D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
6

Although I followed this forum in the last months, I am quite unsure at the moment if I should buy the Z7 and sell the D800, or wait for the next generation model. Currently I am using a D800 for my amateur photography.

Main interests are portraiture (on location and sometimes in a studio), landscape, travel and to some extent events, i.e. small concerts in dimly lit rooms. BIF, wildlife, sports and action only to a very, very small amount, next to nothing.
I use speedlights for my portraiture work and also available light, partly I shoot at night, with the citylights as a background, hence the use of flash

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 madatory. 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.

2.) Sometimes my D800 AF is hunting in dimly lit situations, and so does the life view AF, so it would be nice if the new camera shows an improved behavior in dim light conditions. This would be a nice to have feature, but it is not mandatory.

3.) I want (nearly) full frame AF point coverage. Obviously this box is ticked, the Z7 fullfills that requirement.

I was lucky to use the Z7 for two or three hours during a workshop under real conditions, with an early 1.0.x firmware. Regrettably I wasn't instantly convinced, the AF system seems to be a weakness, i.e. I got the impression, that it is not that much superior in comparision to my D800:
At the moment I am shooting in AF-C with back button focus nearly all the time, but with the Z7 I tried, I noticed several times even under daylight conditions, that it hunts more then once. That was new to me, although I had to admit, that I can't say wether my D800 is quite free of hunting in such situations or if I got only used to it, so I don't recognize it anymore or if it was just a user error handling the Z7.
So I switched to AF-S and the hit rate was dramatically higher. But even there I had a series of pictures which are out of focus, whatever it was at the end of the day I had mixed feelings about the Z7, which brought me to this forum.

Hopefully I can get here some valuable experiences of former D800 users, who can give a comparision of the Z7's AF system related to the D800 in general and especially the experience with the AF-C modes.

My third worry:

As I use very often flash, I am a little bit concerned by the shorter flash sync time, being 1/200 (Z7) and 1/250 (my D800).
Is this of any major importance? I understand that there will be a significant loss in flash output at shutter speeds at or shorter than 1/250 with the Z7, but should I worry about it? Some kind of complication that I am not aware of at the moment?

But my main concern is the potential need for AF fine tune. After reading all that stuff here and in blogs (e.g. https://blog.reikanfocal.com/2018/10/the-new-nikon-z7-investigating-with-reikan-focal/ and this one https://eduardolibby.com/2018/12/22/nikons-z7-requires-af-fine-tuning/ ) I feel unsure if a switch to the Z7 is the right step to get rid of AFMA now and forever.

Thank you very much for reading all the text!

 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
ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
Nikon D800 Nikon Z7
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Barlowephoto
Barlowephoto Regular Member • Posts: 347
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
9

Since no one else has chimed in, here's my take. I'm in exactly the same boat as you. My D800 is still going strong, even though occasionally there is a focus issue. I don't shoot sport or fast moving subjects, so I have the luxury of reshooting.  I originally saw the Z7 as the small/lighter choice of the D850, and I always wanted to get rid of that pesky low pass filter.

Having seen all the teething problems of this latest generation of cameras, I've decided to hold back and see what's going to happen. Before sinking any cash into this round of gear, I'd like to see the rubber grip problems resolved. It would be nice to see a more DSLR way of initiating focus. There have been reports of other concerns as well, which leads me to wait for the next model release. Of course my credit card fingers sometimes start twitching, but I'm going to TRY and wait it out!.............................Jeff Barlowe

mgblack74 Contributing Member • Posts: 715
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
7

Spare-time photog wrote:

Although I followed this forum in the last months, I am quite unsure at the moment if I should buy the Z7 and sell the D800, or wait for the next generation model. Currently I am using a D800 for my amateur photography.

Main interests are portraiture (on location and sometimes in a studio), landscape, travel and to some extent events, i.e. small concerts in dimly lit rooms. BIF, wildlife, sports and action only to a very, very small amount, next to nothing.
I use speedlights for my portraiture work and also available light, partly I shoot at night, with the citylights as a background, hence the use of flash

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 madatory. 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.

2.) Sometimes my D800 AF is hunting in dimly lit situations, and so does the life view AF, so it would be nice if the new camera shows an improved behavior in dim light conditions. This would be a nice to have feature, but it is not mandatory.

3.) I want (nearly) full frame AF point coverage. Obviously this box is ticked, the Z7 fullfills that requirement.

