All I’ll say, is that I owned the original a7 and it kinda sucked. Is Nikon going to get it right the “first” time? Or will next week's supposed announcement of the Z-series cameras begin a long cycle of trying to one up themselves while trying to keep up with the major mirrorless players?
I put “first” in quotes, because this isn’t Nikon’s first mirrorless camera. The a7 certainly wasn’t Sony’s first mirrorless camera. But both the a7 and the Z-whatevers soon to come next week, are forays into the unknown for buyers. The original a7 was riddled with small construction issues and functionality quirks like the first a7R’s awful shutter slap. Those problems didn’t exist in already proven cameras like the D810 or 5D Mark III. Nikon is now on the opposite end of the playing field, Sony and Fuji have had years to perfect their mirrorless cameras. Nikon is the newcomer. So what does this mean for Nikon?
They need to get it right. I’m confident that Nikon won’t, or really can’t screw this up, but there’s more to it than just having a good mirrorless camera. It needs to be a great mirrorless camera. Many Nikon shooters, myself included, also have or have completely switched to a mirrorless system. I’m a big Fuji fan myself. I have also enjoyed most every Sony I’ve had the chance to use in the last few years. Though I’ve never been impressed with Panasonic and Olympus, they don’t outright suck. They’re still good cameras in many respects. Four brands are posing major competition to the Nikon Z cameras, two of which have a significant and loyal user base that came from a lack of confidence or fulfillment with Nikon’s own cameras.
I really don’t know who the Z cameras are for. Does Nikon intend to draw people back in? Do they want current Nikon shooters to just have another option when they upgrade? Will they have people leaving Sony or Fuji or even Canon in droves because of some wild feature? No one knows right now. What I do know, is that they’re really late to the party. There are certain things that I’m sure Nikon will do well like ergonomics and build quality, two sticking points with other high-end mirrorless cameras, but will the image quality, autofocus, or video capability be enough to swing people back around? We’ll have to see. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the Nikon full-frame mirrorless camera means to you.