I’m hanging out with my friends from B&H today, this is not a dream folks. We’re going to be taking an exciting first look at Nikon’s 35mm full-frame mirrorless. That’s right, mirrorless. This is the Z 7.
Nikon’s first full-frame 35mm mirrorless camera. There’s also a Z 6 but more on that and some others surprises later. The Z 7 is decidedly a Nikon. From the grip. To the image quality even the menu system.
If you’re coming from a Nikon DSLR, this is incredibly intuitive to use. The body is exactly what you’d expect from a Nikon. Built on a magnesium alloy chassis it weather-sealed throughout. The eyepiece extends back just a little bit that keeps your face from pressing up against the rear LCD screen.
The rear LCD screen flips out. So, if you were video shooter or you’re using the camera at an odd angle much, much easier and much, more comfortable to get the shot. And the protrusion of the thumb rest makes holding the camera a pleasure.
Let’s talk about the brand-new Z-mount. There is a 55mm internal diameter and a 16mm flange distance. That brings the rear optic closer to the focal plane. Helping control chromatic aberration. It allows for lens designs with larger maximum apertures because of the efficiency of the light-gathering of the mount, you’re getting better light transmission from the center of the frame outward.
So, your corners are great. You can shoot your lenses wide-open without fear of losing any kind of sharpness or detail. New mount, new lenses. Brand new NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S, 50mm f1.8 S, and a brand-new 24-70mm f4.
So, a camera is only as good as the lenses that you put in front of it. Nikon has, tons of legacy F-Mount lenses. You can use those without any compromise using the FTZ mount adapter. Essentially this allows you to put any previous NIKKOR F-mount lens on a Z-Series camera body.
There are 360 F-Mount lenses that you can use with the adapter. Over 90 will support autofocus and automatic exposure capability. Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of adapters. Whenever I’ve mounted an adapter between a mirrorless camera body and some other lens, it’s been something that goes wrong.
Whether it’s autofocus, or an exposure issue, whether it’s just the play in the mount and of the whole thing coming apart. I had none of that today with the FTZ adapter. I use it with some of my favorite lenses, the 70-200mm VR, 60mm micro and 105mm f1.
4. All of them operated just as they would on a Nikon DSLR. Autofocus was fast, and snappy. No communication issues and everything felt solid. That’s to me was really one of the most surprising things.
There was no play even when using a heavier piece of glass like the 72-200mm. I felt no play in using the lens. Under the hood, there’s a brand-new, Nikon designed 45.7 mega-pixel backside illuminated sensor.
Wonderful ISO range between 64 and 25,600. There are 493 phase detection autofocus points that covered 90% of the sensor. Phase detection is all about speed. So, if you’re are shooting fast action, awesome.
But, when critical focus is a must, Nikon’s pinpoint contrast detection autofocus mode is where you want to be. Slower than phase-detection but, gives you critical focus when it counts. The electronic viewfinder has been the hallmark of mirrorless systems from the beginning.
What makes the Nikon Z-Series different, is the glass that goes into that electronic viewfinder. There’s spherical glass, there’s fluorine coated glass, it makes the experience looking through the viewfinder incredibly clear.
Whether you tilt slightly off-angle, reading from top to bottom, left to right it makes the viewing it experience incredibly clear. There’s a high-speed frame rate up to 5.5fps. And there’s a high-sped plus mode get you up 9fps.
There is even a silent shutter mode when absolute silence, is a must. Think event shooters, street photography. Any type of situation where, “silence is golden.” The camera will work with EN-EL 15 series batteries.
It ships with a brand-new EN-EL 15B battery which allows for charging over USB. There is a single XQD card slot. Via firmware update in the future, this will support the CF-Express protocol. Let’s talk about video.
The Z 7 shoots UHD 4K and HD up to 120fps. For silky smooth slow-motion. High order bid here, autofocus. It’s incredibly reliable and consistent. You can even use touch autofocus when shooting at high frame rates.
This is invaluable if you’re racking focus during a slow-motion camera move. Or, moving from foreground to background in a shot. Bobby and Doug loved the vibration reduction built into the camera. It saves you about 5 stops of handshake.
It feels a lot like you’re using a monopod. There was an instance where Doug was about to go get a stabilizer. Looking at the shot he was like: “No, this works fine.” “Don’t need another piece of hardware.
” So, unless you’re using a shot where you need a lot of movement, I think you’re great with the built-in VR. For the first time ever, N-log going out over HDMI. You get wonderfully flat color profile for all the creative post-production that you want to do.
It’s also clean 10-bit out over HDMI. Right to your field recorder. Rounding out the feature set, we have timecode, 3 levels of focus peaking and zebras. Coming soon, Nikon has developed announcements for a brand-new battery grip, of course the aforementioned CF-Express protocol.
Oh! And the fastest NIKKOR lens ever. The NOCT 58mm f/0.95. It’s a manual focus lens development announcement today. I cannot wait to try that out. Oh and there’s one more thing, This is a 70-200mm f/2.
8 VR. And this is the brand new 500mm f/5.6. Look at this thing! 500mm lens used to require its own case. This you can throw on a body, tuck it right into your camera bag and go anywhere. This will fit in a small bag under the seat of a regional airliner.
And with the FTZ adapter, this will work perfectly on the Z 7. Here is a quick cheat sheet showing the differences between the Z 7 and the Z 6. We are hoping to have a Z 6 to test in the not-to-distant future.
I had an amazing time playing with the Nikon Z 7 today. Tomorrow we’re actually having a livestream panel discussion talking about the camera. And Nikon’s foray into full-frame mirrorless. For more on the Nikon Z 7, photography and all things imaging, visit B&H.
I’m photographer David Flores, see you next time.