D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)? Locked

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,773
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?


I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that. I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850. So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed. THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

You have to be very specific about AF when comparing the D850 and Z7.  I have found the Z7 to be generally superior to the D850 when it comes to AF of static subjects or slowly moving subjects.  No more AFFT, direct focus off the sensor.  For subjects moving at a faster speed or more erratically the D850 is superior.  So overall, which one is "generally superior"?  IDK.  It depends on what you shoot.

Superior battery life?  Don't care much about that.  A spare EN-EL15 fits in my pants pocket if I'm out for a day.  Turn on speed?  Yes, definitely superior on the D850.

What I like about the Z bodies is that you basically see your exposure in the EVF.  In addition, the ability to have the histogram in the EVF is a great feature to me.

If you're a flash user in low light the EVF shows a bright image so you can see what you're shooting.  Although on the downside this is where you may trade off some AF speed (low light).

Totally silent shooting (with limitations) without having to go into mirror-up mode.  I don't use it myself.  But for some it's a selling point.

Subjective, but I like the smaller body.  It has nothing to do with lighter for all day carry or travel.  I just like the slightly smaller size.  It fits my size 8 hands better.

Less buttons on the Z bodies means that more things require access to the menus or the i menu.  So that's a negative for sure.

The EVF has issues if you're a max frame rate capture type of person.  Not an issue for me as I am always in single shot mode.  Or at most I fire a short burst of two or three frames.

If you must have dual cards then the Z7 is not for you.  But the Z7 II will fix that.

No vertical grip for the Z7.  But again, the Z7 II will fix that.

The FTZ works perfectly fine with AF-S lenses, if you don't have a phobia of using an adapter.  If you have D lenses though, that's a problem.

Overall, I haven't used my D5 in 2 years.  My images now are about evenly split between the Z7 and D850.

My D850 gets used more than the Z7 when I'm shooting birds and wildlife.  I also use it for macros (200mm f/4 D).  For birds, it gets more use than the Z7 simply because I have my 500mm PF + 1.4x TC III mounted on it all the time because I usually have general landscape oriented lenses on my Z7 and I'm too lazy to swap lenses.

The Z7 is my landscape camera and travel camera.  The only time I travel with my D850 is if I'm going to want to shoot with two bodies.

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Mike Dawson

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Nikon D7200 Nikon D5 Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-H1 Nikon Z7 +34 more
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