Basic Specifications
Full model name: Nikon Z7
Resolution: 45.70 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(35.9mm x 23.9mm)
Kit Lens: 2.92x zoom
24-70mm
(24-70mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 64 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 32 - 102,400
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 sec
Max Aperture: 4.0 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7 in.
(134 x 101 x 68 mm)
Weight: 41.4 oz (1,175 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 09/2018
Manufacturer: Nikon
Full specs: Nikon Z7 specifications
45.70
Megapixels
Nikon Z 35mm
size sensor
image of Nikon Z7
Front side of Nikon Z7 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z7 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z7 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z7 digital camera Front side of Nikon Z7 digital camera

Nikon Z7 Review -- Now Shooting!

by Mike TomkinsJeremy Gray
Preview posted: 08/23/2018
Updated: 11/01/2018

Updates:
08/24/2018: Gallery Images & Sample Videos added
09/13/2018: Production unit First Shots posted
10/01/2018: Performance posted
10/16/2018: Field Test Part I posted
11/01/2018: Field Test Part II posted

 

Click here for our in-depth Nikon Z7 Hands-On Video and Product Overview

 

• • •

 


Want to learn more about how the Nikon Z7 was designed and built?

Click here to read our deep-dive interview with
Nikon engineers from the Z7 launch event in Tokyo, Japan.

 

• • •

A mirrorless camera that feels like a Nikon camera The NIKKOR legacy continues The most advanced imaging system available Let there be more light Built for video A feast for the eyes Speed and precision Well connected
Proven form factor

Z series cameras embody the elegance, durability, handling and operation of award-winning Nikon DSLRs—just in a smaller package.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
A mirrorless you can hold

A large, deep grip for balanced handling, even when using telephoto F-Mount NIKKOR lenses. Comfortable ergonomics, thoughtful button placement and an easy to use GUI.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
A touch of genius

Intuitive touchscreen control for navigating menus, adjusting settings, reviewing shots, selecting focus and even taking photos and 4K UHD videos.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Feather Light, Battle Ready
Feather Light

Lighter than comparable DSLR camera bodies with a thinner, more compact footprint.

Battle Ready

Built with the same rugged Magnesium Alloy material and weather-sealing as Nikon professional DSLRs.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
A familiar interface

The Z 7 has a clear, simple menu system that’ll be familiar to existing Nikon DSLR shooters and easy to master for newcomers.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
The front line of the imaging revolution

Meet the first in a new generation of NIKKOR lenses. Designed around the new larger Z Mount and beautifully matched to Z series cameras, NIKKOR Z lenses embody the ultimate in image quality with near-silent operation—all in a smaller, lighter package.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
The lenses you love, enhanced by Z

With the optional Mount Adapter FTZ, Z series cameras are fully compatible with over 90 F-Mount NIKKOR lenses, which retain all their sharpness, rendering power and functionality. Plus, they gain so much: smooth, fast Hybrid-AF*, silent shooting, in-camera VR and more. In total, approximately 360 F-Mount NIKKOR lenses can be used.**

*Full AF/AE supported when using FX or DX AF-S Type G/D/E, AF-P type G/E, AF-I type D and AF-S / AF-I Teleconverters

** For compatibility details with the new optional adapter, please visit nikonusa.com/mirrorless

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Brains and beauty

EXPEED 6, the most advanced Nikon image processing yet, powers breathtaking image quality, liberating low-light performance and versatile video capabilities.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Small and mighty

Mirrorless design and an impossibly short flange distance—65% shorter—allows for smaller lenses, thinner bodies and new optical formulas, including lenses with a maximum aperture of f/0.95.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Unconventional compatibility

Seamless compatibility with beloved F-Mount NIKKOR lenses*, Speedlights and other DSLR accessories as well as new NIKKOR Z lenses.

*For compatibility details with the new optional adapter, please visit nikonusa.com/mirrorless

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Rock-steady with any lens

A 5-axis optical VR system is built right into Z series cameras for up to 5 stops* of image stabilization when using NIKKOR Z lenses and up to 3-axis VR when using F-Mount NIKKOR lenses. Additional electronic VR (e-VR) can be combined during video capture.

*Based on CIPA Standards. This value is achieved when the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens is attached, with zoom set at the maximum telephoto position.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Powerfully cinematic

The video advantages of mirrorless design—fast, accurate on-sensor Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), in-camera VR and a brilliant Electronic Viewfinder—plus the most robust 4K UHD video feature set on any Nikon camera yet.

(Shown with Redrock Micro Shoulder Rig & Nikon ME-1 Microphone, sold separately)

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Golden silence

Mirrorless design, on-sensor PDAF and whisper-quiet lenses let you shoot with complete stealth. Capture special moments without interrupting them.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
17% wider mount*

At 55mm, it’s the largest full-frame mount on any camera system, allowing more of everything: more light capture, more data sharing between lens and camera and more image quality performance.

As of August 23, 2018   * Compared to Nikon F mount  **Illustrative purposes only. Not to scale.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
65% slimmer flange*

By seemingly breaking the laws of optics with just 16mm of flange distance, Nikon can now deliver smaller and lighter cameras and lens designs impossible in any other mirrorless system.

*Compared to Nikon F Mount

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Built for Video 1

Full-frame 4K Ultra HD: Cinematic 16:9 4K UHD/30p video with the sharpness and dynamic range of Nikon’s full-frame image sensors.

8K Time Lapse*: With Z 7, shoot up to 9,999 full resolution stills with zero shutter vibration.

Hybrid AF for video: Silky smooth, near-silent AF with automatic switching between phase-detect and contrast-detect AF.

120 fps slow motion: Bend time with ultra-smooth 1080p slow motion sequences

*Requires interval timer settings and 3rd party software.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Built for Video 2

10-bit HDMI output: Record uncompressed footage with 64x more color data* directly to an external capture device.

New Nikon N-log: Preserve maximum detail, dynamic range, shadows and highlights for more control and creativity in post-processing.

*Compared to 8-bit. Requires optional HDMI Connecting Cable.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
A feast for the eyes

EVF Pure Viewing Experience: Absolutely stunning 3.6M-dot electronic viewfinder with Nikon optics, real-time previewing, a custom in-screen menu, minimal blackout during fast shooting. And it can be used during video recording.

3.2-inch Tilting Touchscreen: Compose with crystal clarity on a large, 2.1M dot display that tilts for easier high and low shots. Touch to focus and fire the shutter. Navigate menus, playback and more as if you were using a smartphone.

OLED Dot-Matrix Panel: Review key camera settings from the top of the camera on a low-power OLED screen, just like high-end Nikon DSLRs.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
The need for speed

Fast continuous shooting: Shoot up to 12 FPS with Z 6 and 9 FPS with Z 7 at full resolution in 12-bit RAW or JPEG without the need for an external battery pack.

Faster lens-to-camera communication: The Z Mount allows higher-speed, larger-volume communication between the lens and camera body for dramatic gains in AF adjustments and image processing—for today and the even faster cameras of tomorrow.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Advanced wireless capabilities

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy: Z series cameras easily connect using Nikon SnapBridge* with compatible smart devices for remote shooting and transferring JPEG photos on the go.

