Nikon Z7 II Field Test: Nikon’s latest high-res camera is impressive, but is it a big upgrade?

by

posted Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 10:30 AM EST

Click here to read our Nikon Z7 II Field Test

 
 

Alongside the recent Nikon Z6 II, Nikon also released an updated Nikon Z7 II. The new Z7 II is built upon the same foundation as the Z7, including using Nikon's existing 45.7-megapixel full-frame image sensor. While there's a lot that has stayed unchanged with the Z7 II, there are numerous upgrades and changes that result in the Z7 II offering better usability and performance than its predecessor. I went hands-on with the new camera and wrote about the experience in my Nikon Z7 II Field Test.

The Z7 II has the same form factor and design as the original Z7, which is generally a good thing. The camera body is comfortable and the button layout is excellent. A major change is that the Z7 II adds a UHS-II SD card slot in addition to its XQD/CFexpress card slot. This addresses a common complaint lodged against the Z7 and its single card slot. The camera also comes equipped with a new battery, improving battery life by about 20%.

 
 

Although these positive developments are great, some aspects of the Z7 II are starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. The OLED EVF, which was a strong point of the Z7 in 2018, is now relatively slow and low-resolution compared to the current competition. The rear touchscreen works well enough, but it only tilts up and down, which is not as useful as a tilt/swivel display.

 
Shot with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens at 14mm, f/11, 1/3s, ISO 64. Edited.

The balance between pros and cons continues when considering the Z7 II's overall performance. The image quality from the existing 45.7-megapixel image sensor remains excellent. The Z7 II now incorporates a second EXPEED 6 processor, which leads to improvements in performance basically across the board. However, on the less positive side, the Z7 II's autofocus system isn't particularly well equipped to deal with fast action. With that said, AF features and performance are nonetheless improved, and the Z7 II is an enjoyable camera to use.

The additional EXPEED 6 image processor pays dividends with respect to video as well. The Z6 II may be the better camera for video overall, but the Z7 II is no slouch. It offers 4K/60p recording with a 1.1x crop, for example, and the quality is quite nice. 4K video at 24/25/30p frame rates is even more impressive.

 
Shot with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens at 14mm, f/2.8, 10s, ISO 8000. Edited.

While there are aspects of the Z7 II I wish had been given more attention, the included improvements are nice. The Z7 II is a solid follow up to the Z7 and a great camera overall. To read more about what the Z7 II does well and what aspects I think could be better, check out my Nikon Z7 II Field Test.

Nikon Z7 II Field TestGallery