I was lucky to use the Z7 for two or three hours during a workshop under real conditions, with an early 1.0.x firmware. Regrettably I wasn't instantly convinced, the AF system seems to be a weakness, i.e. I got the impression, that it is not that much superior in comparision to my D800:
At the moment I am shooting in AF-C with back button focus nearly all the time, but with the Z7 I tried, I noticed several times even under daylight conditions, that it hunts more then once. That was new to me, although I had to admit, that I can't say wether my D800 is quite free of hunting in such situations or if I got only used to it, so I don't recognize it anymore or if it was just a user error handling the Z7.
So I switched to AF-S and the hit rate was dramatically higher. But even there I had a series of pictures which are out of focus, whatever it was at the end of the day I had mixed feelings about the Z7, which brought me to this forum.

Hopefully I can get here some valuable experiences of former D800 users, who can give a comparision of the Z7's AF system related to the D800 in general and especially the experience with the AF-C modes.

My third worry:

As I use very often flash, I am a little bit concerned by the shorter flash sync time, being 1/200 (Z7) and 1/250 (my D800).
Is this of any major importance? I understand that there will be a significant loss in flash output at shutter speeds at or shorter than 1/250 with the Z7, but should I worry about it? Some kind of complication that I am not aware of at the moment?

But my main concern is the potential need for AF fine tune. After reading all that stuff here and in blogs (e.g. https://blog.reikanfocal.com/2018/10/the-new-nikon-z7-investigating-with-reikan-focal/ and this one https://eduardolibby.com/2018/12/22/nikons-z7-requires-af-fine-tuning/ ) I feel unsure if a switch to the Z7 is the right step to get rid of AFMA now and forever.

Thank you very much for reading all the text!

I’ve had the D800 (with the infamous left side AF issue), the D810 and D850. I recently sold my 4+ year old D750 and bought a Z6. I’ve used the Z6 now for on location editorial portraits, weddings and studio headshots. The D750 also had a flash sync speed of 1/200. The D850 is the greatest DSLR I’ve used. For a while the D3s was on that pedestal.

Every D8xx series has been better than the last. In subtleties like mirror dampening, AF performance, WB etc. I’ve used the D850 hard since new. And you know what camera I reach for most often now? The Z6. It’s made me want a Z7 to replace the D850. For the stuff that you and I shoot we don’t need D5 AF performance. We just need it to be accurate. And the Z AF is far more accurate than the D800. The D800 has 15 cross type AF points. All centrally clustered. The Z6/7 doesn’t have cross type but the Z’s outter AF points that cover the same area as the D800 are much more sensitive. AND for portraits in portrait orientation, you can put the AF point on the eye. Where as with the D800 you had to do a mini “focus and recompose” technique. Not so with the Z’s.

As far as flash sync speed..... the D800 has such a violent mirror slap that it needs that 1/250. The D810 and even the D850 improved that each time. The Z’s with 1/200, rear current sync, electronic shutter and IBIS has zero mirror slap (obviously) and shows no sign of hand shake induced blur. The bonus with the Z7 is a native ISO of 64. So if you’re concerned with canceling out ambient light, that ISO with a closed down aperture will kill everything. The D800 to Z7 is a huge improvement. You won’t go wrong.

 mgblack74's gear list:mgblack74's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S 105mm F1.4E ED Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 +1 more
RumpelHund Regular Member • Posts: 197
Happy with my D810 to Z7 jump
4

Loving to shoot wide open (85/1.4, 24/1.4 and 200/2) I was massivly annoyed when I stepped from D700 to D800 and threw in another chunk of money for the D810.

D700: no issues I ever realized

D800: AF on everything but eyes no matter what. AF plain unuasable in dark tungsten or even candle light.

D810: better than D800 but lots of misses on candle light or on backlight situations still, kept me frustrated

z7: The combination of silent shooting, in-body-IS and on-chip-focussing makes it joy to shoot again on not too moving subjects. Would not bet on it for my dog running towards cam, here the D810 is better still.

Frankly if I wasn't that invested in Nikon glass I would have jumped ship to sony for A9 and maybe A7rIII one day, but as it is the z7 is the best focussing experience I had with Nikon so far and can recommend it. The banding when pushing shadows is not as harmless as some say, though.

Pity I am lacking the time to get most out of my z7 these days, but since you asked for some opinion...