Wire-free to your Mac or PC: Connect to a Mac or PC using Z series cameras’ built-in Wi-Fi for monitoring and transferring JPEG, RAW or video.

*Download required

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7
Seamless integration

The Z 7 is compatible with the full Nikon DSLR system—Speedlights, remotes, wireless transmitters, external mics and more.

Mirrorless Reinvented Learn more about the Nikon Z 7

 

Nikon Z7 Field Test Part II

A flexible and versatile full-frame mirrorless camera with few flaws

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 11/01/2018

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 24mm, f/8, 30s, ISO 160.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Recap of Field Test Part I

In my first Nikon Z7 Field Test, I evaluated the camera's design and handling, JPEG image quality and discussed autofocus and performance. In this Field Test, I will be looking closer at the camera's features, discuss video quality and look closer at the Z7's raw files before giving my last word on the Nikon Z7.

Image stabilization

The Nikon Z7 features 5-axis in-body image stabilization. Nikon states that the system delivers up to 5 stops of vibration reduction. Nothing about my experience contradicts Nikon's claims. In my own use, the system seemed capable of not only delivering sharper handheld images, but also -- and perhaps even more importantly -- it did an excellent job of stabilizing the live view image in the viewfinder and on the display. Overall, the IBIS system works well and is an excellent inclusion.

Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S, f/1.8, 1/5s, ISO 125.
Image stabilization enabled. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S, f/1.8, 1/5s, ISO 125.
100 percent crop from the above image. Image stabilization enabled. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
 
Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S, f/1.8, 1/5s, ISO 125.
100 percent crop from image captured with image stabilization disabled. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Shooting with the Nikon FTZ adapter

While the native glass is good so far and Nikon's roadmap looks promising, existing Nikon shooters will want to know how to use their F-mount lenses on the Z7. Fortunately, it's easy. All you need is the Nikon Mount Adapter FTZ, which costs $249 USD. There is not a lot to the adapter; it is essentially a weather-sealed, magnesium alloy tube that acts as intermediary between an F-mount lens and the new Z Mount while allowing full electronic communication, including full AF and AE on over 90 Nikkor lenses. There are no optics inside the adapter. Further, there is an integrated tripod mount, which is nice, especially when using long lenses because it reduces stress on the Z7's lens mount. However, the tripod mount can get in the way of a tripod plate attached to the bottom of the Z7. This was the case with my plate as I needed to remove the tripod plate and attach it to the FTZ adapter.

The bottom of the FTZ adapter protrudes below the body of the Z7. That combined with the Z7's more forward-placed tripod socket makes it difficult to use the adapter while keeping a tripod plate attached to the camera. However, this experience might vary depending on the style and size of your tripod plate.

Thanks to the Z7's built-in image stabilization, you can now shoot stabilized with many different Nikon F-mount lenses that do not have built-in VR, including lenses like the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, 20mm f/1.8 and 105mm f/1.4E. If the adapted lens has VR, the Z7 adds roll axis stabilization in addition to the lens' own stabilization.

Adapted Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G, f/2.0, 13s, ISO 3200.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Optical performance of adapted lenses is perfectly good on the Z7. My Nikkor F lenses performed precisely how I expected them to with respect to sharpness across the frame, vignette and everything else. Autofocus performance, however, was a bit of a mixed bag. Some lenses, like the Nikon 20mm f/1.8G, worked well and focused quickly and accurately. Other lenses, such as the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E, focused well in some situations and not as well in others. I found that performance varied a fair bit on which autofocus point I was using. The further away from the center I got with my autofocus point, the less precise and fast the focusing performance was. As you can see below, my landscape-orientation images were sharp and in focus whereas the same settings and scene shot in portrait orientation delivered less-impressive results. However, in other situations, the lens focused well in both orientations.

Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 440mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 72.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 440mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 72.
100 percent crop of the above image. As we can see, it's sharp and in focus. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
 
Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 64.
100 percent crop of the above image. Simply rotating the camera and focusing on the bird's head in portrait orientation really threw the Z7's focus accuracy off. This was the case across a hundred shots, landscape shots were in focus and portrait images with similar or identical settings were out of focus. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Further testing is required and adapted lenses typically worked well, but I thought that it was nonetheless worth mentioning that I did encounter some focusing issues. With that said, overall, the mount adapter works as advertised and being able to shoot with VR on non-VR lenses is excellent. Further, you can adapt any FX or DX lens that is G, D or E-type with full AF/AE, which is impressive. You can adapt many non-CPU lenses to have VR as well, provided that you register the focal length into the camera's menus. The adapter is a must-have accessory for anyone with existing Nikon glass.

In the Field

Landscapes

My favorite type of photography is landscape photography, so it's something I do a lot of with every camera I review. There are multiple aspects of a camera that can make it better or worse for landscape photography, and the Nikon Z7 does lot of things correctly in my book.

Firstly, build quality. The Z7 is a robust camera with good physical controls. Importantly, the controls work well when wearing lightweight gloves even though the buttons are smaller than those on the D850 and the control dials have a less pronounced surface. I do miss the illuminated buttons of the D850, but the Z7 is still easy to use in most situations. The camera is made easier to use because of the display's tilting functionality. Without the ability to swivel, the two-axis tilt mechanism is not useful when shooting in portrait orientation, but it does well in landscape orientation, particularly when working at an odd angle. Finally, weather sealing is really important to me as a landscape photographer, and the Z7 has the same level of weather resistance as the D850, so that's excellent, too.

Size and weight are important as well, especially when I have to hike to a location. I will carry heavier gear if it means getting a better image, but in the case of the Z7, you get great full-frame image quality in a smaller and lighter package than the Nikon D850. Granted, if you are adapting lenses, some of that advantage is lost because you will need to carry an adapter and the relatively larger F-mount glass, but if you are using Nikkor Z lenses (the ones released so far, anyway), then you end up with a much smaller and lighter setup than a Nikon D850 or other full-frame Nikon DSLR camera.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 67mm, f/13, 13s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Regarding image quality, the Nikon Z7 is very similar to the D850 in terms of sharpness and base ISO dynamic range. For landscape photography, I usually shoot at base ISO as to maximize dynamic range, so the fact that the Z7 delivers great raw files at ISO 64 is hugely important to me. Further, the camera is easy to use with manual focus, so that's nice as well. Regarding manual focus, the Z7 offers focus peaking in multiple sensitivities and you can zoom in to 100 percent by clicking the magnification button on the back of the camera once.

Overall, I very much enjoyed shooting landscape images with the Nikon Z7.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 24mm, f/14, 4s, ISO 64.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Wildlife

For wildlife, the Z7 is not obviously a better choice than the D850. Granted, a Nikon D5 or D500 are also fantastic wildlife cameras. The Z7 does have some nice things going for it as a wildlife camera, however, such as a smaller size and a silent shooting option. There's also its expanded autofocus point coverage across the frame, but I don't think its overall focusing performance is quite as good as the D850. While the D850 doesn't have a hybrid autofocus system covering 90 percent of the image area in horizontal and vertical directions, I think it bests the Z7 with respect to low-light autofocus and continuous autofocus. The D850 has better 3D autofocus capabilities and just generally feels more reliable.

Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 500mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 2500.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Further, the Z7 has more shutter lag than the D850 and slightly slower 14-bit RAW recording speeds than a gripped D850 (8 frames per second versus 9 fps). If you shoot 14-bit RAW files at 7 fps, which is the speed without a grip on a D850, the buffer is 200 frames deep and it clears in just under 2 seconds. The Z7, on the other hand, shoots around 1 fps faster but has a 19-frame buffer that clears in just under 5 seconds. While both cameras are impressive, the D850 is better all-around with respect to continuous shooting thanks to its deeper buffer. The D850 also has a very good optical viewfinder and while the Z7's EVF is fantastic, an optical viewfinder is still generally a bit better for tracking a subject during fast shooting.This latter point is somewhat subjective, but buffer depths aren't, and the more action you can capture, the better.

Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 500mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 4000.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

With that said, I still enjoyed photographing wildlife with the Z7 and wouldn't hesitate to adapt a long lens to the Z7 and head out into the field for some wildlife photography. It's a good wildlife camera, just not quite as good as the D850.

Video

While the Nikon D850 made some really nice strides with respect to shooting video, the Z7 advances to another level and is Nikon's most capable full-frame video camera. While a full video field test is forthcoming, I wanted to give a general overview of the Z7's video features and briefly discuss its performance.

Looking at features, the Z7 can shoot 3,840 x 2,160 (4K UHD) video at up to 30 frames per second and 1,920 x 1,080 (Full HD) video at up to 120 fps. As has been the case with other Nikon cameras, you do need to rotate the shooting switch on the back of the camera from stills to video before recording video. Recording video is otherwise a simple and enjoyable experience on the Z7. The mode dial works as you'd expect, there's a dedicated movie mode, which allows you to import your settings from photo mode. The touchscreen works well for moving focus and adjusting settings in a quiet and convenient way. The Z7 also includes mic and headphone jacks, which is great.

Looking at the 4K video quality, it's worth noting that you can record using the full width of the sensor, which is excellent. The video itself is sharp and detailed, especially at lower ISOs. Color rendition and dynamic range is good as well. You can record in a new N-Log format, which offers a view assist to make it easier to see as log video can look very flat, and there's focus peaking even when recording in 4K, something prior Nikon cameras have not offered. Further, there's 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output, which should please video-heavy users.

Nikon Z7 4K Video #1
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8.
Download Original (419.8 MB .MP4 File)

When considering higher ISOs, the camera continues to produce nice video. At ISO 1600, the video quality is very good. At ISO 3200, you start to lose coarser details and at ISO 6400, the loss of detail continues and there is a fair bit of grain and visible noise. At ISO 12,800, the quality degrades further and finally, at ISO 25,600, the quality is poor and not worth using.

Nikon Z7 4K Video #2 - ISO 64
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8. ISO 64.
Download Original (133.2 MB .MP4 File)

Nikon Z7 4K Video #3 - ISO 1600
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8. ISO 1600.
Download Original (144.2 MB .MP4 File)

Nikon Z7 4K Video #4 - ISO 25600
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8. ISO 25,600.
Download Original (228 MB .MP4 File)

As far as video autofocus performance is concerned, it's never been a strong point for Nikon DSLR cameras and it's not exactly a strong point for the Z7 either, although I do think it's better than we've seen from previous Nikon cameras. While continuous autofocus can still struggle a bit and the camera does make some overcorrections and clunky focus adjustments during video recording, the Z7 is more decisive than the D850 was during recording and definitely displays less wobbling, especially when using Nikkor Z lenses. You can tweak focus settings to make transitions in focus a bit smoother as well, but for the purpose of this review, the two videos below were captured with default settings. In the first video, the backlit scene proved challenging for the Z7 although it was able to generally acquire and maintain focus. In the second video, I walked in a zig-zag pattern and the Z7 with the 35mm f/1.8 S lens attached was able to stay on me pretty well with subject tracking enabled. In separate testing, it also proved capable of reacquiring focus if the subject, in this case, me walking, left the frame and then reentered a few seconds later.

Nikon Z7 4K Autofocus Test Video #1
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8.
Touch to focus, switching between the seed pod and the grass in the background. As you can see, the grass was pretty difficult for the camera.
Download Original (405 MB .MP4 File)
Nikon Z7 4K Autofocus Test Video #2
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S lens at f/1.8. Subject tracking enabled.
Download Original (278.2 MB .MP4 File)

The Z7 has good stabilization as well. In the videos below, I was shooting handheld with my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E adapted to the Z7. The lens does have its own VR, but the Z7 adds a third axis of vibration reduction when VR lenses are attached, and it worked surprisingly well given that I was at a long focal length for the two clips. In the first clip, notice how the Z7 caught the leaves in front of the heron before shifting focus back to the heron.

Nikon Z7 4K Video #5
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E lens.
Download Original (225.6 MB .MP4 File)
Nikon Z7 4K Video #6
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E lens.
Download Original (235 MB .MP4 File)

Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for our full review of the Z7's video features and performance. So far, there's a lot to like with respect to video, although to me, the Z7 still feels like a camera primarily aimed at still photographers.

Nikon Z7 4K Video #7
3840 x 2160 video at 30fps. Shot with Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens.
Download Original (314.5 MB .MP4 File)

Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S Kit Lens

Alongside the Z7, Nikon has also released a new native 24-70mm zoom lens, which is available as part of a kit or separately for $999 USD. This standard zoom, officially known as the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, is a really nice lens which pairs very well with the Z7 due to its compact size and lightweight design. Specifically, the lens is 3.48 inches long at its minimum length (88.5 millimeters) and weighs a mere 1.1 pounds (500 grams). To utilize the lens, you must rotate the zoom ring slightly to "unlock" it and actually reach 24mm, which does add to its length in-use. As far as carrying it around or packing it in a bag is concerned, it is pretty small.

Optically, the 24-70mm f/4 S seems good in my real-world testing. There is a bit of falloff in terms of sharpness when looking at the corners, but it's a generally sharp lens. Part of this has to do with the design of the new Nikkor Z mount itself, which Nikon has made larger in diameter and with a considerably shorter flange distance than the Nikon F mount. This change in the design of the mount allows lenses to be made smaller while delivering better optical quality, specifically when shooting at their maximum apertures.

Looking closer at sharpness when wide open, in the image below, we see the full scene and then a 100 percent crop from a straight-from-the-camera JPEG image. You can click the link beneath the image to download the raw file. There's a lot of nice detail here considering the lens was shot at its maximum aperture and I'm definitely impressed by the center sharpness of the 24-70mm f/4 S zoom lens.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 58mm, f/4, 1/4s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 58mm, f/4, 1/4s, ISO 64.
100 percent crop near the center of the frame. There's a lot of nice detail here, especially considering it was shot at f/4. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Corners are a slightly different story. At f/7.1 and a 65mm focal length, I would expect pretty sharp corners. However, as we can see in the image below and accompanying crops, there's significant softening as you move to the extreme corners of the image.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 65mm, f/7.1, 1/5s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 65mm, f/7.1, 1/5s, ISO 64.
100 percent center crop. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 65mm, f/7.1, 1/5s, ISO 64.
100 percent corner crop. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

While not a lens designed around heavily out of focus backgrounds, I'm pretty pleased with the bokeh of the 24-70mm f/4 S. In the shot below, the distant background is rendered in a pleasing way. It's not thrown out of focus in the same way it would be if the lens was an f/2.8 lens, of course, but the bokeh is nonetheless nice.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 41mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Overall, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S lens is a good companion to the Z7 due to its compact size and lightweight design. The lens feels solid in the hands, the zoom ring has nice resistance and the focus ring works well. The lens is well-built and delivers good image quality, particularly in the center of the frame. I was impressed by its focusing speeds and its excellent center sharpness at f/4. If you don't have a 24-70mm lens you'd like to adapt to the Z7, it's hard to go wrong with buying the Z7 kit.

