D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
Gabriele Sartori Veteran Member • Posts: 4,428
Are $3K important for you?
3

There is no reason to wait. The Z7 is better under so many angles, it all boils down to what $3000 represent for you. If painful wait, if after all not a huge deal, change it. Is not a life changer so you can still make amazing photos with the D800 but is hard to miss all these other features and if you do video it's a no-brainer. You take one body instead of two when you travel.

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ericbowles
ericbowles Regular Member • Posts: 339
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

You seem to be referring to how small a subject an AF system can detect.

One way to learn this is to test a camera AF with smaller and smaller subjects until it gets AF wrong - it is this simple

The Z7 has more than 3 times the number of AF points of the D850 - though the Z 7 AF points cover more of the screen area.

The Z7 AF seems to me able to lock on a subject about half the size the D850 can achieve.

I'd agree with this estimate for the Z6 as well.  And this is true even with obstructions such as cattail plants and branches in front of the subject.

The D500 may not be as good as the D850 with small subjects when maintaining the same angle of view as the AF points then cover a bigger percentage of the screen area. Used with the same marked focal length to achieve more subject magnification I find small subject performance similar between D500 and D850.

The Wide Large area has similar coverage to the Group selection on the D500, while Wide small is similar to Group on the D850/D5.  If it is tuned a little better to maintain closest subject priority, AF on the Z cameras will be outstanding.

A camera like the D610 with just 39 relatively large AF points is unlikely to be a front runner for your specific need.

Digressing slightly Nikon do not mention a minimum usable AF aperture in the specification for the Z7.

The Low Light AF setting on the Z cameras is very helpful for low light situations - like the lunar eclipse during totality.  It can be combined with pinpoint AF for extremely accurate low light focus in light levels just visible to the naked eye.  With the D850 I struggled to get AF to work at all on the moon during totality.

f11 works quite well with the 500 f5.6 and 2x. You should be OK with a 2x in place of the 1.4 when you need even more subject magnification.

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z2122
z2122 Senior Member • Posts: 1,060
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

months ago I got a Z6 and sold my D750. Today I sold my D800 because I didn't used it since I had the Z6. IBIS , EVF and very good low light capabilities ( good IQ at high ISO) were the main reasons. Also the speed and the WB is much better on the Z6 and you can forget AF-Finetuning

Do you really need 47Mpix ... I am totally happy with 24Mpix in the Z6 together with IBIS ...

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thejohnnerparty Senior Member • Posts: 1,093
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Interesting that AF seem to put more emphasis on magnification rather than sharpness. Same when you have to buy glasses. Which is disappointing by the way.

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Hasa
Hasa Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
Re: Are $3K important for you?

Gabriele Sartori wrote:

There is no reason to wait. The Z7 is better under so many angles, it all boils down to what $3000 represent for you. If painful wait, if after all not a huge deal, change it. Is not a life changer so you can still make amazing photos with the D800 but is hard to miss all these other features and if you do video it's a no-brainer. You take one body instead of two when you travel.

Put my money down and upgraded from D800 to Z7:

Slightly better resolution in MP with same or a slightly worse noise but less color noise than D800.

The big diff. is NO MIRROR SLAP and with the Tamron 90mm macro and 300mm F4 PF and ditto with TC 1.7x I therefore get sharper results hand held than with the D800, especially when working with the fully electronic shutter.

IBIS

It is amazing with my 24mm F1.8 G. My hands can do 1/8th acceptably, but not 1/4 sec while pixel peeping. The 1/4 sec shot would be fine for an A4 print methinks.

I will try out my manual lenses later and see if my luck run out with those!

1:1 crop

1:1 crop

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OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
The waiting is over...
1

First of all I want to thank you all for the valuable opinions, thoughts and experiences.
And of course I want to inform you about my decision and my first experiences with the camera, but be warned, there as a big wall of text coming.

Finally I bought the Z7.

After two short photo shoots and some testing here are my first impressions, take them with a grain of salt:

My main concern was the AF system, so I was quite nervous to browse my images after my first shoot (approx. 350 pictures):
Nearly all of them are tack sharp, some are not, but mainly I chose a bad AF point, i.e. the point covered also an area with more contrasty detail besides my subject, so the camera focused on the object behind my subject. But overall the result was much better than expected!
I was reliefed.

