Thanks to the Nikon team in Chennai, I got my hands on the Z7 for a day. It came with a 24-70 f4 lens. I was shooting an event in Bengaluru with my go to cameras, the Fuji GFX 50R and Leica SL and I thought I would throw the Nikon into the mix for some wide, documentary type shots.
For the last 5 years, I have been shooting only on Mirrorless Cameras and have used almost all mirrorless brands at some point. The question was how would the Nikon feel and perform as I had never used a Nikon, ever in my life. This was the first time I was holding a Nikon camera.
- Extremely comfortable in the hand, good ergonomics. The grip felt good and solid. All buttons were easy to operate.
- The menu was easy to navigate even though I was using a Nikon for the first time.
- Quick focus, at least as fast as the Sony (I haven’t used the A7III but have used the A9)
- Good EVF and LCD screen
- Brilliant lens, tack sharp (but that is expected out of an f4 lens anyway)
One thing I just don’t understand with big brands is why they launch cameras and systems with f2.8 and f4 lenses. This was the case with Sony, when they launched the A7R and this is still the case with the CaNikons. If I can afford to buy a Z7, in all probability, I should be able to afford a 50/35 1.4.
What I loved:
Touch focus and shoot feature is something I loved in the Leica Q. The only flip side on the Leica was that the screen would not tilt. The Nikon Z has a tilting screen and touch focus and shoot. This is a brilliant feature if you are a street or wedding photographer who wants to shoot a documentary/photojournalistic style. You can explore new angles and keep shooting without getting the camera to eye level and can catch your subjects in their natural elements without them being conscious of being photographed.
The touch focus and shoot is also very fast and works across the screen, corner to corner, so you simply compose and just touch where you want the focus to lock and the camera locks focus and shoots the picture in a fraction of a second.
What about Image quality?
As expected the dynamic range is excellent and recovery is easy and clean. This was the first shot and the scene had sunny, bright areas and dark shadows. I exposed for the highlights and was easily able to recover shadows and could have recovered more but I don’t like the HDRish look that comes with too much recovery
I obviously shot RAW and in most cases the pictures were brilliant as expected. At higher ISO levels till about 5000 the Z7 is fairly clean even under low light. Keep in mind that I just shot about 10 shots to test but I have used the Sony A7RII, the Leica Q and the Leica M10 under really bad lighting conditions at extremely high ISOs and while grainy, these cameras had good subject definition and detail. The Nikon appeared a little suspect in this area but of course not many of us are going to be using it under extremely poor lighting conditions at extremely higher ISOs.
The camera came with an XQD card. I shot burst, a little bit of video and transferred the files to my laptop from the card. XQD cards are supposedly faster but without proper testing I was not able to perceive and marked difference in either capturing or transferring files.
What I did not check:
I just did not have the time to check video quality vis a vis the Sony A7III, which we were using to shoot video at the event.
If you are a Nikon user and are contemplating moving to Mirrorless, then the Z7 is a no brainer. You can adapt all your Nikon lenses to start with, on the Z7 with the FTZ adapter and as they release the native lenses you can shift. Mirrorless gives you a lot of advantages over traditional DSLRs and is the future.
Here are some pictures from the Z7.