Picking up the pieces: A closer look at image quality and raw files

When I was writing my first Field Test, Z7 raw files were not yet supported by Adobe software. However, Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom have since been updated so I have been able to process my raw files.

Having worked with the Nikon D850, I had a pretty good idea about what to expect from the Z7. Raw files are very flexible and you can make a lot of adjustments without noticeably harming the overall image quality. We have already seen that the Z7 produces sharp JPEG files, but it's nearly always the case that a processed raw file can get you even more detail. In the shot below, I performed some fairly basic edits and sharpening. As you can see in the accompanying 100 percent crops, which were taken from the processed raw file within Adobe Photoshop, there's a lot of fine detail, which will make for nice, large prints.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 33mm, f/13, 6s, ISO 64.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 33mm, f/13, 6s, ISO 64.
100 percent crop from the above modified image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 33mm, f/13, 6s, ISO 64.
100 percent crop from the above modified image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Regarding recoverability of shadows and highlights, the Z7 again does quite well. In Adobe Camera Raw, I was able to bring back a good amount of shadow and highlight detail while maintaining good file integrity. There's not a lot of additional noise introduced in the shadow areas after increasing the brightness.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 70mm, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 800.
Original JPEG image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 70mm, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 800.
Modified raw image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

In this next photo, I am certainly impressed by how well the Z7 handled the scene, as it's a very challenging one given the bright cloud in the top right corner and the foreground being in shade. The sensor has a lot of dynamic range and nearly the same amount as the Nikon D850. If we look at the data compiled by Photons to Photos, we find that the D850 and Z7's dynamic range results overlap or nearly overlap throughout the entire ISO range. My personal experience corroborates these dynamic range results. Despite how well the Z7 performs, I still wanted to bring back some additional highlight and shadow detail during raw processing of the photo below, and the Z7's raw file handled the task brilliantly.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 24mm, f/8, 1.3s, ISO 64.
Original JPEG image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 24mm, f/8, 1.3s, ISO 64.
Modified raw image. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Overall, the Nikon Z7 is a very flexible camera because its raw files not only contain a lot of great detail, they also have a lot of usable data for shadow and highlight recovery. You can make a lot of adjustments to raw files, including extensive localized or global brightening, without ruining the file and introducing excessive visual noise.

Who is the Nikon Z7 best for?

There's a lot to like about the Nikon Z7 from many different perspectives. Based on my time with the camera, and having shot a lot with other Nikon DSLR cameras over the years, I think that the Z7 is one of Nikon's best cameras to date. However, no camera is perfect and the Z7 does have some weaknesses that might make it a less than ideal choice for certain types of photographers.

For a landscape shooter, I think that the Z7 is an excellent choice in large part because the Z7 is quite a bit smaller than a full-frame DSLR. The removed physical controls aren't a big deal for landscape shooters because it's not often the case that going into a menu will mean missing a shot.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 35mm, f/9, 1/6s, ISO 64.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

For travel photographers, the story is similar, and the smaller size of the Z7 and its Nikkor Z lenses may make it an even better relative choice when compared to a Nikon full-frame DSLR. Although, the somewhat underwhelming battery life means you'll want a spare battery.

If you are photographing people, the lack of eye-detect AF, a feature well-implemented in recent Sony mirrorless cameras, might disappoint, but the Z7 has a large autofocus area and the focusing system works well, particularly with the dedicated autofocus point selector joystick.

With that said, the autofocus system is not quite as refined, particularly with respect to subject tracking, as the system found in the Nikon D850. The Z7 can shoot quickly, especially considering its megapixel count, but the buffer is a bit shallow and this limits its usability for wildlife and sports photography, although adapting existing Nikkor F-mount lenses to the Z7 works well, so long lenses are completely usable on the Z7.

Adapted Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E at 500mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 2000.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Wedding and event photographers may very well lament the lack of a second card slot. For me, I'm fine with the single card slot, but I can understand why it may be a deal-breaker for some photographers. I think that the autofocus, shooting speeds and overall image quality make the Z7 suitable for wedding photography, but it may not be as good of a choice as a D850 or another Nikon DSLR.

Overall, the Nikon Z7 is a very good camera, and I think it's a great choice for many different types of photography.

The Nikon Z7 is great for:

  • Landscape photography
  • Travel photography
  • Portraiture
  • Photographers with existing full-frame Nikon lenses

The Nikon Z7 is not an ideal choice for:

  • Photographing a lot of continuous action
  • Photographers who need a second card slot
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 39mm, f/13, 15s, ISO 64.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Nikon Z7 Field Test Part II Summary

A fantastic first step into the future for Nikon

What I like:

  • Raw file flexibility
  • Good in-body image stabilization
  • A lot of versatility with the FTZ adapter
  • Good 4K UHD video quality

What I don't like:

  • No 4K/60p video
  • Autofocus in video, particularly in low light, is lacking
  • Not great continuous autofocus or subject tracking
  • 24-70mm f/4 S kit lens struggles a bit in the corners

Wrapping up

With the Z7, Nikon has made an excellent step into full-frame mirrorless photography. In many ways, the Z7 is Nikon's best high resolution camera to date. It is likely their best video camera thanks to advanced features and good quality. However, it's not perfect. The buffer depths are not particularly impressive, the battery life is subpar and the continuous autofocus does not seem as good as the Nikon D850.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 28mm, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 320.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

As is often the case with Nikon cameras, the user experience is excellent. The Z7 may be the company's first full-frame mirrorless camera, but it generally feels a lot like their recent DSLR cameras, and I think that's the right direction for the new mirrorless camera system. The electronic viewfinder and rear display are very good, and the body, while compact, feels robust and rugged.

When I was out in the field with the Nikon Z7, I enjoyed nearly every aspect of the camera. I didn't miss some of the dedicated buttons that had to be removed due to space constraints. I wasn't bothered much by occasionally spotty low-light autofocus or the lack of some of Nikon's 3D-tracking focus features found on their high-end DSLR cameras. However, given time to think about the camera and the context in which it exists, I'm a bit conflicted.

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 32mm, f/9, 15s, ISO 64.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

On the one hand, there are many things that the Z7 does very well. But on the other hand, I wish that Nikon had entered the mirrorless game in a serious way earlier because Sony has been building an impressive lineup of cameras and lenses for several years. For someone who already has Nikon lenses, the Z7 makes perfect sense. It's smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras and performs really well. You can get an adapter to use your existing lenses, even adding image stabilization to the ones which lack VR functionality.

