D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)? Locked

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,079
D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that.   I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850.   So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed.  THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements?   And any drawbacks?

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,768
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that. I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850. So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed. THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

You have to be very specific about AF when comparing the D850 and Z7.  I have found the Z7 to be generally superior to the D850 when it comes to AF of static subjects or slowly moving subjects.  No more AFFT, direct focus off the sensor.  For subjects moving at a faster speed or more erratically the D850 is superior.  So overall, which one is "generally superior"?  IDK.  It depends on what you shoot.

Superior battery life?  Don't care much about that.  A spare EN-EL15 fits in my pants pocket if I'm out for a day.  Turn on speed?  Yes, definitely superior on the D850.

What I like about the Z bodies is that you basically see your exposure in the EVF.  In addition, the ability to have the histogram in the EVF is a great feature to me.

If you're a flash user in low light the EVF shows a bright image so you can see what you're shooting.  Although on the downside this is where you may trade off some AF speed (low light).

Totally silent shooting (with limitations) without having to go into mirror-up mode.  I don't use it myself.  But for some it's a selling point.

Subjective, but I like the smaller body.  It has nothing to do with lighter for all day carry or travel.  I just like the slightly smaller size.  It fits my size 8 hands better.

Less buttons on the Z bodies means that more things require access to the menus or the i menu.  So that's a negative for sure.

The EVF has issues if you're a max frame rate capture type of person.  Not an issue for me as I am always in single shot mode.  Or at most I fire a short burst of two or three frames.

If you must have dual cards then the Z7 is not for you.  But the Z7 II will fix that.

No vertical grip for the Z7.  But again, the Z7 II will fix that.

The FTZ works perfectly fine with AF-S lenses, if you don't have a phobia of using an adapter.  If you have D lenses though, that's a problem.

Overall, I haven't used my D5 in 2 years.  My images now are about evenly split between the Z7 and D850.

My D850 gets used more than the Z7 when I'm shooting birds and wildlife.  I also use it for macros (200mm f/4 D).  For birds, it gets more use than the Z7 simply because I have my 500mm PF + 1.4x TC III mounted on it all the time because I usually have general landscape oriented lenses on my Z7 and I'm too lazy to swap lenses.

The Z7 is my landscape camera and travel camera.  The only time I travel with my D850 is if I'm going to want to shoot with two bodies.

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DanRN
DanRN Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

michaeladawson wrote:

I'm too lazy to swap lenses.

I prefer to call that my ‘dust mitigation’ plan.

jlafferty Senior Member • Posts: 1,296
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

Michael did a pretty solid job of exposing the various pros and cons. I totally agree, re: I carry an extra battery for every body I shoot, so the Z is no different. Also, boot up time has proved to be a non issue. YMMV I guess but I just haven’t found myself needing it to be faster.

I think whatever you choose, you have to be aware moving to the Z system will mean an initial growing pain period. EVF felt initially grotesque to me, but after months of shooting EVF only, and going back to OVF intermittently, the OVF seems dull and sluggish now.

AF on the Z behaves differently and therefore needs to be treated differently to get in the neighborhood of what you’ve grown accustomed to. I watched the Ricci Talks AF vid, skimmed it at 1.5x and picked up some tips that were helpful, but the true game changer came in watching the Monochrome Memoirs Z6 AF video where he shows his custom button layout. I will say I might have a few more misses per shoot than I had with my D810, but my hits are overall better and more sharp, despite the res reduction. I’ve said elsewhere the combination Z autofocus and glass quality puts my Z6 & kit lens head and shoulder with my D810 & Sigma ART 50 in detail and sharpness.

Video. This is a huge difference. As you hint at here, your dislike may be due to poor tools. That’s been my experience. The Z and Atomos setup has blown open creative doors for me that hadn’t existed before, and motion feels like the logical extension of what I’ve enjoyed as a stills shooter for over a decade. It’s fluid, responsive, beautiful looking. I’m not entirely sure how video on the Z7 compares to the Z6, which I feel is the “video centric” body, but it will be worlds ahead of the D850.

Lastly, I hope you and others don’t take offense from my comments. We’re all on the same team of wanting to see Nikon succeed and exist well into the future. I’m def not anti SLR and even less so anti Nikon, I just feel the ML systems are carrying a lot of the shooting experience forward for what I do, and the setbacks are relatively minor.

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camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 2,122
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that. I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850. So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed. THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

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PHXAZCRAIG
OP PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,079
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

I can appreciate the Live View aspect with a helmet on.  I went through Colorado National Monument a few years back, and every quarter mile there was another overlook where i stopped, took off gloves and helmet, got out the camera, took a few snaps and put the gear back on.   Took a long time to get through the 20 miles or so.

