Thom got a Z9 to test

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
chambeshi Veteran Member • Posts: 3,253
See Day 2 Update....
5

Exactly, and he confirms how and why he's reviewing a Z9 later than Nikon's first choices. See his latest blog post

With a Z9 also in the capable hands of Brad Hill, we should read more deeper and nuanced critiques. Thom has already informed Nikon where their engineers missed the obvious in sticking obtuse and illogical names on features and menu options etc.

For the reviewer, this complex stuff is challenging to summarize in video, and too time consuming for high profile talking heads. It is better spelled out in legible prose: maybe old fashioned but it works. Very few reviewers are successful at explaining this trickier stuff simply, with qualifying reasons for Custom settings etc. This is precisely the department where Thom Hogan shares his findings of how to drill into camera setups in order to jump in and change what the camera is doing based upon the situation that pops up in front of you.

It does help if the reviewer happens to be a professional photographer, and/or a successful educator of photography. The evidence for the best is plain to see in their successful records in experiential teaching. The evidence for the best is plain to see in their successful records in experiential teaching.

Equally, quality stands out in those who write the technical books and manuals that sell; again this is because these publications work in the wild. Spec sheets and exemplar images have their roles in a quick review, but these modern ILCs are extremely complex, and challenging to optimize in order to work efficiently.

Thus, as Thom says, "....I will repeat my philosophy about autofocus in general: it's fine to have the camera do the heavy lifting, but you want to be able to quickly jump in and focus (pardon the pun) or redirect what the system is doing....."

.....I’m all about “muscle memory.” I want things to become second nature as to my holding and controlling the camera. But there’s also such a thing as “cognitive dissonance.” When you get to that Custom Setting and see Type A, you either remember what it means—and note that there are other Mode/Type As in the camera’s menus you have to memorize, as well—or if you don’t remember you have to take the time to read the help. The Z9 is a performance camera. It should be minimizing our having to pay any attention to additional detail. So the Type/Mode construct needs to go...."

ARClark wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

ProDude wrote:

I'm still waiting for ONE reviewer of the dozen's I've seen to say a negative word about their experience using the Z9 in ALL regards be it photo or video. So far all I've seen is praise and not one criticism of any function failing or lack there of. This is an exceptional result so far.

Keep in mind that whoever already has a pre-production Z9 for testing received it directly from Nikon as a favor, be it before the official announcement on October 28 or right now, such as Brad Hill and Thom Hogan. For those YouTube influencers, that means a lot of hits on their video and therefore plenty of income. If they slam the Z9, they might as well kiss their favorable relationship with Nikon goodbye. Next time when Nikon introduce the Z9 Mark II or Z8, etc., you can forget about Nikon offering them another pre-production camera again. Who is so stupid to bite the hand that feeds them?

Nikon ambassadors would of course be inclined to offer favorable comments. However, they can signal their true feelings to some degree with the level of enthusiasm, or lack thereof, behind their glowing words. They could also choose to clam up and not say anything if they thought that giving praise to an unworthy product would hurt their reputation. But I’ve been picking up genuine enthusiasm from them for the camera as a whole. I’ve also understand that they’re providing feedback to Nikon for firmware improvements and possible tweaks for future upgrades.

But others such as influencers Jared Polin and Matt Granger, who have already commented, and Thom Hogan, who is just getting started, have no vested interest in raising the Nikon flag. I don’t believe they are, or will be, beholden to Nikon one bit for a Z9 loan. If they identify shortcomings of the Z9 in the face of all the glowing reviews, they’ll get plenty of hits anyway. And if those less-than-flattering remarks appear fair and accurate, that will simply give them more credibility in the long run. IMO, Nikon doesn’t feed them anymore than does Sony or Canon.

That is why nobody should be surprised that some of those who used to constantly bad-mouth Nikon products before still received pre-production Z9, and all of a sudden they have favorable comments on the Z9 this time around.

I don’t buy it. Nikon’s mirrorless offerings, though very good, have been trailing behind Sony and Canon for several years and Nikon has received Youtube influencer criticism for it. So be it. But now, Nikon has come out with a product that suddenly puts it at or near the top of the ML world. Not surprisingly, those same influencers are now applauding them for it. Where’s the subterfuge? Also, I don’t think DPR is in Nikon’s pocket and yet they called the Z9 their favorite product of the year. I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to the actual product as a basis for the early positive reviews.

I’m sure there will be some negative comments from users as the product trickles out. They’ll be disappointed that they’re not getting a 100% keeper rate, or the color is off, or it doesn’t match the DR of the Z7/D850 or high ISO performance of the D5. And professional reviewers and influencers will dig deeper and identify some niggles. But I’m confident enough in what I’ve seen so far that the overall capabilities of the Z9 will be enough of an upgrade over my gripped D850 to justify my pre-ordering it. Time will tell.

Over a decade ago, I used to proof-read a few of Thom Hogan Nikon e-Books. When I mentioned to a Nikon contact that I worked with Hogan, his reaction was that oh no, not that Hogan rumor guy. However, it looks like their relationship has improved.

We know that Tom wasn’t given one to review early on. I think Nikon wanted to make sure they had a winner before risking what Tom would say. To me, loaning the Z9 to him now is both an expression of their level of confidence in the camera and confidence that an honest appraisal by the plain-spoken Thom Hogan will bear that out.

I have not pre-ordered the Z9 myself. While I have little doubt that it is a great camera, I would like to see a few reviews from people who actually pay for their production models. Hopefully I'll see some more-balanced reviews, with both the pros and cons.

A prudent approach shared by many. 🙂

Alan

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