Why This Photographer Does Not Recommend the New Nikon Mirrorless to Professional Photographers

The new Nikon mirrorless cameras have been announced and with that comes all the opinions on who these cameras are for. Should professionals use these cameras?

In this video, Tony Northrup goes through the pros and cons of the newly announced Nikon mirrorless system. He is by far one of the best and non-biased on YouTube for comparing cameras. He compares the Z6 and Z7 to the original DSLR Nikon cameras, the D750 and D850, and the Sony a7R III and a7 III cameras

 The pros of the new Nikon cameras will hopefully push Sony to improve on their system too. A mirrorless camera with the weather sealing of a D850 is a huge improvement to many landscape photographers. Let us hope Sony will do something about this in the future.

Nevertheless, as we say in Denmark, “The trees does not grow into the heavens.” Spec-wise the Nikon and Sony mirrorless cameras look very alike with only minor differences. The Z6 and Z7 are supposed to compete directly with the a7R III and a7 III. This is a bit of a disappointment to those who wanted something new.

Northrup even goes as far as to not recommending the Nikon mirrorless to professionals. As he stresses though, it is of course always up to the individual photographer to make the final judgment. Check out the comparison and preview video of the Z6 and Z7 above to hear why.

What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of the Nikon mirrorless system?

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Gerald williams's picture

I guess you dont want to give it away before folks watch the video. But Tony can't recommend these Z6 and Z7 cameras to pros because they both have a single memory card slot. That is a no-no for pros who can't afford a memory card failure to cause them to lose irreplaceable images, like from a wedding. It is just too risky, and card failures do happen. They have happened to Tony, to me and countless other pros. In my case and Tony's case we had redundancy with the second cards in our cameras, which saved our images, and our reputations with our clients. This is huge mistake and miscalculation by Nikon as they are pushing these cameras as professional quality. They will lose some potential buyers who like everything else about the cameras ,but just cant take a chance on them for paid work. Maybe Nikon wants one good reason for people to still buy the dual-card slot D850, as otherwise the Z7's mirrorless features and better video autofocus make the D850 now a much less relevant choice. Jared Polin also ranted about Nikon bringing these cameras out with a single card slot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaTBY_dw0Ak&t=916s

user-189304's picture

Or for a landscape photographer. You spent 2 years planning and saving for that trip to Africa, and...

user-156929's picture

If I spent 2 years planning and saving for a trip to Africa, I'd buy new memory cards. :-/ And in my case, put two of them in my camera, setting the second slot to backup! ;-)

Motti Bembaron's picture

Sam, the new Nikon has only ONE CARD SLOT, no second backup. When a card fails there is a good chance you will not recover the images from it. It does not matter how many cards you have, you can only use one in the camera.

So, you planed and saved for months, go for the trip and half way through your card fails. All the images you took are gone. You should backup every day but you potentially will loose at least everything you shot since your last backup.

Having one card slot is a dumb and stupid move from Nikon. Not the first nor the last I am afraid.

user-156929's picture

I was kidding.

user-189304's picture

Without question, Sam. I run single card cameras and would buy a new camera for that.

user-156929's picture

I've had dual card cameras for as long as they've been available and set them to backup when important but, honestly, I've only ever had one card fail and wouldn't have lost any photos in that case, had there not been a backup. Have you ever lost any photos due to a failed card?

user-189304's picture


user-189304's picture

Fair call.

Gerald williams's picture

Yes of course I have, and other pros have too including Tony Northrup and Jared Polin. it is just unacceptable and irresponsible when you are getting paid by a client, not to have redundancy to cover irreplaceable event coverage. Would you skydive without a backup parachute just because your main chute had never failed before. You can try and dismiss this, but Nikon has cost themselves some sales here as this is a deal-breaker for many.

Leon Kolenda's picture

Sorry that's a Stupid analogy! "Sky diving with out a back up parachute!" That's a life saving back-up. A Failed Memory card is Not!

user-156929's picture

If your livelihood depends on photography, not just a single shoot but your reputation, it can feel like a life saving backup.

