The Nikon Z7, along with its faster and less expensive little brother the Nikon Z6, has the same great Nikon feel and handling what we love before mirrorless form. They have all the usual Nikon controls in the usual places.
The Z7 & Z6 has a full-frame sensor in a camera that weighs less than a DX D7500, and are built like a tank to the same standards as the Nikon D850. It has hybrid phase & contrast detection auto focus over at least 90% of the frame (no one needs 100% AF coverage), which is the same as the entire frame. No one wants to put a point of interest on the edge of a frame.
Nikon developed new Z mount for their full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and they looks toward the future with the new Nikon Z mount. This is huge milestone for Nikon. Without a doubt, the Nikon full frame mirrorless system is one of the most highly anticipated releases in Nikon’s history. Nikon’s first 35mm camera was Nikon S rangefinder system of 1946, there first SLR was the Nikon F of 1959 that was the world’s first hugely popular SLR system, and the world’s first real PRO level DSLR was the Nikon D1 of 1999. Nikon announced their new Z mount on the occasion of Nikon’s 100th anniversary. This is the biggest thing done by Nikon in this millennium. Nikon developed new PRO level ‘S Line’ of lenses for Z Mount Mirrorless Cameras. Good news is that, Nikon also developed FTZ lens mount adapter so that you can use all your F-mount lenses from 1959 to current digital era.
Now that Nikon India has started to delivery both the Nikon Z6 and the Z7 mirrorless cameras, it is time for us to take a closer look at these cameras and go through some most important features. Existing Nikon shooters might be wondering whether it is worth moving to the new system or not. In this article, we will explore all the key features of the Nikon Z cameras in detail and see what they have to offer when compared to their DSLR counterparts.
Nikon Z6 and Z7: What’s the difference?
There are lots of similarities between the Nikon Z7 and the Nikon Z6. The cameras share the same body, same type EVF, display, buttons and weather sealing, but there are a few internal differences.
Both the Nikon Z6 & Z7 are equiped with a new Nikon designed full frame backside illumination CMOS sensor. The Z6 is equipped with a 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor. The Z7 offers a new developed 45.7-megapixel full frame sensor. This higher-megapixel image sensor has a native ISO range of 64-25,600 and Z6 has native ISO range of 100-51,200. You can expect better resolving power from the Z7 and better high ISO performance from the Z6. The Z6 can produce 6048 X 4024 pixel image size and Z7 can produce 8256 X 5504 pixel image size. Nikon Z6 has low pass filter on its sensor to reduce moire effect and Nikon Z7 do not have low pass filter to resolve all capabilities of its high resolution sensor.
The Z6 have Native ISO Sensitivity of ISO 100 to ISO 51,200. Extended lower ISO limit is ISO 50 and higher limit is ISO 2,04,800. And the Z7 have Native ISO Sensitivity of ISO 64 to ISO 25,600. Extended lower ISO limit is ISO 32 and higher limit is ISO 1,02,400.
Autofocus points on both cameras are on-chip phase-detect. The Z6 offers 273 PDAF points and the Z7 has 493 PDAF points.
Both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 are powered by the new EXPEED 6 image processor. The Z6 is able to shoot at up to 12 FPS and Z7 at 9 FPS, in “extended” mode (limited to 12-bit RAW/JPEG and no AE). And Z6 can shoot only 9 FPS and Z7 only 8 FPS in 14-bit raw mode. But in extended mode the Z6 or Z7 will not track exposure. Exposure is locked at first frame of burst. If you want to track exposure for each frame, both Z6 & Z7 will give huge drop of FPS to 5.5.
Hey guys i am not a video guy but for your information heare is some video capabilities of Nikon Z Series.
Both cameras can record in 4K/30,25,24p but the difference in sensor resolution will resulted in that the Z7 does full pixel readout in DX mode (APS-C) and line-skipping in full frame mode. In this way you get less sharpness and more noise at high ISOs with the use of full frame readout mode. The Z6 can deliver the highest quality in FX/full frame readout mode. For slow-motion video, both cameras can record in 1080/120p. Both cameras can not record slow motion in 4K.
The Nikon Z7 and Z6 can output 10-bit Log footage – called N-Log – over HDMI to an external recorder, very sadly both cameras can not record 10-bit N-Log footage on XQD card.
