The Nikon Z7 Is Better Than You Might Think

Nikon's full-frame mirrorless announcement has left the photography world, shall we say, nonplussed. But while many of the early reviews are quick to point out the Nikon Z7's shortcomings, Kai Wong's hands-on impressions paint a much more positive view of Nikon's exciting new platform.

Wong got his hands on the Nikon Z7 last week and while he noted the camera's disappointing single memory card slot — a source of much of the scorn surrounding Nikon's entry into full-frame mirrorless — he was much more focused on what the camera does well. Namely its fast, accurate autofocus, its ability to shoot video in 4K (externally), and its excellent build quality and ergonomics.

Furthermore, Wong points out that with a 55mm mount, the camera is well equipped for the fast glass Nikon plans to release next year, including the 58mm f/0.95 S lens. Wong also raves about the electronic viewfinder and the non-reflective, tilting 3.2-inch LCD display. 

So, while many reviews have told us all the areas where the Z7 (and Z6) fall short, perhaps it's not all bad after all. 

What do you think? Does Wong's review make you more likely to purchase a Z7, or are its failings, such as the single memory card slot, too much for Nikon to earn your money? Drop a comment below and let us know if you'll be diving into full-frame mirrorless with Nikon. 

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43 Comments

Marius Pettersen's picture

Shocking. Most semi-pro and pro cameras are great. You'll just have to choose the right tool for your field or situation.

Daniel Lord's picture

Yeah, who would have thought that large camera companies, successful for decades, can research market needs and produce improved products with features at prices those markets want? SMH

Marius Pettersen's picture

I'm pretty sure that Canon does extensive research in the R&D phase, but I also believe that someone on top believes in a fairly strict separation between professional photo and professional video, while some features trade places, the really good ones are missing due to this mindset.
People argue that Canon doesn't want their DSLRs to steal market share from the Cinema-line, but that's also the situation in Sony. I guess their not interested in a scenario where people are choosing an A7R instead of a FS5 or FS7, but they've made it work somehow.
Maybe they've concluded that a mirrorless camera with pro-features is not quite the same as a professional cinema camera, and that people might know that, and choose the suitable tool for their level or work needs.

user-197098's picture

I just don't see a need for the camera. There isn't anything it does that I can't do with my D500s or my D850. When I hang a heavy long lens on it the size and lighter weight could be a balance problem on a tripod. Even with the D850 with a battery grip the balance point is far forward --making the camera lighter only worsens the problem. I could see for a wedding photographer who is always shooting handheld with shorter lenses the slightly quieter camera might be a slight advantage. I think putting one more thing between the sensor and the lens is a bit troublesome. I have all the lenses I need and would not want to invest in native lenses for the Z6 or 7 that just duplicate what I already have. It seems like a solution for a problem that does not exist.

Michael Holst's picture

Needs<Wants

People might not need this camera as you seem to find a lot of justification for keeping your current setup. But there are LOADS of people who want this camera. Do they need it? no but that's not how this works. People want something, company makes something to capitalize, people use product.

user-197098's picture

There are always unlimited reason to justify the "I want" when it comes to new gear. Over the years I've fallen into that frame of mind many times. As my approach to photography has matured over the decades (approaching seven of them), I find that doing what delivers my vision is what I need and what I want. I'm no longer intrigued by gear for the sake of gear. I do have lots of gear and don't think I lack anything currently. I can deliver (given the effort) on extracting my vision from my gear (including the computer, software and memory) that I wish. On the other hand I find some things open new doors -- the D850 and Topaz software along with the iMac Pro have done that. But I'm limited by my talent and vision, not by my gear.

Michael Holst's picture

Why didn't you tell Nikon all of this earlier?! You could have saved them so much time and money since the camera is already launched.

Marius Pettersen's picture

There are lots of people that do not shoot with long glass. I do fancy a larger body myself, but I can clearly see why some people may sacrifice ergonomics for a lower foot print - except people with smaller hands.
I also think that the Z-series may serve as an addition to a DSLR kit. Keep your D850 and throw in a Z6 as a secondary shooter with some tricks up its sleeve, and for better video recording. There may be a situation where you need to pack as lightly as possible, and therefor choose the Z6 over the D850.

Lets just hope that the rumors of a 'battery grip' without vertical buttons are false.

Sean Shimmel's picture

I further that… Still very, very happily shooting with my D800

Jonas Nimmersjö's picture

There are a lot of things you can do with it that, at least I cant do with my D500 and D850. Shoot video with my eye in the viewfinder. Shoot video with good follow focus. Shoot video and use the ring on the lens for exposure (iris).

True, if you put FTZ and a F-mount lens you do not gain much in size and weight. But if yo put the new 24-70 F4 you get a much smaller package than D850 with 24-70 F2.8 ... And the fotos with the lens on the smaller camera will be sharp up to the corners ...

I will not get rid of any DSLR. But I will get one Z-camera.

Daniel Medley's picture

"I just don't see a need for the camera. There isn't anything it does that I can't do with my D500s or my D850."

Need aside as very few people actually NEED a camera: IBIS, silent shutter, 12 fps, EVF are four things off the top of my head that the camera can do that your D500s or D850 can't do.

One thing that the Z cameras can't do, however, that the D500, D850, and for that matter, the D750 can do is support dual card slots.

Right, this won't replace your cameras for birds or racing cars. News flash! That's not what most of us shoot.