Alex Permit
Alex Permit Senior Member • Posts: 2,338
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
7

Some quick thoughts:

I used to AF tune my lenses on my DSLR's. It was a frustrating experience. The optimal value would fluctuate with Focal length (on zoom lenses), with distance, it seemed to even fluctuate with temperature. I have found this is not the case with my Z7. Any fluctuation in tested "optimal" values seems to fluctuate around zero, and is just noise. If not having to deal with tuning lenses is important to you, I would say switch now.

On my D500 and D5 cameras, I used AF-C as my default focus mode. It just worked. On my Z7 I use AF-S as my default and use AF-C on a situtational basis. AF-S is rock solid and if your subjects are mostly static, I'd say go for it.  If solid AF-C performance is really important to you, I would say wait for the next generation.

 Alex Permit's gear list:Alex Permit's gear list
Sony RX100 V Fujifilm X100F Nikon D5 Nikon D500 Sony a7R II +24 more
olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 26,669
I had the D800 and dumped it for the Z7
1

No regret whatsoever so far after five months of use. I am happy with the AF, as well as many other things, compared with the D800 it's just great, I like it a lot.

But... the next generation will be better than this on, no doubt about that. This is normal and I don't worry about it. The Z7 will serve me well for the next coming years.

 olyflyer's gear list:olyflyer's gear list
Nikon Z7
j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
1

My Z6 focuses my f- mount glass more consistently than both my Df and D800. If focus accuracy is your main concern then you should give the Z a serious look.

I mostly use AF-C with back button and am not having any difficulties even in challenging light.

 j_photo's gear list:j_photo's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7
KuvaPanda Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
1

Switched from D800 to Z7 recently. Do mainly portraits with flash.

My D800 was a nightmare, only lenses with multiple microadjustment distances could be tuned to focus accurately, and even then backlight and colored light caused problems, often focusing 30cm to 1 meter behind target. Also there was a difference between the focusing points, so I was always using center point only.

So far I've done only one portrait shoot with Z7, but quite a lot of testing. Looks like it doesn't focus on dim low contrast subjects as easily as D800, but when it does, it's more reliable. Maybe this is because the lack of cross type points. Anyway, for me, Z7 feels much better, just for the reliability and wide coverage of AF points that I can actually use.

 KuvaPanda's gear list:KuvaPanda's gear list
Nikon Z7 Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 +1 more
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

mgblack74 wrote:

For the stuff that you and I shoot we don’t need D5 AF performance. We just need it to be accurate.

Absolutely right!

And the Z AF is far more accurate than the D800. The D800 has 15 cross type AF points. All centrally clustered. The Z6/7 doesn’t have cross type but the Z’s outter AF points that cover the same area as the D800 are much more sensitive. AND for portraits in portrait orientation, you can put the AF point on the eye. Where as with the D800 you had to do a mini “focus and recompose” technique. Not so with the Z’s.

That is why I want nearly 100% frame coverage of AF points. Focus and recompose introduces additional focus problems.

As far as flash sync speed..... the D800 has such a violent mirror slap that it needs that 1/250. The D810 and even the D850 improved that each time. The Z’s with 1/200, rear current sync, electronic shutter and IBIS has zero mirror slap (obviously) and shows no sign of hand shake induced blur. The bonus with the Z7 is a native ISO of 64. So if you’re concerned with canceling out ambient light, that ISO with a closed down aperture will kill everything. The D800 to Z7 is a huge improvement. You won’t go wrong.

So you didn't notice any major drawbacks of the lower flash sync speed, if I understood you correctly. That would be nice.

Thank you very much, I appreciate your feedback!

 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
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Barlowephoto wrote:

Since no one else has chimed in, here's my take. I'm in exactly the same boat as you. My D800 is still going strong, even though occasionally there is a focus issue. I don't shoot sport or fast moving subjects, so I have the luxury of reshooting. I originally saw the Z7 as the small/lighter choice of the D850, and I always wanted to get rid of that pesky low pass filter.

Having seen all the teething problems of this latest generation of cameras, I've decided to hold back and see what's going to happen. Before sinking any cash into this round of gear, I'd like to see the rubber grip problems resolved. It would be nice to see a more DSLR way of initiating focus. There have been reports of other concerns as well, which leads me to wait for the next model release. Of course my credit card fingers sometimes start twitching, but I'm going to TRY and wait it out!.............................Jeff Barlowe

You are really in the same boat with me.

It is hard to decide wether to buy or to stick with the D800.

