1 year reflection on my Z system experience

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thenerwin Forum Member • Posts: 50
1 year reflection on my Z system experience

Warning: This is a LONG post. I won't feel bad if you don't read it.

So it's been over a year since I've adopted the Z system and I thought that I'd share my experience I've had thus far. When I started out with photography, it was with a Nikon and had several models and many lenses but I was getting pretty tired of heavy DSLRs and lenses so I switched to Fujifilm at that point and I been with Fuji with 5 years and while I enjoyed the time I had with Fuji, I felt like for the amount of money spent with Fujifilm and comparing them to the full frame camera I was using prior to Fujifilm, the Nikon D610, the Nikon despite being older still had way better image quality and color rendering. It made me miss Nikon so I sold off my Fujifilm kit and grabbed the Z6II.

I have zero issues with Z6II, there isn't much I dislike about it. I wished the LCD screen would flip vertical like the Fujifilm XT2 I had but its not the end of the world. I also wish the battery lasted longer on the Z6II but I rarely go through 2 batteries if I'm out shooting. It's definitely a minor thing. One thing I do not like, is the buttons on front of the body, the Fn1 and Fn2 - I often hit them by accident. I do prefer Sony's placement of the functions better but I digress.

Speaking of Sony...(don't hate me) I like how small Sony's full frame glass is, it's quite a bit smaller than Nikon full frame Z glass. It has been an issue for me but I just deal with it most of the time. I understand why, Nikon's Z-mount is massive and so the lenses are naturally bigger but are so optically perfect and so it's a trade-off I suppose. Nikon Z bodies + lenses are not much smaller thanthe GFX system...no no I can't think about that. But medium format...🤤

Anyways, enough about the camera. Let's talk lenses!

24-70/4 S - This was the lens that came with the Z6II when I purchased it. This lens is very impressive, its sharper than I could ever want a lens to be. Decent bokeh for an f/4 lens and blows the Fujifilm XF16-55 2.8 I had out of the water in terms of IQ. Although I preferred the Fuji lens more handling wise. I really dislike the twist to unlock to use the lens on the Nikon. I quite like the close focus capability of the lens at pretty much all focal lengths. It's crazy how close it can focus at 24mm and still get beautiful bokeh. Great video lens as well. But unfortunately, it really just sits because I find the range of 24-70 kinda useless to me. Kinda boring honestly. I'm thinking about replacing this with the 24-200 because I feel like it would be more useful - But I haven't decided yet.

50/1.8 S - This lens is truly stunning. Probably the best 50mm lens I've ever used. It's the only 50mm lens I've owned where I could shoot wide open and not have any insane purple fringe or chromatic aberrations or softness. It's just spectacular. Auto focus is fast, accurate and quiet. I wish the lens wasn't so big though. I've used this lens quite a bit and still impresses me today and I think its way underpriced for what you get. But I'm kinda getting sick of 50mm, I'm not going to lie. I've used 50mm for many, many, many years and it's like ehhh I want something different, you know what I mean?

35/1.8 S - This is most recent acquirement and therefore my thoughts on this lens are still up in the air. This may very well be Nikon's best 35mm lens but it's also the first Nikon Z lens where I've felt disappointed. It's WAY overpriced in my opinion. The build quality seem to be less than the 50mm, but that could be the fact that it also seems to be lighter. The auto focus leaves a lot to be desired, its noisy and clunky sounding and kind of annoying if I'm being honest. But I really like the image quality from this lens, man it has a pop to it that I just love, almost reminds me of zeiss. I feel like it's even sharper than the 50mm and I love the close focus, it's definitely more versatile lens. Again...wish it was smaller lol. I'm in quite a love & hate relationship with this lens. I bought it while on sale via Amazon. I complained to Amazon that they shipped it without ANY packaging whatsoever. They told me that shouldn't have happened and gave me a 30% refund, so I only ended up paying like $500 for the lens lol 🤷‍♂️.

MC 105/2.8 S - Oh boy...where to begin. Everyone here knows this lens is just amazing. Probably one of the best macro lenses ever made. So I'm not going to go too much into it but I really like how lightweight the lens is, I was pretty shocked when I took it out of the box. Also impressed with how fast and accurate the auto focus is, even in macro range...its still pretty quick although I tend to just manually focus anyways. So I'm not going to lie here, despite how amazing this lens is, I don't use it much and I'm considering selling it. I practically use it for an occasional telephoto shot and 105mm just ain't enough. When I do want to do some close up photography, I'm never really in the actually macro ranges. I feel like I could just do just as well with the 24-70 at 70mm. I'm not that into macro photography and it's a very expensive lens that sits most of the time. It's priced very well though. Good job Nikon!!

28/2.8 SE - I won't lie, I bought this lens solely on the looks. I thought the retro styling would be cool to throw on the Z6II for something unique haha. Also, the regular one wasn't available yet at the time. Anyways, I really loved this lens and I sold it because I was getting the 35mm. This lens was actually fun to shoot with. The size and weight made made going out and taking photos more enjoyable. A lot of my favorite images came from this lens and I was hoping the 35mm would be the same kind of feeling but boy I was wrong. 28 and 35mm is quite a difference and my eyes are always drawn to 28mm (really wish Nikon had a 28/1.8 S) and maybe it's because majority of phones are 28mm equivalent, I dunno. The lens is super cheap, cheaper made, plastic mount, tiny..tiny front element that looks like a phone camera haha. The image quality was nice though, kind of reminiscent of older Nikon glass. It always had a warmer tone that I liked. Close focus was awesome, as well as the bokeh. Although it did soften up at close but it wasn't unusable. Amazing black & whites out of this lens.

40/2 - I bought this lens while it was on sale, it was so cheap not to. I think I only paid $246 for it. I was like why not? I was actually quite surprised by this lens, I really liked the 40mm focal length..thought it was unique and I had fun taking photos with it. But I felt like it was weakest Z lens I've used yet. It suffered pretty bad from purple fringing and softness up close. I mean I often shot at f/4 to avoid this. I also didn't like the color rendering of this lens, I dunno what it was but it just felt "cheap" looking. I couldn't wrap my head around it. I will give it this though, I really like the bokeh from this lens, it kinda had a vintage look to it. But boy was it soft up close, reminded me of the Fujifilm XF23mmF2. I ended up selling this lens because it just wasn't for me. But I do know A LOT of people love this lens, so don't take anything I said about it personally. It really is a great lens for the money and I'm comparing to much expensive lenses haha.

So that's all the Nikkor Z mount glass I have owned. My overall my experience with the Z-mount system has been positive. I just feel kind of dumb in a way because my goal when switching to mirrorless was to go on a diet with the weight and here I am with bigger lenses and probably a little more weight than the DSLR setup I wanted to get away from! 😆

I am considering switching it up some by getting the 24-200 to have something convenient and practical with the range for nature and landscapes. I might even decide to sell the 105 macro and get the 20 1.8 S and I have a very versatile kit that consists of 20mm, 24-200 and 50 1.8 (or 35mm). But we shall see!

If you read all this, I apologize hehe. I just wanted to share my thoughts. Hope everyone has a wonderfully Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.


 thenerwin's gear list:thenerwin's gear list
Nikon Z6 II Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 Nikon Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S
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