Author Topic: Z7 hands-on and field test  (Read 299 times)

Stany Buyle

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Z7 hands-on and field test
« on: September 14, 2018, 13:08:56 »
(This topic is a summary of my Z7 hands-on and field test-topic I posted on my website.)

Good afternoon everybody!

Last Friday I had the pleasure to handle the Nikon Z7 for a couple  of hours, and it was a surprising positive experience.

  • Handling the Z7 feels very… Nikon, even though it's smaller and lighter than a comparable Nikon DSLR. Smaller and lighter doesn't mean less solid though. I see the Z7 body as a ML equivalent of a D750, but with a D850 sensor, which is great. I know many people who would love a D750 alike body with a 46Mp sensor inside…
    The Z6/Z7 have a very good-sized and comfortable handgrip. An upcoming supplementary battery grip might make feel the Z series even more pro.
    Less dedicated buttons than the DSLR pro cameras is only a problem in the first hour, a bit like going from D800/D810/D850 to D750...
    The joystick for moving the focus point is a very welcome heritage from D5/D850/D500 and tell it apart from a D750 body, and so is the AF-ON button.
    For my personal use, two important buttons are missing: The AF/MF switch with the AF-mode dial  and the exposure mode button.  :( :(
    You can assign this to the Fn buttons but I like to use the Fn buttons for other options…
    Probably something for the next generation.

  • The 1 memory card slot  "problem" has been a hot topic on numerous fora. My take: Only a double XQD card slot would interest me because a combined XQD/SD card solution slows down my camera. In both my D850 & D500 I only use XQD most of the time but I understand that for wedding photographers and capturing of "once in a lifetime happenings" a second card slot is very important

  • The Nikon Z7 menu is nearly indistinguishable from nikon DSLR' menu system.

  • The EVF:  The view you get through the Nikon Z7 EVF looks more "real" than what I've experienced with other mirrorless cameras, while providing very much detail and an impressive refresh rate.
    While shooting in AF-S mode you'll see a red/green square for the AF point which you can move over an extremely wide AF field coverage with (according to the brochure) 493 AF points. In AF-C mode you'll only see the red square.

  • Battery:   I’ve been using my D850’ EN-EL15a battery for the approx. 420 pictures I made, with quite a bit of LCD viewing for both pictures and menu options, and at the end it still had some juice…
    Apparently the new EN-EL15b can be charged over USB.

  • Touchscreen LCD: Roughly the same opportunities as D850 but with a new, important i-button interaction to some important controls where there ain't a button for. A bummer for someone who expected a D500 or D850 style button layout.

  • IBIS:  Very interesting in relation to old lenses but I had no time to test this…
    What I did experience though is that the already outstanding VR of both my 70-200 AF-S VR PF and even more the 200-500 AF-S VR become even better with IBIS.

  • The nikon Z 24-70 F4S lens is what I would like to have on my D850. I love it because it can go soo close to the subject. Canon has a similar 24-70 F4 with macro mode for up to 0.7x magnification  in their lens range for years.
    AF is silent, fast and smooth, and it can provide sharp images.

  • FTM adapter
    Six weeks ago I started a topic on this website that "The F mount adapter quality will be the key part…". TMHO the primary aspect that would turn Nikon mirrorless into a huge success or a failure.
    Well, after testing a Z7 for a couple of hours with the 200-500 AF-S VR, the nikon 105 AF-S, a 20 mm F1.8, my 70-200 AF-S FL, some prehistoric nkkors like the 55 mm F2.8 micro and even with a BR-2a macro reverse ring with an old 28mmon it (*) , I can only confirm that the FTZ adapter and related tech is something to be proud about. It simply works flawless with all the lenses I used…   :o   Kudos to Nikon.

    (*) =  Nikon Z7 with FTZ and a BR-2a macro reverse ring + reversed nikkor 28mm F2.8 E. (picture with my phone)

    Among all lenses I tested on the Z7 with FTZ adapter, the 200-500 AF-S Vr impressed me the most.
    It focuses and locks focus relative fast but it blew me away with images in the very close focus range, with an even significantly better VR performance than the extraordinary VR this lens natively already has.
    Underneath an image taken HANDHELD, Manual mode, 1/1250 sec, F5.6 @ 500mm. Auto iso (iso 560 & iso 400)
    The image has not been sharpened or PP. Only converted from NEF in view NX-i 1.3 with my preferred (slightly personalised) picture style for this kind of images.

    The original scene

    And a 100% crop, straight OOC.
Shooting experience, Z7 compared to D850 and conclusion
After using Z7 in the field for about 1½ hour I will remember it as a very positive experience with the first model out of a new category of photographic tools by Nikon. The very "Nikon" feel and menu, silent shooting, impressive vibration free 9 fps, my best EVF experience until today and last but not least the perfect compatibility of all Nikon lenses trough a engineering masterpiece of a Fmount To Zmount adapter were the highlights, while the lack of some dedicated buttons, the start up lag, one card slot and a rather limited buffer were the less positive points.

While the start up lag is probably inherent to the mirrorless system, I could imagine that the lack of some dedicated buttons, one card slot and a rather limited buffer are decisions Nikon made to protect D850 sales for 2018/2019.
I expect a more pro version of the Z-series to be announced in about a year from now, available end 2019/early 2020.
While talking about a more "pro" version successor of the Nikon Z7, someone might think it would beat D850 on everything. If so, and explicit in relation to action, sports, BIF, insects in flight and wildlife photography, Z serie' AF has still to be improved a lot to become a D850 competitor or replacement.
TMHO, the D5 successor will be a DSLR...

For professional users I see Z6/Z7 more as a complementary camera than as a successor or replacement for DSLRs. Complementary because of silent shooting and professional video opportunities.
For new users who want a compact, silent camera system with very probably the best IQ in its class available today, Z7 is an excellent choice.

Nikon does things right.

Thanks for your attention and kindest regards,



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Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 18:46:01 »

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.   I was slated to get a hands on with the Z cameras Sept 7, but work got in the way.

One of the things that I am most interested in is how the Z cameras and the FTZ adapter deal with lenses like the older 55/2.8.  Lenses I have like the old 200mm f/4 Q, 55/3.5 macro, and the 105/2.5 AI lens.   If you don't mind can you extrapolate more about how that process works with the Z?

Specifically, do you setup a "non-CPU" lens entry, use the Z in manual or aperture priority?   Does the camera allow this type of lens to function by using a command dial to set the aperture setting for the exposure or does it not even care at that point and just determine exposure based on the light coming in and setup shutter and ISO accordingly?

Why this curiousity?  I want to know if this camera is one that can handle these older lenses same as my Nikon Df or my Olympus PEN-F.
From ancillary reports I could find, I believe it might work just fine.

Thank you.
Andrew Livelsberger

Nikon D500/D750/Df Shooter (Various lenses), Olympus PEN-F, EM5.2 (Various lenses), Ricoh GR II, Pentax Q7(various lenses)

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 20:04:50 »
I'd like a double XQD for my D500&D850
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