Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras Review!


DP Review (Digital Photograph Review) recently took a close look at the new full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7, introduced by Nikon. Their comments are worth a full read, but we wanted to provide a quick summary of their findings for those strapped for time.


As DP Review points out, this is Nikon's first full-frame lens mount since 1959. That's a big deal and why it warrants a closer look and all the press coverage it has garnered. DP took a look at the overall feel of the new cameras, its customization, and their utility. What they didn't do, and we haven't yet either, is test the camera out. Anyhow, below is our summary of DP's findings.


Overall, the Z7's hand-feel and build quality are very good. If you're a regular Nikon user, you'll probably feel the similarities and the differences while appreciating the Z7. The grip is as comfortable as the D850. 

The top OLED is also much easier to read than the older LCD panels on DSLRs. The viewfinder and Quad VGA panel also pass muster. Any issues you may have had with other cameras and their viewfinders are likely not going to be felt here as it maintains resolution with burst shooting or continuous focusing. DP found the touchscreen interface extremely responsive and the menu is customizable. 
Over the course of a 12-hour shoot, they were able to record "1500+ images and several 4K video clips before the battery warning kicked in at 10% remaining". That's good news for most photographers wanting to stick to one battery for the day using the Z7.

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The autofocus was less than stellar, but keep in mind that they used a pre-production camera using non-final firmware for their review. There's no touchpad AF despite the impressive touchscreen and they found its implementation to be closer to the Live View rather than through the optical viewfinder.  

They also found the autofocus tracking implementation cumbersome and you can't change your AF mode with a single press as you can on other Nikons. (We are hoping that gets addressed at some point.)

Another focus issue they encountered is that, at least with the pre-production version, it stops the lens down to the shooting aperture giving the user live depth-of-field preview. However, that gives is less light.  "If you're shooting in dim conditions but don't want a paper-thin depth-of-field, you may experience slower autofocus or more hunting than you expect."

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"Mixed Blessings"

There were some things that DP found which came as mixed blessings, starting with the silent shutter. While very helpful in specific work environments, the sensor's limited readout speed, "rolling shutter is likely to be an issue, as is banding under artificial light."

XQD cards (which is how they're offered) provide good speed they offer but are more expensive and harder to find than SD cards. Only being able to use XQD cards will be a turn-off for many photographers. It was the same for them when shooting 4K video and Nikon's stabilization which could result in soft or blurred footage if the photographer was actually walking.

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It's fair to say that overall DP Review was pleased with the new Nikon Z system: "The combination of high resolution, expansive dynamic range, compact size, comfortable handling, and great 4K video is hard to dismiss.

And most of the concerns we have - the lack of Touchpad AF, for example - we're hoping can be addressed in firmware, or at the very least, in the next Z-camera. We're confident in saying that, as of now, the Z7 is Nikon's most well-rounded camera they've ever produced."

If you'd like to read their entire article, you can read it here