Sometimes the disadvantages of the D800 are so annoying, so my credit card fingers start twitching...

Despite all concerns the Z7 is a quite attractive package.

 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
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Happy with my D810 to Z7 jump

RumpelHund wrote:

Loving to shoot wide open (85/1.4, 24/1.4 and 200/2) I was massivly annoyed when I stepped from D700 to D800 and threw in another chunk of money for the D810.

To be honest, I didn't dare to buy the 85/1.4, instead I bought the 85/1.8, because I have not that much confidence in the D800 AF to manage that shallow DoF.

D700: no issues I ever realized

D800: AF on everything but eyes no matter what. AF plain unuasable in dark tungsten or even candle light.

Well, in my experience it is not that bad. Although the lighting conditions you describe are sometimes challenging. Often they lead to missfocued shoots, indeed.

D810: better than D800 but lots of misses on candle light or on backlight situations still, kept me frustrated

z7: The combination of silent shooting, in-body-IS and on-chip-focussing makes it joy to shoot again on not too moving subjects. Would not bet on it for my dog running towards cam, here the D810 is better still.

Running or walking? A walking model is hopefully covered by the AF system?

Frankly if I wasn't that invested in Nikon glass I would have jumped ship to sony for A9 and maybe A7rIII one day, but as it is the z7 is the best focussing experience I had with Nikon so far and can recommend it. The banding when pushing shadows is not as harmless as some say, though.

What do you use as a countermeasure? Do you use RawTherapee or the Nik Dfine tool?

In the past I pushed my D800 files not that much, because of an ugly color tint which appears if you push them to far.

In fact I think that the banding/striping issue is really something which one should consider. Hopefully Nikon will publish a solution for this, but I think that they will not even admit that there is a problem. So I am afraid that we are on our own, at least with RawTherapee and Nik Tools we have two solutions. (In the moment the Nik tools seem to be the better one, because one can integrate them more easily in the own workflow.)

Perhaps a commercial software company will also develop some solution, although I doubt that.

Pity I am lacking the time to get most out of my z7 these days, but since you asked for some opinion...

I appreciate your opinion, thanks!

 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
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: I had the D800 and dumped it for the Z7

olyflyer wrote:

No regret whatsoever so far after five months of use. I am happy with the AF, as well as many other things, compared with the D800 it's just great, I like it a lot.

That sounds very good to me. Are you also using back button focus with AF-C?

But... the next generation will be better than this on, no doubt about that. This is normal and I don't worry about it. The Z7 will serve me well for the next coming years.

You are right, the next generation will always be better (hopefully :-))

But I am in doubt if it is the right decision to invest a lot of money in the Z7 right now. The question for me is, is the Z7 such a relief (AF system, AFMA, etc.) that it is worth to buy it now. And after reading all the opinions in this thread I tend to say yes, it is.

Btw, do you use flash? Do you see any limitations regarding the lower flash sync time?

 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
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

j_photo wrote:

My Z6 focuses my f- mount glass more consistently than both my Df and D800. If focus accuracy is your main concern then you should give the Z a serious look.

I mostly use AF-C with back button and am not having any difficulties even in challenging light.

Sounds good! And perhaps the new firmware update will also improve AF-C, not only eye-AF.

 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
OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

KuvaPanda wrote:

Switched from D800 to Z7 recently. Do mainly portraits with flash.

Is the lower flash sync time of any importance for you?

My D800 was a nightmare, only lenses with multiple microadjustment distances could be tuned to focus accurately, and even then backlight and colored light caused problems, often focusing 30cm to 1 meter behind target. Also there was a difference between the focusing points, so I was always using center point only.

Regrettably I can confirm that.

So far I've done only one portrait shoot with Z7, but quite a lot of testing. Looks like it doesn't focus on dim low contrast subjects as easily as D800, but when it does, it's more reliable. Maybe this is because the lack of cross type points. Anyway, for me, Z7 feels much better, just for the reliability and wide coverage of AF points that I can actually use.

So according to your experience the Z7 isn't able to focus in very dim light, when the D800 is still focusing (although unreliable)? As far as I remember the D800 was rated down to -2 EV and the Z7 only to -1EV without using low light AF mode.

 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
KuvaPanda Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Spare-time photog wrote:

KuvaPanda wrote:

Switched from D800 to Z7 recently. Do mainly portraits with flash.

Is the lower flash sync time of any importance for you?

