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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Franck Budynek's picture

Did Sony come up with the A9 straight away? No! It took them years… So give Nikon a break… I am not a seasoned professional like you guys and when I look at some of the portfolios on this site, I see great photos all around. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Phase One… they're just tools in the hands of craftsmen who have chosen the right tools for them. It's gonna be the same with the Z6 & Z7. As for me, when I'll be able to get the best out of my D810… You know what? I'll be happy!

Eric Salas's picture

It did take years but Nikon didn’t read or didn’t care to listen to all the things all other brand users said were cons in the Sony system... so now Nikon users are being put through the same pain 6 years later.
This was suppose to compete and or be “groundbreaking”... the only groundbreaking they did was step right into a pile of dog shit Sony stepped into years ago.

Bill Larkin's picture

exactly, I assumed and hoped that Nikon would have learned from the growing pains Sony went through, they did not.

Franck Budynek's picture

Eric, I do agree but I still think it's a good attempt from Nikon despite the lack of some pro features. Let's keep in mind that in recent years they've had financial instability, research and development resources spent on the wrong products (some of them dumped) or technologies, this and a ridiculous price tag strategy must have hinder the development of this new line up. For me, the Z6 and Z7 are a good step forward, albeit not perfect. I was tempted to jump to Sony myself, but their lens offering is not as wide as Nikon or Canon (though of excellent quality), my finances would not allow me a complete overall and playing around with a friend's A7III did not completely convinced me to jump in the Sony bandwagon. As for Nikon, I think they've been taking their customers for a ride for a long time now, a bit full of themselves to be honest. I am looking forward to play with these babies, will I be overwhelmed or disappointed?

Eric Salas's picture

The lens factor is negligible because I too own Canon glass and use it on my Sony. I also own minolta and a few vintage m42's that I adapt. Focus peaking is great so thankfully Nikon gave these that feature.

You'll be disappointed if you use one and then immediately use the other. One is missing key features and native lenses (the only reason I bring that up again is because everyone yelled and screamed adapted lenses suck for 6 years and now somehow when Nikon does it it's "groundbreaking" and not a fault).

If this was 2016, these cameras would be more than acceptable. In 2018, these are underwhelming at best.

If these cameras were released by Sony the bashing would continue. If these were released by Canon they would be bashed by the Nikon users. These are Nikon and here we are debating about the same flaws I dealt with when switching from Canon 3 years ago.

Franck Budynek's picture

You've got a point there…

Jozef Povazan's picture

Bill your title SUCKS ! Did you have the Z7 or Z6 in your hands and did you make any images with it? Happy shooting weekend everyone :)

sony's lens lineup is a joke compare to Nikon and Canons. If I'm going to be adapting all my lenses, I may as well use a 1st party adapter than having to rebuy everything and then buy it again for FE.

So the problem for sony is, unless you already bought a bunch of FE glass, what they have is nothing special. No tilt/shift, no telephotos of any relevancy, lackluster prime lineups full of holes. So for the Nikon shooter, there is really nothing sony brings than buying a bunch of canon glass (so you may was well buy canon's mirrorless at eventually).

and for the canon user, investing in sony glass is pointless as the EF line crushes anything sony has and they know they will eventually end up going back to a canon mirrorless, adapter or not.

There is literally NO reason to ever buy a sony camera unless you consider the lackluster FE lens lineup enough.

Eric Salas's picture

Another reactivated Nikon account. The man disappeared for FIVE YEARS just to come back and comment about Nikon’s failure of a release.

You bashed canon in 2013 and now you’re back to defend Nikon.

Nice name, L S must be like “McLovin”.

Fritz Asuro's picture

I think give the camera a chance, let other people share their experience with the camera. It's like were judging a new born baby because of its features and not what he/she can be as they grow.

Most people who get to try it liked the camera, obviously not everyone will be happy or has some things to say about the camera. But consider their positive statements, the camera looks promising!
When Sony announced the A7 (I know this won't be a fair comparison) people were skeptical of it, barely no one wants it as it was a scary territory to play with. It took some time before people appreciated what the first generation of Alpha (7, 7S, and 7R) camera can do. The second generation was good, but not good enough and users had to compromise for what it was lacking. Now they have the A7III and A7RIII, really awesome cameras at the moment.
Now Nikon is sort of playing safe by not investing a lot and just targeting pro-sumers on this first release which almost (or totally, depending on your point of view) match Sony's offering. It has room to grow and improve on JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PRODUCT.

Lastly, that single XQD slot. Deal breaker for many who relies on it, that's given. But a lot of people who might buy this won't even care if it has dual slots or not (considering its target market). The Z7 and Z6 is not the Sony A9 series of Nikon. It's more like a D610 and D750. There's probably a reason why Nikon can't fit 2 XQD or a XQD/SD combo. Most likely because of the size limitation versus the size of the XQD module.

I will get the Z6. Why? I need an everyday camera and a body for filming jobs. I have the D850 which will cater most of my work anyway.

Francisco Eduardo de Camargo's picture

I have many Nikon lenses ... Only the fact that I can use my lenses in a mirrorless without compatibility problems already makes me happy. This guy of the matter neither had the chance to try the new cameras already speaks shit.

Eric Salas's picture

When the A7Riii was released it was compared to certain cameras it was “against” and beat them being mirrorless vs DSLR.

When the 850 came out it was compared to the Riii. Still mirrorless vs DSLR.

Yesterday these were announced; no comparison is being made with the Riii because all specs but the EVF and rear screen are better...

Should we compare these to the Sony 2016 lineup? That’s a fair comparison if you want one because at least the sensors are the same.

This is mirrorless vs mirrorless but not even the specs compete, just brand loyalty. “Fanboys” on both sides but there is a clear winner. The “first gen” excuse doesn’t work because they are charging more than what the cameras are up against. It’s a flat out failure by Nikon.

Wake up!

Bill Peppas's picture

We are not sleeping.
Who told you that I'll change any of my Nikon DSLRs for a mirrorless... Nikon or not :D

Eric Salas's picture

You shouldn’t because the 850 is an amazing camera.

I think we should turn this article around, Although the Z6 &Z7 at first glance don't seem to have much advantage over the D850 or Az7Riii. On the photography field the Sony mirrorless camera's haven't really given us any edge over any current topnotch Canon or mostly Nikon top line DSLR;s either. However the new Z mount does give Nikon a tremendous amount of playroom over canon and sony mount. Whether or not the adapter will perform better or worse is more or less irrelevant to what possibilities the new Z mount offers over the canon and sony mount in the long run. Let's face it you are now faced choosing between a D850, a nikon Z7 or a A7RIII (all of wich perform fine now) I would choose the D850 over any camera. However the Nikon Z mount offers you all round sharpness on Z lenses from wide open and more playroom for even larger than full frame sensors... Now let's say they would add a larger sensor, a second memory slot, better batteries while conveniently adding a complete lens set within 3 years. Does any body still think either canon or Sony can compete with this, without changing their entire set up which is not likely within 2-3 years.. This is why the Nikon Z mount does not suck and should seriously worry both canon and Sony.

David Love's picture

My mark 3 and 4 have dual cards and work with my lens. My GH5 with metabones handles all the video. So not interested at all in mirrorless unless they start doing something magical. None of these are going to make my pics any better.

Dan Howell's picture

So...you're not saying that it is marginally or greatly inferior to the Sony, you're saying the Nikon mirrorless 'sucks'. And you haven't had one in your hands? Tried files from it? Really?

Bill Larkin's picture

yes, I am saying it sucks... because they didn't learn from the user feedback and growing pains Sony went through... they are literally trying to reinvent the wheel. - Coming in so late in the game, they had an opportunity to learn from others' mistakes... they didn't - this is why I have zero faith in anything Nikon does.

Dan Howell's picture

How do you not understand the difference between disappointment from what your expectations and strong criticism for an actual existing product which you haven't even tested. I don't care how many systems you have tried when you make a proclamation about a system you haven't. It 'sucks' is irresponsible.

I had high hopes for Nikon releasing a D4x and had even delayed making a purchase for almost a year. I needed a studio camera, but Nikon released a more general purpose camera with an emphasis on speed over image size with the D5. It didn't suit my needs, but it would be asinine for me to say the D5 sucks when it simply is suited for other photographers.

Understand the difference?

William Howell's picture

I predict the new mount will be revolutionary, the Z7 is already being lauded by pros, that this is the future.
Just imagine a 600mm f/2 at its current size!

Tyler Thomas's picture

I'm switching from the A7III to the Z6 for a few reasons:

1. The ergonomics of the A73 stink. The joystick has sharp edges that dig into my thumb. The grip is too shallow, these things are fine until you shoot a few weddings.
2. The colors are supposedly improved but they make my greens look more yellow than they should. Nikon has in my eyes, perfected the color science (this is debatable :-P )
3. The EVF in the Z6 is akin to the A7R3 which is good. The A73's EVF is my first experience with an EVF and while I have gotten used to it, it's really easy to imagine it being better.
4. I still have several f-mount lenses and it will be so nice being able to use them and get metadata! I know there's a comlite adapter out there but that thing sounds like it will ruin my lenses so I've been using a dumb-adapter.
5. The back LCD (at least on my copy) of the A73 is simply inaccurate. It shifts the hues of all colors. I should post an example sometime of how bad it is. Also, why is the orange part of the highlighted menu item so posterized?
6. Menus. When I had a Nikon I could press the question mark button and a description of the menu option I was on would explain what the option was about. Now I have to consult the online manual and Sony uses some strange terminology sometimes. The favorites page only allows you to add like 6 things and there's about 10 settings I want to have there, why Sony?
7. Start up time. The A73 is painfully slow to boot up. The time is inconsistent, sometimes it's well over 2 seconds though, which doesn't sound like much but when you're at a wedding walking around and you notice some little interaction or something, it means the difference between getting the shot or not. I obviously don't know how well the Z6 will do in this regard, I'm just hoping and praying it's better.

I am really sad about the battery life being so low... but if it means it starts up quicker that's a trade I'm willing to make.

David Penner's picture

I don't really get your complaint about the back screen not having accurate colors. If you are doing work where you need accurate colors (ie you can actually make changes to the colors in the field) you should most likely be shooting tethered with a calibrated screen. I wouldnt even trust any screen on any camera to see if my exposure is right. That is what the histogram is for.
You also mention that start up time is an issue but would take worse battery life for quicker start up time. What happens if something important is happening while you are switching out the battery. With the Sony you could just leave the camera on all day and maybe switch out the battery once. Maybe being the keyword. From what I've heard you can pretty much leave the latest gen Sony's on all day and still have juice left.
The ergonomics thing is sorta questionable too. I've got big hands and never had an issue with it. For some reason I always feel like the photographers that complain about it most likely don't even pump their own gas cuz it hurts their hand.

Tyler Thomas's picture

The back screen colors being off is just annoying, I know it doesn't affect the final product but they're so far off it's silly. Take a picture of green leaves and it will look like fall because they're yellow. A small gripe, but it exists and affects my end user experience none the less.

As for the turning on situation, I'll have your suggestion a try. The batteries are really stellar, there's no denying that. Thanks for the idea.

Ergonomically it's undoubtedly inferior. The grip depth isn't even an issue so much as the on/off switch and the joystick. They are actually quite sharp and using the camera throughout the day, you'll begin to notice it. Again, small peas but it's still a thing.

You can add 5 setting to page one in favorite menu but you can have 4 pages, just select something and move to next empty page:)

I would suggest waiting a couple of firmware updates before changing to the new system :)

Tyler Thomas's picture

Thanks for the pages tip, I knew there must be some way to do that. Do you know of any firmware updates upcoming? Maybe they'll fix the gray color of the focus area so I can actually see where my focus box is!

I wish Sony would fix it because I just can't seem the focus point much on the screen, but they are not famous for there firmware updates. Maybe next generation or a big wow.

I was actually referring to Nikon's camera, I think if you shoot Sony now better let them polish the camera with a few firmware updates before changing, if that's what you want:)

Ákos Dián's picture

This article is a joke? I mean, do you know ANYTHING about the physics of the lens mounts? There is a reason why same brand mounts (like sony a and e) need an adapter. Because the sensor distance. And aboutbthe 3rd party adabters a bit.

I only use (for my sony a6300) old fast manual lenses with adapers for them, BUT the Af mount adapters are slow AF. I had only 1 sony A mount lens (and sony adapter for it) and thats WAAAY faster than the same type lens with metabone Af adapter when I tried out in a camera store. It's usable for sure. But if you have this level of auto focus, you will only use in brand lenses, with additional adapters.

I am not a fanboy by any mean. I have no enough money for that. BUT this types of articles are just ignore the fact, that, this is a new start, and we only saw 1 types od this (sony) and they did the same way as well. And they done it right. Nikon is better experienced about camera and camera gears, let give them a try then judge.

Bill Larkin's picture

Just as I mentioned above, I really think that anyone with even a small bit of common sense working for Nikon would have learned from the feedback and growing pains Sony has done over the years... they could have learned from those hiccups and started with a great product - instead they go backwards and release these things with awful battery life, one card slot... wonky IBIS (only works 5 axis with certain Nikon lenses)

I mean does anyone at Nikon really think that any type of working photographer is good with a 300 frame battery life? I mean that kind of stuff is so basic that I expected a lot more from a supposed "big name" like Nikon. And if they are that slow at figuring something that simple out, how well is the rest of it done? I have zero faith in it.

Lance Bachelder's picture

Not a single pro who has used the new system has complained about battery life. In fact just the opposite, one person even stated they shot 1750 raw shots on one battery! Others all claiming excellent video battery life and beyond 1,000 raw shots. As far as the "kit" lenses Corey Rich, a very successful "pro" says the new 50mm 1.8 is the sharpest lens he has ever used and the 24-70 may be the sharpest zoom he's ever seen. Why are pros loving the system (yeah yeah their all Nikon Ambassadors) and the only haters are Sony fanboys who haven't even laid eyes on a Z7???

I own and make money with my A7R III along with some very expensive glass but I will test out the Z7 with an open mind as there are so many shortcomings with the Sony products. So far every frame of video and every still I've seen from the new Nikon look spectacular, can't wait to see for myself.

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