The Z6 is less expensive and will be available at the retail price of ₹1,69,950.00 body only. The Z7 is more expensive at ₹2,69,950.00 body only.
New Nikon Z Mount
The new Nikon Z mount is 17% larger than its predecessor, thanks to its inner diameter of 55mm and a 16mm flange distance will allow Nikon to make lenses that were much more difficult to design with the Nikon F mount. Going forward, Nikon is and will work hard and keep on research and development in the Nikon Z mount. Nikon also declared the new Nikkor Z lens roadmap includes a number of great options from super wide-angle lenses such as the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 to 70-200mm f/2.8 professional-grade lenses, as well as fast primes such as the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct and 50mm f/1.2. At the current pace, Nikon is planning to release 4-6 S lineup professional-grade lenses each year, the higher-end lenses for the Nikon Z system, as well as additional consumer-grade lenses. By lookint at following Lens Roadmap chart we will know that there will be 23 Nikkor Z lenses are planned till 2021.
Nikon’s First IBIS (In Body Image Stabilizer) Cameras
The Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras are the first in Nikon’s history to incorporate IBIS.
Advantages of IBIS
Works with all lenses – this is the biggest advantage of IBIS. You can use any lens (those lenses are capable of sending the focal length & focal distance to the camera body), including older / third-party lenses and image stabilization will still work.
One time cost – you buy one camera with IBIS and all lenses will automatically get the benefit of image stabilization.
Smaller, lighter and cheaper lenses – because there is no image stabilization mechanism inside the lenses, they are smaller, lighter and cheaper to produce.
No disturbing loud lens sounds – some optically stabilized lenses produce high-pitch sound that will be disturbing. Lack of Image Stabilization means that the only sound you will hear from the lens is its autofocus motor. This is an advantage for recording videos without an external microphone.
IBIS is better for short focal length lenses, while in lens stabilization is better for telephoto lenses, because the longer the lens, the more the sensor has to move to compensate for the shake. The space for such sensor movements is limited, The true potential of stabilization is achieved when the two are combined and that’s exactly how Nikon is planning to roll out Nikon Z-series lenses in the future.
At this time all three Nikkor Z lenses that came out (24-70mm f/4, 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8) do not have lens stabilization, because the camera will do a better job with IBIS. However, once Nikon starts rolling out longer lenses like Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8, we will see vibration reduction on those lenses as well, in this way the system will be able to take advantage of both worlds, IBIS and VR at the same time, delivering superb levels of stabilization that we have never seen before.
Precise Manual Focusing and EVF Benefits
We face some situations in which manual focus is require, but in D-SLR gating precise focus on a subject is difficult. In optical viewfinders we do not have enough magnification to be able to see enough detail on a subject to properly focus.
With mirrorless cameras, you do not have to worry about viewfinder magnification because you can just zoom in on your subject right in the electronic viewfinder (EVF), verify or adjust your focus as needed, then take a picture, no more guesswork is involved. It’s all because of EVF, “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”.
In addition, you will be able to take advantage of the EVF for focus peaking where the “in-focus” area of the subject is highlighted with specific color of your choice, as well as you can use the bright Electronic viewfinder to review images, zoom in / out of them and more! One thing, with mirrorless cameras, there is no need for an exposure preview button, because the electronic viewfinder will display exactly what you are about to capture. If you want to see how the image will look like stopped down, you just stop the lens down and you can see exactly how much depth of field you are going to get. EVFs can display a lot more information than OVFs, and some of the information can be very useful in the field. For example, you can display a histogram before you ever take a shot, and if you are wondering about what focusing mode you have selected, you no longer have to take your eyes off the viewfinder – all of that information can be turned on or off in the EVF.
Both Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras are equipped with high-resolution EVF screens. I never seen this quality of viewfinder in any other camera at the time writing this article. I think, once you try an EVF for focusing and image playback, it is hard to go back to a OVF.
The Nikon Z-series cameras now feature on-sensor hybrid autofocus system, which works very differently compared to the traditional phase detection autofocus system we have seen on Nikon or any other DSLRs. There is no need for a secondary mirror to pass the light to AF Sensor for focusing, and because of this, AF micro-adjustment issues are no longer available! By placing phase detection pixels right on the sensor, Nikon Z is able to perform focus on the image sensor without relying on a secondary focusing system.
