Author Topic: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)  (Read 362 times)

ch96066

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First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« on: November 15, 2022, 11:11:25 »
I simply couldn't pass by this opportunity on a new Z5 (black Friday deal came early).

To put my comments below in context, my main gear usage ranges from Nikon DSLRs (850 / 500 / D4) for general action & low light, Canon DSLRs (1DX) and Canon R6 for action with 300 L IS and 24-105 L, Olympus m43 (EM1X / EM1-II) for events (not low light demanding), manual lenses, macro and light painting.

So why add a Z camera? Mainly to use it with all my manual lenses + macro vs the Olys + to adapt canon mount glass in 'native' FX format + to see where Nikon stands in terms of mirrorless evolution (considering Oly as benchmark for craftmanship and general capability and the R6 for AF-C and tracking).

Why the Z5? I do stills; therefore, video is not decision-making feature to me. With this in mind, for stills the Z5 stacks for me extremely well vs Z6/7 (any version) as value for money with a significant plus being the dual slots vs the 6&7 v.I. Actually, I consider it an enhanced D750 (future/past proof Z mount + IBIS + joystic + UHS-II capable + Expeed 6 + EVF perks + USB charge + touch screen + silent shooting). Hence when I heard the price, I started planning the items to offload to balance my purchase.

I got it yesterday. First impressions:

- Build. Worse than OLY, better than the R6 in terms of robustness and building tolerance, equal to nikon DSLRs. I have small hands and gripping is just adequate. Rear dial placement could be more to the left not to be hampered by the rear 'bump' of the card slot door. Very nice positioning of the joystick, the AF-on button and the 2 fn front buttons (nice side banking pressure vs push in). I think for users with larger hands gripping may not be optimal (especially placement of the pinky at the bottom).

- Compatibility with lenses (FTZ II adapter used). I tried the following: Sigma 8-16 (DX) / Tamron 15-30 VC (FX) / Nikon 55 2.8 AF (FX) / Nikon 70-180 micro (FX) / Nikon 70-200 2.8 FL E VR / Zeiss ZF.2 135 2 (FX) / Sigma 150 2.8 OS macro. To make it short, with the exception of the Tamron all the rest behaved in a way that would not deter me from using them professionally. The Tamron either hesitated or did not find focus (worked better when zoom-in mode was used however) so no go. The Sigmas were actually quite good, perhaps better than when mounted on DSLRs. Positive AF action with no hunting. The 70-200 was a touch slower than on e.g. the 850, but no slouch. All the other lenses could be used only on manual focus (as expected) and worked really well combined with zoom in or the focus rectangle turning green. Less so with peaking. So overall good news for my intended uses and an easy thumps up for professional use (at minimum as a back-up body). The fit of the FTZ on both the body and the lens is perfect (just overpriced :) ), with no play whatsoever and without being too tight on either end.

- Performance/handling. Feels and shoots like a Nikon. Nice shutter button resistance (no sponginess like with D850). Lower back buttons, the OK and the D-pad are smaller than I would like them, but still usable (at least with ungloved hands). Touch implementation on the level of D850/D500 i.e. really good. Very nice customizability combining programmable buttons, i-menu and U modes. I have mine set as U1 general shooting (manual mode + auto ISO) / U2 action (S mode + Auto ISO) / U3 flash (A mode / fixed ISO). Nice touches are that VR can by adjusted individually for each U setting. Unfortunately, burst rate cannot and needs setting from the dedicated button at the back each time. EVF is quite natural in decent light, starts to become noisy when light becomes really low. Histogram is inobtrusive and quite useful, as there is no blown out highlights warning in the EVF's WYSIWYG (Oly leads the way here). Combining EVF and back screen through the 'prioritize EVF' menu option is a very nice balance for battery economy and speed of use. The EVF sensor switch lag is minimal. Start-up time and shutter lag for normal AF-S shooting is worries free. I use electronic first curtain shutter. I am still undecided between normal and pinpoint AF rectangle. I see a slight hesitation with pinpoint, so I am leaning on normal. Haven't tested AF-C and other AF modes (wide / auto / tracking). Couldn't get any of the tested lenses to utilize face and eye or animal detection (not sure if I need to be in AF-C or mode other than single point to enable these). Shutter sound is dampened and silent shooting really silent (more so that Oly and equal to Canon).

- IQ. It is actually like any other modern FX Nikon I have shot, with decent DR, worry free ISO performance up to 1600 and typical Nikon colors (depending also on the lens). All in all IQ should absolutely not be a limiting factor if you are considering this camera.

Thank you all for reading this and I will be updating with further usage.
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paullgj

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2022, 20:20:36 »
Following this thread - I'm interested in your opinions re. the Z5.  I do overland/backpack ethnographic and natural history photography in Latin America.  Getting ready for a trip in May and Nov. 2023.  One camera - one lens as I can't be carrying a 40 lb. backpack.  Current options which I already own - Nikon D60/18-200 and Nikon D700/24-120 (the latter a little heavy and obvious).

I'd like your opinions on the Z5/24-200.  FWIW, my ultimate overland kit from the "old days" was a Nikon FE2 with just 35 and 85 mm primes.