Then I made a small test in my dimly sunlit room. I continously decreased the brightness by lowering the sun-blind of the window and checked if the Z7 was still able to focus. After a while the camera was not more able to focus reliably. So I tried my D800 with the same lens and... the D800 was able to focus, although there was hunting, the results were quite good, more photos were in focus compared to the Z7.
So I grabbed the Z7 and tried the low light modus. This mode is very slooow, but it obtained tack sharp pictures. Besides using low light mode I noticed that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing in dark scenes, even without enabling low light focus.

After this first, not very scientific test and my first shoot I thought that the AF system is in general on par with my old D800, at least for the slow moving subjects I shoot (portrait, landscape, travel), with a slight disadvantage in dimly lit situations, when using the low light mode is not possible. According to the specs, the D800 can focus down to -2 or -3EV, the Z7 without low light mode only down to -1, so it seems that the specs are correct regarding low light.

Then came my second shoot, outdoor at sunset. Then the trouble begun:
There was one situation in which I wasn't almost able to get a tack sharp image at all: I was using my AF-S 85/1.8G lens, wide open at 1.8, the camera was in portrait orientation, I used AF-S, focus priority, single point, almost at the upper edge of the frame, direct over the eye. The model's body was turned away from my camera (nearly perpendicular to my camera). Shutter speed was 1/60, focal length 85mm, IBIS on, EFCS on, handheld. My first thought was that perhaps motion blur was introduced by me (although not possible, because the flash is so short, it should freeze my or her movement and beside that, with the very same settings I already got tack sharp images with a different composition, i.e. using inner AF points and a different framing of her). In addition a test shot revealed that the model without the flash firing was pitch black, so the model was only lit by my flash, no ambient light in the exposure, so I shot on a tripod with and without IBIS enabled. Again her eye was not sharp. At last I tried AF-S with pinpoint, but surprisingly without success. On location I thought, that perhaps my lens is the problem, because the more away from the center the more decreases the sharpness of the lens.
But afterwards I inspected the images and I discovered, that the the focal plane of the images varies. As her body was turned almost 90° to the focal plane, I could see the focal plane respectively the depth of field by looking at the texture of her coat. And it seems that sometimes the focal plane is more and sometimes less in front of her eye/nose.

So in my opinion clearly a sign for misfocussing. The images were shoot at sunset brightness level, it was not a backlit scene, the light level was high enough for the camera to focus without the AF assist lamp, I got every time a green confirmation box, so I am a little bit clueless at the moment, what causes this problem. I am wondering if it could be some user error on my side, but I can't see what I did wrong. As the pinpoint mode should exclusively use contrast detect AF, some kind of AFMA problem could also be ruled out.

Next time I will try the other AF modes like wide-area and to focus zoomed in to 100% which hopefully will work... or perhaps the next firmware update will solve that problem, too.

Thanks for reading, best regards.

PS: And before anyone asks, I ask for understanding that I do not want to post the pictures in a public forum. If someone is seriously interested in trying to investigate the reason for this issue with me, please feel free to send me a private message.

Thanks.

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edform
edform Veteran Member • Posts: 6,360
Re: Happy with my D810 to Z7 jump

Spare-time photog wrote:

RumpelHund wrote:

...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.

This business of banding is so overblown. This image has been pushed by 7 stops. Where is the banding?

The original looks like this...

Really deep shadows and very low level illumination. No banding at all.

I know that banding has been demonstrated but I have never seen it with my Z6. The idea that it should be viewed as a deal-breaker for folks considering a Z camera just isn't sensible.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,796
Re: STOP!
1

Spare-time photog wrote:

There was one situation in which I wasn't almost able to get a tack sharp image at all: I was using my AF-S 85/1.8G lens, wide open at 1.8, the camera was in portrait orientation, I used AF-S, focus priority, single point, almost at the upper edge of the frame, direct over the eye.

STOP!

You have to learn mirrorless does not have cross type sensors.

Z AF cannot easily detect detail parallel to the short dimension of the frame.

This is what you were trying to do.

Next time either use manual focus, or make AF focus in landscape mode and then change to portrait mode. There is a back button to lock AF focus at the landscape framed distance

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OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: STOP!

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Spare-time photog wrote:

There was one situation in which I wasn't almost able to get a tack sharp image at all: I was using my AF-S 85/1.8G lens, wide open at 1.8, the camera was in portrait orientation, I used AF-S, focus priority, single point, almost at the upper edge of the frame, direct over the eye.