Nikon F Lens Compatibility
With the Nikon Z series cameras, we now have a Nikon F to Nikon Z mount “FTZ” adapter that allows mounting older F Mount lenses. The Nikon FTZ adapter will work with all Nikon F mount lenses, including very old manual focus lenses from 1959, but the number of lenses that will autofocus with the adapter is limited. All AF-S, AF-P and AF-I type lenses will have full AF/AE capability with FTZ mount on Nikon Z Series. One thing, the FTZ adapter does not have a screw-driven AF capability, which means that any of the AF-D type lenses will perform manual focus only. Nikon says officially “Full AF/AE supported when using FX or DX AF-S Type G/D/E, AF-P type G/E, AF-I type D and AF-S/AF-I Teleconverters”.
If you have third-party lenses for the Nikon F mount from Sigma, Tamron and other manufacturers, they will work fine on the Nikon Z-series cameras. But some lenses require updating their firmware to make them fully compatible with Nikon Z System. The great news is, third party lenses will also be able to take advantage of Nikon’s IBIS.
Nikon lenses that already have VR which is compensate for Pitch and Yaw will get the added benefit of Roll axis, which means that both in-body image stabilization, along with lens VR will work simultaneously to get the best out of the two. If you have the Nikon Z mount lenses, you will be able to take a full advantage of Nikon’s 5-axis IBIS, which means that Pitch, Yaw, Roll, as well as X / Y movements will be properly compensated by the camera.
No Built-in Flash
Similar to the PRO Level Nikon DSLRs, the Z-series mirrorless cameras do not have a built-in flash. Nikon decided to make these PRO Level Mirrorless cameras weather-proof and rugged built like a tank, so they excluded this option, and generally all PRO Photographers use on camera flash. Both cameras have sync speed of 1/200th of a second.
Both Nikon Z-series cameras have full magnesium alloy shells / chasys and are fully weather sealed to be able to survive in extreme temperatures and rough weather conditions. Whether you are planning to use these cameras in light rain, under zero temperatures or dusty environments, the cameras will be able to survive in these harsh weather conditions. Nikon states that the cameras are sealed in many spots, including all the buttons, dials and switches from front to back, just like the Nikon D850 is sealed.
The Nikon FTZ adapter is also properly sealed, so if you are planning to use the combination with other weather-sealed lenses, you should not have any issues with water, moisture or dust getting into the camera.
As i stated above Nikon Z7 do not have optical low-pass filter to deliver maximum detail in every shot. The Z7 will be able to deliver high level of sharpness and take a full advantage of modern S-series lenses with their superb resolving power. However, due to not having a low-pass filter, the camera will introduce some moire effect when photographing repeating patterns. And the Nikon Z6 will have a low-pass filter, to reduce moire iffect. But the amount of detail on the Z6 is not as great as on the Z7.
EXPEED 6 Processor
The Z6 and Z7 are the first Nikon cameras to feature a new EXPEED 6 processor, which is capable of handling faster sensor readout, as well as quickly powering up the camera for extremely fast operation. Nikon needed to move up to a faster processor, because mirrorless cameras require a lot more processing power in order to handle things like smooth EVF operation, focusing, smooth image playback, etc. Nikon is able to create a very smooth lag free experience in Nikon Z Series. The start-up time on Nikon Z Series cameras is very low. You don’t have to wait for the camera to power on. Once the camera starts up, there are no additional delays you can start shooting immediately.
As i stated above, both Nikon Z6 and Z7 feature very impressive video specifications. These are the first Nikon cameras that can output true 10-bit video (4:2:2) through the HDMI port. Both cameras can record in 4K/30,25,24p, as well as 1080p HD/120,100,60,50,30,25,24p. The Nikon Z6 can shoot 4K with full sensor readout, while the Z7 down samples and bins pixels for full-frame video capture. If you want to avoid pixel binning shoot in DX crop mode with Z7. Both cameras will provide 10 Bit N-Log output. Nikon’s in-camera features such as Active D-Lighting, Electronic Vibration Reduction and Focus Peaking will all be available for you to use when recording videos. Quiet operation and smooth aperture control of the new Nikon Z mount lenses, you no longer have to worry about loud lens sounds. You can take a picture by pressing shutter button while shooting a video, photos are recorded in fine* quality JPEG format at the size currently selected for movie frame size. if you are shooting 4K a full 8 MP image will be captured and the video recording will not be interrupted. IBIS will function when recording video as well, which means that you can have fully stabilized footage without having to use external stabilization tools.
