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Author Topic: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7  (Read 1164 times)

Michael Erlewine

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My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« on: October 10, 2018, 11:30:26 AM »

My Nikon Z7 arrived and a hefty little thing it is. No, it is not as large as my D850, but it is heavy enough with a lens on it. Of course, the first thing I discovered is that there are no L-Plates that fit the Z7 yet available. There are many for preorder, but when I called Really Right Stuff and ordered one, it seemed from talking with them that they have not yet even figured out how they are going to approach the FTZ adapter in relation to L-plates. So, for now I have to use a large and heavy (giant) L-Plate adapter from Novoflex for portrait mode. Either that or swing my Arca-Swiss Cube geared-head 90 degrees, which is a real pain and hardly worth doing..

In fact, it dawned on me that if the only reason I am getting a mirrorless Nikon is to save space and weight, the savings are not that great. As mentioned, the Z7 is still a weighty thing. So, whatís left? For me, there is the new mount and the promise of faster lenses wide open, which I would like a lot. But that is down the road.

As for the FTZ adapter, it seems great. In fact, once attached, the camera feels like any DSLR all over again, so tightly does it fit in. I also look forward to mounting the Z7 on my view camera with a Z7 bayonet and gaining a little added focus range there. I have mounts for that on order.

As for the EVF, yes! It does feel like an OVF or at least I am not conscious of it being electronic as I have been with other mirrorless cameras I have owned (Sony, Hasselblad, GFX, etc.). It is really nice AND YOU CAN MAGNIFY IT! As for the rear LCD? Itís about what I am used to with the D850, so no problem there.

My pocketbook groaned when I played with the 24-70 f/4 lens because it is obvious that it fits the camera like a glove and if the new mount ups the APO-quotient for native lenses to come, I can see myself wanting a few more of these natural Z7 lenses IF they are ever produced. Perhaps itís time for me to off-load some of my many legacy F-mount lenses! We will see how many APO-quality native lenses for the Z7 appear.

As for menus and buttons, well, whatís new? Every camera-iteration has some of that and while the Z7 is a lot like my D850, itís different too. The little OLED (or whatever it is) on the top of the camera is very handy and easy to READ.

I can see that I will probably do a lot more point-and-shoot with the Z7, since it is so ďhandy.Ē As many have said, this is not simply a replacement for the D850, but something in itself. I imagine a smaller kit to travel with that contains the native 24-70 Z7 lens, the FTZ adapter and one or two legacy F-mount lenses. And since the video in the Z7 is a step-up, I can see using it (with an XLR-add-on) and ported to my Atomos Shogun Inferno as 10-bit 4K 4:2:2 FF  video (and log gamma modes too!) to do interviews or whatever. I wonít have to carry a larger dedicated video camera, etc. like my Sony FS-5, etc.

I have yet to see for myself (or hear from others) if anything else about the Z7 is problematical, especially if the image quality is as good as the D850 and if the banding-issue that some document affects my work. My guess is that it wonít.

[LATER: Having shot a bunch, for my work, I donít see any problems with shadows and blacks. Perhaps for astronomy work, there are considerations, but for my work, not that I can tell so far.]

So, I am just getting familiar with the Z7. Next for me, is to try a lot of non-native lenses via the adapter and see if everything is equal.

UPDATE: on the Nikon Z7 for my particular use.

I like the Nikon Z7, but like all things, using it for a while brings with it some realizations, which I want to comment on here.

I have the Nikon Z7, the FTZ adapter, and the 24-70 f/4 native lens. Please note that the kind of work that I do (close-up, focus stacking) requires a lot of precision and great lenses.

Using the Nikon Z7 with its own 24-70 f/4 lens is fine for general snapshots and perhaps even for some more semi-serious work. However, I find, while the 24-70 is sharp-ish, it is not sharp like the lenses I am used to (Otus, APO, etc.). I am sure it was not intended to be that sharp. It seems well-enough corrected IMO, but the sharpness is not quite what I require. It is a little weak in that area, IMO. This, of course, is disappointing, but I pretty-much knew this coming in. Of course, I hoped for a miracle. LOL.

On the other hand, using the FTZ adapter I have access to many APO lenses that I have collected over the years, including the set of Otus lenses plus the Otus-like 135 Zeiss that presaged the series. They work great on the Z7 as they always did!

I am hurting for lack of a proper L-Bracket and have had to use the Arca C1 Cube for vertical/profile shots, which means leaning it 90-degrees from horizontal, which works but is not what I like to use. So, I might as well use my D850 for which I have a great RSS L-Bracket.

[Note: I have since found an L-Bracket that works that is available now.]

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011JKE28U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This L-Bracket will work with the FTZ adapter. If you want the vertical element to fit closely to the left side of the camera, you may want to cut off the very far end of one of the stainless steel rods, which is easy to do and then it fits snug. The tip of this rod stops the 1/4-20 screw from going to the far edge so that we can cope with the FTZ adapter. Inexpensive too, relatively ($89).

Things I especially like about the Z7 are the EVF, which I find myself using more and more. With the D810 and D850, I never used the OVF (not ever), preferring to work on the back-LCD in LiveView. But the Z7 EVF is really amazing and you can magnify it, which of course the older OVF cameras could not do. I am using it much of the time, especially outdoors and with landscape shots. To me this is a HUGE feature.

So, I am keeping the Nikon Z7. However, and this is a big ďhowever,Ē unless Nikon releases APO/Otus level lenses for the Nikon Z7, I will be using the Z7 with the FTZ adapter for most of my work, which makes it essentially a mirrorless DSLR, which is OK too.