Overall, the Nikon Z7 is a fantastic full-frame mirrorless camera. For Nikonians, the Z7 is likely the mirrorless camera you were hoping and waiting for.

 

• • •

 

Nikon Z7 Review -- Product Overview

by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 08/23/2018

Things have been looking up for Nikon lately. As the company rounds out its year-long celebration of its hundredth anniversary, Its impressive D850 DSLR rules the roost as winner not just in the DSLR category of our 2017 Camera of the Year awards, but also the overall victor. But while it has clearly managed something really special with the D850 DSLR, Nikon can't help but to be aware of the burgeoning mirrorless market, which has continued to gain in popularity globally at the expense of DSLR sales. The potential of mirrorless has been made most obvious by the speed with which rival Sony's Alpha mirrorless camera line has gained in popularity and sales, even as Nikon has had to pull back from its own mirrorless offerings of days gone by due to lackluster sales.

Looking back at the 1-series and decade one of the mirrorless revolution

By coincidence, mirrorless cameras themselves are also celebrating an anniversary this year. It's been a full decade now since Olympus and Panasonic made waves in mid-2008 by announcing their Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera standard. Nikon responded some three years later in mid-2011, launching its own Nikon 1 mirrorless lineup. The 1-series cameras were groundbreaking in some respects, with the world's first hybrid autofocus system in an ILC thanks to on-chip phase detection pixels, and capable of almost legendary burst-shooting and video-capture performance. They also took good advantage of the size and weight advantages possible with mirrorless designs, being far sleeker and more compact than their DSLR brethren.

Where the Nikon 1-series stumbled, though, was in the very place which allowed most of these other advantages: The sensor used in Nikon's early mirrorless models, while still huge in comparison to the compact cameras which were then just reaching their sales peak, was nevertheless relatively tiny when compared even to the APS-C sensors typically used in DSLRs at the time. While that sensor size allowed the small cameras and lenses for which the 1-series was known, as well as their incredible performance and autofocus, it also translated to a noticeable reduction in image quality versus larger-sensored rivals. Nikon put its heart and soul into the 1-series, but it still faded into the history books, underappreciated and unloved by most.

Nikon's brand-new Z7 mirrorless camera, the flagship of its Z-mount compact system camera lineup.

The impressive Z7 and Z6 mark the start of Nikon's brand-new mirrorless strategy

Now, Nikon has gone back to the drawing board and reinvented its mirrorless strategy from the ground up. With the simultaneously-launched Nikon Z6 and Z7, the company aims to achieve the same success within the compact system camera market that it's managing in the DSLR market with cameras like the D850. In doing so, it has switched to a full-frame sensor size much like that used in many of Sony's popular Alpha-series mirrorless cameras, setting up a head-to-head battle which has us salivating.

[Ed. Note: For the sake of accuracy, we should note that the official naming for these newly-launched cameras is actually "Nikon Z 6" and "Nikon Z 7". However, we'll be referring to them as the Z6 and Z7 throughout this article, as the extra space makes things harder to read, but we can't really abbreviate to just 'Z' or '6'/'7' either.]

The Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera as seen from the rear.

Key features of the Nikon Z7

We'll get down to all of the finer details in a moment, but right now we're sure you're itching to learn what the Nikon Z7 has to bring to the party. Let's quickly hit the high points:

  • Nikon's familiar DSLR ergonomics in a mirrorless form factor

  • Comprehensively dust/weather-sealed body (D850 class of protection)

  • 45.7-megapixel, full-frame Nikon FX-format BSI CMOS image sensor with on-chip focus pixels

  • ISO 64 - 25,600, expandable to ISO 32 - 102,400

  • Up to nine fps full-res burst capture with autofocus

  • Nikkor Z lens mount supports three S-Line lenses at launch and over a dozen by end of 2020

  • Supports Nikon F-mount lenses with Mount Adapter FTZ

  • Roomy and extremely high-res 3,690k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with Nikkor optics

  • Generous 3.2-inch, 2,100k-dot tilting LCD touch-screen

The Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera as seen from above.
  • Top-deck status OLED display

  • 493-point autofocus system works as low as -4 EV (ISO 100, f/2.0 lens, AF-S mode)

  • Five-stop, five-axis in-camera vibration reduction for both Z-mount and all adapted F-mount lenses. Lens-based VR also supported.

  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 plus bulb; x-sync at 1/200

  • Full-width 4Kp30 and 1080p120 movie capture, timecode, 10-bit HDMI and Log color profile

  • Also shoots 8K timelapse movies in-camera

  • Built-in SnapBridge Bluetooth/Wi-Fi communications

  • SuperSpeed USB Type-C connector and Type-C Mini HDMI connector, plus accessory terminal and 3.5mm mic/headphone jacks

  • Supports existing DSLR accessories like Advanced Wireless Lighting, WT-7 series wireless transmitters and EN-EL15 series batteries. New EN-EL15b can recharge in-camera

  • Dedicated, weather-sealed multi-power battery pack is in development

  • Available late September 2018 for US$3,400 body-only or US$4,000 with 24-70 f/4 lens

The Nikon Z7 shown with 24-70mm zoom lens mounted.

The Nikon Z6 and Z7 compared

And now that we've got the basics covered, let's see what differs between the Nikon Z7 and its simultaneously-announced, more-affordable sibling. We should note that we're still awaiting clarification of some specs, so it's possible that this list may expand later. Watch this space:

  • The Nikon Z7 has a 45.7-megapixel sensor; the Z6 is 24.5-megapixel. (Total pixel counts are 46.89 mpix for Z7, and 25.28 mpix for Z6.)

  • The Z7 supports ISO 64 - 25,600 by default; the Z6 is ISO 100 - 51,200.

  • The Z7 can be expanded to ISO 32 - 102,400; the Z6 expands to 50 - 204,800.

  • The Z7 has 493 focus points; the Z6 has 273.

  • The Z7 shoots at nine fps full-res; the Z6 can manage 12 fps. If you enable 14-bit raw, the Z7 falls to 8 fps, while the Z6 can still manage 9 fps.

  • The Z7 meters down to -3 EV and focuses down to -1 EV ordinarily, while the Z6 can meter to -4 EV and focus to -2 EV. (However, in low-light AF mode, both cameras can focus down to -4 EV.)

  • Curiously, the Z6 has more powerful Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios than does the Z7. (7.4 vs 7.0 dBm for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, 12.2/9.2 vs. 12.1/9.1 dBm for 5GHz Wi-Fi, 1.9 vs 1.5 dBm for Bluetooth and 0.4 vs 0 dBm for Bluetooth LE.)

  • The Z7 costs US$3,400 body-only at launch; the Z6 is US$2,000.

  • The Z7 comes bundled with the EH-7P charging AC adapter to charge batteries in-camera; the Z6 doesn't include this accessory in the standard package.

The Nikon Z7 compared with Sony's Alpha A7R. Which would you choose?

Let's roll up our sleeves and talk details

But enough of the bullet points. As the Z6 and Z7 are brand-new cameras, we've a lot more to discuss here than usual. Now that you have a sense for where the Z7 sits compared to its sibling, let's get right down to the specifics and see what you can expect from Nikon's flagship full-frame mirrorless camera.