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Jtilley New Member • Posts: 20
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

camerosity wrote:

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that. I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850. So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed. THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, the D850 is perfectly capable of taking a picture by touching the rear screen:

https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/d850/en/05_live_view_06.html

PHXAZCRAIG
OP PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,079
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

For me, the D850 has been the best travel camera simply because it is so versatile.  There is almost never a shooting situation it can't handle, though I sometimes don't have the right lens.

The most challenging shooting I do is underwater in a dive housing.  Some of the shooting conditions are extreme, and a slight edge between cameras can become greatly magnified.   The autofocus speed (and accuracy) improvement between the D810 and the D850 made getting certain shots massively simpler.   I'm thinking of shooting small blennies peeking out of holes in shallow depth with 3-5 feet of current surge.  Moving subject, but massively moving camera.   With the D810, I once shot 30 times and got 2 in focus.  With the D810 in the same situation I got a ratio more like 1 bad out of 30.  It was so obviously nailing the focus that I only needed to try 3-4 times to know I'd gotten the shot  every time.   The equivalent is like sitting on a swing moving 4-5 feet back and forth trying to get a closeup of a hummingbird just off a feeder at the precise moment of closest approach.

Dynamic range is another big item for me when post-processing underwater images.   It's the flip side of the high-ISO coin.   At base ISO, the D850 (and D810) have massive dynamic range, and you can do a lot to tame highlights and pull shadows.

Those capabilities are critical to me, and I wouldn't buy a camera to replace the D850 that wasn't at least equal.

On the other hand, trying that same scenario with video on the D850 was hopeless.  No way it was keeping up.   Then too I rarely even try video.

Changing cameras for underwater shooting is also a big financial commitment, in the area of $3500-4000 for a new housing.   I shot my D810 for 4 years, including 3 where I also had the D850 but couldn't justify a new housing.   When I did upgrade, it sure was nice to have AF that nailed subjects I could not previously.

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,768
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

Well, I can't help you when it comes to underwater shooting.

With regard to DR the Z7 doesn't lose anything to the D850.  But all bets are off (as far as my knowledge goes) when it comes to AF performance inside an underwater housing, and at depth.  You'll need to talk with someone with that experience.

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Mike Dawson

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camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 2,122
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

Jtilley wrote:

camerosity wrote:

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I love my D850, and several DSLRs before that. I'm mildly curious about mirrorless, but only if a mirrorless camera solves a problem I have with the D850. So far I see the D850 as generally superior in autofocus, battery life, and turn-on speed. THe Z7 seems like it must be better for video autofocus, but (perhaps because of poor video autofocus) I don't shoot video.

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, the D850 is perfectly capable of taking a picture by touching the rear screen:

https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/d850/en/05_live_view_06.html

AF performance in Live View on the D850 is way too slow to get a photo quickly in my experience. Nikon Z system is instant! Cheers

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,768
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

camerosity wrote:

Jtilley wrote:

camerosity wrote:

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, the D850 is perfectly capable of taking a picture by touching the rear screen:

https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/d850/en/05_live_view_06.html

AF performance in Live View on the D850 is way too slow to get a photo quickly in my experience. Nikon Z system is instant! Cheers

Fair enough. Maybe that's what you should have said originally instead of implying that you can't take a photo with the D850 by touching the rear LCD screen. That's really all Jtilley was saying.

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Mike Dawson

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maljo@inreach.com Veteran Member • Posts: 7,968
A lot...

light weight

compact

focus stacking

eye focus/face focus

no mirror lock up needed

very accurate status focus

better lenses

focus adjustment (mostly) not needed

no mirror vibration

view finder or LCD focus - back and forth very simple

fold out LCD

focus anywhere on the screen

the envy of your neighbors

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Bing Chow Senior Member • Posts: 2,288
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

I'm making the jump from a D810. What I'm looking forward to the most are more accurate focusing (not subject tracking stuff) and IBIS. Then comes the EVF, smaller form factor, and the Z-mount lenses.

PHXAZCRAIG
OP PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,079
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

michaeladawson wrote:

Well, I can't help you when it comes to underwater shooting.

With regard to DR the Z7 doesn't lose anything to the D850. But all bets are off (as far as my knowledge goes) when it comes to AF performance inside an underwater housing, and at depth. You'll need to talk with someone with that experience.

AF is same as above water, just can be very challenging at times because ... wildlife.

DR I assume is the same.   I'm thinking AF is a mixed bag, with D850 better for moving stills and quick grab shots, and the Z7 better (perhaps) for slower, macro shots and video.

IBIS - I don't know if that would be of benefit or not, never having used it.

