A matter of weeks ago, Nikon launched the Z7, and rumors started to circulate that the autofocus system was far from perfect. More reviews are coming in, and reports are not good.
Back in August, Tony and Chelsea Northrup explained that their experience with a pre-production model of the Z7 triggered some alarm bells. "They promised me my D850 in a mirrorless form, and that was not my experience," explained Chelsea, referring to her inability to use the autofocus to track Tony walking towards her. They acknowledged that this was not the final product and that the lighting was quite low, but this did not bode well.
Two weeks ago, Jared Polin shared his experiences shooting soccer and baseball, expressing similar concerns. It just simply wasn't as good as a DSLR. Again, Polin acknowledged that his immediate comparison was the D5, a much more expensive camera, so the test was perhaps a little unfair.
A few days ago, DPReview updated their Z7 review with new information about the autofocus performance. (The review is marked as August 23, but it appears that the autofocus details have been recently updated.) The verdict is far from kind: "In short, the only thing consistent about the Z7's subject tracking performance is just how inconsistent it is."
In developing their new mirrorless system, Nikon removed 3D-Tracking, a part of their autofocusing system that made the D850 and the D5 so well-regarded for their ability to lock on to moving subjects. The system now used in the Z7 may be possible to fix through firmware updates, so one wonders if there were compromises made in order to get the mirrorless cameras to market on schedule.
In the coming weeks, Fstoppers writer Adam Ottke will be giving the Z7 an in-depth review, and he will no doubt be rigorous in his tests. Until then, if you've managed to get your hands on Nikon's latest offering, let us know in the comments how you're liking the autofocusing system.