Nikon Z Series Launch in Johannesburg South Africa
Tim Stanley attended the launch for DPSA and herewith his initial impressions and observations.
Well-attended launch, with bar facility, and supper for the ‘stayers-on’ after the presentations had finished.
‘Zee Seven’ first impressions.
The camera is quite small – smaller than I expected. As a member of the ‘bigger is generally better’ school, I was surprised. Having said that, Nikon made it clear that they are moving towards the smaller and lighter end of the scale. This would make a big difference to those of us who have to carry a lot of equipment. As an example, the new soon-to-be-released 500mm lens will weigh in at less than half of the existing 500mm Nikkor’s 5kg mass. It also has a very nice grip, distinctly Nikon, which feels safe. Our lady photographers will doubtless enjoy these features.
The second impression was how good the electronic viewfinder actually is. There is no noticeable delay (traditionally a problem with mirrorless cameras), and the definition is superb. With the f1.8 35mm lens full open, the depth of field is clearly discernable. Very nice to see what your photo is going to look like, before you take it. The auto-focus was also nice and quick. The viewfinder protrudes further back than the ‘normal’ Nikon. I quite liked this feature, as I tend to shoot with both my left and right eye. This gives you a little more room, and keeps your nose off the screen. Buttons have been moved to the right hand side of the back of the camera. They are intuitive to use, so I wouldn’t have a problem. The tilting touch-sensitive display screen is useful where unusual camera attitudes make shooting difficult.
One of the major differences between the Z6 and the Z7 is that the Z6 is designed to shoot better video than the Z7. It can shoot up to 6k video, although it could be difficult to find a monitor to display this. The Z7 video clips we were shown were very good, the slow motion being particularly smooth. There are many other features designed for the videographer, such as being able to adjust the speed of the auto-focus, smoothing out shots of moving subjects. Nikon are aware that most photographers who would be attracted to the Z6 and Z7 already have a collection of Nikon F-Mount lenses. The FTZ adaptor takes care of the majority of these, allowing full functionality as far as auto-focus/auto-aperture goes. They tested more than 360 different Nikon lenses during development.
Another very desirable feature is the 5-axis in-body stabilisation. Coupled with the lens VR, this can give you a five f-stop advantage. Very useful for wildlife photography, as is the dust- and moisture-proof design of the body and lenses. There is a high-end range of lenses being developed. These will have apertures of up to f 0.9, designed specifically for low-light shooting. They will bear a ‘Noct’ label, short for nocturnal. Obviously, Nikon have designed these two cameras to interface to most of the additional paraphernalia we have, such as flashes, RF remote triggers etc.
Two numbers are important. 55mm and 16mm. 55mm is the inside diameter of the new mount, which offers a bigger aperture (to suit the sensor), as well as increased strength for the lens-to-body attachment. This is currently the biggest mount-size in the industry. 16mm is the distance from the focal plane of the sensor to the rearmost lens element. Reducing this distance brings some advantages, the major one being reduced aberration. Nikon’s 16mm is the smallest of any camera out there.
- Has a 45.7 MP FX sensor, featuring Expeed 6, for edge-to-edge sharpness
- 10-bit N-Log processing, if using an external recorder
- Features a large Z-mount in a compact, durable, weather-sealed frame, weighing 585g
- An FTZ mount adaptor is available, allowing F-mount lenses to be used
- Shoots full 4k UHD video at 30p, and full HD video at 120p
- ISO range is 64 to 24,600, expandable to 102,400
- Shoots continuous stills at 9 fps
- 8k time-lapse movies
- 5-axis ‘in-body’ VR stabilisation
- 493-point hybrid autofocus, for smooth, wide coverage
- 3690k-dot Quad VGA electronic viewfinder
- Lenses – Nikkor Z 24-70mm f4 / 35mm f1.85 / 50mm f1.85 – not a very exciting choice, but more to come
- On-board stereo speaker system
- 5 MP full-frame sensor
- ISO range is 100 to 51,200, expandable to 204,800
- Shoots continuous stills at 12 fps
- 8k time-lapse movies
- 273-point hybrid autofocus