Full disclaimer first. I have no intention of buying either the Nikon Z6 or Z7 recently announced. I’m a heavily invested Canon user and have been now for over 10 years. Also these opinions are purely based on the previews I’ve seen, and I’m not over familiar with Nikon’s cameras or lenses so may make some technical errors…. Though, if Nikon want me to try one out all they have to do is get in contact…. So why am I so excited?
Firstly I love my tech. So regardless of who is making it, I can’t help the allure of shiny new objects, especially where cameras are involved. And I have to say the new Z6/7 are attractive looking camera bodies. It’s clear Nikon have put a lot of thought into these bodies and build quality. And my immediate impressions are they look better than the DSLR design we have come to expect from Nikon. Which I have never been a particular fan of. I’ve always found Nikon bodies somewhat confusing to look at, yet with the Z series I can see dials and buttons that have a sense of familiarity even this Canon user can identify with.
I’m not going to claim to be an expert of mirrorless cameras, I have never owned one, but from an outsider looking in it certainly seems Nikon are trying to go straight in to compete with the big mirrorless boys Sony and Fuji. There are some impressive specifications there. And whilst the Z7 is obvious the flagship body it’s actually the Z6 with it’s lower mega-pixel count which I find more appealing. I’ve never been a mega-pixel chaser so a full frame sensor with lower mega-pixel count should result in better noise handling, though we’ll find out when the reviews land. As a keen but very amateur astro photographer I find this more attactive.
I admire Nikon’s boldness to change the lens mount. To the outside world this will look like an attempt of Nikon trying to just sell more lenses. I’m sure this is a factor given Nikon’s recent financial performance but I think they are looking to the future and the lens possibilities they have opened up, and this will be a big deal to professional photographers. And early indications point to a Z to F mount adapter that allow a lot if not all functionality on Nikon’s most recent F mount lenses. It’s not too dissimilar to Apple changing from the 30-pin connector to lightning. We all had 30-pin cables and accessories and it was a pain to start with, but would you back to that? I know I wouldn’t. (I appreciate a lens is a significantly larger investment than a cable!).
These are professionally aimed cameras so they were never going to be cheap, but my initial thoughts are they seem to be priced competitively. I don’t know if this is a fair comparison but if you pitch the Sony A9 against the Nikon Z6 the main differences are auto-focus points, frame rate and max. shutter speed which the Sony tops out on all, but with a price tag of £1,500 more. So immediately Nikon are saying to Sony ‘look at us’, and this is only good for consumers. I guess the other factor you can’t put a price on is Sony’s experience in this market. They have a proven track record in the mirrorless market. Those taking the plunge on the Nikon Z series will be taking the ‘early adopter’ risk. And given Nikon’s history of problems with light leaks and oil issues on their flagship cameras it is certainly something to take into consideration.
But the biggest excitement comes as a Canon user now turning my attention to Canon. They will have too make a move in this space, and probably sooner rather than later. Nikon’s entry into the mirrorless market does not signal the end of the DSLR but the mirrorless market as it has done in recent years is gaining momentum. Canon don’t want to be left behind.
I’ll certainly be looking forward to getting my hands on these cameras at next years Photography Show.