STOP!

You have to learn mirrorless does not have cross type sensors.

Z AF cannot easily detect detail parallel to the short dimension of the frame.

This is what you were trying to do.

Next time either use manual focus, or make AF focus in landscape mode and then change to portrait mode. There is a back button to lock AF focus at the landscape framed distance

Ok, then I misunderstood something. I thought that horizontal parallel structures or lines are critical, not vertical (of course related to normal landscape orientation).

You wrote in a post in this thread (March, 31), quotation:

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.

Quotation ends (Post#62498616).

Now I am confused, but what you say here (Z AF cannot easily detect detail parallel to the short dimension of the frame.) makes sense in the described case: the vertical lines in landscape orientation are horizontal lines in portrait orientation and the eyes outline is mostly horizontal...

By the way, eyelashes in landscape orientation are not the best target for the AF system as they are parallel to the short dimension of the frame?

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 11,781
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Your question comes down to this: how long are you willing to feel frustrated by the problems you are having with your D800.

Three points to consider:

with any new camera one or two hours  of playing with a camera amidst  a crowd isn’t ideal to make a judgement about anything but the grosser aspects of its technology. It’s an environment full of distractions.

The more you work with a camera the more you figure out how to use its features to your advantage.

The upcoming May 16 firmware update promises to improve autofocus and other aspects of the camera. I doubt it will turn the Z7 into a completely new camera but it should be noticeable improvement.

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greyhoundrick
greyhoundrick Regular Member • Posts: 228
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Hello,

I hope everyone is doing well.

This is a great thread and one I am very interested in!

I have acted like a completely crazed person with a self inflicted sense of "cant make up my mind" syndrome with regard to the Z7!

In the last couple of months I have gone from a D850 to a Z7 to a D500 and finally back to the Z7. The time I have spent researching, testing, etc. has been exhausting! I have been incredibly indecisive!

To make a very, very long story short...

I shoot mostly portraits with flash, animals, macro and some sports (very little) and I ended up with a Nikon Z7. I can honestly say that I am very, very happy with my decision. There are weaknesses to the camera, but for the most part, I have determined that it is the best camera for me.

The final determinates for me have been:

1. Size, weight and handling

2. New lenses are out of this world sharp

3. New mount allows for an amazing and exciting future for lens performance and development

4. EVF is such a great tool

5. IBIS is fantastic

6. No Auto AF Fine Tuning!

I have shot in a lot of different environments and while at first I did not trust the AF I have now learned how to use it much better. I was a 99% AF-C shooter before the Z7 and now I am a 50/50 AF-S and AF-C shooter. I have learned that the focus assist lamp is a valuable feature that in the past I had not used much at all.

I have also learned that a 46MP camera is very demanding as it shows a lot more user error vs. my D3/D300. I have opted to shoot at higher shutter speeds and slightly higher ISOs than in the past and this has helped a lot. I also am using a monopod a bit more than I had in the past.

For the rare sports events I shoot I will still take my D3 but only use it in situations where I just cant get there with my Z7.

I think that this next firmware update has the chance of making this camera go from a B+ rating to an A+ rating if the autofocus is improved. I also wish Nikon would put some sort of focus confirmation in AF-C mode (either a green box or a white dot like the DSLRs have) as that would be a very nice aid.

Oh, to the OP.....thanks for starting this thread and I have a quick question for you...In one of your recent posts you said:

"Besides using low light mode I noticed that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing in dark scenes, even without enabling low light focus."

Can you tell me what you mean by that? Im not quite understanding. Do you mean you are using the 1:1 zoom in the EVF after the image is taken to check your focus?

Thanks again and congrats on getting your new Z7!

best to you,

Rick

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,796
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Sorry - I made a mistake in this latest post

Spare-time photog wrote:

You wrote in a post in this thread (March, 31), quotation:

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.

Quotation ends (Post#62498616).

This earlier post is correct.

The first section on auto focus in the Usual Manual (page 54 for the EN version) says the camera "may be unable to focus if the subject contains lines parallel to the long edge of the frame".

You should ideally check for yourself what AF points do/do not work in one direction or the other (with several AF points) on any new camera.