The Nikon Z6 will only be able to shoot 4K time-lapse, the Nikon Z7 will be able to shoot both 4K and 8K timelapses. This is because the Z6 simply doesn’t have enough resolution to shoot 8K footage. Slow motion video shooters will be able to do so in full HD format using the in-camera slow-motion video feature, which can generate both X4 (120/100p footage at 30/25p) and X5 (120p at 24p) slow-motion videos. Both cameras can not record slow motion in 4K.
If you have used a Nikon DSLR before, you will find you are in the home because Z-series cameras have very familiar ergonomics and the menu system. The camera buttons do what they say and although you can customize few buttons as you want. Nikon finally listened and added U1 / U2 / U3 user settings system, where you can fully save all the menu options into three different sets, then quickly change between the different settings by switching between U1, U2 and U3 on the PASM dial. This means that you can now have three presets that store different settings for different types of photography like “Landscape”, “Wildlife” and “Portrait”.
Top OLED Display
The Nikon Z6 and Z7 feature a OLED display on the top of the camera, which is used to display different types of information, depending on what you are doing on the camera. The information is displayed white on black so it will be possible to see camera settings even when shooting at night. But Nikon do not gave the option to customize this display, it will be good to go if Nikon will applied this option in future firmware update.
Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras can shoot silently whether you are shooting using EVF or LCD, which means that you do not have to take your eye from the viewfinder and switch to LCD. Whether you use LCD or EVF, silent shooting is available for both.
With the Z6 and Z7, Nikon included the ability to charge the camera battery through the camera. To use this function you have to use the new EN-EL15b battery in order to charge over USB Type-C connection older EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a batteries are not internally wired to be charged through the camera. In this way you will be able to use standard battery packs or power bank to charge your camera battery! So if you are traveling and you don’t have access to an electric outlet, you can use battery packs and charge the camera. If you have older EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a batteries you can use them flawlessly in both Z Series but you have to sacrifice for USB charging.
Nikon has official CIPA numbers stated as mere 310 for the Z6 and 330 for the Z7, which is too small, but if you use LCD & EVF properly you will get around 600 to 650 or even more shots per charge very easily.
XQD Memory Card
At the time of writing this article, only Nikon Z Series mirrorless cameras have faster XQD card slots in the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera market. Nikon took good decision about XQD card slot. if I were to pick between one XQD or two SD card slots, I would pick the XQD slot. XQD / CFExpress is clearly the future, thanks to it’s incredibly fast speed, better build and overall reliability. XQD and CFExpress card have same form factor so they both fit in same slot. Once CFExpress card is available, you will be able to run a firmware update and make the camera compatible for that card also, so the memory card slot is future-proof.
Autofocus points on both cameras are hybrid on-chip phase-detection auto focus type. The Z6 offers 273 PDAF points and the Z7 has 493 PDAF points. Auto focus points cover 90% of the frame area on the cameras. The new Nikon Z-Series cameras have the following focus modes,
Pinpoint AF – Used for pinpoint focus on a selected spot in the frame
Single-Point AF – The camera focuses on a point selected by the user
Dynamic-Area AF – The camera focuses on a point selected by the user if the subject briefly leaves the selected point, the camera will focus based on information from surrounding focus points. this option is only available when photo mode is selected and continuous AF is chosen for focus mode.
Wide-Area AF (S) – The camera focuses on a point selected by the user. The focus points for Wide-Area AF (S) are wider then those for single point AF
Wide-Area AF (L) – The camera focuses on a point selected by the user. The focus points for Wide-Area AF (L) are wider then those for Wide-Area AF (S)
Auto-Area AF – The camera automatically detects the subject and selects the focus area. At default settings, the camera gives priority to portrait subjects, if a portrait subject is detected, the selected subject will be indicated by a yellow border, if multiple faces are detected, you can choose your subject using the multi selector. Subject tracking can be activated by pressing the ok button.
These focus modes work differently compared to what we are used to seeing on DSLR cameras. You might have also noticed that the Z6 / Z7 cameras don’t have a dedicated autofocus button to toggle between different AF modes like other Nikon DSLR cameras. But you can program a button of your choice to do this function, which you can attach to any of the buttons like Fn1, Fn2 or any other button of your choice. Once assigned to a button, you can press and hold that button and use the front and rear dials to switch between different modes like AF-S, AF-C and Manual, as well as particular focus modes mentioned above.