For family photos, casual walk-around work, and perhaps for semi-serious work, I could use the Z7 with the native 24-70 f/4 lens. But, when I ask myself, I might just as well use the better lenses I have any time I do serious photography. They are just so much better.

You get the idea. The Z7 for not-so-sharp work with native lenses, but I do use the Z7 + FTZ adapter for my regular work. And, to repeat, if I am mounting the huge Zeiss Otus lenses, I might just as well use the Nikon D850 for the added support. And so it goes.

However, I find that I will definitely be using the Z7 on my view camera, the Cambo Actus-Mini. It is perfect there and when I get a Z7-Bayonet for the Actus (on order), I will be able to get even more focus range from my exotic lenses, which I very much need.

In summary, I love the Z7, but without the FTZ adapter I am limited in what I can do with it. As Otus-level lenses come along native to the Z7, this should be much different. I would love an APO lens for this mirrorless camera, especially a macro!

The Z7 with FTZ and the APO El Nikkor f/5.6

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DougDolde

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2018, 12:37:55 PM »

Thanks for confirming why I wouldn't prefer one to my D850  ;D
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Rory

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2018, 04:54:30 PM »

The Z7 with FTZ and the APO El Nikkor f/5.6

What software are you using to process your focus stack Michael?  I'm seeing huge halos around your petals in this image.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 05:21:07 PM »

What software are you using to process your focus stack Michael?  I'm seeing huge halos around your petals in this image.

I was not retouching, but just looking for dark and shadows, etc.
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Rory

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 09:53:10 AM »

I was not retouching, but just looking for dark and shadows, etc.

That explains it.
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Laminarman

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 10:51:25 AM »

Interesting.  I shoot almost all Landscapes and use a D810.  While I'm glad to see the Z7, I wonder if we might see a crop of lightly used D850s hit the market and if that would make more sense for me?  I don't care much about weight and mass as it's almost all tripod work with wider lenses. I usually carry everything in one backpack and I'm fortunate to be healthy enough to carry it without an issue. 
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 02:17:38 PM »

Interesting.  I shoot almost all Landscapes and use a D810.  While I'm glad to see the Z7, I wonder if we might see a crop of lightly used D850s hit the market and if that would make more sense for me?  I don't care much about weight and mass as it's almost all tripod work with wider lenses. I usually carry everything in one backpack and I'm fortunate to be healthy enough to carry it without an issue.

If you shoot mostly from a tripod and donít mind the weight/bulk, the D850 is a great option. I find the colors it delivers to be the best I have seen (the Z7 is the same).

The only advantage of the Z7 for you is likely to be lenses. The 14-30mm f4 is likely to redefine what can be expected from a compact super wide zoom lens and will probably be significantly superior to the 14-24mm f2.8 in the corners at landscape apertures. That is based on the remarkable quality I see with the first 3 Z lenses.

If this promise is appealing to you I would wait until itís actually tested to see if my forecast turns out to be true.

Cheers,
Bernard

Laminarman

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2019, 02:53:58 PM »

If you shoot mostly from a tripod and donít mind the weight/bulk, the D850 is a great option. I find the colors it delivers to be the best I have seen (the Z7 is the same).

The only advantage of the Z7 for you is likely to be lenses. The 14-30mm f4 is likely to redefine what can be expected from a compact super wide zoom lens and will probably be significantly superior to the 14-24mm f2.8 in the corners at landscape apertures. That is based on the remarkable quality I see with the first 3 Z lenses.

If this promise is appealing to you I would wait until itís actually tested to see if my forecast turns out to be true.

Cheers,
Bernard

Thank you Bernard.  What is it that makes the new Z lenses so spectacular? 
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faberryman

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2019, 02:55:31 PM »

Thank you Bernard.  What is it that makes the new Z lenses so spectacular?
Great theoretical MFT charts and a bunch of YouTubers saying they are great.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2019, 03:57:34 PM »

Great theoretical MFT charts and a bunch of YouTubers saying they are great.

My first hand experience shows them to be outstanding.

Both Nikon and Canon claim that vey shallow mount with a large diameter are a key contributor to their quality.

Cheers,
Bernard

faberryman

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 04:00:09 PM »

My first hand experience shows them to be outstanding.
You hear this about every new lens that is released.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 04:14:49 PM »

You hear this about every new lens that is released.

There are many good lenses. Then the question is relative to what.

My personal reference is the best there is. Be it Otus on 35mm, the best H glass, Rodenstock HR on Arca.

The 50mm f1.8S belongs to that category without question.

Letís not fall for the all too convenient ďeverything is the same anywaysĒ. That is simply not true today and it will a lot less true with 100mp sensors a few years down the road.

But donít believe me, wait for the tests or see for yourself.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 04:30:00 PM by BernardLanguillier »
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faberryman

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 04:40:14 PM »

But don’t believe me, wait for the tests or see for yourself.
It is clear that you are not unbiased so I'll wait for the tests.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: My First Impressions of the Nikon Z7
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 06:03:20 PM »

It is clear that you are not unbiased so I'll wait for the tests.

Thatís what I am suggesting from the beginning.

The tests of the 35mm, 50mm and 24-70mm are there for everyone to read and they clearly show these lenses to better the corresponding Sigma Art and to be very very close to the Otus for the 50mm, while being 5 times cheaper and teice lighter. I own both lenses by the way. I am hurting my resell value big time by writing this.

Cheers,
Bernard
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