Not a Mirrorless in sight….

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,099
Re: Do you understand how the ambassador program works?

ericbowles wrote:

Bill Ferris wrote:

ericbowles wrote:

Nikon recruits ambassadors who use their latest offerings. Well, fancy that.

Look, the vast majority of photogs who shoot primarily with D4-D6 flagships and exotic F-mount glass haven't moved to the Z-series bodies and glass. In large part, it's because there is no Z-mount camera that qualifies as a flagship. That's why the visible Nikon presence in Tokyo is flagship F-mount bodies along with long, fast zooms and prime lenses by the dozens. It's what the vast majority of Nikon shooters working the games are using to cover the competition.

This is not exactly correct. There are certainly D5-D6 users still. But many of them are also using the Z7II and other Z cameras. The D850 is one of the most commonly used professional cameras. Many of the Nikon Ambassadors are still using the D5, D6 or D850 for a portion of their work. But most of them are also using Z cameras and moving in that direction. Some have dropped all their DSLR cameras - like Michelle Valberg. Others like Marsel van Oosten are splitting time between a D850 and Z7II.

Are there exceptions? Are there Nikon shooters who are using Z6 or Z7 cameras as their primary bodies? Maybe...but they're the exception that proves the rule. For every individual photographer you mention who shoots sports or wildlife with a Z body, there are several still shooting with an F-mount DSLR. For every sports or wildlife photographer who applauds the Z-series autofocus performance, there are several who've field-tested the Z bodies for that work and found it not quite ready for prime time.

I'd say that 70% of Nikon sports and wildlife shooters have not bought a mirrorless camera. Among the full time pros, I expect it's less than 20% as there is a lot of trial and mirrorless use for specific purposes. I've seen survey data that supports these numbers. You probably have 20-30% who are using Z cameras full time or nearly full time. Moving outside wildlife and sports to portrait, commercial, and wedding pros, the percentage embracing mirrorless is a lot higher.

I'd be interested in seeing the survey data on professionals who've purchased Z bodies, especially if Nikon breaks out those numbers by the genres in which the pros work. If as you suggest, 80% of professionals shooting Nikon have added a Z to their camera bags and are using these in their work, that would be unexpected (to me) but reassuring news.

Between the economic impact of the pandemic, the fact Nikon is building a native mount lens collection from scratch, and the reviews of first and second gen Z autofocus, I'd have guessed no more than 40-50% of working pros, including possibly 10-20% of professional sports and wildlife photographers are using Zs in their work.

But if Nikon's survey data say otherwise, the data say otherwise.

The Z camera is a system. If you are not using it at all, you're missing out on the Z lenses which are superior to almost every F-mount counterpart and third party alternatives. That's part of what's driving the professionals to move faster.

Personally, I doubt I'm missing much. I shoot birds and wildlife almost exclusively. There's no Z-mount lens equivalent to the 200-500 and no Z body with better AF than the D500. I may not add a Z until there's an APS-C Z-mount camera in the same class as the D500. We'll see. My D610 is pretty long in the tooth but still makes a fine landscape photo. If I ever replace it with a newer full-frame body, I may go with used D850 or a Z.

I've been shooting mirrorless since adding a Fuji X-T20 to my kit in early 2017. I had been planning to add one of the Nikon DL cameras for hiking and travel but moved to Fuji when the DL series was canceled prior to shipping.

If you look at other systems, you'll see that plenty of pros embraced the Sony A9/A7riii and Canon R5/R6 cameras which are not flagship action models.

I'd argue the A9 and especially the A9II, while not a flagship in the traditional sense (no built in vertical grip), offer performance and capability to attract professional sports and wildlife photographers. The A1 is clearly a flagship but the A9 signalled that Sony had arrived. The message was clear enough that when the A1 was announced, there wasn't any question but that Sony would deliver.

Respectfully, the full-frame Zs haven't established that same level of expectation.

They are good cameras, but really more of a toe in the water compared to the A1 and R3. But all of these cameras are very good for other genres, and it lets you start learning a new system and building the kit of lenses.

The R3 is interesting in that the historical Canon naming convention leaves open the door for an R1. That would truly be stunning to see two flagships in Canon's lineup. But time will tell how that plays out.

I'm just looking forward to seeing "leaked" reports of the Z9's performance in Tokyo along with some photos (and video?) demonstrating its capabilities. If the beta testers report to Nikon, "This thing's a beast and is gonna be a hit," I'd expect to see that kind of content in the next 3-4 weeks. If the reports are more akin to, "You've got some work to do," I'd expect radio silence for 2-3 months while Nikon addresses any reported issues.

Either way, the product introduced to the public may be exactly what Nikon needs to establish them as offering the highest level of professional performance in a mirrorless camera system. The lenses being developed and released seem to be there. I'm keeping fingers crossed for the camera.

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

 Bill Ferris's gear list:Bill Ferris's gear list
Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
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