I don't think so, I'm using Godox AD200s so HSS can be used when mixing natural light and flash with large apertures. I did see a comparison how slower sync speed affects flash brightness, which might be a problem in direct sunlight... But it didn't seem to be that much and I generally just avoid sunlight.

My D800 was a nightmare, only lenses with multiple microadjustment distances could be tuned to focus accurately, and even then backlight and colored light caused problems, often focusing 30cm to 1 meter behind target. Also there was a difference between the focusing points, so I was always using center point only.

Regrettably I can confirm that.

So far I've done only one portrait shoot with Z7, but quite a lot of testing. Looks like it doesn't focus on dim low contrast subjects as easily as D800, but when it does, it's more reliable. Maybe this is because the lack of cross type points. Anyway, for me, Z7 feels much better, just for the reliability and wide coverage of AF points that I can actually use.

So according to your experience the Z7 isn't able to focus in very dim light, when the D800 is still focusing (although unreliable)? As far as I remember the D800 was rated down to -2 EV and the Z7 only to -1EV without using low light AF mode.

Yes, though I didn't try them side by side. I'd say it feels like D800 would often think it's got focus but still miss and ruin the image. Z7 on the other hand either focuses correctly or hunts and refuses. Which is good, because I want to be able to trust the camera when it thinks it's got focus. But I haven't tried portraits in dim light or studio yet, so can't say how it will work in more difficult conditions.

 KuvaPanda's gear list:KuvaPanda's gear list
Nikon Z7 Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 +1 more
JacquesC
JacquesC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,860
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
2

Spare-time photog wrote:

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 madatory.

No worries here, The Z7's AF accuracy is beyond reproach and no need for AF tuning.

2.) Sometimes my D800 AF is hunting in dimly lit situations, and so does the life view AF, so it would be nice if the new camera shows an improved behavior in dim light conditions. This would be a nice to have feature, but it is not mandatory.

In low light the D800 might still lock focus quicker when using F-mount lenses, but with an Z-mount lens the Z7 is quite capable.

3.) I want (nearly) full frame AF point coverage. Obviously this box is ticked, the Z7 fullfills that requirement.

Oh yes - with the added benefit of all focus points being equally sensitive

I was lucky to use the Z7 for two or three hours during a workshop under real conditions, with an early 1.0.x firmware. Regrettably I wasn't instantly convinced, the AF system seems to be a weakness, i.e. I got the impression, that it is not that much superior in comparision to my D800:
At the moment I am shooting in AF-C with back button focus nearly all the time, but with the Z7 I tried, I noticed several times even under daylight conditions, that it hunts more then once.

I'm an AF-C + AF-ON button shooter myself and here is where the Z7 is really a star!

I've been using and trying a number of mirrorless cameras and NONE of them could be used successfully the way that I use my DSLR's, they just did not work properly using AF-C + BBF the way that I was accustomed to - until the Z7/Z6.

The Z7 works very much like what my D700/D800/D750 worked with AF-C + BBF - very well.

It is still my preferred way of shooting for 90% + shots that I take. In this it works as well as a D800 or D750, except that focus accuracy is better with the Z7.

My third worry:

As I use very often flash, I am a little bit concerned by the shorter flash sync time, being 1/200 (Z7) and 1/250 (my D800).

My D750 also synced at 1/200, so no difference there.

I can't say that I really noticed any difference, except that there is no built-in flash and its a pity, I actually used it on occasion.

-- hide signature --

Jacques
apple-and-eve.com

KuvaPanda Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Referring to this. Seems the slower sync speed means slightly lower flash output if the flash has long flash duration. This should apply to studio lights only, for example Godox AD200 has flash duration of 1/220 (t0.1) at max power. https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4348394

 KuvaPanda's gear list:KuvaPanda's gear list
Nikon Z7 Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 +1 more
ericbowles
ericbowles Regular Member • Posts: 334
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
1

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.

2.) Sometimes my D800 AF is hunting in dimly lit situations, and so does the life view AF, so it would be nice if the new camera shows an improved behavior in dim light conditions. This would be a nice to have feature, but it is not mandatory.