Continuous Shooting Speed
The Nikon Z6 can shoot at 12 fps and the Nikon Z7 is limited to 10 fps, but there are some limitations. First of all, both cameras can shoot full resolution 14-bit images at 5.5 fps with full-time autofocus tracking and auto exposure adjustments. If you want to push the cameras to their maximum frame rates, you will need to sacrifice some things. Anytime you go beyond 5.5 fps, both cameras will have to lock exposure to the first frame of the sequence. But if you are tracking a subject that is moving from one side of the frame to another, it could result in underexposed or overexposed images when moving from darker to brighter parts of the scene. If you choose to shoot in 14-bit RAW, you will be limited to a maximum of 9 fps on the Z6 and 8 fps on the Z7. And the buffers on both Z6 and Z7 cameras are fairly small, it will fill in few seconds if you rae shooting in RAW.
Focus Stacking and Multiple Exposure
With this new enhanced feature, you will be able to see a monochrome preview of the focus stack you are able to capture, which is really great tool, no more guesswork while making stacked images.
In addition to focus stacking, the Nikon Z-series cameras also have a built-in multiple exposure feature that allows creating a single image out of two separate shots, all in camera.
Considering that the largest viewfinder Nikon has ever made is within the Nikon D850, with its 0.75X magnification, the new EVF within both Z6 and Z7 is even larger in comparison – it is now 0.80X! In order to make it a great viewing experience, Nikon made it as close as possible to an optical viewfinder, Nikon used a combination of high-resolution 3690K-dot Quad VGA organic EL panel with 100% frame coverage, along with corrective glass elements, you never feel that you are looking through EVF. The front element is covered with fluorine coating to repel dirt and reduce flare. I have to say that it is the best EVF I have viewed to date. The overall viewing experience is a bit different on the Nikon Z. I think it is the glass that Nikon used, or any other optimizations to the viewfinder, but it was bright, lag-free and very life-like. Well done Nikon!
Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter
Both Nikon Z6 and Z7 will come with the Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter mode, which allow one to take images without introducing camera shake due to camera’s shutter movement. Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter will work in all camera modes.
RAW Size Options
The Nikon Z7 features three RAW size options: full RAW at 45.7 MP, medium RAW (mRAW) at 25.5 MP and small RAW (sRAW) at 11.3 MP, and the Nikon Z6 features three RAW size options: full RAW at 24.3 MP, medium RAW (mRAW) at 13.7 MP and small RAW (sRAW) at 6.1 MP. Instead of dealing with a flat lossy compressed file, the images will have most of the data retained within them for you to be able to recover as much shadow and highlight detail as on full size RAW images.
Tilting, Touch-Enabled LCD
The Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras have a touch-sensitive 3.2″ LCD screen with a total of 2,100,000 dots. The LCD screen has a 170° viewing angle and you will be able to perform standard color balance and brightness adjustments. The touchscreen experience is the best I have seen on any Nikon camera. After using it I was very happy with it and I did not experience any lags.
Focus peaking is mainly used for manual focusing. Nikon added focus peaking option into both Nikon Z-series cameras, which is great for those who are wishing to use this feature when manual focusing. With the mirrorless system, you can use focus peaking by using camera LCD or the viewfinder. Focus peaking will make it easier to manual focus on subject by highlighting the area where focus is acquired by using a user selectable color like red, white, yellow or blue, with three different peaking levels.
WiFi and Bluetooth
The Nikon Z-series cameras can now establish a direct connection to a computer via WiFi for wireless tethering. Thanks to a fast wireless chip on these cameras, it will be possible to transfer both JPEG and RAW images at up to 433 Mbps speeds.
By using SnapBridge app on smart phone you will be able to connect the camera to your smart phone via Bluetooth or WiFi to transfer both photos and videos, adjust settings on camera and capture image remotely, you can also download GPS Location Data to photos you captured and set the camera clock time and date through smart phone.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article, please consider subscribing to my E-Newsletter to receive emails notifying you of the latest articles posted on the website.
I am also posting my wishlist about Nikon Mirrorless Z Series Cameras, so subscrib to my E-Newsletter