Tried the Z7, mixed feelings

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fpessolano Senior Member • Posts: 2,508
Tried the Z7, mixed feelings

First of all, I use D850 and Fuji. My interest is not to replace one or the other, or switch system to another brand.  This puts in perspective how I approached the Z7. Also I am not interested in eye or face tracking.

And I am not  a native English speaker … so, errors and typos cannot be avoided

I tested the Z7 with 35S, 24-70S and 300/4 on adapter. There were 4 cameras, one already seemed partially bugged. There was a Z6, but we were not allowed to do much since it had an old firmware.

For the Z7, firmware was the final version (According to the Nikon person) and lighting was a well lit shop.

What i think? I left with mixed feelings. And I did pre-order on day 1 ...

First of all what I liked:

- EVF is truly nice. Responsive, can be tuned to give decent fidelity to the scene. Compared to what I saw so far (including the sony last month in a similar setting), this feels like the better EVF.

- LCD is feels better than the D850 … but articulation is more limited (not important for me)

- Focusing on most of the sensor is quite a joy. Tracking on the entire frame is one reason why I want this camera and it works quite well.

- Handling, menu, etc is Nikon … almost.

- Tracking by ok button to engage/disengage is no as annoying as I expected. It is quite ok and it almost makes sense

- IQ on screen seems like a D850

- AF Auto area works well, it is not 3D tracking but it works quite well. And that sensor coverage is fantastic,

- Peaking seems to work very well.

- Adapter is pretty small and solid

- IBIS works pretty well. Even on the 300 with VR off, very effective.

- 35S has nice rendering of OO transitions and the zoom is very very sharp wide open

There is a lot more important things that puzzled me and left me unhappy:

- AF.  hunts. And hunts. Did I say it already, it hunts! It hunts on the S lenses and on the adapted lens. You might think it is because of the lighting. Sure. But when home I took my cameras in a similar setting and the Z7 feels slightly better than the X-T20, while it very much worse than the D850. The S35 was the worst of all. With good light probably the different is less. Cannot say.

- AF is not necessarily accurate. With all three lenses (the 35 was the worst) reported focus actually gave at times a slightly back or front focused picture in the play back. This is true for AFS and AFC. Less so in auto area

- AF-C mode is like … well, simplified., Only a set up for reaction time (no crossing option like the D850), the rest wel all know. It tracks ok, also with auto-area mode. I would rate it in between my cheap Fuji and the mighty D850.

- I miss controls. Basically we need the touch screen to set everything from what AF mode, to what size of focus point. It is intuitive but much slower and less intuitive than D850 and Fuji respectively.

- And …. despite what the rep said and with the card inside, in continuos mode (5.5 or 9) the black out was much more noticeable than I expected. It felt like the EVF was almost off.

At this point, I doubt. The full sensor tracking and manual lenses are the only reasons to take it. But I tend to agree that for people with a D850 the Z cameras and lenses make little sense as a switch.

I need to add that as other said, Nikon does not see this as a replacement of a DSLR, but they expect us to have a Z7 next to a D850/D5 … which is to me strange as to own both is rather an expensive joke.

btw to the question about eye AF (not from me as I do not care) the answer of one rep was: "that is something my grandmother would use, not professionals". While I do not use such things, well …. that is not a proper approach, Nikon!

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Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7
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