Was set on a D850, then....Z7 appeared

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Pieter Kaufman Regular Member • Posts: 148
Was set on a D850, then....Z7 appeared

I know this subject is probably tiresome to those who've committed one way or the other, but my query is different in the sense that I shoot almost exclusively with manual focus AI/AIS lenses.

Backstory, and qualification:

I'm a long time film shooter (35mm, MF, sometimes LF). I was slow to adopt digital. My first FF DSLR was a Canon 6D, which I still use regularly. It's my go-to family, camping, botanical photography, event, etc. camera. I also use a Panasonic GH4 for video which I use exclusively for that purpose.

Six months ago, I bought a D500 with the 200mm-500mm zoom lens, for shooting birds and wildlife. It's become a big pursuit. I adore the camera.

As I already had a good collection of AI/AIS lenses, I started taking them with me on solo mountaineering/backpacking trips. They're light, small, and I know how to use them. I'm taking some of the best pictures of my life these days. I partly attribute that to the deliberate nature of going back to manual lenses, and to the look of these lenses in particular, and to the camera. Mainly, I'm trying harder, but the gear is an undeniable inspiration.

I've found myself shooting more and more in such a way and in conditions where I do want more resolution and dynamic range some of the time.

A few months ago, I all but committed myself to a D850, to add to, not replace the D500.

Then the Z7 was announced. Now it's out. I've tried it.

Focus peaking with the manual lenses is very helpful. At the same time, I find the red marking distracting.

Losing aperture in the EVF is a small problem.

Being able to mount my non-AI lenses is wonderful.

Although I'm not buying either for the video, being able to occasionally shoot 4k uncropped 10bit in the Z7 is attractive. Doing it via HDMI to an external recorder, not so much. But if I need to, I can. 8 bit in the D850.

Z7 is smaller. Nice. Maybe too small? Hard to say. It feels okay. The D850 feels more sure in hand though.

I LOVE the almost 100% pure continuity from the D500 to D850. The back is almost completely identical. It's easier to see the D850 working in concert with the D500 as a very complete system.

The D850 feels more like a tool. That's an advantage. It is bigger, yes, and heavier, but it feels completely purpose-driven. Like the D500. I like the idea of two bodies that are effectively the same, ergonomically and functionally.

The Z7 is smaller, although with the FTZ adapter, it pushes the lenses out forward in a way that makes the overall package oddly shaped. The D850 with an AI 20mm f3.5 is flatter than with the same lens on the Z7.

IBIS on the Z7 is attractive. Not a game-changer, but attractive.

I'm not totally comfortable with EVFs. They convey lots of information, and that's nice, but the look feels a little...fake. Still, I can get used to it.

I travel and use the cameras in sometimes difficult places; high altitude, sometimes two or three days away from any ability to charge batteries. Cold. At or below freezing can be fairly common. Deserts. Dust. Wind. Heat. Bouncing around in an offroad vehicle.

Exposed sensor of the Z7 gives me serious pause if/when changing lenses such places. I've had errant dust specs on my GH4 sensor ruin shots; I didn't notice until I was home.

I've seen almost no mention of this. Canon's EOS R has a shutter covering it. That's smart.

What else?

Sorry for carrying on. I'm thinking out loud here. It's an agonizing choice.

If you've read this far, thank you, and I would love to hear thoughtful opinions. Cash is in hand. I want to put my lenses in front of this sensor. Which vehicle to do that?

Dare I even mention that the Fuji GFX 50S was beautiful to shoot with as well?....dare I?

Canon EOS 6D Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
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