Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks

Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks

We all know that Nikon and Canon are fueling up for a big battle for the mirrorless wars, with Nikon firing the first salvo in the form of the Z6 and Z7. But it just does not interest me.

After using every camera system and switching back and forth from Canon to Nikon several times and even shooting Phase One digital medium format, I’ve settled with the Sony a7R III as my favorite camera.

It took me longer than most to jump on board the mirrorless train, with a few things scaring me such as being so small that it might look and feel like a toy. Then I had concerns about the electronic viewfinder in general and if I’d like it; after all I hated the live view on Nikon.

Once I used the Sony, I knew instantly this was it and I was done switching for a very long time. The Sony has already offered everything a Canon or Nikon can do in terms of great focus, image quality, and dynamic range. But then the Sony offers something that is not so easy on the Canon or Nikon. The EVF allows me to use my old vintage lenses like my Helios or vintage Jupiter lenses with perfect focus easily and consistently. Also gone are the days of dealing with the microfocus adjustments since the focusing is done via the sensor.

Bottom line is, Sony has already given us everything that Nikon or Canon are trying to produce.

Critics of the Sony system had once complained about adapters to use Nikon or Canon glass, stating they didn't trust adapters, but now those same folks embrace the idea of adapters if it’s a Nikon mirrorless to use their existing F-mount lenses. Most humans are resistant to change, hence the comfort factor of the name Nikon or Canon. However, since the mirrorless is a new platform even for these brands, it is in fact a change and Sony is already established.

Nikon and Canon are trying to reinvent the wheel since they are so late to the party, and who loses in this scenario? The consumer. Think about it, there’s going to be a mad rush of brand fanboys all clamoring to get the first Nikon or Canon mirrorless when it’s released, and the price will be high and availability will be difficult. Then there’s the obvious growing pains that come with any new system. Sony had it early on, and now we are past those hiccups and I can’t see a reason to start over and go through those growing pains with the others. Had they realized how big the mirrorless technology was, perhaps they could have been in on the ground floor and enjoyed the success.

At this point, I think Nikon and Canon have already lost. Sony already has the market. Now they are just embarrassingly trying to play catch-up much in the same way GoPro tried to do after they realized (again, too late) that DJI had beaten them.

The specs from Nikon seem to be a pretty obvious straight copy of the Sony, except for one huge blunder in only including one card slot. Will it work? Likely yes, but we don't know how many bugs it will have being a new system. Are you getting anything new for your effort and money? Seems like that answer is no.

Time will tell if Canon can make a better attempt at entry into this market than this sad effort that Nikon has made.

What do you think? If adapters are required to use your existing lenses with Nikon or Canon mirrorless, then what advantage does it have over Sony? Just the name you are comfortable with.

Is that really worth the expense, wait, and growing pains of working through the inevitable bugs?

Lead image by Irina Kostenich via Pexels.

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280 Comments

Previous comments

Latest on hands quick review had 1500 shots and some 4k video before hitting 10% warning

William Howell's picture

Is that the official spec? Only 310 shots, that doesn’t sound right?

Eric Salas's picture

It was on their site but there have also been some strange things happening on their site with numbers switching.
The ratings for batteries are done in specific ways and the ones saying “1500” are neglecting the fact there is a silent shutter and if you burst for a few minutes of course you can rattle off 1500+ shots.
Real time is the concerning point and when it’s half the life (in ratings) than the Sony battery (after Canon and Nikon users cried about battery life in older Sonys)

William Howell's picture

I do think this Z mount is most likely the future for Nikon.
As for me, I have always given Sony props for pushing the envelope, but I do think that Nikon and Canon will be the superior, given that building cameras and lenses are in these companies DNA.

we buy Nikon because of IMAGE QUALITY. You go ahead and find "issues" on some pre production units....2 slots..... the amount of stupidity this has unleashed on the internet....wtf Sony trolls seem to be of less intelligence than other ppl

Eric Salas's picture

It’s both sides. Sony guys are taking advantage of the upper hand on the downfalls/faults/missing features of the new cameras - and the Nikon users are harping on them being preproduction and to wait for a real review.

When they said there was no verticals grip and only a battery pack coming for the Z cameras, I literally smacked my head...

I am hoping that Canon does something to push the industry. Disbelief/fed up is where I am with it all.

David Pavlich's picture

I know that not all need the insurance of a second slot. However, those that do can buy a camera for the same price as the 7 and get two slots and there in lies the rub; you're paying a pro body price for an enthusiast camera.

user-7055's picture

XQD are extremely reliable fault tolerant devices; though appreciate a 2nd card slot would mitigate any risk , however in 10 + years of using Nikon I have not had one card failure either CF or SD card, though I make sure I keep to the top rated cards . I'm sure when the mirrorless version of the D5 appears in 2 years time that will have a 2nd card slot .

I've invested quite heavily in pro grade Nikon/Sigma/Tamron glass that if as I am led to believe works flawlessly with the adaptor; waiting for confirmation on 3rd party glass, then I do believe the z6 would suit me fine. I've jumped between fuji x series and Nikon over the past 5 years and loved a lot about the fuji but at the time no long fast glass and the cropped sensor was a limitation for my diverse needs.

To swap to another system is an expensive hit the money lost on selling equipment is massive compared to a small difference in price between a sony and a Nikon so that's no way an argument.

David Pavlich's picture

I've only had one failure, an SD card, but I was using a 5DIII, so the CF card was on the job. :-)

It comes down to price vs what is offered by the 7. Again, we know these initial tests are with pre-production cameras and things may be different when the production models are in the hands of testers. Still, a lot of pros require 2 cards. They cannot chance loosing images from one off events.

The latest scuttlebutt is that the focusing system does not track well at all in low light. Not good for something that costs $3400.

I was hoping that Nikon would have knocked it out of the park with the 7 (my interest is in the pro level bodies). I've said it many times, the D850 is the best all around FF camera on the market. I was hoping that they would follow the lead of that terrific piece of hardware. That didn't happen.

"XQD are extremely reliable fault tolerant devices"

I keep hearing how bulletproof XQD is. I bought a couple of new Lexar XQD cards on Nov 6, 2016. On Nov 8, 2016 I was test firing my cameras that morning at Javits Center in NYC for election night when I got a card failure error with the XQD on the Nikon D5. I could not format the card or do anything but return it as defective. I will never trust any historic assignment to XQD alone again.

I heard Jerry Ghionis on Nikon Z facebook interview yesterday make the argument that he shot all these weddings without a second slot for film on his camera. Bad argument. That's like saying that one doesn't need modern automotive safety glass or seatbelts because one has never been in an accident. I do not want the equivalent of a "glass necklace" during a once in a lifetime assignment.

I had a CF card fail once. Any card can fail. That's why I won't consider making the jump to Nikon mirrorless until they have redundancy. Sounds like you feel the same way about it.

They are reliable and durable meaning like if you sit on them. The process of saving the image onto a card is the same as with SD and just as much prone to failure.

Any solid state device can fail. I've had SSD's die! Thanks to Chronosync and multiple backups I didn't lose data. No way I'm sticking with one slot on the big job. I've been burnt before.

Eric Salas's picture

People also forget that the camera slot can fail or have issues as well.

I had my second card failure last February during a shoot and i went from happy to “wtf is happening, what do you mean you can’t read or write to the card?!” while shooting a family portrait session. Thankfully I keep SD cards in all my jacket pockets, wallet, and my car lol.

Chris Rogers's picture

the cameras are good. really good. people are just mad mostly because they don't have two card slots >.> If i had the cash i'd buy one.

David Pavlich's picture

The potential customers are upset at Nikon because they are asking $3400 US for a camera that is NOT a pro body. Other things I've heard as reviewers get their hands on the 7, and I'll qualify this by stating that the tests have been done on pre-production versions, don't give Nikon any high marks.

This will get sorted when production models get out for some real world tests, but so far, it hasn't been very flattering.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

People who thought Nikon would release a mirror less camera that would kill sales of their 6,000 USD (8,000 AUD) D5 camera , or the D850 are in Disney land.

As a point of reference, this one is much more useful and honest in it's opinion. https://fstoppers.com/gear/initial-reviews-nikon-mirrorless-are-not-good...

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

The tone and lousy "private jokes" spilled here and there should just put Tony and Chelsea to shame instead of being proud of anything.
Even if some of their remarks have real ground, the way they talk about them and laugh at them is just lame and lousy.

user-156929's picture

I can't believe I'm defending a mirrorless camera by anyone but two things:

This is going to sound stupid but, it's a Nikon. I wouldn't buy anything made by Sony. Now, that's completely subjective but then, so is your post. Oh, you have some objective facts but they're couched in, and viewed through, your subjective opinion. That's fine but then, so is my subjective opinion.

Secondly, see #1. ;-)

Bill Larkin's picture

Deleted User Well considering Sony has manufactured sensors for Nikon cameras, I'd be careful about that not wanting anything from Sony statement.

I actually think quite the opposite, Nikon's such a small company relatively, I want something more trustworthy. (I do believe they are making their own sensor now, but don't have hard data on that so I can't really say) - But the backing and R&D from such a large company like Sony actually is more reassuring than Nikon.

Yes you're right... the post is mostly subjective, except for the part about the single slot and terrible battery, Nikon blew it there by anyone's standards.

user-156929's picture

I guess I'm a fan of smaller companies. Believe me, I'm not happy about Sony manufacturing Nikon's sensors! I've had too many experiences of large companies paying more attention to the bottom line than the product to trust large companies. :-/ There's been talk of TowerJazz, in Israel, making sensors for Nikon but I've not heard anything about them making their own.

As for the single slot (and I'm getting tired of writing this) I think, due to space constraints, they had to choose between one XQD or two SD. Both configurations have advantages but I think they chose speed/reliability and, maybe self-servingly, pushing a format they've already committed to, over dual slots which everyone, including me, wants but their target market (advanced enthusiasts) don't really need. That's right...I don't think these are really pro cameras but I think that about all ML cameras and that, in part, due to battery life which, even though they've come a long way, I could never accept in the Sony's, either.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

XQD is a failed format. Sandisk wont touch it

user-156929's picture

Really? So, Sandisk is the gold standard then? How about this... Sony invented XQD and Beta Max so Sony, and their cameras, must be a failed enterprise. How silly. :-/

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture

but these sensors R&D by Nikon and just produced by Sony.

and Nikon is a part of company which is much more bigger than Sony

You have absolutely no clue. Sony Imaging and Sony semiconductor are both bigger than the whole nikon (and nikon is basically the camera division 40% and three ventures more).

Also, Sony does the heavy lifting in the sensors and nikon tunes them as fuji do with their color filter array. In the case of nikon, they choose the MP count and the 64 ISO to trade for higher ISO performance. But the 42mpix Sony and the 46 nikon behave almost the same

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture

and now take a time and make some research... Nikon is owned by Mitsubishi Group with revenue $250 billion and Sony Corp (tv, audio, cameras etc) has revenue $68 billion...

So your argument is that you are close minded and stubborn and that's why you can live with those cameras? Now this is even more stupid than the "buy it becasue you already have lenses" argument.
P.S. If you don't like the Sony so much than stay clear of Nikon and Fuji as well. All Sony sensors

user-156929's picture

I can see why it sounded that way but, no. I'm generally open minded but once I make up my mind, I don't continuously rehash the same information. If compelling new information is provided, I'll reconsider. In this case, for reasons that don't matter, I chose Nikon a very long time ago. No new information has been provided to make me consider another manufacturer and certainly not Sony.
In the case of these cameras, no, I can't live with them because they're mirrorless (note my first sentence). That is an entirely different subject.
The fact is, anyone can decide to do anything they like for any reason they like. You may believe their reasons are foolish, or whatever, but be prepared that they'll think the same of yours.

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