Since I injured my shoulder in a car crash, I'm finding that I need stabilization, lens or IBIS. Even without that, it's great to be able to hand hold a 50 at a half a second. I do publicity for a theater and a conference organization. Oh, that silent shutter is wonderful. If you had used one of the current EVFs, like Fuji or Sony, you'd know that they are excellent. Most people who use them forget that they are looking at a screen. Oh, I can see my exposure in changing stage lights instantly. Reactionism aside, very few people need OVFs anymore.

12 fps is great for birds or sports. I've seen too many people rely on spray and pray with speeds like that and miss the one best shot that waiting and timing would have given them. I shot for a newspaper when a fast motor drive was 3 fps. Only the sports guys used that. The rest of us refined our techniques.

John Horwitz's picture

My D3200 takes beautiful photographs, as a matter of fact, many of them are found in galleries and museums worldwide.

Lance Bachelder's picture

I think once you actually touch the Z7 and take a few shots any negative thoughts dim very quickly. I thought it felt better in my hand than my A7R III and checking the edge to edge sharpness of the 35mm and the 24-70 they are both unreal - absolutely no softness or chromatic aberration. In fact I would say the 24-70 full wide was far nicer and sharper than my Batis 25mm! Something I would never expect from a zoom... Now just waiting to see what Canon cooks up though the rumors of 30MP sadly won't work for my - I need all the pixels I can get - which may even lead to the new Fuji...

Michael Jin's picture

For me, it's failings as well as Nikon's extremely unexciting lens roadmap (for me) for the next few years have pretty much sealed my decision to not buy into Nikon's mirrorless system at all. I still think that they have the best overall DSLR out on the market in the D850, but despite the great potential of that Z-mount, it looks like their mirrorless system has got a very long way to go so I'll be looking elsewhere for that. Perhaps I'll revisit the issue in 2024 or so when Nikon decides to release lenses that actually do something with that huge mount that isn't being done on every other system with a smaller mount.

f/2.8 and f/4 zooms are already plentiful on a number of other systems as are f/1.8 and f/1.4 primes. The f/0.95 would have been cool if it had AF and wasn't predicted to cost over $5000. Despite having held out this long, it really looks like Sony is going to get my mirrorless camera money for the next few years since I would like to have a mirrorless body so that I can have an easier time walking around with my manual focus lenses on the street.

It really is quite sad for me because I've been ardently defending Nikon right up until their underwhelming announcement. I really thought they would release something exciting. Sucks to know how wrong I really was.

The rumors about Canon's mirrorless do look nice so maybe that's a thought, too.

Lance Bachelder's picture

I'll sell you my A7R III and glass lol! You have to be out of your mind to choose Sony over Z7 - that's like picking a KIA over a Porsche. http://www.rossharvey.com/reviews/nikon-z7-review

Michael Jin's picture

Not interested in the camera, but out of curiosity what glass are you looking to sell?

As far as choosing a Kia over a Porsche, the only thing that impresses me about the Z7 is the better ergonomics and weather sealing. 2 slots is important to me even for personal use of their lens road map shows nothing exciting being done with the z mount for the foreseeable future. While ergonomics and weathersealing are big issues for me, it means nothing if there's no good fast prime glass to stick on the camera and it seems like there will be nothing exciting on that front for a while. The video features look better but I'm not a video shooter.

If Nikon looks exciting in 5 years i would easily switch back over then so no big deal.

I would think you'd be used to being wrong as often as I've pointed it out to you!
Just kidding, just kidding. ;-)

Michael Jin's picture

LOL! It never gets any easier.

eric baluya's picture

How about asking Nikon to release the Z6 with an double SD card slot and see if it sells faster and better than Z7.

Fritz Asuro's picture

I think this guy has a better explanation why the new Z7/6 doesn't really suck:

https://youtu.be/kNJgTjRD6qo

I think the hardware looks great. A better type of card is good if not optimal for all.
The rest is software related and can be fixed and added to, I expect.

The single card slot kerfuffle is so overblown you'd think a wedding photographer who used one would be stood up at the altar. By all reasonable accounts, these are great cameras with a few bugs and that's taking into account the current and future competition. Ignore the curmudgeons, click baiters and the nontographers waiting for the second coming.

Michael Jin's picture

A camera that seems to have trouble achieving proper focus consistently, has significant black out time between shots, has a buffer that can described as garbage, and a battery grip with no portrait orientation controls is a "great camera"?

Nice to know that it doesn't take much to be considered a great camera. With those standards, more companies should jump into the game. We would have a glut of great cameras in the market in no time at all.

We simply don't know that about these cameras. Not final firmware, or weren't you paying attention. Shutter blackout, you must be using a mirror in your camera.

Michael Jin's picture

I'm basing my comments on multiple previews from people who have used the models Nikon let them use. If Nikon was dumb enough to allow media personalities and influencers to test their cameras with crap firmware knowing full well that these people would be releasing their public impressions of them, that's Nikon's mistake.

David T's picture

If anything, the preview cameras are souped up.

Of course! The memory card slot is blown way out of proportion. As a complete total package tool, I think the Z7 will allow me to close the gap further between intent and execution. I sold 2 of the 3 D850 I own and pre-ordered 2 Z7.

I'll wait for real user reviews before making a judgement on the Z7. But in the mean time, is there a way to ban comments about how great Z camera is because of the new Noct 50mm, unless you actually plan on spending the $5-6K for it? I don't see how making and selling a few hundred (optimistically) of these lenses is relevant to whether this (or any camera) is worth the investment.

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