Author Topic: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?  (Read 559 times)

Per Inge Oestmoen

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The Nikon D780, Z6 and Z7 cameras are capable photographic tools, offering impressive functionality for both still imaging and video. They also include a number of improvements over preceding models. However, they also have lost a very important functionality. None of these new cameras are constructed with contacts for a true functional vertical grip, and this means they do not offer that possibility. Why?

Nikon's omission to include a vertical grip option for some of their recent models is neither understandable nor excusable by the supposed goal to create a small and light camera. If there is a desire to design a camera to be small and light that is a rationale for constructing the camera without an integrated grip, and it is a matter of course that when a user wants the camera to be small and light s/he does not attach a grip. But these considerations are absolutely no justification for the failure to include contacts for a vertical grip and make such a grip available as an option. With the option of a vertical grip the owner has the choice between the smallest possible version of the camera, or the ergonomically and functionally optimal solution for vertical shooting.

The failure to include an optional vertical grip is also not defensible by an argument sometimes heard, that most users do not use a vertical grip. Whether or not that argument is true, the reality is that a vertical grip provides superior functionality in the vertical position. The availability of a surprisingly large number of third-party vertical grips for the camera models which are made with electronic contacts for a grip, truly testify to the fact that users do indeed find this option useful.

It is no excuse that a vertical grip goes against a desire to make a small camera - because that does not justify removing the option altogether. It is noteworthy that Nikon has introduced a battery grip for the Z6 and Z7. That also goes against a desire to have the smallest possible camera, and must necessarily have been made in order to enable more battery power. That raises the question: If it is judged desirable to have the option of increasing battery power by adding a battery grip, why is it not also desirable to have a vertical shutter and vertical controls in such a grip when a shutter button and controls would greatly increase the usefulness during vertical shooting?

There is, or should not be, any discussion that a vertical grip with shutter button and controls gives a vastly superior handling when using the camera in the vertical position as compared to having to twist and contort one's hand in order to hold the camera in that position. Nikon should be given a very clear message that the omission of a vertical grip option is a significant drawback to otherwise capable cameras and a potential show stopper for potential buyers.

Per Inge Oestmoen
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Jack Dahlgren

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2020, 18:35:28 »
Did you send this to Nikon? I'm not certain they will find your message here.

Tristin

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2020, 19:08:44 »
I have heard that Nikon was unable to sell the vertical grips it had produced for cameras like the D750, and ended up having to dump them in sales and whatnot.  Looking at the extremely low prices new ones sell for on ebay, it makes sense.  Of course, had Nikon's vertical grip price not been ridiculous, they would have sold some.  The truth is, due to their high price, most people simply went for 3rd party.  So from Nikon's point of view, why bother making vertical grips for mid-range bodies, when mid-range buyers demonstrably don't want to pony up for the vertical grip prices Nikon clearly deems fit.

Nikon is also stripping controls features from new bodies, as evidenced by the lack of drive and exposure mode buttons on the Z6/Z7.  Likely to help the second gen mirrorless stand out.  While many balk at the idea Nikon would do this, I suspect Nikon is aware that shrinking R&D funding and technological advance slowing means future camera releases will be far more incremental than we have been used to in the past.  In light of that, stripping features and slowly reintroducing them is a way to encourage purchases of new models.  'Sure, the Z6 2.0 is still 24mp, but now it has a drive/exposure mode buttons and the Z7 2.0 also has vertical grip!'.  You can expect to to see things like these along with double exposure, unlocked DX focal lengths, etc.  slowly make their way back onto Z bodies if I am correct.
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Peter Connan

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2020, 20:50:22 »
I guess each user is different.

I have never felt the need for a vertical grip, and have never bought one. In fact, I never use the D3's vertical controls, because when I try to use them, my eye can't find the viewfinder, and the buttons all feel wrong. I guess that is a consequence of the fact that 98.35% (estimated) of my photos are taken in "normal" orientation, because that is what suits my subjects best.

On the other hand, I have avoided cameras that do not have a focus-drive motor built-in, despite not having used either of my two AF-D lenses in over four years...

The thing is though: the camera market is contracting FAST. The companies that survive will be the ones that can innovate the fastest, and provide cameras with features that are of use to the greatest number of users. And because the market is contracting, development budgets are too. Every item that needs to be designed that is not a camera or a lens, is using resources that are then not available for developing those products which have an actual possible impact in improving photo quality...

This is only one way to look at it, but it does seem to be the way Nikon is looking at it at the moment. 

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2020, 22:32:36 »
I was going to sell the grip that came with my D500 last spring, but I liked it enough the one time I mounted it to check it that my efforts became limited to just announce it here. It did not sell in spite of some slight interest, still sitting in the box, and I never got around to announce it on ebay. (It is a bit of a threshold as I have never sold anything there before.) I thought the fit was excellent, and the support for the hand down towards the wrist was really nice. It certainly made the D500 feel more professional. (In the past I got used to the F4s grip). But for me the issue is that it does not fit in my bags with the grip. Now that I see widely varying sold prices on ebay, from really low to about what I asked for it, if all I can get is the lower end of that range, I might just as well take it into use for a few occasions like events (whenever that will be...) instead of it just sitting in the box. The D500 is a body that will stay with me.

Øivind Tøien

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 23:22:32 »
The thing is though: the camera market is contracting FAST. The companies that survive will be the ones that can innovate the fastest, and provide cameras with features that are of use to the greatest number of users. And because the market is contracting, development budgets are too. Every item that needs to be designed that is not a camera or a lens, is using resources that are then not available for developing those products which have an actual possible impact in improving photo quality...

I don't agree with this. One major advantage that Nikon have is the ergonomics of their camera bodies, and many people find the vertical grip important for good ergonomics for working in the portrait orientation, especially when using telephoto lenses. One might work all day, every day in the studio and almost always shoot in vertical orientation, and have to twist one's hand in an awkward position is just unthinkable.

The professional and enthusiast market is not contracting (or was not before the current corona virus situation), the part that is contracting is the consumer camera market. These cameras (D780, D750, Z6, Z7) are in the enthusiast/pro segment and the size of that market is roughly the same it has been for the past 10 years. However, of course Nikon's share in it has declined because there are now several other brands competing for the same market that used to be divided among Nikon and Canon. It seems clear from the public's response that the lack of vertical grip in Nikons is costing them sales.

I think Nikon didn't sell enough vertical grips in the lower enthusiast/pro segment (due to much lower-priced third party options) and so they removed that option from their prosumer cameras, leaving it only for the professional cameras where the cost of the camera is high enough to pay for the vertical grip, sold at retail price or given free.

Mike G

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2020, 09:15:10 »
Over the years I have purchased several vertical/battery grips for Nikon, Fuji and Panasonic and other than trying them out, they never came out in the daylight, quite galling really and silly of me for buying the darn things.
But although I would not buy another one, doesn’t mean they should not be a proper grip for those who would like one!
A poor choice by Nikon.
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simsurace

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2020, 12:49:49 »
Since the grips are often camera-specific, they don't hold their value very well. In light of excellent third-party options, the original Nikon grips are overpriced. Nikon probably saw low sales numbers and the grip was removed to save money. IMHO a case of poor use of data to drive decisions, but time will tell whether it was poor or just inconsequential in the bigger scheme of things.

They could have stuck to one body size for D600, D750, and D780 and then done one grip that works on all of them, maybe the price would be more manageable. At least the grip would be worth more money on the 2nd hand market. Or as far as I'm concerned, just put the contacts there and let the third parties produce the grips. The contacts add value to the camera, as does e.g. the HDMI port, even though Nikon does not produce any HDMI accessories like external recorders etc.

Telling customers to pick up a D850 instead of a D780 just for the grip seems a poor strategy. Who knows, maybe it works in the Japanese market, but us Westerners don't like being told what to buy :D. Jokes aside, of course they don't owe us anything but in this highly competitive marketplace not having a feature that the direct predecessor had demands a good explanation. People probably already knew the D8xx lineup before eyeing the D780 and decided against the bigger/heavier/higher res option. The D780 is still competing with the D750 and with the Z6. No doubt the D780 is a fine camera but I would still advise people to pick up a used D750 now at 500-600 bucks unless they absolutely need one of the new D780 features. The D750 sold well because it provided an ideal mix of features. Time will tell whether the grip was also part of that...
Simone Carlo Surace
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Erik Lund

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2020, 12:55:40 »
...

I think Nikon didn't sell enough vertical grips in the lower enthusiast/pro segment (due to much lower-priced third party options) and so they removed that option from their prosumer cameras, leaving it only for the professional cameras where the cost of the camera is high enough to pay for the vertical grip, sold at retail price or given free.
Yes, this is how I see it as well.
If you need the large battery capacity and or shoot a lot of vertical, get one of their other cameras that provide this.
Quite simple actually ;)
Erik Lund

Akira

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2020, 13:19:08 »
I think the camera manufacturers have shifted the weight on the function of their cameras from still-centric to video-centric.

You seldom (though not completely "never") need to set a camera in portrait orientation for video.

On the other hand, the battery life is of much bigger concern.  The expected function of an external grip is more as an additional power source rather than a vertical grip.
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Mike G

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2020, 14:03:45 »
Akita, I hear you but for the sake of a few pounds the costs saved is fairly minimal!
The price of the Battery grip in the U.K. is £179 which In my eyes is very expensive for what it is for what is essence an inert lump of plastic! The possibility of a useful battery/vertical grip doesn’t stop the Z6 being used as a video camera,
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Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2020, 15:18:22 »
The price of the Battery grip in the U.K. is £175 which In my eyes is very expensive for what it is for what is essence an inert lump of plastic!

The MB-N10 does have one unusual feature: it allows hot swapping of batteries without camera use being interrupted. I believe this product was introduced mainly for video applications. It doesn't have the secondary controls as the camera doesn't have the contacts required for that. It is probably something that Nikon didn't originally plan to make so the contacts and second regulator circuit were not included in the Z6/Z7 design. Nikon are aware that many people would like to have vertical grips with controls. I am sure this will be included in future product planning (although the fact that D780 is without grip is a bit discouraging).

While Nikon grips/packs are expensive, they match the construction materials of the body, e.g., the MB-D18 for the D850 has a magnesium chassis covered with other materials. I believe many of the knock-off grips are plastic. I don't know the materials for the MB-N10 (Z6/Z7 pack) but it wouldn't surprise me if it too had a metal interior.

Accessories are commonly where the manufacturers plan to make profit, whereas the cost of the body is trimmed to make it possible to sell it at a competitive price, to allow a lower cost of entry to users. Sony and Canon battery packs are pretty expensive, too. The problem for Nikon was clearly created by the cheap knock-off grips and I'm not sure what the solution would be. Simply reducing the price of the grips would be probably quite possible but it would be compensated by price increases in other products, most likely the camera body, because they need to move towards making a profit and camera sales are not increasing, and their market share is declining.

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2020, 15:27:28 »
I think the camera manufacturers have shifted the weight on the function of their cameras from still-centric to video-centric.

You seldom (though not completely "never") need to set a camera in portrait orientation for video.

I do believe the primary application of the Nikon mirrorless cameras (as well as the D780/D850) continues to be still photography, with video as a secondary use, but with increasing importance and consideration in the design. The camera's ergonomic design is still mainly stills-optimized, even though some aspects are now optimized for horizontal shooting (lack of vertical grip with controls & tilt screen only tilting in one axis).

However, as surprising as it might seem, vertical videos are now standard in some social media platforms such as instagram and facebook, even to the point where it is enforced (i.e. on facebook if you shoot a horizontal video on a mobile phone, the platform rotates it to vertical). I believe camera manufacturers should include consideration for this as well. The vertical videos should not be as elongated as horizontal videos are; the aspect ratio should be less rectangular. And the vertical grip becomes useful for video as well if it is considered as a valid option for usage.

MFloyd

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2020, 15:57:59 »
...

While Nikon grips/packs are expensive, they match the construction materials of the body, e.g., the MB-D18 for the D850 has a magnesium chassis covered with other materials. I believe many of the knock-off grips are plastic. I don't know the materials for the MB-N10 (Z6/Z7 pack) but it wouldn't surprise me if it too had a metal interior.

...

Most of my pictures are in landscape mode (80%), When i acquired the D850, I promised myself not to purchase the MB-D18. Three days of photographing sailing rigs (vast majority in portrait mode), and a painful shoulder, convinced to finally proceed to the purchase. Since then, it remains sticked to the camera... Other raison: I can use the same battery packs and charger of my D5's.


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Mike G

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Re: Why no true vertical grip option for the D780, Z6 and Z7 models?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2020, 16:16:44 »
Illkka, do you know what the battery pack is constructed of? I’m thinking it’s made of some sort of plastic?
Cheers.
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