Advantages/Disadvantages of the Z System

Joined
Dec 7, 2005
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389
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MN, USA
I've seen several folks out of curiosity or serious interest inquire about what differentiates the Z system for other Nikon DSLR's. I thought it might be useful to have a separate post that just neutrally discusses the pros and cons. No complaining. No whining. No "should have's." No multi-product-cross-comparison-but-dxo-says . . . Let's just stick to helping folks decide whether the Z system is a good match for their needs.

And for God's sake no link to U-tubers (except maybe Hugh Brownstone for those folks needing a photo-oriented Jeff Goldblum doppelgänger fix . . .)

So . . . Advantages (in no particular order):

Truly silent shutter (with the caveats - see below)
Compact and generally lighter bodies and (some) lens combinations
In-camera battery charging
Histogram (such as it is) available in display.
Viewfinder magnified view and focus peaking
EVF is as close to OVF experience as any MILC on the market.
WYSIWYG for exposure although for me the histogram is a better guide.
No lens calibration as focus is derived directly on the sensor plane.
IBIS (currently on Z6 and Z7)
Face/eye tracking (I know, I know)
Reasonably good sensor resolution and dynamic range (probably on a par with D750 and D850)
THE LENSES - this is for me the big one:
24-70 f4 is just a cracker of a kit lens.
24-70 f2.8S is generally considered the best 24-70 Nikon has produced
50 1.8S is achingly close to Otus level IQ
14-30 is relatively sharp, relatively compact, and takes filters.
The 24, 35 and 85 are all praiseworthy and generally considered better than their non-S equivalents
FTZ give access to a wide catalog of Nikon lenses.
Very 'Nikon-like' in handling and menu structure

The Disadvantages (again in no particular order):

Cost - Z system will probably end up costing you more than an equivalent OVF Nikon
Silent shutter can be prone to banding under artificial light and distortions of fast moving objects in your images
Battery life is certainly not bad but like any mirrorless system, not as good as DSLR's
Currently somewhat limited native lens selection.
Subject tracking is probably not up to the best DSLR's (I'm looking at you D5, D500, and by some reports the D850)
Image black-out during continuous shooting can be disconcerting and/or problematic when tracking

It's not a perfect system - but really none are.
I can't speak to video because I rarely use it.

Please add your additions and corrections.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
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Central Ohio
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Andrew
Lens adaptability is also an advantage. There is really no practical limit to what can be adapted onto the z-mount.

Manual lenses adaptors plus the Techarts Sony E to Nikon Z mount autofocus adapter are a great benefit.

a perceived disadvantage on the focusing aid side is the punch in requires you to take a pic or press the zoom function button. I’ve heard others prefer that half press of the shutter to zoom out or the option to do so would be nice.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
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18,335
Location
Idaho
Advantage or Disadvantage depending on how you look at it.
XQD cards only (for Z6 and Z7) Computers don't come equipped with XQD card readers. XQD cards are more expensive, but are reportedly more durable. You can plug in the camera to transfer photos, but, unless I am misinformed, you still need a card reader to upgrade firmware.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,129
Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
Disadvantage
Not just for Nikon z but all mirrorless - battery consumption is more directly related to power on time than number of images taken.

Being able to just leave the camera on like a DSLR is no longer an option for all day battery life.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
957
Location
Melbourne - Australia
Advantage or Disadvantage depending on how you look at it.
XQD cards only (for Z6 and Z7) Computers don't come equipped with XQD card readers. XQD cards are more expensive, but are reportedly more durable. You can plug in the camera to transfer photos, but, unless I am misinformed, you still need a card reader to upgrade firmware.
I'm surprised Nikon hasn't allowed this via WiFi or Bluetooth via a smart phone/tablet.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
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4,169
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
Advantage or Disadvantage depending on how you look at it.
XQD cards only (for Z6 and Z7) Computers don't come equipped with XQD card readers. XQD cards are more expensive, but are reportedly more durable. You can plug in the camera to transfer photos, but, unless I am misinformed, you still need a card reader to upgrade firmware.
Advantage: I will add that XQD cards are FASTER for importing into the computer if you use an XQD card reader.
 
Potential disadvantage: not so easily-available replaceable or additional memory cards when some disaster happens out in the field and away from home and all of a sudden the photographer needs at least one or more new memory cards in a hurry while being in a strange unfamiliar location. Finding SD cards, which are fairly commonplace these days, is going to be a lot easier than finding XQD cards......
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
2,770
Location
UK
Disadvantage

There is a lot to like about my Z 6 but I am less than impressed with the Tilting Lcd which does not lend itself to Portrait Orientation on a Tripod.

DG
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
341
Location
SE Michigan
Real Name
Chris
Disadvantage

There is a lot to like about my Z 6 but I am less than impressed with the Tilting Lcd which does not lend itself to Portrait Orientation on a Tripod.

DG
This is my single largest complaint for this camera series. Drives me crazy every time, double so when I’m shooting from a low perspective! I have a friend who is just starting out in photography and came with me to shoot and he’s got the 5600 and I had forgotten how nice it was to have an articulating screen.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
1,701
Location
Fairfax, Virginia
As least from my perspective, with the Z7 slotting in below the D850 it makes me question whether an upgrade from my current body with the concomitant cost is warranted. On the other hand I need to upgrade a couple of my day-to-day lens and the Z series 24-70 and 14-24 are very appealing.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,108
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Disadvantage for me is price and lack of third party native support (right now).

Every time I stumble on a good used price for a Z6, I have to take into account memory card, card reader, new XQD card, adapter for F-mount, etc. and I end up not pulling the trigger. I'll probably pick one up next year when prices drop a bit more!
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,475
Location
Lompoc, CA
To me the big advantage of the Z system is the Z mount. I think we've only started to scratch the surface as far as what is possible with lens design, esp. wide angle lenses. For me the Z bodies themselves aren't compelling enough to make me want dump my dSLRs and use F mount lenses with an adapter.
 
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