Author Topic: Z7 hands-on and field test  (Read 1538 times)

Stany Buyle

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Nikon forever!
    • nikonuser.info
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,

Stany

gryphon1911

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 347
  • Use The Best Light - ANY Light that is available!
    • Best Light Photographic Photographic
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 18:46:01 »
Stany,

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

  • engineering art
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 9323
  • Bonn, Germany
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
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Akira

  • Homo jezoensis
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 7586
  • Tokyo, Japan
    • Akira on flickr
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 01:15:38 »
Have played with Z7 at Nikon service in Ginza.  Here are small additions to the review here.

The overall built quality seems to be like that of D750, which is very good.

The grip was, kind of sacrificed by the lowering the hight, a bit too short.  My little finger comes just on the bottom edge of the body.

The command dials are made of metal (aluminum?) and a bit too finely knurled.  The grip and operating feel of the rubberized and more jaggy dials on D bodies is much better to me.  The ones on Z bodies can be fiddly to operate especially with the gloves in the winter.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

Stany Buyle

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Nikon forever!
    • nikonuser.info
I LOVE the 24-70 F4 S...
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2018, 11:16:07 »
Good morning!
To me, the most seductive element in the Z series next to shooting in silent mode... is the 24-70 F4 lens.
Light, compact, silent and fast focusing while delivering top notch IQ is what this lens is and does. I love it.
Used on a high MP body likeZ7 it's like a Swiss knife, a great travel combo, from landscape to limited tele due to the cropping possibilities a high resolution sensor provides, with a very attractive closest focusing distance as a bonus...







and a crop of the image here above:


The above is a summary of what I posted in my Z7 user review on my website.

Thanks for your attention and kindest regards,
Stany


Fons Baerken

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 5248
    • https://www.flickr.com/photos/fonsbaerken/
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2018, 12:05:11 »
Stany,

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.

Will the adapter accommodate for non-ai lenses has been my question since the beginning, so far havent found the answer, 'its been mute on the line' which made me decide for the d850.
Time will tell anyhow.. ;)

Stany Buyle

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Nikon forever!
    • nikonuser.info
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 13:17:39 »
Will the adapter accommodate for non-ai lenses has been my question since the beginning, so far havent found the answer, 'its been mute on the line' which made me decide for the d850.
Time will tell anyhow.. ;)
Hi Fons,
This in the information I see in the viewfinder while using my (MF) micro nikkor 55mm F2.8. (Focus peaking used for AF.)

Kindest regards,
Stany

Hugh_3170

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1006
  • Melbourne, Australia (at the moment)
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2018, 16:04:47 »
Andrew, I had a try out for about 15 minutes today with a Z7 and its FTZ adapter and I was pleasantly surprised.

Chipped AiS lenses:  set to minimum aperture and then operate the aperture via the command dial - all good  :D

Chipped Ai lenses:    expected this to fail due to the non-linear aperture response of the pre-AiS lenses, but the camera seems to do an on the fly exposure compensation, so this is OK also.    ;D;D
Unchipped AiS lenses:  seems to correctly meter, so the linear stop down mechanism of the adapter and the linear lens aperture mechanisms must be working as one - I am guessing on the fly stop down final metering may also play a part here.  I was told  that it is very desireable to manually input the lenses max aperture and focal length to help get the best out of the in-body stabilisation :D

Non-Ai lenses:           Not supposed to support these, but I had to try.  And Ditto they work also. Now this one really does surprise me, but it is this particular case Andrew that seems to say to me that it can indeed behave like the Olympus Pen-F and OMD cameras. ;D ;D ;D ;D

All of which is vey pleasing in respect of the Z7 and the FTZ.  (Also this really annoys me, as Nikon could have done something similar long long ago on its economy bodies such as the D70, D80, D90, 3XXX and 5XXX series of cameras had they really wanted to. Bastards. Aargh!!!!)

Note:  The FTZ does not have an aperture follower Tab as do the more advanced Nikon DSLRs.  It just has a small microswitch at about "7-Oclock" as do the lower priced Nikon bodies.

Stany,

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.
Hugh Gunn

Jack Dahlgren

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 730
  • You ARE NikonGear
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2018, 22:02:38 »
Andrew, I had a try out for about 15 minutes today with a Z7 and its FTZ adapter and I was pleasantly surprised.

Unchipped AiS lenses:  seems to correctly meter, so the linear stop down mechanism of the adapter and the linear lens aperture mechanisms must be working as one - I am guessing on the fly stop down final metering may also play a part here.  I was told  that it is very desireable to manually input the lenses max aperture and focal length to help get the best out of the in-body stabilisation :D

Non-Ai lenses:           Not supposed to support these, but I had to try.  And Ditto they work also. Now this one really does surprise me, but it is this particular case Andrew that seems to say to me that it can indeed behave like the Olympus Pen-F and OMD cameras. ;D ;D ;D ;D

Note:  The FTZ does not have an aperture follower Tab as do the more advanced Nikon DSLRs.  It just has a small microswitch at about "7-Oclock" as do the lower priced Nikon bodies.

Can you give more information about how non-chipped AI and non-AI lenses work? Of course we set aperture using the aperture ring on the lens, but does the aperture remain fully open during focusing then shut down during the shot, or ...?

MILLIREHM

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 448
  • Vienna, Austria
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2018, 00:40:55 »
Andrew, I had a try out for about 15 minutes today with a Z7 and its FTZ adapter and I was pleasantly surprised.