The first thing you're going to notice on picking up the Z7 is that it's very obviously a high-end Nikon camera. For one thing, it's no shelf queen: the Z7's body is designed to the same level of strength, durability and dust / drip resistance as the D850. And although the number and placement of controls does of necessity vary a fair bit to accommodate a smaller mirrorless form factor, a lot of the individual controls will be immediately familiar to a photographer shooting that same camera.

At left, the Nikon D850 DSLR. At right, the Nikon Z7 compact system camera. The family resemblance is clear.

A brand-new body that nevertheless feels like an old friend

The cluster of controls around the shutter button, for example, is identical to the D850 almost right down to the individual button placements. You'll also find twin control dials front and rear, plus on the rear, a joystick control and an eight-way directional pad with central OK button. And nearby, you'll also find AF-ON and 'i' buttons. Delete and Play buttons can be found top left of the rear deck where you'd expect, and they're even separated by a little ridge as in the D850.

Really, the biggest UI differences are that four of the buttons which would have lined the left of the LCD on the D850 have instead jumped to the bottom right of the rear deck, and there's a traditional Mode dial with central lock button on the top deck in place of the wedding cake-style release mode dial topped by buttons which you'd on the D850. Getting familiarized with the Z7's controls should not take Nikonians long at all.

At the heart of the Nikon Z7 is a brand-new, full-frame image sensor with 45.7-megapixel resolution.

A brand-new, very high-res sensor and EXPEED 6 processor

Let's return to the image sensor, next of all. As we said at the outset, it's a full-frame (or in Nikon parlance, FX-format) CMOS chip with an effective resolution of 45.7 megapixels from a total count of 46.89 megapixels and it does not include an Optical Low Pass Filter. The chip has dimensions of 35.9 x 23.9mm, and maximum image dimensions are 8,256 x 5,504 pixels. If using an APS-C sensor crop for a DX-format lens, the maximum image dimensions fall to 5,408 x 3,600 pixels, for an effective resolution of 19.5 megapixels.

As well as the ability to shoot a Dust Off reference photo to remove dust from your images using Nikon's Capture NX-D software, an image sensor cleaning function is included. (We don't currently have details on the specific system being used, however.)

The sensor is paired to a latest-generation version of Nikon's in-house image processor, dubbed EXPEED 6 in this incarnation. Nikon tells us that this latest variant of EXPEED allows for crisper rendering of subjects and lower noise levels than did past versions. To help you make the most of the Z7's detail-gathering capabilities, EXPEED 6 also brings with it a new mid-range sharpening function that can be used alongside of the existing sharpening and clarity functions seen in other recent Nikon cameras.

The Nikon Z7's sensor is fairly glowing under our studio lighting in this shot!

A sensitivity range that's unusually generous at the bottom end, too

Together, the Nikon Z7's sensor and processor pairing allow a sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 25,600 equivalents, expandable to encompass everything from ISO 32 to 102,400 equivalents. That's a pretty broad range, and while we've certainly seen higher at the top end of the scale, it's at the bottom end where the Nikon Z7 really impresses. It's not often we see a camera which allows anything below ISO 100 by default!

And the burst capture rate of nine frames per second with autofocus at full resolution is pretty swift, too, especially when you bear in mind the Z7's high resolution of 45.7 megapixels. Do note that it's set with exposure locked from the first frame, however. Also, enabling 14-bit raw capture will strip another frame off the maximum rate, dropping it to 8 fps max. If you enable exposure adjustments between frames, the maximum capture rate plunges to a more modest 5.5 frames per second at full resolution, or 5 fps with 14-bit raw capture. And if you need a lower burst rate, options from 1 to 5 fps are also available.


Your pre-orders help this site!

Based on our hands-on experience with it, the new Nikon Z system should prove to be a
big hit and create great demand. So get in line early and pre-order now to avoid any
long-term supply problems such as the one experienced with the D850!

Ordering through the links below will cost you nothing, but will be a
huge help in supporting the work we do.

Nikon Z7 Body Only - $3,396.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z7 + 24-70mm F4 Kit - $3,996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z6 Body Only - $1,996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon Z6 + 24-70mm F4 Kit - $2,596.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 35mm F1.8 S Lens - $846.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 50mm F1.8 S Lens - $596.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikkor Z 24-70mm F4 S Lens - $996.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H
Nikon FTZ Adapter - $249.95:  Adorama | Amazon | B&H

Thank you!


The Nikon Z-mount has four lugs on its bayonet mount, rather than the three used by the F-mount.

A brand-new lens mount brings big opportunities

The newly-developed, four-flanged Nikon Z lens bayonet mount absolutely dominates the front of the Z7 body. It's notable not just for the generous diameter of the mount, which has an inner diameter of some 2.2 inches (55 mm), but also for its minimal flange back distance of just 0.63 inches (16mm). That's actually a millimeter less than the much smaller Nikon 1-mount, two millimeters less than Sony's E-mount, and 3.25mm less than Olympus and Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds standard.

Nikon tells us that the combination of the generously-sized mount and shallow flange back will give it greater possibilities when it comes to lens development. And it's pretty clear that lens development is a key focus here. The official Nikkor Z Lens Roadmap shows the lineup as starting with just three optics (two primes and a zoom) this year, but six more are slated to follow in 2019, and another six the year after. Looking out to 2021 or perhaps later, there are a further eight optics scheduled.

All of Nikon's Nikkor Z S-Line lenses are said to have been designed to provide maximum sharpness when shooting wide open. They're also all equipped with weather-sealing, and to be conducive to use not just for stills, but also for video capture. We don't yet have specifics on what most of these lenses will be, however. Let's take a bit of a closer look at what we know thus far of what's to come.

Nikon is initially launching the Z series with three lenses and an F-mount adapter. Here are the lenses.

Two primes and a zoom available at launch

Arriving alongside the Nikon Z7 (or for the 50mm, a short month thereafter) are two primes and a zoom. The Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S and Z 50mm f/1.8 S primes both feature a pair of ED glass lens elements. The 50mm pairs these with two aspheric elements, while the 35mm prime has three aspherics. Both lenses also use Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat coating to suppress flare and ghosting. The 50mm uses an STM stepping motor for quiet autofocus, while the 35mm prime has an unusual AF drive mechanism pairing two distinct AF drive units for performance and accuracy.

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S will be the only zoom available at launch. It pairs Nikon's ghost- and flare-resistant Nano Crystal Coat coating with a fluorine coating on the front element to resist smudges and smears. Inside, it has one standard ED element, one aspherical ED element and three standard aspherics. It will focus to as close as 0.3 meters.

Nikon's Z-mount lens roadmap as it stands at the series' initial launch. The blanks show lenses for which no details have yet been disclosed -- not even focal length or aperture -- but which are nevertheless under development out of the public's view.

Nine more lenses announced in some form for 2019 and 2020

Of the remaining six lenses, there's an even mix of primes and zooms. We only have details beyond the name for one optic, currently in development and slated to arrive in 2019. This is the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, a manual focus-only optic which is planned as the fastest lens ever made by Nikon.

Positioned as the flagship S-Line lens, its name hearkens back to 1977's AI Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 prime. The "Noct" moniker in both names is, according to Nikon, an abbreviation of "Nocturne", a musical piece intended for night or evening use. Staying true to that name, the original Noct lens was designed specifically with the intent of rendering sharp point light sources crisply against a dark background, such as you might want for night or astronomical photography. And it seems the goal is much the same for this new lens, with Nikon promising "superior detail and sharpness", "outstanding point-image reproduction capabilities" and "beautiful blur characteristics".

At launch, all but the 50mm lens shown at right will be available. That optic will follow a month later.

As for the other lenses, we can only tell you their focal lengths and apertures so far, as not even the full names are yet finalized. In order from widest to most telephoto, they are:

  • 14-30mm f/4

  • 20mm f/1.8

  • 24-70mm f/2.8

  • 70-200mm f/2.8

  • 85mm f/1.8

The Nikon Z7 looks mighty impressive with a larger lens like this AF-S 500mm mounted on its FTZ Mount Adapter accessory.

Of course, you can mount F-mount lenses via an adapter, too

As you'd doubtless expect of a brand-new system with few first-party optics at launch (and likely a while before any third-party optics become available, too), the ability to mount existing glass is an important feature for the Nikon Z-series cameras. And they can do so very nicely indeed, courtesy of the Nikon Mount Adapter FTZ.

The name, pretty obviously, hints at the fact that this accessory will adapt F-mount lenses to a Z-mount bayonet, and no less than 90 of Nikon's existing lenses will work with the adapter without limitations. (Full AF/AE is supported when using FX or DX AF-S Type G/D/E, AF-P type G/E, AF-I type D lenses and AF-S/AF-I teleconverters.) About another 250 optics (AI type and later) will also be usable with some functional limitations.

Nikon's Mount Adapter FTZ is used to mount hundreds of historic F-mount lenses, many of which work without compromises.

Five-axis, five-stop Vibration Reduction (and even adapted lenses get three-axis correction)

As well as providing support for focus and aperture control, the Mount Adapter FTZ also supports the built-in vibration reduction of lenses supporting this feature. If your lens doesn't natively offer VR, the camera's own built-in VR system will still provide three-axis VR. And the in-body stabilization system will work alongside that in your lens, if such a system is available, adding support not just for pitch and yaw correction, but also for side-to-side roll correction..

As for dedicated Z-mount lenses, these will provide for five-axis correction, adding horizontal and vertical translational motion to the list of corrections on offer. The system is said to operate with a five-stop corrective strength in this scenario.

Here, the Nikon Z7 is shown with all the lenses that will be available within a month of its launch.

Fast, point-dense autofocus with 90% frame coverage

Autofocus was clearly a priority for Nikon in designing the Z7, and the result is a camera which can manage swift AF corrections between frames even when shooting at the maximum rate of nine frames per second. This is doubly impressive when one considers that the Z7 has a whopping 493 autofocus points on offer, covering a whopping 90% of the image frame both horizontally and vertically.

The system is a hybrid one, as has become increasingly common over the last few years, but with an interesting twist. Typically, hybrid AF systems use on-chip phase detect focus pixels to approximate the distance and direction required to achieve a focus lock. Then, on making that adjustment, they fine-tune the result with a little contrast-detection "hunting" to determine the exact point of focus. While we're told that Nikon's hybrid AF system can function in this manner, we understand that it's not actually a requirement. The Nikon Z7 instead can (and sometimes, will) lock focus exclusively using the phase-detection information, with no need to perform a contrast-detection AF cycle at the end.

The Nikon Z7 has an impressive 493 autofocus points with 90% horizontal / vertical coverage of the frame. (The above graphic shows video mode, where 435 points are available.)

A superbly detailed and roomy electronic viewfinder will help you forget your DSLR

Perhaps one of the most important parts of the mirrorless experience for new shooters transitioning from a DSLR is the viewfinder. SLR shooters looking for a camera in this class are used to seeing a large, bright, razor-sharp and lag-free rendition of the real world in all of its glory, projected straight through the lens and into their eyes. These aren't areas in which electronic viewfinders have traditionally had the best reputation, but technology has come a long way in recent years, and we're starting to see some electronic viewfinders appearing which really challenge the perceptions of days gone by.

The electronic viewfinder used in the Nikon Z7 is a beautiful example of this in action, and it gives just the right feeling when raised to your eye. Based around a 0.5-inch (1.27 cm) Organic LED panel and boasting 0.8x magnification, it's very roomy indeed. It also has an extremely high Quad VGA resolution, not to be confused with the much lower-res QVGA. It's equivalent in resolution to four VGA screens stacked in a two-by-two array, offering up a total of 1,280 x 960 pixels, for a total dot count of around 3,690k-dots.

The Z7's viewfinder has an eyepoint of 21mm from the eyepiece lens, which is about enough even for eyeglass wearers to be able to discern the entire frame without needing to move their eye around the viewfinder. Coverage is manufacturer-rated at 100% both horizontally and vertically. There's a built-in diopter adjustment control which will allow a -4 to +2 m-1 diopters of adjustment, should you prefer. And regardless of whether or not you're bespectacled, you'll find that the Z7 can automatically enable or disable the viewfinder to help save power or to let you switch back and forth between viewfinder and LCD monitor with a minimum of fuss.

The viewfinder provides an 11-step manual or automatic brightness control, and a color adjustment function is also available to fine-tune it to your tastes.

On the Z7's rear, you'll find a really high-res viewfinder and a tilting LCD touch-screen with a 3.2-inch diagonal.

An unusually crisp, high-res tilting touch-screen LCD monitor, as well

Speaking of the LCD monitor, that on the Nikon Z7 is also an unusually nice one. It has a slightly more generous than average 3.2-inch diagonal, and an extremely high resolution of 2,100k-dots. Again, Nikon manufacturer-rates coverage at 100%, and the company also specifies an extremely wide 170-degree viewing angle, both horizontally and vertically. We're told touch functionality is similar to the D850's, including touch AF and touch shutter support.

Just as for the viewfinder, the LCD monitor provides an 11-step brightness control and a color adjustment function. There's no auto brightness control for the LCD, however. And if you want to shoot from the hip or over your head, you'll find the Z7's LCD tilting mechanism useful so long as you don't need to shoot in portrait format. (We don't yet have a precise figure for its articulation range, but it won't flip all the way forward for selfie shooting, although that's hardly a common use case for a camera in this price group.)

Oh, and you'll also find a handy little OLED info panel on the Z7's top deck, as you can see below.

Tucked just to the right of the Z7's flash hot shoe, you'll find a tiny little status OLED display which shows just the basics you need.

All the exposure and creative options you'd expect

The Nikon Z7 is clearly a camera aimed at experienced photographers, be they pros or deep-pocketed enthusiasts, and all the creative options you'd expect to find are on offer here. The Z7 meters exposures using its main imaging sensor, and offers a choice of matrix, center-weighted, spot or highlight-weighted metering modes. The metering system has an unusually generous operating range of -3 to 17 EV, allowing metering even for starlit scenes, and +/-5 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps, plus an exposure lock function.

