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

Till you pick it up and start using it for around a month or so you will know if it is a good investment or not. Sony has been great , but to just dismiss the entire camera system without even using it is a little rough.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

Was this click bait? It seems like click bait. Did you have a Nikon Z camera in your hands? Or is your opinion based on... informed opinion.

I guess your post makes sense, judging by how Sony came last into DSLR and they sucked so much, so the same must happen to Nikon and specially Canon, since they are the last to the mirrorless party I guess...

Oh, and yes, I do trust in an adapter from the manufacturer that has all the proprietary IP necessary to make one work, rather than a third party retro-engineering something to work.

And, even if image quality was the same, do you know what would interest me the most? Ergonomics, menus that make sense, build quality, body sealing... Still won't go for that EVF though.

Until Sony offers 10bit color for video either internal or piped through hdmi Sony is a non-starter for me. I have an A7s ii and our ability to push a grade is severely limited compared to other cameras we have ( gh5s / kinifinity Terra 6K).

Nikon may be late to the game but at least they had the good sense to give us a 10bit 422.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

I admit I've never used Nikon gear, but Its easy to see how well their high end cameras perform. I honestly thought they were going to hit it out of the park with this new mirroless system. It was definately a missed opportunity.

you people are too negative. you're complaining just because the camera has only one single card, has a buffer of only 15 shots, unreliable continuous af, only 15min video recording per battery, no eye af, evf blackout delay, and only a handful of native lenses?

Bill Peppas's picture

You are as unreliable and misinformed as Bill who wrote the "article" here.
For starters, the video recording per battery on the Z6/Z7 is 85 minutes.

EVF Blackout delay... you too tried the Z6/Z7 like Bill and found out about that huh ?

Christos Dikos's picture

A few months back Nikon was bragging how this camera was going to be vastly superior to existing mirrorless FF. The Z7 is arguably behind the 1 year old A7r3.

Studio 403's picture

I wrote a note on a previous post. Being a Nikon Fanboy, I was so underwhelmed by Nikon new entry. What added “whistle and Bells” Nikon is adding does not come close to Sony. Yes Nikon has more lens’s etc. Inherent in any company and as old as Nikon is, they like many other old companies, to late and overpriced by $500 in my view. I have all Nikon stuff with my trusted Nikon D610, which was a replacement for the ill fated Nikon D600, a huge blunder. I will be owing to Sony whe I can, At my age, and what I do the Sony Weill do all that I need and more. I am sure Nikon will continue on, but I think will loss another 6% of market share in the next 2 yrrs. The D850 D5 are like the best for the money. My pocket book and what I do, does not command these high end gear. Sony is the new kid on the block and they have a a lot to prove, and they will. Nikon and Canon will maintain I guess but slowly lose market share, and it makes me sad.

Michael Jin's picture

Adapters made by Nikon for Nikon cameras and Lenses > Adapters made by 3rd parties for Nikon lenses on other cameras? Pretty simple, really...

Color Thief's picture

I scanned this article title: "Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks" for any indication that the author had even SEEN the camera let alone touched or used it. No surprise…no. The author has not even touched the camera and knows it sucks. Total BS.

This article sucks. Fails to see these cameras are not professional cameras and are for the enthusiasts and prosumers. Nikon will most assuredly make a Z8 or Z5 which will be analogous to a D500 and D850 which are their pro cameras that will offer for their respective prices all that a pro needs. The D850 just came out, why would they make a camera to compete with that? These cameras only needed to be close or on part with Sony offerings and they did just that with a first release. Of course I won't buy any of them for I don't have a need but there will plenty of people who will despite articles like this because it fits their usage.

Caleb Berg's picture

What a totally idiotic article, just entirely hyperbole and conjecture. Absolutely no technical, professional or educated information at all. Just some guy who likes Sony, trying to convince us he was right. Can't believe such useless nonsense would be called an article by Fstoppers. Really guys, you can find better articles than this seriously!

Bill Larkin's picture

It was based on the specs and facts released by Nikon. 300 frame battery life, one card slot, evf blackout, no eye af and a high price... Sony wins in every category. The article had nothing to do with justifying my own choices, it simply has to do with the facts about what Nikon announced.

Michael Jin's picture

Reasons I haven't jumped to Sony (gave it some serious thought):

I dislike their ergonomics.
I don't trust their weathersealing.
There are no really good adapter options for Nikon glass (Canon users have better options here) that I can use while I slowly make a transition into native glass.
Servicing infrastructure isn't quite as robust yet.

If Sony really wants to drive the nail in, perhaps they should release a body that has great weathersealing and similar ergonomics to Nikon and Canon cameras. I'm not saying that all of their cameras need to be like that, but that's the beauty of mirrorless tech. It allows for a lot more options in form factor and I find it astounding that not one of their cameras is aimed at people who really care about comfort and weathersealing.

Jimminy Crickets people putting down one camera over another is just silly. Camera choice is subjective. Your idea of the perfect camera is probably going to differ from my idea of the perfect camera! At the end of the day all that matters (in my humble opinion) is finding enjoyment out of this wonderful craft using whatever tools you personally enjoy using :)

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture

i think at this stage (pre production, software version is only 0.5) its ok at least ok... i understand why they didnt add 2 card slots... but i dont understand why didnt they add horizontal flip screen?
PS i dont care of eyeAF if its in camera so ok if not its ok too

Maybe you all should stop fighting join team Fuji. Instead of fan wars and DxO Mark we have popcorn, cookies and dials on our cameras. Dials are awesome. Oh, and medium format. Full frame is so 2016.

Third party makers of active adapters have to guess how cameras and lenses communicate. Camera manufactures don't reveal this information. Adapter makers have to do what's called backward engineering. Nikon on the other hand knows exactly how the communication protocol works, hence they have full control.

Perhaps you have noticed the constant flow of firmware upgrades from third party adapter makers. That's because they relied on guesses and sometimes got it wrong. That's where Nikon have a huge advantage, since there adapter is built on known specs.

Paul G's picture

What an awful article.

Ed Sanford's picture

Elementary school question: when I look at a print hanging in a gallery, will I be able to discern whether it was made on a mirror less vs a DSLR?

Wonder Woman's picture

'Sony shill scared of competition writes article'

Bill Larkin's picture

LOL, hardly. As mentioned. The things that suck about the new Nikon are just physical facts, they are not subjective to the way any of us "want". Such as terrible battery performance, that's just a fact... cropping the frame to DX on 120fps video, just a fact. - Single card slot, just a fact.

Nothing to be scared of, this Nikon is barely even a potential threat to Sony's previous generation A7RII - much less the A7RIII which runs circles around the Z series, by specs alone. Nikon could have learned from the growing pains of the past and made a real competitor, instead they are already starting a couple years behind instead of starting from current technology. That was the entire point.

Bill Peppas's picture

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-z7-first-impressions-review/6

"Autofocus in video is up there with the best. Tracking and refocusing on subjectives is intuitive and reliable... besting what Canon and Sony offer"

"The Nikon mirrorless already sucks" - Bill Larkin

Here are a couple of reasons why Nikon move is great for everyone!

1) Sony created the FF mirrorless niche. And they own it since there's no real competition (except Fuji). Now there's real competition and we'll see who wins it. For me that's awesome.

2) 3rd party lenses do create some awesome glass once in a while, especially if they've licenced the specs from the camera producer. But the vast majority of Sigma or Tamron lenses are nowhere near the Nikon or Canon glass simply because reverse engineering is tough and can put a big dent in how good a lens is (the optics might be awesome if you have back AF it's useless). With this move it will put more pressure on 3rd party lens manufacturers;

3) For most photo hogs quality is a big big issue. I've put my lenses through hell, my camera si far from nice and shiny but it's well built and solid as as a rock. Sony rushes things and just remember the star eater issue. With Nikon in the game such glitches will count a lot more and Sony will have to step up their game.

4) Feature set it a myth. Because at this point Olympus is the most advance mirrorless out there when it comes to feature set. By far! I would love to see a mirrorless FF from them.

5) Sony glass is as expensive as Nikon's or Canon's. But as photographer if I can still use my beloved and trusted glass using an adapter that is built by the same company who makes both the glass and the camera (and that kind of makes the whole difference in the world). For me the advantage is huge. Sony needs to move fast. Maybe buy Sigma, or work closer with them to create better, more affordable lenses. That will in turn put pressure on Nikon and Canon. So again it's a win for me.

6) People are always subjective when it comes to choosing a camera. I can't prove to you that Sony has shitty colors, bad ergonomic, slow focus, boots up as fast as a Windows Vista and poor battery life. But I can tell you that I tested a A7II and an A7R and well, that's how it felt to me. I just knew, Sony was not the one. Other people will think differently but that doesn't make my opinion any less valid. But with competition they will need to address such issues.

I own Canon and Fuji. Tried Olympus and Sony. Started shooting on a Nikon. I'm not a pro, it's just a hobby.

heikoknoll's picture

I think the author should remember that in being a photographer, you should concentrate more on the imgage than the gear. This author I believe concentrates more on gear than his profession: ". . .after using every camera system and switching back and forth from Canon to Nikon several times and even shooting Phase One digital medium format. . ." This to me sounds like someone who, with very much money, nervously jumps around trying to find the toy which suits him best. And yes indeed this is his biggest worry also about the mirrorless gear: "..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". A camera is not a toy but a piece of working equipment. If one hadn´t the choice, you would get used to every quipment if you really were interesting in getting the shot. I think that people who feel unhappy with their own result tend to blame the equipment for that. One that then has to be quickly gotten rid off -- just like going to Wall Mart and buying a new toy. There is no perfection in equipment, and some migth be better suited for one person than the other - but cameras in this range never "suck". Most of the things people babble about aren´t really any problems - even the thing about only one card slot being the biggest mistake. Well, for one thing, even in the past you could loose a roll of film during a wedding. The lab might make a mistake. And even if that happens, and it happens really very rarely, it wouldn´t be the end of your career. It has happened the last 50 years and it will keep on happening in the futurue, so don´t concentrate on all the double and triple backing up crazyness.

I remember when digital was in its infancy Canon saw the potential and started to come out with the first DSLR cameras . In the mean time Nikon stood still . Some time afterwards Nikon started to come out with some digital cameras but Canon already had a significant part of the market if not most of it and their cameras were acepted as better then the Nikon counterpart .

Then Nikon came out with some good DSLR cameras as the D200 and D300 and the D80 and D90 for the entusiast not mentioning a body for the promarket . All of a sudden things started to change market wise till Nikon not only catched up to Canon but exceeded it in some specs as dynamic range .

Of course all this cost Nikon as in the mean time while Nikon was playing catchup Canon was selling very good DSLR and building up their riches . I can see the same thing happenning again . Sony right now is on the top of the mirrorless cameras market but the war has started and we the consumer will benefit the most as the camera manufacturer go to war and start to make their offerings better and better trying to stay on top . By the way , did Nikon rush this product because as I see it its not a reasonable contender to detrone Sony . 1 card slot ? Only 300 and something photos per charge . No eye detection ? Or either Nikon rushed the product in order to come out on the market before Canon did or they did it in order to have some space to upgrade next time around .In any event in order to know the why we have to wait for the expert reviews come out . Maybe the Nikon has a significant advantage over the sony image wise that might smooth things over in Nikons direction . We will just have to wait .

S line lenses have big potential, better ergonomics for a ML FF, better EVF. Downside is no eye AF and one card slot, how much that matters is up to the consumer

Digital Darkroom's picture

I don’t think the issue of adapters is more nuanced than it’s being portrayed.

It’s one thing to have Sony use a metabones adapter for a Nikkor or Canon L lens, you have three different companies trying to make a process work.

But to have Nikon make an adapter for their own lenses for their camera is a whole different animal. The integration should be seamless.

Sigma did the smart thing and created their own adapter for EF lenses. Now you only have to deal with them and Canon if an issue arises.

The new Z mount size probably has more to do with adapting existing Nikkor lens than anything else.

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