Image Quality

Key takeaways:

  • The Nikon Z7 offers excellent high and low ISO performance, essentially identical to that of the Nikon D850
  • No anti-aliasing filter results in impressive detail capture and excellent sharpness at the cost of some moiré patterns
  • JPEGs have pleasing colors and well-judged sharpening
  • JPEG detail at high ISO sensitivities can get smeared away by noise reduction
  • Remember to turn on electronic first curtain shutter to avoid the risk of shutter shock

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

Raw image quality

The Z7's 45MP sensor offers nearly identical Raw image quality to that of the Nikon D850. Noise levels at high ISO are competitive with the best of its peers. And even at very high ISOs the Nikon Z7 comes fairly close to the larger-sensor GFX 50S.

Detail capture is impressive, again coming in pretty close to the GFX 50S. Compared to its full-frame rivals, the Z7 renders slightly more detail, as seen in the texture of the playing cards, specifically in the blue and red sections. But false color from moiré can be a problem due to the lack of an anti-aliasing filter. Other cameras in the Z7's class also suffer from this.

Overall this is a very impressive performance, meaning the Z7 will produce detailed, flexible files in a wide range of conditions. You'll have to remember to turn electronic first curtain on to avoid shutter shock, which unfortunately limits your fastest shutter speed to 1/2000s.

JPEG image quality

JPEG color looks very similar to that of the D850, with yellows and reds looking nice and punchy. Nikons in particular tends to handle greens nicely and the Z7 is no exception. Likewise, the JPEG engine does a good job rendering various skintones.

Default JPEG sharpening is well-judged and on par with its rivals. Edges are well defined without looking exaggerated. But JPEG noise reduction blurs away detail that cameras such as the Sony a7R III manage to retain.