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T O Shooter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,000
Re: Not a lot...

maljo@inreach.com wrote:

light weight

compact

focus stacking

eye focus/face focus

no mirror lock up needed

very accurate status focus

better lenses

focus adjustment (mostly) not needed

no mirror vibration

view finder or LCD focus - back and forth very simple

fold out LCD

focus anywhere on the screen

the envy of your neighbors

Mostly trivial stuff, most of it being just differences, not necessarily improvements. The iis hitting the market has been a big non-event. Another rendition or two and maybe they'll be a decent tool to add to the toolbox, as some fellows like to refer to them as.

But the manufacturers have done a wonderful job of convincing people to pay more for a product that they can make much cheaper. What every business wants.

And, when Jim Kasson and Lance B says that any difference between the 70-200e s are splitting hairs (paraphrasing), and the Sigma 40 is untouched by anything in S, I tend to not believe the "better lenses" part. If it were not for paragraph 2 above, Nikon could refresh all the wide angles in f mount, and there wouldn't be enough difference to matter. Probably doesn't as it is.

As I said, a rendition or two down the road, plus a better FTZ, there might be two or three actual reasons to add it as another "tool"

Light weight and compact for example, are only reasons based on age of photographer, or where you want to take it. A 47mp Df would do the same thing, with equally poor and lacking controls.

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Droster Senior Member • Posts: 1,078
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

Most things considered, it's really down to the live view, IBIS and the lenses. Lets me do a lot more shooting at waist level or overhead because I can use and depend on the screen a lot more. I have the tilty screen on my D500 but I'd rather use it blind without the screen when I have to shoot anything not at eye level.

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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 14,028
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

If you went from a D850 to a Z7, what do you see as for-sure improvements? And any drawbacks?

The EVF lags badly even on a modest speed pan compared to any OVF.  The Zs are a total non starter for me.

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camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 2,122
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

michaeladawson wrote:

camerosity wrote:

Jtilley wrote:

camerosity wrote:

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, the D850 is perfectly capable of taking a picture by touching the rear screen:

https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/d850/en/05_live_view_06.html

AF performance in Live View on the D850 is way too slow to get a photo quickly in my experience. Nikon Z system is instant! Cheers

Fair enough. Maybe that's what you should have said originally instead of implying that you can't take a photo with the D850 by touching the rear LCD screen. That's really all Jtilley was saying.

Never said I couldn't take a photo with the LCD screen on the D850, my point was that AF in Live View was too slow to capture anything instantly using that method wheras on the Z50 (and other Z cameras) it is fast enough.

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,768
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

camerosity wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

camerosity wrote:

Jtilley wrote:

camerosity wrote:

I had the D850 and more recently had a Z6 and still have a Z50. Shooting in Live View with the D850 is a chore. Autofocus is slow. With the Z6 and Z50 it's amazing. Lately I have found that I like to shoot in Live View since I often have my motorcycle helmet on and want to stop and take a photo on the side of the road and don't want to have to take my helmet off. I can shoot in Live View with the Z6 or Z50 and it works well, in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen! That is the most significant improvement for me. I sold the D850 early this year and won't buy another one (I would consider the D780 since it too has the ability to focus well in Live View).

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, the D850 is perfectly capable of taking a picture by touching the rear screen:

https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/d850/en/05_live_view_06.html

AF performance in Live View on the D850 is way too slow to get a photo quickly in my experience. Nikon Z system is instant! Cheers

Fair enough. Maybe that's what you should have said originally instead of implying that you can't take a photo with the D850 by touching the rear LCD screen. That's really all Jtilley was saying.

Never said I couldn't take a photo with the LCD screen on the D850, my point was that AF in Live View was too slow to capture anything instantly using that method wheras on the Z50 (and other Z cameras) it is fast enough.

No, you didn't actually say it.  But it was strongly implied by your bolded text.

"in fact, I can shoot a photo with the Z50 by touching the LCD screen."  That implies that you can't with the D850.

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shuncheung Senior Member • Posts: 1,907
Re: Not a lot...

T O Shooter wrote:

And, when Jim Kasson and Lance B says that any difference between the 70-200e s are splitting hairs (paraphrasing), and the Sigma 40 is untouched by anything in S, I tend to not believe the "better lenses" part. If it were not for paragraph 2 above, Nikon could refresh all the wide angles in f mount, and there wouldn't be enough difference to matter. Probably doesn't as it is.

There are a lot more lenses than the 70-200mm/f2.8. Just take a very simple example: my 14-30mm/f4 S is a very versatile wide zoom that can accept conventional, 82mm screw-on filters.

No such lens exists in any brand for SLRs. I happen to have the Nikkor 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S in the F-mount. The bulging front element makes it difficult to use and travel with. As a result, that is a lens I rarely use. I have seen people use a complex rectangular filter set up on it, making it even bulker. That isn't something I want to deal with.

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