It depends.  Generally I get less hunting with the Z6 than my D850 and certainly compared to my D800E.  Dim light is not that big a problem.  In fact, I really like the brighter EVF for lower light conditions.  It makes it much easier to see the subject and choose good AF targets.  But there is some occasional hunting, and when it misses it can be hard to acquire focus.  It seems to maintain a miss a little too long - and that may be a tracking setting.  The is one wrinkle you might want to know about.  Because all the on sensor AF points are horizontal with no cross sensors, sometimes that camera will not focus on horizontal target lines - or vertical lines in vertical orientation.  The solution is just to rotate the camera 45 degrees and use BBF like normal.

3.) I want (nearly) full frame AF point coverage. Obviously this box is ticked, the Z7 fullfills that requirement.

I was lucky to use the Z7 for two or three hours during a workshop under real conditions, with an early 1.0.x firmware. Regrettably I wasn't instantly convinced, the AF system seems to be a weakness, i.e. I got the impression, that it is not that much superior in comparision to my D800:
At the moment I am shooting in AF-C with back button focus nearly all the time, but with the Z7 I tried, I noticed several times even under daylight conditions, that it hunts more then once. That was new to me, although I had to admit, that I can't say wether my D800 is quite free of hunting in such situations or if I got only used to it, so I don't recognize it anymore or if it was just a user error handling the Z7.
So I switched to AF-S and the hit rate was dramatically higher. But even there I had a series of pictures which are out of focus, whatever it was at the end of the day I had mixed feelings about the Z7, which brought me to this forum.

Hopefully I can get here some valuable experiences of former D800 users, who can give a comparision of the Z7's AF system related to the D800 in general and especially the experience with the AF-C modes.

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.

3.  You can program a function key - like Fn1 - to allow you to Zoom to 50%, 100%, or 200%.  I use this function to check focus, check sharpness on playback, or even just view a subject closely for precise timing of the exposure based on a catchlight or head turn.

My third worry:

As I use very often flash, I am a little bit concerned by the shorter flash sync time, being 1/200 (Z7) and 1/250 (my D800).
Is this of any major importance? I understand that there will be a significant loss in flash output at shutter speeds at or shorter than 1/250 with the Z7, but should I worry about it? Some kind of complication that I am not aware of at the moment?

The synch speed is a non-issue.  You'll use 1/200* to allow the use of any shutter speed you want.  I use fill flash for birds in flight without issue.

But my main concern is the potential need for AF fine tune. After reading all that stuff here and in blogs (e.g. https://blog.reikanfocal.com/2018/10/the-new-nikon-z7-investigating-with-reikan-focal/ and this one https://eduardolibby.com/2018/12/22/nikons-z7-requires-af-fine-tuning/ ) I feel unsure if a switch to the Z7 is the right step to get rid of AFMA now and forever.

Thank you very much for reading all the text!

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.

-- hide signature --

Eric Bowles
BowlesImages.com

 ericbowles's gear list:ericbowles's gear list
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D +14 more
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,772
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?
1

Spare-time photog wrote:

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,

STOP!

Hire a Z 7 with FTZ  and try it during a portrait session - ideal after the May update.

A possible reason for your current AF frustration is you have not realised D800 outer points do not detect detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame.

This is less than ideal for focussing on an eye with the camera in portrait position, especially if the sitter does not wear strong eye make up.

The Z's do not work well with detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame which is OK for some subjects but not for others.

You could end up jumping out of the frying pan into the fire with some AF subjects.

The Z's should be better for focussing on the eye in portraiture once the May update is released.

By hiring a Z you can quickly learn if you find it overall better or worse for the photography you do.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon Z7 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 +25 more
mgblack74 Contributing Member • Posts: 715
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Spare-time photog wrote:

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,

STOP!

Hire a Z 7 with FTZ and try it during a portrait session - ideal after the May update.

A possible reason for your current AF frustration is you have not realised D800 outer points do not detect detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame.

This is less than ideal for focussing on an eye with the camera in portrait position, especially if the sitter does not wear strong eye make up.

The Z's do not work well with detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame which is OK for some subjects but not for others.

You could end up jumping out of the frying pan into the fire with some AF subjects.

The Z's should be better for focussing on the eye in portraiture once the May update is released.

By hiring a Z you can quickly learn if you find it overall better or worse for the photography you do.

All true. But the D800 doesn’t have “Group AF” like the D4/D5, D750, D850. With the Z’s Dynamic AF it’s as close to Group AF as you can get with mirrorless. It’s excellent at tracking objects and people. It might kiss a few times but less so than on the D800.

 mgblack74's gear list:mgblack74's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S 105mm F1.4E ED Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 +1 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads