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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Previous comments

This reads like a fanboy post. Sony doesn't own the market. Sony doesn't own anyone that still shoots Nikon DSLRs or still owns Nikon F-mount lenses. And, of course, the Nikon F-mount lenses are going to perform better on Nikon mirrorless using a Nikon adapter than on Sony using a reverse-engineered third-party product that is being wedded to a non-Nikon OS.

Nikon missed a bit with this round - but if I were Sony I’d be worried! Nikon has routinely created superior images- often with Sony’s own sensors. The installed base of Nikon and Canon pros are waiting for a seamless path to mirrorless with their lenses. I’m fine with my D850 for now- but I bet the second set of mirrorless releases will be very tempting.

Does this means that the non mirroless cameras like the D850 and D5 would see a sharp price reduction? Wonder what the D900 would look like? any comments folks

David Apeji's picture

Another pointless Nikon-bashing article. No one expects Sony fanboys to embrace the new Nikon, even if it cures cancer, but these assertions, my goodness:

1. Comparing a Nikon-to-Nikon adapter to third-party adaptation is absurd. It's the SAME manufacturer. People who have used it have already affirmed the obvious, there is no decrease in performance.

2. Benefits of EVF ... blah, blah, blah. Don't you think the Nikon mirrorless has the same benefits?

3. Quoting sales figures for one 6-month period in which they had a new product and their rival didn't as evidence that they have somehow "won" the market.

4. They are using their own sensor, their own overall design, their own brand new mount that is is largest in the game and somehow they are "copying specs from Sony"???

5. The idea that Nikon is not bringing anything new. If usability matters then that is obviously not true. Having shot with the A9 over an extended weekend, I can tell you I hate the way if feels in my hand. To some of us, the way we interact with the too matters. The Sony menu system is an utter disaster.

Feel free to justify your purchase, but these bashing articles are not contributing anything.

Tim Cray's picture

Great post and points, David.

Photo Kaz's picture

The point is that it's a solid first entry into mirrorless. It might not be as good as the 3rd gen Sony's but it's far better than Sony's 1st gen. Also, there is no need for Nikon shooters to switch over to Sony. The D850 is, arguably, better than an A7R3.

For many photographers, the D500/D5/D850 cams along with a huge stable of native lenses that Sony can't touch (telephoto, PCE, macro) means they can bide their time and wait for gen 2 of Nikon's offering. They lose nothing to Sony today. Sure, in some scenarios the Sony has better performance, in others the Nikon. Both brands are doing well but Nikon still has many more customers than Sony and as long as they iterate a decent update then this is far from the 'nail in the coffin' some seem to think it is.

Same goes for Canon. They will enter mirrorless but they also have great DSLR models with a vast lens collection. I don't see Nikon or Sony knocking them from the #1 spot any time soon.

Bill Larkin's picture

I'm seeing lots of reviews on the focusing saying it's bad, and the 120p frame rate at 1080 crops the sensor which changes your perceived focal length... all bad things... https://youtu.be/iUii9dTwPkw?t=335

- clearly a wedding photographer could never consider this camera with the single card of course that's a huge gamble. Plus you'd need to carry a stack of batteries.

Bill Peppas's picture

I bet you read none of those praising its AF capabilities in video like the following


Lance Bachelder's picture

Tony and Chelsea are they ONLY ones who have actually touched the camera that are hating on it. Ironically they are also NOT professional photographers.

Emmet Adriaans's picture

Further proof that Sony shooters live in a fishbowl

Bill, I've owned a Sony A7R3 with 2 native lenses for the last 2 months. Also, I've owned two A6000's (one for IR) for 4+ years. I love them. They are the right size body wit the right size mount for the APS-C format. I own a few lenses on the slow side in order to keep size and weight small. Perfect combo for me. However, after using my A7 with the 35/1.4 and 85/1.8 I found it awkward to hold and use. It is my perhaps too early and totally inconclusive personal opinion that the Nikon Z line is the right body size-right mount size for FF mirrorless camera, not the Alpha. BTW, your work is amazing!!!

Bill Larkin's picture

Thanks Eduardo Cervantes :) - I can understand that, if you simply like the way it fits your hands better.. makes great sense!

Michael Murphy's picture

I want to go to mirror-less, I want to also use my Nikon DX format lenses as well as my older Nikon lenses however if Nikon is going to convince me to be loyal they are going to need to provide a dual card slot on the mirror-less Camera at the minimum. If Nikon can't provide that I'm thinking 2019 will see me buying the Sony A7R II Alpha or the Sony A7R iii and various lenses. I'll probably still keep and use my Nikon DSLR cameras and lenses but will probably only use them as 'backups' while I get used to the Sony systems then they'll probably go to my nieces and Grand Nephew.

Tim Cray's picture

Bill Larkin...stop criticizing a brand of camera you've probably neither held in your hands nor tested. Stop trying to analyze a system before it even hits the market. I suspect in a couple of years or so, the Nikon and Canon mirrorless cameras (once they reach maturity) will blow Sony out of the water. And before you call me a "fanboy," I happen to own the D500, D850, G9, RX10 IV, and SL1. I love all of those cameras and I use them for different situations and scenarios, too.

Bill Larkin's picture

Tim Cray if you read through above... I have used every brand many times, Nikon, Canon, Phase One, Mamiya, Sony, Fuji etc. - I'm well aware of all that.

If you love your Nikon cameras, that's great. But the bottom line is, this Z line can't even barely compete with Son'y last generation. That was the original point.

Tim Cray's picture

Yes, I did read the entire article. And if you had read my entire comment, I don't own just Nikon, but several other manufacturer's cameras. My point is...the idiotic title of your article is asinine and totally without merit. Especially, since you're basing your comments on "pre-production" specifications and not an actual production copy of the camera. Nikon will no doubt polish the firmware before they ship these cameras. It ticks me off when I read these types of articles that are based solely on conjecture and NOT fact. Until you actually use one of these Z cameras and personally see how it does in real life situations, I think you should refrain from posting such useless articles in the future.

It's bizarre how everyone is praising Nikon for the adapter and saying that it took a long time for adapters on the Sony E mount... I'm like WTF did everyone forget that Sony made an A Mount adapter so you could use all your old Minolta and Sony glass - even one with a screw drive motor??

Eric Salas's picture

They don't know about the sony adapters because they refuse to even try the system. The only argument in this entire thread is the A7Riii vs the D850 and that's Mirrorless vs DSLR.

Sony vs Nikon in Mirrorless only comparisons has a clear winner. I wouldn't switch anything for this outrageous price when Nikon has the D850 that is an amazing camera. WTF makes a Nikon user sell his D850 for either one of these...NOTHING

That is the bottom line. If this was as groundbreaking as the ad on the bottom of this page states, there would be reason to switch but there isn't... unless you're objectively looking at what Nikon brought to the table.

You sound so negative about something you haven't tried. No camera will have everything on your checklist. Buy the camera that works for you. Then go out and shoot. I'm sure it will be a great camera, and as with all companies starting a new path, the next iteration will be even better. Not only that, but professionals are not the whole camera market so what they want isn't necessarily what everyone needs or what will generate good sales to keep a company thriving ... so they can spend more on R&D for their next model.

Bill Larkin's picture

My writings are based on the specs Nikon released, which I feel, really suck. They are starting already behind Sony's last generation. They could have at lease made an attempt to compete with a current generation camera. I mean battery alone, has a company like Nikon not learned after how many years that battery matters... Would it have been so difficult to fix that problem... they can't claim its impossible, Sony already did it. That was the original point, not that you can't take one of these and go make good pics, because of course you can. The point was that they could have done a lot better for a first run. A whole lot better, without much effort.

Nathan Thach's picture

Funny how you can tell when someone is giving constructive criticism or just plain salty hate. Had my max salt intake for the day thanks to Bill, official Sony fanboy.

dslr is enough for "photography", d850 is best.

Jan Kruize's picture

It's as clear that mr Larkin is one of those sony guys yelling all day, sony is the best, sony is heaven. 9 or 10 months ago he was yelling sony is the best, sony is heaven. He was yelling about a camera with one cardslot, no joystick a crappy buildquality, poor batteries and a menu system that's the greatest mess you seen in years. Buy it said mr. Larkin and the others. Two years it was on the market and then came the A7RIII. Two years..... you should have bought that A7RII adviced by mr Larkin and others. They sold you a complete piece of crap. Why. Because nikon brought out with better specs as the A7RII and mr Larkin and others burn it down to the ground. This is what i think about it. A photographer who works in the field all day doesn't buy a mirrorless at all. He buys a camera he can trust... every day and every hour, in all circumstances. A DSLR from Nikon or Canon. This pepole know how to take a photo. They don't need eye af and they don't want to look at a crappy lcd screen.

Tim Cray's picture

Great points, Jan. Larkin is probably sponsored by Sony.

Fake News Bill Larkin

Jaran Gaarder Heggen's picture

Strange that it is so many "photographers" that need to defend their own reasons for changing systems, and in that prosess need to talk shit about other systems...

I love how he says it sucks and he hasnt even tried one in depth. It’s a great option for Nikon users who don’t want to sell years of lens’s to go to another brand simply for mirrorless camera type phones with a lens mount. Keep current gear and slowly expand into morrorless if you so choose.

user-167100's picture


Lance Bachelder's picture

Here's some crappy footage from this massive fail of a camera release... how dare Nikon!?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVG4PBqEZhg

Tim Cray's picture

What's so "crappy" about the video. Oh! I know. You're another one of those Sony "fanboys." It's painfully obvious you're just another one of those people that have absolutely nothing constructive to add to the conversation. Why don't you sit down over there in the corner and be real still.

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