Chipped AiS lenses:  set to minimum aperture and then operate the aperture via the command dial - all good  :D

Chipped Ai lenses:    expected this to fail due to the non-linear aperture response of the pre-AiS lenses, but the camera seems to do an on the fly exposure compensation, so this is OK also.    ;D;D
Unchipped AiS lenses:  seems to correctly meter, so the linear stop down mechanism of the adapter and the linear lens aperture mechanisms must be working as one - I am guessing on the fly stop down final metering may also play a part here.  I was told  that it is very desireable to manually input the lenses max aperture and focal length to help get the best out of the in-body stabilisation :D

Non-Ai lenses:           Not supposed to support these, but I had to try.  And Ditto they work also. Now this one really does surprise me, but it is this particular case Andrew that seems to say to me that it can indeed behave like the Olympus Pen-F and OMD cameras. ;D ;D ;D ;D

All of which is vey pleasing in respect of the Z7 and the FTZ.  (Also this really annoys me, as Nikon could have done something similar long long ago on its economy bodies such as the D70, D80, D90, 3XXX and 5XXX series of cameras had they really wanted to. Bastards. Aargh!!!!)

Note:  The FTZ does not have an aperture follower Tab as do the more advanced Nikon DSLRs.  It just has a small microswitch at about "7-Oclock" as do the lower priced Nikon bodies.

Good news
Still unclear what the microswitch really does (and was not aware that the lower priced Nikon bodies that do not meter with AI lenses have this switch which is even more mysterious)

Fine to hear that pre-AI lenses also work in principle (but one can expect some not to do)
Wolfgang Rehm

Hugh_3170

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1006
  • Melbourne, Australia (at the moment)
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2018, 05:40:47 »
The microswitch on the lower priced bodies such as the various 3XXX and 5XXX models are used to signal to the camera when a chipped non-G type lens has its aperture ring set to the minimum f stop number.  (Actually there is a slight difference between this microswitch and the ones in some of the earlier bodies such as the D70 series, but I won't digress.)

If the aperture is not set to the minimum f stop, the microswitch will not be activated, and the camera shows a FEE error to warn the user that the ring needs to be set thus.  Many lenses, such as my little 50mm f/1.8D lens, have a small latch that enables the aperture ring to be locked at the minimum aperture, thereby avoiding this issue.
Hugh Gunn

Hugh_3170

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1006
  • Melbourne, Australia (at the moment)
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2018, 05:43:27 »
Remains open and shuts down upon exposure.

Can you give more information about how non-chipped AI and non-AI lenses work? Of course we set aperture using the aperture ring on the lens, but does the aperture remain fully open during focusing then shut down during the shot, or ...?
Hugh Gunn

MILLIREHM

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 448
  • Vienna, Austria
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2018, 09:16:31 »
The microswitch on the lower priced bodies such as the various 3XXX and 5XXX models are used to signal to the camera when a chipped non-G type lens has its aperture ring set to the minimum f stop number.  (Actually there is a slight difference between this microswitch and the ones in some of the earlier bodies such as the D70 series, but I won't digress.)

Hm, i am not convinced. Higher level bodies like the D700 or D8XX dont have the microswitch and despite  that know whether minimum aperture is set or not when a chipped non G type lens (AI-P, AF or AF-D - may it be AF-S or not) is mounted. So this information must be transferred elecrtonicaly. It does not make sense to me not to use this information when it is available electronically and use the microswitch instead.
Wolfgang Rehm

Hugh_3170

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1006
  • Melbourne, Australia (at the moment)
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2018, 09:59:21 »
Well the higher level bodies such as the D700 and D8XX that you have quoted do indeed have an aperture follower tab that hooks onto the raised ridge on the aperture ring, so yes they have a very direct electromechanical way of telling what aperture has been selected on the lens of an Ai or AiS lens (or a lens that has been converted to be Ai equivalent by adding or machining a engagement ridge onto the camera side of the aperture ring).

The less expensive Nikon bodies without the aperture follower tab are the ones with the microswitch and the way that their electronics are set up are such that they cannot meter with lenses that are unchipped and one must manual set exposure - usually by making a test shot and looking at the exposure histogram of the test shot enables one to quckly determine an acceptable exposure - but what a pain in the neck!    (Bodies without an aperture follower tab do have the microswitch, wheras the bodies that have the aperture follower tab do not have the the microswitch - it is one or the other.)

Thank goodness that at long last the Nikon Z7 with the FTZ adapter have their electronics set up to meter with non-chipped lenses very much the same way that the current mirrorless cameras from other manufacturers work.  The Z7 body does allow one to specify non-chipped lens parameters, which assists in respect of accurate metadata recording and giving the in-body image stabiliser focal length data to work with.  The the lens aperture stop down lever inside the FTZ is obviously capable of stopping down a precise number of stops from the full open position as determined by the metering systems, and I do strongly suspect that the camera does do a final on the fly exposure correction once the lens is fully stopped down  just immediately before the shutter is fired.  Also the Z7 does have a live expoure histogram displayed in the viewfinder, so one can make and see the effects of exposure changes before firing the shutter.  Once again, this live display of the exposure histogram (and the effects of colour balance settings) is a feature of other mirrorless camera brands as well as the Nikon Z7. 


Hugh Gunn

MILLIREHM

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 448
  • Vienna, Austria
Re: Z7 hands-on and field test
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2018, 10:20:32 »
Yes you are right Hugh, i was mislead and focused on CPU and electronic contacts, meanwhile forgot about the AI coupling ridge, so actually the information is still transferred mechanically in this case and converted to electronic information in the camera, wheras the CPU contains information about the maximum aperture.

nine slots for saving non CPU lens data (which is the standard in SLR bodies since the D300) is somewhat limited. Nikon easily could do more if they wanted to. The Z7/Z6 probably wont break with this tradition i suspect.
Wolfgang Rehm