that the lens roadmap and notably absent f2.8 zoom glass for the next 2 years! An adapter may carry, but time will tell if there is a focusing performance decline vs native glass as there is with Sony adapters, Metabones/Canon adapters, and Sigma MC11 adapters. Worse, Nikon is not sharing coding, so Tamron/Sigma who now have to reverse engineer any lens offering. They did address one complaint by making it marginally larger with a more substantive grip, which to me is not a necessity as I have my Sony next to the Canon AE-1 and they are physically the same size. Noone complained about size back then...just this digital body bloat has conditioned people.

    I wish Nikon well as has served me well in the past, but can't help but think their corporate mindthink not to cannibalize their D850/D750 markets that they intentionally ignored their Nikon One experience and compromised the initial offering. Yes, it does set up goals for future generations which will probably continue to play catchup with Sony's future offerings/improvements only to meet Sony today, being financially the weakest of the 3 companies, do they have the recourses and the time? In a few weeks will see if Canon can knock it out of the park.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    I'm still shell shocked at the price of the body and lenses. Its disappointing to hear the negative comments on this, and I hope it is related to the fact that was on a preproduction unit.
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

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    #6
    I read a interesting article (can't remember where) that the single card slot was due to the fact they have only had one report of an XQD card failure.
    That and size and price.
    The AF issues will become more or less of an issue once we have actual cameras in the wild.

    But the Z8 or Z9 will be a fairer comparison with the A7RIII.
     
  7. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

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    I just purchased the Sony A7R III camera, but I initially pre-ordered the Nikon Z7 camera then cancelled after reading and seeing a lot of reviews on the Z7. While I like the overall specs of the Nikon Z7 camera, the deal breaker was not having dual card slots. I also didn't like the buffering issues that the Z7 was having with the pre-production releases; however, I think that issue will be resolved with a firmware update either before the official rollout (that would be a smart move) or shortly after the rollout. I know they say the XQD memory cards are rock solid, but it only takes one time to fail out in the field. Not only are you SOL, but there will probably be some major headaches especially if you're doing a shoot for a client. Your reputation will be shot and you might have legal programs that will probably cost you $$$, not to mention a screaming bride if it's a wedding shoot. :D
     
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601

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    It seems as the ambition of Nikon was damage control. They wanted to stop/slow the leak of Nikon shooters to Sony A7rIII and A7III. Note there is no Nikon reply to Sony A9. So with a new mount, why did Nikon not introduce features that other mirrorless bodies have like HDR (exposure bracketing plus jpg generation), focus stacking and bracketing (at least with S series lenses) and others ? Is that because they can not do those things with DSLR bodies and F mount lenses?
     
  9. HDFan thread starter macrumors 65816

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    And what's the deal with these XQD memory cards?
     
  10. kenoh macrumors demi-god

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    #10
    They are the new card standard the camera manufacturers are pushing towards. They allow faster read write than they can get with SD cards and larger capacities.
     
  11. MacBookpro2011 macrumors member

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    #11
    I would't switch from my D200 for this camera myself.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I agree with you, although I will say that IMHO the dual card issue is a bit overhyped. If you are the proverbial wedding photographer, wouldn't you bring plenty of backups anyway — even if all of your cameras do sport two card slots? (Thom Hogan has a sensible take on the issue. He also mentions stuff I wasn't aware of: apparently one of the card slots in most cameras is actually slower than the other. He claims that e. g. on the Sonys one of the card slots is so slow that it impacts camera performance — makes sense, you have to wait for file transfers to finish on the slower card.)

    However, even if the issue is overhyped, I agree that this is a PR issue for a much larger audience than it is an actual problem for actual users. This could have been easily avoided by simply including two card slots.

    Battery life, though, might be a much bigger impact for everyone. My not-quite-pro D7000 manages easily >1,000 photos per charge, so much that I don't need to worry about batteries. It is disappointing that Nikon didn't include a larger battery by default.
     
  13. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

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    Ii wouldn't matter if you had plenty of backups if the memory card fails in a one card system for you can't exactly say "Sorry, but you'll going to start the wedding all over again". I agree a photographer would probably be safe 99 (or even 99.9) percent of the time, but it only takes that 1 percent to ruin the shoot. Anyways, I said it was a dealbreaker for me, but it wasn't the only reason I personally didn't go with the Nikon Z7 camera. Nikon had 2 years to get things right and they had a little experience with mirrorless cameras with their little toy N1 series cameras that they discontinued. Nikon seems to be 2 (maybe 1) generations behind Sony with the Z7 rollout. The main reason I didn't go with the Nikon Z7 is Nikon itself seems to be on very shaky financial ground. An like where I found out who makes the camera sensor for the Nikon D850? Answer: Sony :D
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Maybe, but wouldn't professionals want a camera that has the ability to mirror images across two memory cards, especially if the card type has some questions regarding reliability? Tbh, I'm not that well versed regarding dual slotted cameras or the new memory card. Coming in cold like this, I can see an issue of a wedding photographer shooting the ceremony and then incurring a memory card issue halfway through the ceremony. A mirroring setup will better protect the photographer and his pictures.

    I will say again, this is more out of the scope of my usage, I'm more of small time hobbyist, and as such its clear this camera is not for me. Given that I prefer Nikon Glass, I thought I'd be tempted to move on from my Oly to Nikon with the introduction of Nikon's mirrorless camera but for a variety of reasons its not for me (the foremost being price).
     
  15. kenoh, Aug 28, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018

    kenoh macrumors demi-god

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    Battery life is less of an issue for me having been shooting cameras with poor battery life for a while. I am used to it now, almost forgotten how my DSLR would seem to go for ever on one battery. With mirrorless though, and the exception of having to dig one out from behind a battery grip, then carrying a spare or two and swapping it out is relatively painless - a lot easier than threading a new spool every 36 shots at least lol.

    Yeah as a hobbyist, I think the card as backup is a little luxurious for my personal needs but totally understand why redundancy is of value to a pro. I saw a report in response to a Matt Grainger video of a QXD card failing but strangely (maybe not strangely) it was due to the card itself falling apart rather than a data issue. Apparently the actual card body came apart while in the camera and jammed. I have knocked the little plastic tooth combs off SD cards before but not had one fall apart. Maybe it was abused.

    The second card slot being slow gets me scratching the noggin too. Not like it is the cost of the components because they are there for the first slot, must be about minimising power draw or heat generation.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 28, 2018 ---
    Yep, they have been fitting Sony sensors for a while. The D810 has a Sony sensor too.

    Makes you wonder if they might have looked at an OEM of the Sony A7 series to make the Z series with their own mount kind of like the Panasonic/Leica setup.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 28, 2018 ---
    I do think they are priced to be compared with Sony but have yet to prove themselves so yes another questionable decision.

    The Sony model seemed to be to initially price them lower than pro DSLRs to capture market, then as each generation came in the prices went up. Same with the lenses, they started with the Zeiss brand, then have moved to their G-Master line for premium optics. Well played on their part to re-ignite the expertise from the Minolta acquisition I suppose - maybe, don't know... just pondering that one.

    If memory doesnt fail me...
    A7 was £999 when it launched, A7III £1,999
    A7R was £2,300 ish, A7rII WAS £2,600, A7RIII was £3,100
    A9 £4,500
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    No doubt, its a market segment that I'm not in.
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    My argument is not that this is what some professionals need, but rather that compared to the proportion of users who rely on this and for which the lack of a second card slot is a strict exclusion criterion is much, much smaller compared to the tempest in the tea pot that got stirred up. For Nikon, this is mostly a marketing problem, and an avoidable one. It would definitely have been better if they simply had included a second card slot.
    As far as I understand, the new memory card type is more robust and faster than SD cards.
    Of course, it is more robust if you have data on two cards. But two questions here: how many people actually use dual card slots this way? (At least on my D7000 I can configure them to e. g. use one until it is full and then the camera switches to the other.) And is it worth the trade off of slower operation? (Thom Hogan claims that this is the reason why Sony disables the second memory card slot by default.)
    You are incorrectly assuming that memory card failure means catastrophic memory card failure where you lose all files in the process, but that is not the only way to have data loss or a memory card malfunction. There are plenty of other failure modes where e. g. only one or two images are corrupted or you can no longer write to the card but still read from it. I have had some intermittent failures that were actually caused by the camera that apparently wrote out data structures incorrectly, and a reformat of the card resolved the issue. (That seemed to have happened particularly often when I swapped memory cards between my Nikon dslr and my second camera.)