Something like a black picture frame against a plain white wall is suitable for this.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

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greyhoundrick
greyhoundrick Regular Member • Posts: 228
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Sorry - I made a mistake in this latest post

Spare-time photog wrote:

You wrote in a post in this thread (March, 31), quotation:

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.

Quotation ends (Post#62498616).

This earlier post is correct.

The first section on auto focus in the Usual Manual (page 54 for the EN version) says the camera "may be unable to focus if the subject contains lines parallel to the long edge of the frame".

You should ideally check for yourself what AF points do/do not work in one direction or the other (with several AF points) on any new camera.

Something like a black picture frame against a plain white wall is suitable for this.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

Hi Leonard,

Thanks for the post.

I apologize but Im still not understanding how to see a 100% view of the shot before the exposure is taken. Can you tell me how you do that? Im sure I am missing something here.

The way I am understanding this is that you can see a 1:1 view of the subject before you release the shutter. I would love to be able to do this, but again, am not sure exactly how you do it.

Is this done while looking at the EVF or do you need to look at the back display? Do you have to have your shutter release button pressed half way down for this to work? And is there a special setting you need to select before this is possible?

Thanks again. I appreciate your help!

best to you,

Rick

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

greyhoundrick wrote:

Oh, to the OP.....thanks for starting this thread and I have a quick question for you...In one of your recent posts you said:

"Besides using low light mode I noticed that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing in dark scenes, even without enabling low light focus."

Can you tell me what you mean by that? Im not quite understanding. Do you mean you are using the 1:1 zoom in the EVF after the image is taken to check your focus?

Thanks again and congrats on getting your new Z7!

best to you,

Rick

Hello Rick,

if you go to "f controls" -> "f2 custom control assignment" then you can put different functions to the function buttons. I put on the record button the function zoom on/off. So if I press the record button in stills mode then I see in the EVF a 100% view around the AF point. If you focus in this 100% or 1:1 view, the whole viewfinder frame seems to be used for acquiring AF as you can see by green marks in the corner of the EVF. This is what I mean by "that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing".

In my (limited) experience even if AF-S in the normal view isn't able to acquire focus in low light situations, using the 1:1 view helps, as the camera is sometimes able to get the correct focus. Perhaps as a wider AF area is used?

Focusing in this zoomed in view is not continuous even if you are in AF-C mode. You have several options for the zoom level, i.e. 50%, 100% and 200%.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,796
Re: Now - customising Z body controls

greyhoundrick wrote:

I apologize but Im still not understanding how to see a 100% view of the shot before the exposure is taken. Can you tell me how you do that? Im sure I am missing something here.

For a Z newbie getting what you want can be a little confusing at first.

The way I do it (it is not the only way) is to go to the Custom Settings menu - Section f - Controls.

In Custom Settings Menu f2 right clicking the AF direction button brings up another sub menu sub menu with a range of options.

Select fn1 (the first option) and press the AF direction centre button to bring up a further sub menu.

In this sub menu select Zoom on.

Then right click (there is a menu arrow) for a choice of 50%, 100% or 200% viewfinder zoom when you press fn1 before taking a picture.

This seems to be what you want 

I use fn2 as a dof preview when shooting at smaller than f5.6 - because "small aperture" dof preview seems only available by fn2.

Moving ahead there are several other button custom options via sub menu f2, and also sub menus f3 to f7.

The Z User Manual index "Custom Settings" takes you to the "Fine tune Camera Settings".

These start with Custom menu a - autofocus, include menu f controls - and end with menu g - Movie

Some lens control ring settings mentioned are only available with more expensive lenses such as the just out 24-70 f2.8 S.

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Leonard Shepherd
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OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Now - customising Z body controls

I use the record button, my center joystick button is reset the AF to the center of the frame.

Is there any chance to avoid focusing with the working aperture? I mean can I focus for example wide open and then the aperture closes to the desired value if the shot is taken? I know that the aperture doesn't change below f5.6, but will the low light AF not be improved if the camera focuses like a DSLR wide open?

Ok, then you may struggle against focus shift, but maybe the performance hit is smaller as not being able to focus at all.

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greyhoundrick
greyhoundrick Regular Member • Posts: 228
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Spare-time photog wrote:

greyhoundrick wrote:

Oh, to the OP.....thanks for starting this thread and I have a quick question for you...In one of your recent posts you said:

"Besides using low light mode I noticed that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing in dark scenes, even without enabling low light focus."

