So, I switched to Sony mirrorless nearly 5 years as one of the early adopters and advocates of the Mirrorless wave. During the span of those 5 years one of the most common statements I’ve heard is, “Just wait until Canon and Nikon come out with their full frame mirrorless.”
To which my response has always been, “I can’t wait!” During those 5 years I’ve shot Sony exclusively and have purchased or used nearly every known lens that will work on the Sony system for both mirrorless or for their DSLT (their version of DSLR) system.
I’ve adapted Canon glass, Sony A Mount glass and used all the Sony mirrorless glass. I even attempted to use Nikon glass with adapters and famously had the Fotodiox adapter ruin my camera. Why do I say all of that?
Because I exhaust things. By nature I’m incredibly curious and as such, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the new Nikon Full Frame Mirrorless system out when the opportunity presented itself.
Over the years Canon and Nikon have both had crop sensor or smaller sensor versions of Mirrorless cameras and those never appealed to me. It’s why I’ve still not tried Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus or others. I tend to stick to those camera companies that offer full frame.
So a little while ago I found myself in Richmond, Virginia for a workshop and I met up with a friend and fellow pro John Sichenze who offered to let me try his Nikon Z7 out. John has been shooting Nikon since 1972 and is a member of NPS, so having him tag along for the shoot was important to me as well. Getting his insights and opinions as to what I was discovering on the camera was helpful and a good way to bounce my findings off of him.
To REALLY get a grasp for how the shoot went, you gotta watch the video. You can read reviews all you want, but being able to watch how the camera performs is better when you…watch it lol.
In the video review/shoot I had the opportunity try both Nikon F mount lenses with the adapter and Nikon’s new mirrorless lenses. I tried it with flash, with LED, and natural light. I shot it with fast action and as a portrait camera in both daytime and night time conditions.
The camera takes amazing pics. I never doubted this, even before I put it in my hands as you’ll see me say in the video. In this day and age of advanced camera technology I’ve always been a believer that virtually any camera can take great pics. What I enjoy about a camera is it’s ability make it EASIER for me to do so.
How fast does it focus? How well does it perform in low light? What’s the buffer like? How’s the black out time?
DOES THIS CAMERA MAKE IT EASIER AND MORE EFFICIENT FOR ME TO CREATE MY WORK VS. OTHER OFFERINGS IN THE MARKETPLACE?
Below are some of the resulting images from the shoot:
Nikon 105mm f/1.4 using the Nikon mirrorless adapter
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 using the Nikon mirrorless adapter
Nikon 35mm Native Z7 lens
Thoughts of the Nikon Z7?
*Image Quality- Outstanding. I’ve always loved the image quality out of Nikon. It was the camera system I used for the first decade of my career. The Z7 definitely did not disappoint.
*Adapted Lenses- I was very impressed with how Nikon was able to adapt their DSLR lenses to their mirrorless system. They behave very similarly to when I adapt Canon lenses to my Sony cameras. This will make Nikon users very happy.
*Native Lenses- Both were pretty decent. Definitely not blown away. I enjoyed the 35mm f/1.8 more than the 24-70. It’ll be interesting to see if Nikon is really committed to providing a whole lens lineup for this new system.
*Focus system- the adapted lenses and native lenses focused and worked well during virtually all conditions except for flash. See below. I really do wish the cameras had eye auto focus.
*Buffer- I wasn’t very impressed with the performance of the buffer as it stopped after 19 shots.
*Blackout and Review- the camera lags with it’s blackout time and image review compared to the speed of what I’m used to with Sony.
*Flash- the camera REALLY struggles when using flash. Why does it struggle? It goes from dark to bright trying to acquire focus making using flash on this system very difficult.
*LED- the camera performed well when working with LED’s at night. Mirrorless and LED lights seem to go together very well so this makes sense.
*Screen- I really liked the touch screen to fire the shutter. Brightness and use seemed good.
*EVF- a little lacking compared to Sony in regards to responsiveness, but the EVF is something that makes all mirrorless systems superior to DSLR’s in my opinion.
*Video- I was impressed with the video output of the camera. It has a timer that counts down from 30 minutes and doesn’t crop in which I like. I don’t like that you have to switch to a movie mode to do so, but the quality of the video seemed very nice.
*ISO Performance- below are shots taken at 10,000, 16,000 and 25,600 respectively using the 105mm lens
The end of the video provided us with an opportunity to meet and shoot with a local who came upon us as we were doing our wrap up. It tells the underlying theme that at the end of the day the camera brand we shoot with is less important that what we do with the camera.
Am I switching to Nikon? No. The system just isn’t there yet. Sony is still the king in the mirrorless marketplace. But it’s worth noting that competition makes everyone better. It pushes the brands we use to have to be better and to not be complacent. I’m grateful we live in a day and age where we as photographers get to benefit from the competitive marketplace.
Last but not least remember, KEEP AN OPEN MIND. I’ve always believed in what I say at the end of every one of my videos. “Find the Right Gear That Works for You.”
To see the entire review and performance, please check out the video, it’s definitely worth a watch!
A big thanks to John for letting me use his camera and to the other John for filming.
The biggest thanks to Emily for just killing it as a model. She really brings so much to the shoots and I appreciate her so much. You can follow her on Instagram at @em.explores
For more information about what we do and to visit us for a workshop please visit www.jasonlanier.com/register.