    But in my experience the biggest source of data loss is the stupid human that is just typing this message to you :D (And yes, my dslr has two memory slots ;))
    I think accurate assessments of probabilities matter here: catastrophic memory card failures that have not been caused e. g. by an accident or human error are much rarer than 0.1 %. So the question is what the best strategy is to mitigate such problems. If you shoot e. g. weddings professionally or go on safari in Africa to take photos of animals in the Serengeti for a magazine, you must have (at least) a second body, that's much more important than having a second memory slot.
    I don't think that's accurate: I don't think body wise Sony's offerings are one or two generations ahead, I think the two are pretty much even. And where one is ahead, I don't think it really matters for the vast majority of shooters. Does it matter than the Sony manages 10 fps instead of the Z7's paltry 9? Or that the Nikon has 3 more megapixels? Any of these difference will be overshadowed in practice either by things that are personal preference (e. g. how a camera feels in your hand) or by things that are not well-reflected by specs (say, better optics for the EVF). Of course that is much more of a problem for Nikon than for Sony, because Nikon has to make a pitch why the Z-series is better, and the only (rather big) saving grace is that Nikon will happily sell you dslrs.

    When it comes to AF performance, for example, I don't think the competition is Sony, but rather in house, the D5 and D850 are still much faster at focussing than mirrorless cameras. Sony seems to be best-in-class when it comes to eye detect AF, but also Sony's other competitors don't seem to be on par here.

    Nikon's biggest downside compared to Sony is the rather small lens line-up, and that was clear from the very beginning — if you change lens mount, you will have to live with a small lens line-up for 3-5 years. Fuji had to pull through that, and it did so, because it released very idiosyncratic cameras that had its own unique appeal.

    (Just as an aside: I have no interest in buying a Z-series camera, even if I had money, I'd probably switch to Fuji's X-series cameras.)
    Nikon has been using Sony sensors for many, many years now in AFAIK most of their cameras. What's new about that? If you compare Nikons to Sony cameras that use the same sensor you nevertheless see differences in image quality which are solely due to how the raw data from the sensor is processed.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 28, 2018 ---
    I have so many batteries it is a chore to keep them all charged. :p
    I think this is a very good point: you have failure without catastrophic data loss, perhaps due to abuse. Think of salt water ingress because you carelessly changed memory cards on a boat. This may fry your entire camera. (I am speaking from experience here.)
    Just to be super clear: even though I think the number of people impacted by this is quite small, given that even Nikon's prosumer dslrs sport two card slots (my D7000 does), it is really a strange omission. If I had to speculate, perhaps it was too complicated to build a camera with two full speed? Just imagine you are a pro, and because one of the card slots is slower (just as it seems to be the case now), and your new Z7 only manages 4 fps instead of the advertised 9 when you write to both cards simultaneously. (Thom Hogan just wrote substantially slower in case of the Sony, but didn't quantify that. Does any one know?)

    But in 2018 that seems like an engineering problem with a clear solution.
    That doesn't make much sense to me: the major differences are in software, such as eye detection AF, and I don't think Sony would fork that over even if Nikon offered to pay ¥¥¥¥¥¥¥ for it. Similarly, Nikon wouldn't want to share its image processing algorithms.

    Nikon has the camera hardware bit down, so I don't think that becoming an OEM would solve any of their problems. Instead making their own hardware allows them to play to their strengths: the Z6 and Z7 look like and are operated like their dslrs (for the most part). They know how to make great glass, and the 55 mm diameter mount with short flange distance gives them a leg up compared to the competition (at least in terms of potential, not saying that every Nikon lens has to deliver on that).
    Great observation, Sony had to go upmarket and pull newly found loyalists along. Nikon is trying to skip this step with their decision to start with highest-end cameras. I would have expected that they release something a little cheaper with more niche appeal first, learn their lessons and implement the feedback in their high-end cameras that come next. Fuji did this with the X-Pro 1 and then the X-E1. They also released two extremely well-regarded lenses alongside, which convinced some people to stick to the system.
     
  18. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #18
    I am not either anymore. I gave up, the lenses were killing me financially in exchange for some elitist view of image quality... I take crap pictures but they were pin sharp.... lol... I shoot Fuji now and I feel they are at a better price point - for now at least... :)
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    That's where I'm at as well. I'm happy with my Oly OMD EM5. I have one "expensive" lens, and handful of others that give me decent coverage.
     
  20. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    I think the Olympus OMDs are a perfect grab and dash size. Really nice size to have with you and there are some lovely lenses there for them like the 12-40 PRO and the 60 Macro. Just I got one when I was trying to wean myself off Sony and the sensor died within a week and they insisted I send it for repair rather than exchange so I returned it and tried Fuji instead.
     
  21. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    I'm also super happy with my X100s, and if my D7000 goes the way of the dodo, switching to the X-mount system is a distinct possibility. I love the way Fujis handle, they have great lenses in their line-up and lenses and bodies are much more affordable than full frame mirrorless cameras.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    That's what I have for lenses :). Yeah, I opted for the OMD in part because of the size, as my activities are such that I wanted a smaller form factor.
     
  23. tizeye macrumors 6502

    tizeye

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    #23
    Today's professional photographers have been spoiled with the whole 2 memory card gig. Is it a convenience...yes, necessary...debatable. For decades they never had dual back-up, and yes, occasionally there were failures. What film camera had dual film tracks...that would be none. The biggest failure was trying to get 39 shots on a roll of 36, and the roller didn't pick up the first slot when the back was closed resulting in a blank developed roll. But reality is, professional photographers back in the day did quite well with one recording source.

    That said, with my travels using a Nikon D650, I used both slots setting to RAW + JPG, one on each. Saved the RAW for processing when home but the jpg for social media uploads, transferring to an iPad with an SD dongle. Then I progressed to the Sony A7RII (or perhaps the borrowed original A7) with one card slot. I had both RAW + jpg on the same (only) SD card. Transferred with the SD card dongle and it transferred both, with the huge RAW files totally blowing out the memory in the iPad. Worse, IOS doesn't show file size or extensions so I would see the duplicate shots and didn't know which ones to delete. While nothing is wrong with my A7RII, the dual card slot convenience has me seriously debating between the A7III and the A7RIII or wait a few months for the mythical A7RIV. While I do shoot professionally (avoiding weddings like the plague!), one card slot has not been a concern...even mixing video in with photos.
     
  24. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #24
    The argument is that in the film days you only had one shot, and you didn't even know if you got the shot until after. Now with digital you get as many chances as you need to get the shot right. Seems the more backup the better. To go from 36 shots to 100's at a time is a big difference. If you have the technology why not use it.
     
  25. v3rlon macrumors 6502a

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    Can agree with all of this.

    What I don't get is why, after all the hype of the Z mount, why didn't they leverage it. Nikon is shipping an FF camera with a 50 1.8, and 35 1.8, and a 24-70 f4.

    They should have shipped with something that just didn't exist on other platforms. The coming 58 f0.95 might be good, but could you imagine the hype if that 24-70 were an f1.8? Okay, I know prime lovers wouldn't care, but Nikon would have a lens you just couldn't get on other platforms. That would be a hook some people couldn't resist.

    Worse, looking at the roadmap, there isn't anything even on the plan that is truly new ground (a 50 f1.2 is not something to make me rush out and pre-order a Z7). The adapter is nice, but at price, why not get a D850 and wait another generation if you're already heavy in Nikon, or switch to Sony if you want FF with native lenses, or Fuji/M43?

    What does the Z7 offer that you can't beat elsewhere?
     

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