Gene

Luc

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2022, 20:30:51 »
I'd like your opinions on the Z5/24-200.  FWIW, my ultimate overland kit from the "old days" was a Nikon FE2 with just 35 and 85 mm primes.

Gene

Please allow me to chime in on this. I've been using the 24-200mm with a Z6 for some time now. I'm a critical user but as a one camera+lens combo this setup imo is very good. I've posted a set of images with this combo on my Flickr account, click this link https://www.flickr.com/photos/lucdeschepper/albums/72177720301918255

ch96066

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2022, 21:39:34 »
Gene unfortunately as I do not own any Z lens I cannot provide insight on the 24-200, so experienced users like Luc will definitely be a better source.

One approach I can propose as a mix and match (while saving also some money) would be to adapt the 24-120 you own to the Z5. A loss on reach and weight, a gain on light on the tele end (where it will count more) and normally quite decent IQ and AF will be retained.

Another option to think of if absolute weight reduction and reach are decision makers would be to go for the DX Z50 with the 18-200 (Vr?) lens for a small loss on the wide end vs reaching 300mm equivalent (albeit with 1 stop light loss)

All the best for what sound to be amazing trips.

On a side note, if your are brand agnostic and not heavily vested in Nikon, then my best pick for your purposes would be the Olympus EM1-II + 12-100 4 pair (24-200 equivalent). It is my travel combo for the last couple of years, which can withstand the elements, shoot handheld in very low light, shoot decent video again handheld and all this while remaining 1 hand manageable all the time if need be.
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Roland Vink

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2022, 23:12:49 »
On a side note, if your are brand agnostic and not heavily vested in Nikon, then my best pick for your purposes would be the Olympus EM1-II + 12-100 4 pair (24-200 equivalent). It is my travel combo for the last couple of years, which can withstand the elements, shoot handheld in very low light, shoot decent video again handheld and all this while remaining 1 hand manageable all the time if need be.
If you decide on a m4/3 camera, I have been impressed with the Panasonic Lumix 14-140/3.5-5.6. Sharpness is very good through the zoom range, background bokeh is pleasant and reasonably resistant to flare. It is also very light and compact, and the latest version has some weather sealing. The FX equivalent zoom range of 28-280mm is very versatile, although it doesn't go far into the wide range.

Hugh_3170

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2022, 05:51:01 »
FWIW, this is also my personal lightweight travel combination - the MFT Olympus EM1-II + 12-100.

I also have the Olympus 12-40mm and 14-150mm lenses and an EM1-Mk 1 body as travel back up plus a number of wide angle and macro MFT lenses which sometimes find a place in my suitcase depending on my trip.  I like the MFT format well enough, although the introduction of BSI sensors to this format lags that of the Canon/Nikon/Sony marques.

I do have access to Nikon D850, Z6, and Z7 bodies and many F & Z mount lenses, which certainly offer superior IQ, but they are much heavier and more bulky.  Some weight  trade-offs are made on IQ by myself for something that my wrecked neck and shoulders are grateful for at my time of life.  The "joys" of old age - not!  :(

...................................................................

On a side note, if your are brand agnostic and not heavily vested in Nikon, then my best pick for your purposes would be the Olympus EM1-II + 12-100 4 pair (24-200 equivalent). It is my travel combo for the last couple of years, which can withstand the elements, shoot handheld in very low light, shoot decent video again handheld and all this while remaining 1 hand manageable all the time if need be.
Hugh Gunn

ch96066

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2022, 08:00:40 »
Dear Roland, thank you very much for the proposal on the Pana. I have tried the 35-100 (same findings as yours) and the 8-18 (had issues wiith AF accuracy).

Hugh looks like a very nice gear diversification tactic.
As a very quick summary for me m43 is go to when nimbleness is required without  much action and low light requirements.
When action and low light come into play, 'bigger' DSLRs / Mirrorless (FX or modern DX) do it for me. In that sense Z5 for stills at cuurent price point (750 euros new not gray market) is a no brainer.
1 exception could be the E-M1X which so far seems more capable on all fronts than the mk II. Haven't tried the III or the OM-1 yet.
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ch96066

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2022, 23:30:30 »
Had my first outing today. Lens used the zeiss 25 2.8 ZF.
Everything worked as it should, the only exception being the EVF proximity sensor.

At home I have used viewfinder priority and everything was fine. Viewfinder was on when I was using it and the LCD came on only when pressing e.g. play, i or menu buttons no matter what angle I was using the camera. However, outside trying to review images when I tilted the camera from the LCD being vertical to horizontal the lcd wouldn't come on even if e.g. the play button was pressed. It was like the sensor felt something was near it.
In the menus I added the screen only option (previously unchecked on purpose) and then once I selected this mode with the finder button the LCD worked with no issues. This means an additional button press to move from LCD to EVF and back and it doesn't make me happy.

I will search for similar cases, but if anyone has similar experience and a fix to share it would be great.
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Ian Watson

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2022, 12:30:19 »
Try cleaning the sensor at the top of the eyepiece. It may look clean but the corner of a lens cleaning wipe may do the trick. It works when this happens once in a while to my Z6.

ch96066

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Re: First experience with Nikon Z series (Z5)
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2022, 14:10:35 »
Thank you Ian. Will try even if the camera is like less than a week old with little use. Hope it is as simple as this and thanks for the experience.
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