Program modes on offer include the typical selection of Programmed Auto, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority or fully Manual modes, plus a fully Automatic mode. The Program mode includes a flexible program function that allows you to coax the aperture or shutter speed in your desired direction while still leaving overall control in the hands of the camera itself. Shutter speeds range from as little as 1/8,000 second to a maximum of 30 seconds under automatic control, while bulb and time exposure options are also available.

Oh, and there's a silent shooting mode which will let you go stealth and avoid distracting your subject or annoying bystanders by using the electronic shutter, an electronic front-curtain option, as well as an 8K interval time-lapse function, although the latter will require third-party software to process the results into a movie.

The Z7 's compact nature is truly revealed when shown with Speedlight SB-5000 mounted.

Throw a little more light on your subject with an external strobe

Unsurprisingly for a camera in this class, there's no built-in flash strobe. Pros and enthusiasts alike tend to see these as an annoyance rather than a convenience, increasing the likelihood of a failure for little upside beyond the ability to drown your subject in harsh light for an unflattering, ghostly look.

External flash is where it's at for pros, and here the Nikon Z7 satisfies with an ISO 518 hot shoe with sync and data contacts plus a safety lock. Nikon's iTTL flash metering system is supported, and you'll be able to use the same Creative Lighting System accessories as for your other Nikon gear. Flash exposure compensation is available in a range of -3 to +1 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments, and both first and second-curtain sync is possible, with or without redeye reduction. Flash x-sync is available at 1/200 second or slower, and auto FP high-speed sync flash is also supported.

The Nikon Z7 looks to make for a pretty capable video shooter, too. Here, it's shown with an ME-1 accessory mic mounted.

The Nikon Z7 isn't just a still shooter; it's designed for videos, too

Of course, even still cameras these days shoot video, and the Nikon Z7 looks to be no slouch in this area. It can shoot full-width ultra high-def 4K footage at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, and high-def 1080p footage at 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25 or 24 frames per second. And a 4-5x slow-motion effect is also possible by recording at 120 fps and then outputting at either 30, 25 or 24 fps.

The maximum clip length is 29 minutes and 59 seconds, an artificial limit we all know and "love" which is common in the industry thanks to European regulations, even for cameras sold outside the European market. Videos are recorded in MOV or MP4 formats using H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC compression with linear PCM AAC audio from either a built-in stereo mic or an external mic with attenuator option. Microphone sensitivity is adjustable, although we don't yet know the number of steps available.

On the Nikon Z7's left side, you'll find a USB-C port, Mini HDMI port, 3.5mm mic & headphone jacks and an accessory terminal.

As well as recording in-camera, the Z7 provides a 10-bit HDMI output amenable to external recorders. There's also a Nikon Log (N-Log) setting which tries to better hold onto highlight and shadow detail for better color grading potential, as well as support for timecode. Further, you can smoothly adjust aperture and exposure compensation during capture using the control ring found on each Z-mount lens. And while pros are likely to shun this last feature, enthusiasts may also find the availability of electronic vibration in addition to the mechanical body / lens VR to be a handy feature, too.

Sample 4K Videos

(Note: the videos below were shot with a pre-production camera.)

Nikon Z7 4K Sample Video #1
Download Original (388.6MB MOV)

Nikon Z7 4K Sample Video #2
Download Original (454.8MB MOV)

Nikon Z7 4K Sample Video #3
Download Original (354MB MOV)

Nikon Z7 4K Sample Video #4
Download Original (538MB MOV)

Wired and wireless connectivity options aplenty

The Z7 includes plenty of up-to-date wired connectivity options, more so than most cameras at the moment. To start off with, there's a standard USB Type C connector which is compliant with the USB SuperSpeed (aka USB 3.1 Gen 1 or USB 3.0) standard, catering to your data transfer needs. There's also a Type C Mini HDMI connector for high-def video output, a pair of 3.5mm jacks catering to headphones and microphones, and an accessory port compatible with the likes of Nikon's MC-DC2 remote release cord. Plus, of course, the aforementioned flash hot shoe.

As well as its wired connectivity options, the Z7 also helps you to get your images onto your smartphone or tablet -- and from there, to the world -- with its built-in wireless communications setup. Dubbed SnapBridge, this pairs both Bluetooth / Bluetooth LE and 2.4 / 5GHz Wi-Fi connections to provide an always-on connection and quick pairing, but the ability to also transfer data at high speed and over longer distances as needed. Nikon rates the system for a working range of 32 feet (10 m) in line of sight. Obstacles between camera and smart device will obviously reduce this range.

The Z7 accepts the super-speedy XQD flash card format courtesy of a single card slot in the rear of its handgrip.

Storage

The Nikon Z7 stores images and movies on XQD memory cards in a single slot. Far less well-known than the more common SD card format, While they typically cost a little bit more than an SD card of similar capacity, the fastest-performing XQD cards offer speeds well in excess of those available from even UHS-II SD cards can provide.

Images can be stored in either 12-bit or 14-bit .NEF raw formats, as RGB TIFFs, or as JPEG compressed images. Raw files can be lossily or losslessly compressed or stored without compression. You can also save lower-res medium or small raw files, although these have a fixed 12-bit depth and require lossless compression.

The Nikon Z7's battery compartment can be found in the base of its hand grip.

Power

The Z7 draws its power from an EN-EL15b lithium ion rechargeable battery. It can also accept the earlier EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a types, but cannot charge these in-camera as it can with the newest packs, and may also yield lesser battery life. Full battery life figures have not been finalized, but we know that the Z7 is CIPA-rated for 330 shots when using the EVF, however Nikon noted that early hands-on reports from pros using pre-release cameras out in the field indicate real-world battery life far exceeds the CIPA figure. We also know that Nikon is working on designing a multi-power battery pack which will accept two EN-EL15b battery packs, increasing battery life by some 80% in the process. Watch this space for more info once the pack is officially announced!

Nikon Z7 price and availability

Available in the US market from 27 September 2018, the Nikon Z7 is priced at US$3,400 or thereabouts, body only. A kit version including the Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 S lens will be priced in the vicinity of US$4,000.

 

• • •

 

Nikon Z7 Field Test Part I

Nikon steps into the full-frame mirrorless fray

by Jeremy Gray |

Nikon is at a crossroads. Hot off the heels of their centennial celebration, the Japanese camera giant has been facing increasing pressure from not only its competition in the photo industry, but also from their own customers, to produce a full-frame mirrorless camera system. DSLR cameras have long reigned supreme in every market segment, from beginner and enthusiast photographers all the way up to full-time professionals. However, in recent years, more and more photographers have opted for mirrorless cameras as the technology has improved and the more compact cameras have become more capable, efficient and full-featured. DSLR sales have, relatively speaking, weakened. People are certainly still buying DSLR cameras, but Nikon can no longer ignore high-end mirrorless cameras because they're certainly the future of photography.

Enter the Nikon Z7. Nikon has pulled out all the stops with this camera. It features a 45.7-megapixel sensor, like the excellent Nikon D850 DSLR camera, nearly 500 phase-detect autofocus points, fast continuous shooting, 4K/30p video recording and much more. In nearly every measure, it's a professional-grade camera. Let's look at how the Nikon Z7 performs in the field and see if Nikon has started its new full-frame camera system off on the right foot.

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