D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

ericbowles wrote:

Spare-time photog wrote:

What are my main requirements?

1.) My main reason to switch is to get rid of AF fine tune/AF micro adjustments and to get precise AF all the time. This requirement is mandatory. The more I dived deeper in portraiture the more I recognised, that the focus was not nailed in a lot of pictures. I fiddled around with Reikan software to AFMA my lenses but only with limited success. So I send all my gear (the D800, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8) to Nikon to check and adjust. The result is better, but sometimes the camera struggles to nail the focus. Then I bought a 85/1.8 lens and it missed the focus a lot. By the way a second lens was even worse in combination with my camera. So Nikon checked and adjusted the 85 lens, too. The results are better, but I am still not convinced, that the miss-focus plague is gone forever, as the focus problems in the past seem to be distance and brightness dependent and quite complex. At the end it is a DSLR.

You've got it wrong here. The Z6/7 and other mirrorless cameras use Phase Detect AF most of the time. In the first mirrorless cameras, Contrast Detect AF was used but it was unacceptably slow. Now with the Z6/Z7, the only mode that uses Contrast Detect AF is AF-S with Pinpoint AF. So you will still need to consider using AF Fine Tuning, but you do have the option of Pinpoint AF if your subject is not moving much. I used AF-S pinpoint and LowLight AF to photograph the lunar eclipse and it was spectacular - to the point where I stopped using my D850.

You are right saying that the pinpoint mode is the only mode which uses CDAF. But I thought that the general consensus is that the Z7 has a hybrid AF system, which means that after the PDAF step a CDAF step follows which would correct any misfocus of the previous PDAF step. Although the thoughts and opinions are quite mixed if both steps (PDAF and CDAF) are always done or only sometimes depending of the conditions.

The first rumors even said that there is only PDAF (without CDAF) with adapted lenses, which was later on denied by some Nikon engineers in an interview.

So my hope is that due to the hybrid character of the AF system any misfocus from the PDAF step will be corrected with CDAF so that there is no need to fine tune your lenses.

And even if the CDAF not always kicks in, the possible misalignment errors between the dedicated AF sensor and the sensor plane are non existing, so the need for AFMA should be dramatically lower. That is my hope and my main reason for considering an update to a Z7.

You have not considered the three big advantages of the Z.

1. Pointpoint AF is not available on the D800 but is on the D850 using LiveView. It's available through the EVF on the Z cameras - and is very accurate albeit a little slower.

2. The Z cameras have focus peaking using AF-S. It's available through the viewfinder so you can see exactly what plane is is focus and adjust if needed.

Is the focus peaking also available if the focus mode is not set to manual?

I think the Z7/Z6 cameras are terrific. There are a few instances where the D850 is better, and places where the Z7/Z6 are better than any other camera. I'm not sure there is anything that my D800/D800E does better than the Z7/Z6.

 Spare-time photog's gear list:Spare-time photog's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon 85mm F1.8G
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