Video settings on a Nikon Z7

kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,602
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I'm an amateur photographer new to video. I have a Nikon Z7 that is my workhorse body for still images. I have a 5 year old son who is the main reason I want to get into video. My photographic interests are varied, but the impetus for video is strictly with my son at this point. He's learning to ride a bike and video can capture this process better than still images.

Intended output is not professional--capturing memories for myself, friends, and family. As a photographer, I would like higher quality and more control than I can get with my iPhone. Since I already have a Z7 and several "good" lenses for it (Nikon Z 24-70 f/2.8, Sigma 40mm f/1.4, Nikon F 70-200 f/2.8 E FL, etc.) it seems silly to rely on my iPhone when I have decent gear that I use for still photography. I have a good grasp of photographic principles, at least as they relate to still photography (i.e. composition, light, exposure, DOF, aperture, shutter speed, etc.).

My questions relate to optimal video settings on the Z7 for my intended output.

(1) Image area: DX vs FX. For photography I would only choose FX. Not sure if there are reasons that DX would be superior when shooting video using an FX lens.

(2) Frame size/Frame rate: 1080p seems fine for my needs (at least at present). The default is 60 fps. Significantly better than 30 fps? Or 24 fps? I've read that most movies are 24 fps. Does recorded fps affect file size? Does optimal fps depend on subject or intended output? Does it have an impact on ability to edit in post?

(3) Focus mode/AF area mode: In still photography, I choose my focus mode depending on subject (stationary subject, moving subject, shooting on a tripod, etc.). For pics of my kiddo I am usually using AF-C and Auto-area AF. This is controversial, but for me I've found that it is easy to quickly hit the appropriate buttons to generate the yellow square where I want it and can then recompose. The Z7 will usually maintain focus on my chosen subject. Face AF and Eye AF tend to work reasonably well. For video, there is a new option I'm not familiar with: AF-F. How does this compare to AF-C? Or AF-S? Is the Auto-area mode optimal for video or are the single-point or wide-area modes better? I'm currently shooting a moving 5 year old as my main video subject.

(4) Electronic VR: on or off?

Any other settings I should be aware of? For still photography I know how to set up my camera for optimal performance for what and how I shoot. Not sure if there are other settings (aside from the above) that are important when shooting video.

I'm planning on using Final Cut Pro for my video editing. I have very limited experience with iMovie which may make the learning curve a little easier.

Hoping I'm asking the right questions. Any help/advice would be appreciated :).
 
Last edited:

AMP12345

macrumors member
Nov 21, 2016
53
73
St. Paul, Minnesota
1. Image size is going to have similar pros and cons for video as it does for photo. If I remember correctly the z7 has a crop factor when shooting 4k anyway.

2. Frame size is going to mostly be a preference though shooting 4k and then exporting to 1080 can give you some more flexibility when editing. Cropping / reframing stuff like that. As for frame rate it's mostly a look thing though slower frame rates can be smaller files, I've also seen cameras that shoot slower frame rate with higher bitrates meaning less compression per frame. If you know your platform I would first pick a frame rate that it supports. Youtube for example supports both 30 and 60.

3. The Nikon z7 has some crazy good video autofocus compared to their prior DLSR models. So whatever works best for the situation, though when shooting video I tend to prefer to set focus with AF-S before I start a scene and then switch to M so that I know that camera wont start to hunt for focus in the middle of shooting.

4. I don't like the E-VR on cameras I've used. It usually requires the image to crop in a bit more and can add some weird rolling shutter looking effects. Though if you're in a situation with a lot of movement and need that extra bit of stabilization it is better than nothing. From what I've seen the in body stabilization should be enough. Also if you're on a tripod or slider doing a panning shot turn it off.
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,602
5,451
1. Image size is going to have similar pros and cons for video as it does for photo. If I remember correctly the z7 has a crop factor when shooting 4k anyway.

2. Frame size is going to mostly be a preference though shooting 4k and then exporting to 1080 can give you some more flexibility when editing. Cropping / reframing stuff like that. As for frame rate it's mostly a look thing though slower frame rates can be smaller files, I've also seen cameras that shoot slower frame rate with higher bitrates meaning less compression per frame. If you know your platform I would first pick a frame rate that it supports. Youtube for example supports both 30 and 60.

3. The Nikon z7 has some crazy good video autofocus compared to their prior DLSR models. So whatever works best for the situation, though when shooting video I tend to prefer to set focus with AF-S before I start a scene and then switch to M so that I know that camera wont start to hunt for focus in the middle of shooting.

4. I don't like the E-VR on cameras I've used. It usually requires the image to crop in a bit more and can add some weird rolling shutter looking effects. Though if you're in a situation with a lot of movement and need that extra bit of stabilization it is better than nothing. From what I've seen the in body stabilization should be enough. Also if you're on a tripod or slider doing a panning shot turn it off.

thanks. much appreciated :).
 
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