Life is change and change is coming to the professional camera world. As more and more manufactures start to offer high-end mirrorless camera I have finally decided it is time to take a look at what they have to offer to my workflow. The camera system I used was rented from Lensrentals.com, Nikon Z7II with Z 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8.
Nikon has been offering the Z series cameras for a few years now, and my initial impression was this is not for me yet. Well with the update of the Nikon Z7 I decided I would have a look, now that it offers some of the features I feel a camera in its class should have.
I’ve been shooting with a Nikon my entire professional career but not exclusively. What has kept me shooting Nikon is the dynamic range and resolution their full frame DSLRs have to offer. What has always had me hating Nikon just a bit is the autofocus has really never measured up to what I think it should be.
With a heavy collection of Nikon lenses it is not that easy to just pick up and switch brands either. The Nikon Z gives you the ability to adapt F mount DSLR lenses to the new system, however my understanding is the Z lenses are superior to the older F mount lenses.Having played with mirrorless camera in the past and currently shoot with a FujiFilm X-E2, which I have always been pleasantly surprised at how capable the camera is for its size. The biggest drawback for me with any of the mirrorless cameras has always been the display or viewfinder. I remember being at a photo expo in Las Vegas and the spokesperson from Nikon telling me how great the new display is on the back of the camera. I laughed thinking this does not even come close to what the display on my iPhone looks like.
My experience with the Z7II’s viewfinder and display was a bit of a mixed review. I was impressed that I could look through the viewfinder with my sunglasses on and still have a decent view, however I felt even with my sunglasses off it was very challenging to make out extreme highlights and shadows. The display on the back was clean and clear but of course in bright sunlight needed to be shaded in order to be viewed.
What I can tell you is the autofocus on the Z7II is very good especially when shooting people in face detection mode. I found that it often focused on the eye of the person closest to the camera, and images were in perfect focus. Having autofocus points that covered the entire frame took some time getting used to, but was a nice addition over the limited autofocus fields of the Nikon DSLRs.
Image quality and the Z 70-200mm f2.8 lens was outstanding. I tested the Z 24-70 f2.8 but the first copy I got was soft and by the time I had the second copy in my hands I didn’t have anyone to shoot. I did walk around and shoot a few snapshots with the 24-70 but did not feel I was able to fully test this lens to render judgement.
If you are new to photography and looking to get a mirrorless camera because of the ease of seeing your image before you take it then the Nikon mirrorless cameras might be the way to go. The Z7II and its kit Z 24-70 f4 lens could be a good combinations, but an expensive one at well over $3,000. Nikon offers several mirrorless camera models the Z6II kit the baby brother to the Z7II will keep you under a $3,000 budget and the even more budget minded Z5 will keep you under $2,000.
I’m still not sure if the Z7II is for me. I’ve been very happy with how the D850 works with my existing lenses and has fantastic image quality. So I think the next mirrorless for me maybe the recently announced FujiFilm X-E4 small light and equipped with a display that flips up for self filming and photos.
Always, as a reminder, the best camera is the one that you always have with you and I absolutely love some of the images I have taken with my iPhone 11 Pro. You can find a few helpful videos I made on making better photos with the iPhone on the 1SP YouTube Channel via these links: