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

I feel your pain. Went 5d Mark IV -> a7riii ->5d Mark IV. The Sony feels uninspiring and the colors never worked for me.

Eric Salas's picture

So you don’t shoot raw?

user-156929's picture

What do you dislike so much about the A7RIII? I can't imagine it's the ergonomics because you could/would have tried that before switching.

Bálint Csizmadia's picture

I get that XQD is reliable, and I would gladly use them, but 1 is simply not enough for some of those jobs and situations where I want to be extremely sure that I have a backup. I would have been ok with one XQD and one UHS-II sd card slot, even if sacrificing some speed, but having a backup. You could always just not use the second, slower slot if you want to use the full speed of the XQD. Being extremely unsatisfied with my D610's focus system and having tried several Sonys, I would have gladly considered the Z6 over the Sony for every spec that the Z6 has(if it proves to have reliable focus when it's released), except for the one card slot.

So, Lance, I gather that you have extensive experience with the Z7 since you're trying to take the high horse

Benton Lam's picture

Your points about whether Sony has captured the market, or have drastic advantages over traditional DSLR is completely orthogonal to whether the Nikon Z series actually sucks or not.

The only argument this article had attempted to make was that people criticized the use of an adaptor for Nikon / Canon glass on Sony, while become accepting an adaptor to make F lenses work on the Z.

This argument is already taken apart by Oliver. In essence, metabones is not endorsed by any of the OEMs and are reverse engineering the protocols; while the Nikon F to Z adaptors are made by the first party, which would know how the thing is supposed to work in the first place, with a battery of glass to test, and only care about Nikon F glass on Nikon Z bodies.

There is simply nothing in this article that justifies the click-bait title. Hell, it even calls into question as to whether the author had his hands on the Z. If one haven't actually use the product, how do one determine the quality of it?

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

because debbie downer bought into a brand and instead of being happy with their decision he has to try and shit on everything else. imagine the tornado of irrelevance he'd spew if i say the name "fujifilm."

Tim Cray's picture

That's a great point, Benton. I get a chuckle when I read all of these comments by "fan boys" (regardless of which camera brand they're using) attempts to ridicule another brand and justify why they bought the other guy's camera. The bottom line is...shoot with whatever camera, DSLR or mirrorless, that feels good in your hands and gets the job done for YOU and NOT for someone else. Period.

Maybe he is angling for Sony sponsorship?

Bill Larkin's picture

as mentioned before, one doesn't need to have hands on it to know that the battery sucks with 300 frames per cycle... and that living life dangerously if one was shooting weddings with no 2nd card backup. Can't re-do a wedding.

No eye af sucks, cropping the video frame to a DX format when selecting 120fps is not desired in any way... those are all just physical traits that suck regardless of ever touching one.

Benton Lam's picture

But you made *NONE* of those points in the article. If the title of the article is more like "Can the Nikon Z be competitive to the current Sony offerings?", we won't be having this conversation right now.

When I wrote my original comment, it was this thread (https://fstoppers.com/originals/nikon-mirrorless-system-all-little-thing...) that mentions that there's only one card slot. It also mentions the first party adaptor may reduce the effectiveness of IBIS.

In the DPReview preview, Chris N mentioned that there were also some ergonomic issues.

Had this article simply reiterated those points, you could have justified the title.

Hell, here's a freebie - It is highly unlikely that Nikon, as the first party manufacturer of both the F and Z mount, actually test a Sigma and Tamron F-mount offering with their adaptor and Z body. Hence users of Sigma lens and Tamron may be in unchartered waters with the Z system. That could be a proper critique of the new Nikon system.

Nikon DSLR owners with lots of glass will buy the Z cameras and won't switch to a different system. These, as well as the Canon FF mirrorless are meant to keep people within 'the family' and not loose them to Sony any longer.
Basically if you don't own any glass, then Sony is the way to go for the foreseeable future, otherwise you now have options within your camera manufacturer of choice.

"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"

That statement is a little skewed. There's a big difference between a native adapter and a third party adapter.

Bill Larkin's picture

Time will only tell on that for sure, given how poor this effort from Nikon is... I don't have much faith that they put any better R&D into the adapter, that said, I will certainly pay attention and see if I'm wrong about that.

So true. Sony adaptors for Alpha mount lenses are very good. Metabones can't yet match that.

Marius Pettersen's picture

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

Except better ergonomics.

Bill Larkin's picture

ergonomics is subjective too... for me (I don't have large hands) the Sony feels and works excellent, and with the button customization... it works exactly as I'd want it to. (And I'm not a Sony fanboy who's not familiar, I have used most every camera out there, even digital medium format)

Marius Pettersen's picture

Subjective, maybe, but I guess there are some sort of median size that suits larger grips than what you get with the A7. I used the A9 for a day, even with larger grip than the A7, it felt terrible in my hands with a large lens attached. It is silly of me to accuse Sony users of coping with 'terrible' ergonomics, so I'll keep it as an excuse for myself not to get one.

And better menus, and raw without baked in noise reduction, and intervalometers and focus stacking and good weather sealing, and a robust flash system.

Eric Salas's picture

I don’t understand where you’re getting this baked in iso reduction when we all turn that stuff off. Intervalometers are 20 bucks on amazon. Focus stacking isn’t needed and these bricks don’t have eye AF, a key feature ALL reviewers have said is an amazing feature.

Sony has a robust flash system, nikon has compressed raw on mirrorless, the menus on sony are fine as long as you tune your function menu ans your my menu. Intervalometer and focus stacking would be fine.

Let's go on the nikon side: exposure fixed on the first exposure for burst. If you want autoexposure, you have to set with 5.5 fps. 23 images 12 bit raw buffer deep, welcome back to 2008. 18 if you want 14 bit.

Big lenses only. Those primes are big almost as the zoom, and the lenses coming on the roadmap seem bigger.

310 images cipa rating, half of what Sony achieves in that very same test with roughly the same capacity battery.

IBIS but without pixelshift option for better color accuracy and less moiré

Michael Jin's picture

And weathersealing.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think Nikon has sort of undershot the big story of their new camera which is the size of the lens mount. It is really the only aspect of it that makes it stand out from the competition. Once the 0.95 and 1.2 lenses start coming out Nikon will have a unique advantage that Sony can't match without moving to a new mount. Assuming Gen 2 of these cameras shores up all the other weaknesses I think they are probably in a decent place but, for the most part, the first generation is a write off as most of the lens lineup won't be out for years and the benefits of the bigger mount won't even really be apparent to most users until the 50mm f/1.2 hits a couple years down the road. (Because let's be realistic, the 58mm f/0.95 manual focus is going to be a very narrow audience). Of course, this all assumes world-class optical quality. If Nikon's 50mm f/1.2 is as sharp as the Sigma 50mm ART, it will be an instant success. If it's more like the Canon 50mm f/1.2, it will be old news very quickly.

Bill Larkin's picture

Ryan Cooper I agree with most all that.

The downside, once those lenses do it, they will be just obscene price points... Nikon's very proud of their name. :)

The 50 Art Smoked Canon in the past... (still does) - and the 35 Art did, until the 35L II - which is very similar to the Art in quality, but of course higher price point.

user-156929's picture

You keep mentioning price. Maybe you should charge more!? :-)

Brian Stricker's picture

Obscene price point for the highest quality glass is better than obscene price point for just decent glass. Sony seems more proud of average lenses than most.

Eric Salas's picture

Since we’re talking price, why would anyone pay more for this camera when it’s behind on every spec but the evf and lcd screen?

Michael Jin's picture

I haven't really delved too deep into it, but is it really behind on everything? Megapixel count? Dynamic range? Autofocus speeed? Autofocus accuracy? Ergonomics? Weathersealing?

I think that the Z6 and the Z7 have some critical failures as professional cameras, but stuff like the lack of Eye-AF isn't one of them. They seem like fine cameras for the enthusiast that owns a lot of Nikon glass.

Eric Salas's picture

Every spec is behind and you’re using an adapted lens for all of it so that’s another factor added in. It’s not being a “fanboy”, it is a spec to spec comparison. They failed and people will not admit it.

And to add to it, 800 for a 50mm 1.8 native lens? The Sony FE 50mm 1.8 is 200!!! Wtf ?!

Why is everyone so blind?

Bill Peppas's picture

So, you're making judgement calls without even having seen the camera, not talking about using it too...

"Guys hear me out! The LaFerrari is crap, stay away from it"...
That's how you guys sound.

By the way, you are talking about the price.
Have you considered the quality and performance ?

You can say the same about Nikon F mount 50mm 1.8G... much pricier than the 50mm 1.8 by Canon.
Problem is, the Canon 50mm feels like a toy compared to the Nikon 50mm 1.8G and the Nikon 50mm 1.8G is also superior in every single image quality attribute compared to the less pricey Canon.

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