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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276 Comments

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Peter Guyton's picture

All fanboy bashing fanboy aside, the z-mount is a big part of this story here and it looks great. Heck, adapters for Z could even be made for Sony E mount and Canon glass.

But Nikon's lens production will have its hands full trying to balance F-mount development vs Z mount. (note: I'm sure the Nikon adapter will work better than 3rd party but it still won't focus "D" - screw drive - lenses which are still in the Nikon catalog). So when Nikon finally gets around to upgrading the beloved 135 F2 DC , will the new version be F or Z mount? I don't know the answer, but I think as new lenses are announced it will indicate how seriously Nikon had jumped on the ML train or , to the contrary, how much they are hedging their bets.

Hedging isn't a bad thing, per se, as it will likely keep the faithful in their camp. On the sport-shooter side, will Nikon release a D6 or a Z8 (A9 like specs)? That will also tell how fully Nikon is engaged in ML.

Sony has a lot of ways to improve (I shoot Sony now but am happy to point out their faults) and I would hope Sony takes a lesson from Nikon ergonomics-wise and perhaps make a slightly (not much, just slightly) larger body with dual XQD or CF Fast (just my personal preference). Their firmware upgrade process sucks (especially on macOS) and I also wouldn't' mind Sony taking a lesson from Fuji as I love their external controls, but that's just me. Point is, It's easy to forget how, regardless of brand, these "image capturing devices" are pretty freakin' amazing vs only 5 or 6 years ago and we should perhaps think twice before complaining. If your images suck, don't blame the equipment.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

I wont be buying it. My photography is fine with my D750 and Im looking at a D4s to further my sports photography. The horse eventers buying my photos could care less what I took the photo with so as its in focus, sharp and looks good.

You sound defensive.

Already sucks? Granted, there are decisions that have been made with the Z6/Z7 that were bad calls (one card slot being the most egregious), but come on. There's still a lot that Nikon got right that Sony still hasn't gotten right in their 3 major iterations on the A7. First is actual body ruggedness and feel. Second is weather sealing. Third is software. Sony's software is crap. The menus are illogically laid out, and there's still no intervalometer built in to the camera.

The only deficiency that Nikon has in these cameras that can't be fixed with a firmware update is the single card slot. I don't agree with that decision, but I understand why they made it. They still have the D850 on sale, and they want Pros to keep buying it, at least for the next year or so until the Z7 MK II (or whatever it is called) is released. It's a move that's solely intended to protect their flagship. It's a dumb move if you ask me, but still understandable.

There was no way Nikon could have launched with a full compliment of new glass on the improved mount, so a multi-year plan is what they are going for.

Nikon shooters with lots of glass and a preference for Nikon's build, ergonomics and ruggedness will likely wait until Z7 gen 2 before ditching their D800/D810/D850. At that point there will be several more native lenses available, and the move to the mirrorless upgrades might make sense.

user-197338's picture

Haha, just like your “Art”, you must be the biggest click-whore I have ever seen. There were some things on Fstoppers that I liked over the years, but I think there are enough quality sites out there to never visit this cesspool again.

The only specific thing you say you don't like is that is has one card slot. This is why you really say the Nikon already sucks? Really from the the article you sound like someone who doesn't want to be convinced that his favorite toy has a possible rival. I personally don't plan on switching to mirrorless, Sony or other. If I was, this article would be useless to me in making a decision.

Ted McDonald's picture

I saved for years to get a great full frame camera and last Fall I pre-ordered and purchased a D850, Nikon 24-70 2.8, and Nikon 70-200 2.8, dropping a lot of money to get what I subjectively consider two of the top camera and pro lenses on the market. I'm very disappointed right now at the thought of needing to buy new lenses.

I would rather have had a "bulky" lightweight mirrorless camera (same form factor as D850, D750, or D600 form factor) with tons of features that fit my larger hands and that fit the $4500 worth of F-mount lenses I just purchased less than a year ago.

I said it before and I'll say it again... If I have to buy an adaptor and new lenses, I'm going to seriously consider Sony.

Thank you Nikon for the new mirrorless non-F mount camera. Did you even ask us consumers what we wanted? or you just knew we'd be okay buying another set of lenses...

You do realize that there was no way Nikon was going to make their new mirrorless use the F-mount as a native mount right? That mount dates back to the 50's, and wasn't designed with high megapixels and low f-stops in mind. Canon, even though they launched the EF mount in the 80s, will have the same dilema facing t hem when they bring out their new full frame mirrorless offering.

You don't NEED to buy another set of lenses. The beauty of the adapter is that your Nikon glass will work fine. If you have G designation lenses, the adapter will handle exposure and autofocus just fine. If you have older lenses, you may lose autofocus or exposure metering, but the lenses will still work otherwise.

Relax. You D850 and lenses work just as fine today, tomorrow and a year from now as they did a week ago. And you will be able to use them on current and future Z cameras with the adapter just fine.

John Dawson's picture

Why are all of these manufacturers assuming that their sole target audience are "hybrid shooters"? Why not have a dedicated line for photo and another for photo/video? I shoot stills in a studio and occasionally on the go, so I couldn't care less about anything related to video. Oh, and the same goes for the precious eye-AF. Why should I have to pay for tech that I don't want, use or care about?

Just looked at another video from a major camera store with someone who got to test the z7. I just wish these videos were not so predictable as reviews with the amazon type disclaimer "I received this product for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review".

Ambassadors and major camera review stores: GLOWING REVIEWS!!! Not one problem. There is nothing wrong with the AF because you didn't use it for a week. Amazing best lenses. Best video. Spectacular image quality and "I used to shoot film, walk 23 miles to school, and don't wear seatbelts and I'm still alive so buy the Z7"

That face when you wanted to submit an article to Buzzfeed but the FStoppers editors accepted it anyway.

Ivan Vranić's picture

OK, Sony is better now, but what are you saying is we don't need any competition?

Bill Larkin's picture

competition would be just fine! and that's why this release was so disappointing, Nikon is starting from so far behind instead of learning from what Sony has already done. :)

Bill, I realize you are going for clicks, but come on. Nikon sells a lot of cameras today. They sell a lot of glass today. Sony sells a lot of cameras today. They don't sell nearly as much glass as Nikon.

Nikon may be starting out behind in your eyes, but on their first foray in to FF mirrorless, they got many things right that Sony still hasn't gotten right on their 3rd iteration. Let's save the doom and gloom until the cameras are at least in people's hands and those that have actual hands on experience with the cameras come to their conclusions. Saying that Nikon's mirrorless system sucks already because of 1 card slot and their aversion to granting 3rd party lens manufacturers the specs to build lenses for the Z system is hyperbole. There will be 3rd party glass for the Nikon Z system. Bank on it.

Bill Larkin's picture

there will be 3rd party glass, but how long until it comes out? we are just now getting Art lenses for E Mount. - In the meantime you'd be stuck paying for overpriced Nikon glass and still having the card issue, battery issue, evf blackout issue, sensor crop in 120fps.... all those things put Nikon so far behind Sony right from day one... Sony has to be sitting back laughing. It's like Nikon brought a knife to a gunfight, yea it "works" but not even close to as well. :)

Corey Weberling's picture

Canon and Nikon both need to be extremely aggressive if they want to actually make any kind of splash with they're releases being SOOO late in the mirrorless market.

Nikon just wasn't aggressive enough......and Canon is almost never aggressive in there strategy/products. So......I'm extremely doubtful that Canon will release anything interesting.

That being said though......people are still gonna buy these.....and they're not bad products......they're just nothing special.

Why Fstoppers Still Sucks
Sony Fanboy gives 1 Argument against new Nikon Camera calls it "Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks" [clickbait]
Thank you for nothing!

Rob Davis's picture

I own pretty much every type of camera and mirrorless is by far the least interesting camera innovation in the last 100 years. Reasonably convinced we'll find out all of these new Sony fanboys are Russian troll bots.

Ryan Davis's picture

Here's what I don't get, and I hope that Canon is listening because I have a good bit of L glass. So you've saved a lot on size and weight for the mirrorless version in comparison to, say, the d850. Weight I get. But who really cares about the size?

I've often thought that I would like my camera to be 300 grams or so lighter, but I've never said to myself "man, if this body was just 20mm shorter, and 15mm shallower, damn, that'd be awesome."

In fact, for shooters like me (I've got large... hands) the bigger body size is a positive advantage. My "take the kids to the park" camera is a fuji mirrorless, and I can't imagine something similar to my canon 100-400 on a body the size of the fuji- the fulcrum point would be way out beyond my hands. (although, to be fair, any lightening of the body will move that equilibrium forward, but with a bigger body I can exert a firmer grip to counterbalance it)

So why not make a mirrorless with the same flange distance as the existing line of lenses? The real advantages for mirrorless, to my mind, are the EVF (if it's good, and Fuji certainly converted me on that point), quieter shooting, weight, and no mirror fouling for vintage lenses. You don't need the camera to be smaller, or "shallower" to have that.

And if you have to get a whole new lineup of lenses, then why stay with Canon, or Nikon, or the brand you're currently using?

I think Nikon did an excellent job. I have been a Nikon user for 20 years, but shooting professionally with both canon (5 years full time) and Sony mirrorless ( past year ). I think its dissapoining that Fstoppers will let a Sony fanboy set this headline. Makes me think its a paid "article" from Sony. Working up to 9 hours a day with the Sony has only assured me to stay with Nikon. The ergonomics are no less than terrible with the Sony and the UI is just plain stupid. At this point I own a D810 and a D850, and from what I have seen the IMAGE QUALITY is at least on par with the D850. This makes the Z cameras worldclass from day one. And anyone who cannot take great photos with a Z, should find another hobby. And I will repeat; This "article" sounds like paid content. Even in the comments section this person rants against a camera he has never seen. The hands on reviews out there have been of pre production copies and I have no doubts this will be an excellent new era for Nikon, and will keep most of their users where they are. when my D810 has around 100.000 shots I will change to a Z camera and I know I will get a fantastic camera. Sony has stolen some customers from Canikon, no doubt, but FAR from enough to make any difference. I think Sony is crap in the daily routine. Their Image quality is as good as Nikons, and thats what make it useable, but apart from that Im not even considering the switch.

Bill Larkin's picture

Erik Fryland
Would you mind explaining your "Nikon did an excellent job"? - So to be clear...

You think 310 frames on a battery charge is "excellent"?
You think cropping the sensor to DX when you go 120fps is "excellent"?
You think not having a backup card slot is "excellent"?
You think evf blackout is "excellent"?

Sorry, my article is not paid content... and I'm not sponsored by Sony, I genuinely think Nikon really blew it on this. (and I used to be a Nikon user) They had a great chance to at least try to compete... they fell so far short that it's a joke. That is also the consensus everywhere else I read as well. Because to be fair, I have been reading what others have to say and everyone else is complaining about the very same blunders.

Thomas H's picture

I have not expected that Fstoppers would ever post an article like this. Lets pick some of the most dramatic formulations:

"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."

"At this point, I think Nikon and Canon have already lost."

The consumer will lose when we will have more products to chose from?? And Nikon/Canon "have already lost" because they offer the technology only once is has matured and someone else made the development effort, went through redesigns, perfected the solution? Such remarks do not deserve to be published in a serious web page. By that logic, once Benz or Henry Ford manufactured their car, everybody else "has already lost," because they "reinvented the wheel", literally, and 3 pedals to boot. And of course according to Mr, Larkin logic, the "consumer has lost" because we have had more car models with this samo-samo boring wheel and 3 pedals.

Similarly, once Asahi Pentax made the 1st SLR, everybody has "reinvented the pentaprism" and... consumer has lost. And Asahi has "had the market" already. Well, as we know not forever, and the consumer also won through more competition, and more offerings.

Fstopers, please remove this crap. Please, be so nice, do not publish such sophistic arguing at all.

Andre Goulet's picture

Is it just me that yearns for a super simple, well-built FF mirrorless camera (or any camera, for that matter) with a good EVF, and that's it for features? Basically, a K1000 in mirrorless, digital form. No 'zillion focus points', no 'quadrillion frames per second', no 'dozen metering modes'... nothing. Just a good, solid camera with an easy to see focus and metering point, easy controls to get to all the manual settings and fantastic battery life. Is that too much to ask for?

That is, without the cost being that of a Leica and also, not a rangefinder.

By the time you've learned to use all the crap that's in the new cameras, you could have aced manual photography 10x over.

Fuji was close there, for a while.

Eckhardt Kriel's picture

Amazing how a guy who hasn't even had a the camera in his hands can blast it - Like putting down a car he has not driven based on specs he read about.

Eric Salas's picture

So you need to drive a Miata to know it’s slower than a Ferrari ?

The specs are poor, the battery life is poor, the AF is slower than its competitor (watch the unbiased Fro-Knows from today), the S line lenses are being destroyed by all of the invited press, and you’re paying more for a camera that can’t even keep up on paper...

The people that have had their hands on it are blasting it so saying “thank you” might be the best route.

Let's see now:
Sony has 13% of the ILC market (per 2017), Nikon has 24% and Canon 40%. This in spite of Sony having had the full frame mirrorless market for themselves for many years and Nikon not offering any mirrorless other than the now defunct 1 Series.

The first 6 months of 2018, there were 70% more DSLR cameras sold than mirrorless bodies. Nikon has now launched 2 bodies that with what seems to be a very good adapter, making them compatible with more or less every F-mount lens ever manufactured, although with varying level of functionality. Please tell me how buying an A7 will improve on that functionality.

Nikon has done what any market analyst would advice them to do: Cater for their existing customers first, securing their base. This move by Nikon will make it very difficult for Sony to dig into Nikon's market share, and if Canon does something similar, Sony is pretty much stuck at 13% and will have to fight it out with Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic at the bottom end of the market.

Yavor Kapitanov's picture

I wouldn't completely agree that Nikon and Canon have already lost. This kind of statement is a little bit childish to me. The mirrorless wars are going to be super beneficial to us end-consumers because companies are going to do their best to win us over. This is the best thing that can happen for this industry and the model is the same for any other industry not just for camera makers. When there is competition things are good. Let me remind you why Canon and Nikon are far back in the game regarding innovation and mirrorless, because they had no competition. So This article is not thought of really well, sorry to say.

Jacques Cornell's picture

The article doesn't actually mention even one sucky thing about the Z7 or Z6. It's just one tiny notch above a typical Sony fanboy troll post. Fstoppers, you can do better than this.
Here's just one of many claims where the author is blinded by his adoration of Sony:
"Sony has already given us everything that Nikon or Canon are trying to produce."
Well, no. Sony hasn't given us two card slots that BOTH support UHS Class II.

Bill Larkin's picture

one sucky thing, here's several.... battery life, one single card slot, evf blackout, force crop to dx in 120fps video.... just for starters. Those are ALL things that they could have easily made better to at least try and enter the market and compete a little. What they released is laughable at best.

WOW... bye bye Fstoppers.

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