It is if its you career. If the thing that puts food on the table and a roof over your head is jeopardized because of it. Shot! ppl have killed themselves and their families when their career hits rock bottom. so yes for some it is life saving....

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Winner for the most over the top response to not having 2 card slots!

One day I missed work because the battery in my car failed. How did I move on with my life? Should I now have redundant batteries in my car?

The risk is you lose some picture on what, 1 job in 10,000? Is that career over? What if your camera over-heats and destroys your memory cards? What your sensor goes bad and you don't notice until you have missed 50 shots that much in the info is trash? What if you break that super important lens? What if you get physically ill?

i drive a E500, it has 2 batteries. And you should shoot with 2 cameras, have prime and zoom lenses and a second shooter. BOOM!

I can understand the pro wanting to mitigate risk. The memory card is only one link in the data integrity chain though and the new ones are pretty darned reliable.
The camera has wifi and Bluetooth, I wonder if it can automatically back up to your computer over wifi while shooting.

user-156929's picture

You actually have a valid point but you do what you have to. Dual memory cards haven't always been available.
As a side note, I wouldn't reference Tony Northrup or Jared Polin, not that they aren't pros but too many people dismiss them as hacks.

Tim Cray's picture

I've got a simple solution for your one card slot issue, Gerald. Don't buy it. What you and other "so-called" professionals seem to forget is that consumers, NOT those "so-called" professionals make up the largest market in sales. Most people that make a living taking photos will use Nikon's
or Canon's professional DSLR's, not mirrorless.

Jaran Gaarder Heggen's picture

Seriously, if you self-proclaimed "pro-photographer" are so conserned about redundance when photographing, do you have a minimum of 2 cameras, that you shot with, and of course you have a full rig with one onsite server where you live sync all your image files directly from you camera via wireless... and that server does of course sync to a server in your office/studio and to a cloud storage...
if not, you do not have any redundance when shoting, because your camera are the first single point of failure (after the person holding the camera).

michael andrew's picture

I have had 1 card fail, a new 64 gig 1000x CF 100$ card. It was an important shoot too, really screwed me.

user-156929's picture

Were you able to salvage their trust in you, if not the shoot?

If I went to Africa, I would not go there with one camera.

Motti Bembaron's picture

How a second camera will save your lost photos you took for the past two days on a camera with one card? :-(

First and foremost, cameras also fail. And, 1) I woulds take shots with both cameras, 2) I would back up every night. I shoot a lot of weddings where the video is only on one card so I also shoot with three cameras. I do not remove the card from the camera until after I download the videos through USB and have several backups. I do the same procedure for stills at weddings. Plus, it is on a XQD card which is a lot more robust than SD, CFast or CompactFlash cards. With CFast and CompactFlash, I never remove the cards because of the pins. With SD, they are fragile and bend and have fallen apart.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I agree that taking out and inserting cards do damage them, I have a couple of those (hoping to fix them one day?).

Still, I AM ON VACATION!! :-) I have a hard time carrying one camera now you want me to carry two? For an important safari trip I would definitely take a second body and lots of cards and batteries but regardless, none of it will save me when a card fails and I have few hundreds unrecoverable images on it.

We are talking about a camera that has one card slot, not how many cameras we should carry.

One card is a stupid move from Nikon!

user-189304's picture

I have to say that the A6xxx series is super compact and light. As a backup it works well.

Motti Bembaron's picture

If the the F lenses can work well with the Nikon mirrorless then the Z is now on my wish list.

user-156929's picture

I agree it's foolish but how much, depends on what their target market is. These cameras seem to be straddling two, admittedly overlapping, segments. Probably because they've only got the two cameras and are trying to reach the broadest segment possible.
If their choice was one XQD or two SD, for space considerations, I'd be hard pressed to make that choice. If they'd chosen two SD cards, how many people would complain about that? Keep in mind, the Z7 is moving a lot of data that would be bottlenecked by SD, especially in backup mode.

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