Can you tell me what you mean by that? Im not quite understanding. Do you mean you are using the 1:1 zoom in the EVF after the image is taken to check your focus?

Thanks again and congrats on getting your new Z7!

best to you,

Rick

Hello Rick,

if you go to "f controls" -> "f2 custom control assignment" then you can put different functions to the function buttons. I put on the record button the function zoom on/off. So if I press the record button in stills mode then I see in the EVF a 100% view around the AF point. If you focus in this 100% or 1:1 view, the whole viewfinder frame seems to be used for acquiring AF as you can see by green marks in the corner of the EVF. This is what I mean by "that using the 1:1 view in the EVF helps focusing".

In my (limited) experience even if AF-S in the normal view isn't able to acquire focus in low light situations, using the 1:1 view helps, as the camera is sometimes able to get the correct focus. Perhaps as a wider AF area is used?

Focusing in this zoomed in view is not continuous even if you are in AF-C mode. You have several options for the zoom level, i.e. 50%, 100% and 200%.

Thanks so much! You're explanation is crystal clear and very helpful! I just programed my AF-ON button for this and now will be using it often. I really appreciate your help with this as I had no idea this was something you can do!

Take care and hope to chat more with you in the future!

best to you,

Rick

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,796
Re: Now - customising Z body controls
1

Spare-time photog wrote:

Is there any chance to avoid focusing with the working aperture?

With Z - no - between f1.2 and f5.6.

can I focus for example wide open and then the aperture closes to the desired value if the shot is taken?

Not with Z that I know of.

If you set f4 aperture on the 50mm f1.8 S lens you see f4 dof in the viewfinder.

If you want to view or focus with the benefit of the narrower f1.8 depth of field you need to set f1.8 on the lens.

This might for some be a little inconvenient compared to focussing at the wide open aperture as with a DSLR.

On the plus side you instantly see in the viewfinder the change in dof when changing aperture down to as small as f5.6. I find this helps decide the degree of background blur at full screen brightness.

I have Z function button fn2 set to show dof at apertures smaller than f.6 in a similar way to using dof preview on a DSLR, except that the Z viewfinder is much brighter.

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Leonard Shepherd
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OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Sorry - I made a mistake in this latest post

Spare-time photog wrote:

You wrote in a post in this thread (March, 31), quotation:

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.

Quotation ends (Post#62498616).

This earlier post is correct.

The first section on auto focus in the Usual Manual (page 54 for the EN version) says the camera "may be unable to focus if the subject contains lines parallel to the long edge of the frame".

So in theory the camera should focus better on eyes in portrait mode, because the eyebrows, the eye lids etc. are then not parallel to the long edge.

After this shoot I would say the opposite is true.

You should ideally check for yourself what AF points do/do not work in one direction or the other (with several AF points) on any new camera.

Something like a black picture frame against a plain white wall is suitable for this.

I tried it and can confirm that the camera is clueless if I try to focus the edge of the picture frame parallel to the long dimension.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

I should have tried both: using the 1:1 magnification and trying to focus manually. But in the heat of the shoot I didn't want to fiddle around more than needed.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

And that is the crux: I pointed the AF field directly over the eye, partly also covering the eyebrows, eye lashes, etc. What I did is the same which the new eye AF update should do automatically, but if this target is not suited for the AF to work properly... hm, then we are in trouble until the model has clown type make up.

Seriously, I am quite clueless why the Z had so many difficulties to focus properly.

To be clear, I am not saying that the camera is incapable, it is absolutely possible (and probable) that the error is on my side! If I roughly count the perfect, tack sharp images and the so-so pictures than approx 70% are tack sharp and the rest ranges from acceptably sharp to completely useless.

 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
sirhawkeye64 Senior Member • Posts: 2,826
Re: D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

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!

If your D800 is still working for you and does what you want, and you can handle the weight (not pun intended) then maybe hold off until you need to.  The resale value on the D800 is less than $1000 I think so you'd have to make up about $2500 or so (which includes my estimation for tax).

If you have your mind set on a Z7, maybe wait until Christmas time, partially for sales, but also so they can further refine the firmware a bit.  I know the new promo is tempting, but I'm sure it will come around again within a year, or something similar (maybe not $600 off but something similar).

 sirhawkeye64's gear list:sirhawkeye64's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Fujifilm X-T30 Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +13 more
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