We’ve been actively testing the Nikon z7 for the past couple of weeks; and it’s really not as bad as the internet is making it out to be.
“I think I like this grip more than the Sony!” is what Reviews Editor Paul Ip said about the new Nikon z7 when he held it in his hands recent. Indeed, the internet sat there complaining about a million things in regards to the Nikon z7. But in my testing, I’ve honestly not found it to be too terrible of a camera. Is it behind in some ways? Yes; but so is Canon with their weird Face detection and Sony with their lack of an actually useful touchscreen. Not to mention Panasonic still hasn’t even brought their full frame camera to market yet. But in terms of actual, honest use, it’s not terrible–but there are surely things that are annoying.
One of the biggest things spoken about on the web has been the autofocus. In most reports, it’s pretty awful. And again, in my experience, I have to agree in certain situations. When using a specific autofocus point, the Nikon z7 can be very slow and sometimes inaccurate to focus on a subject in low lighting. I haven’t seen this issue yet in bright, well lit situations thankfully. But the best autofocus performance thus far that I’ve experience with the Nikon z7 is in regards to the fully automatic focus. In my tests it has detected faces with little trouble. However, there are times that the camera doesn’t know what the focus on. Even though it focuses on something quickly and accurately, it won’t always focus on what you want. In that case, what’s the point of dropping that much dough on the Nikon z7?
Then there is the issue of the single XQD slot. It’s annoying for sure. I genuinely abhor needing to plug it into an adapter and then put that into my iMac. Instead, I much prefer the SD card standard that has been around for years now. Well, that, and I hate having to bring yet another USB cable around or a dongle if I’m using my MacBook.
As far as the image quality goes, the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom look good and I can’t wait to see what they’ll look like in Capture One. There are reports of banding in low light and artificial light at higher ISOs. However, again in our experience, we’re not really seeing anything that is absolutely awful. I also think that if you’re buying this camera, you’re doing it because you’re seriously considering Nikon or you’re already in the Nikon DSLR system. You’re not going to leave Sony or Fujifilm for it necessarily–at least not with this initial model. While I don’t think this is going to fully replace your Nikon D850, I think that it’s going to be a nice accompaniment.
What I’m really impressed by is the image stabilization. This image above was shot at 1/13th and while moving. Not bad even though it still isn’t crisp, right?
Now here’s the other major issue that I’m experiencing: color. Nikon’s color algorithms have always been an odd beast to me but even more so here in the auto white balance modes. This is definitely a camera for those who shoot locked in at certain Kelvin temperatures or white balances. As it is, I probably wouldn’t even use Nikon’s own Incandescent setting and instead just go right to 3200K.
We’re still working with the camera. And as it is, we’re very impressed with the Nikon 35mm f1.8. We’ll have more to come soon in our full review.