Attended the Nikon Z Event in Los Angeles!

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I just attended the Nikon Z event here in LA! The Nikon rep gave an hour long (or longer) presentation talking about the Z cameras and mount. It was pretty much the standard information from the internet. After the presentation, a bunch of us rushed the sample cameras in order to play with them! Like many of these Nikon Z events, we were in a dimly lit camera store room and there were quite a few people, so everyone took turns for a minute or so handling the camera.

The head Nikon rep actually said we weren't supposed to mount our own lenses, but we ended up hitting up one of the junior reps whom I presume didn't hear his boss! Another photographer mounted his Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and it seemed to work fine, so that would make it the 2nd confirmation regarding Sigma lenses working on the FTZ adapter. Jared Polin confirmed his Sigma 50mm Art worked at the Nikon press event in NYC. In fact the Nikon rep actually mentioned this and I believe he got in trouble!

Anyways, I finally was able to try the camera out myself. It's well built and feels like a mini Nikon DSLR. Lenses are metal and they seem fairly well made. I have no complaints about build quality or handling, works like a Nikon! The EVF is nice and smooth. The FTZ adapter is probably the nicest mirrorless AF adapter I've handled and it's very solid with very little to no wiggle. I also was told the Z cameras can use flashes from around the SB-600 flash era, so no need for new flashes.

Regarding the auto focus, I would say it feels on par if maybe a bit better than the Sony A7 II, but no where as responsive as the A7 III. It definitely feels 1st generation, but on the bright side this is the most polished 1st generation camera I've tried. It's not the fastest, but it's not the slowest either. I also had my Sony A7 III with me so I was able to try AF simultaneously.

A couple of my personal observations:
I really felt like I was hanging out with the old guys at the used bargain camera show. While I understand Nikon is trying to keep their current customers, I also feel Nikon doesn't do much to attract a younger demographic. Also there were a lot of unknowns when people asked the Nikon rep questions and I felt this was incredibly sloppy on their part. The reps themselves even admitted to having very little time to prepare for this camera.

I think the Nikon Z cameras are decent and would be a good small camera addition to the kit, but not necessarily purchased as a primary body. I do not think the Z cameras will replace your Nikon DSLRs. If you want to make the full transition to mirrorless and want a more fleshed out and mature system...at this time I think M43, Fuji or Sony might be better options depending on your needs.

Final thoughts:
To be frank, I almost felt like Nikon doesn't really have their finger on the pulse anymore. I think changes in technology like smartphones and mirrorless have been a major disruption to the way Nikon operates. I do think the Z mount has potential, but I also feel Nikon is in a position where they can't fully support the Z and abandon the F-mount DSLRs. Saying that, I don't see myself being an early adopter and will probably hold off until the system matures. Though I'm more excited now to see what Nikon DSLRs they plan to release next!

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_001 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_002 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_003 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_004 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_005 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_006 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_007 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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180828_NIKON_Z_FRIOLO_008 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 
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John Van Atta
Thanks for posting! I'd be really interested to hear your thought about the autofocus compared to m43 cameras--my guess was perhaps similar to an EM-1 mark 1?
 
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Thanks for the feedback, Jonathan. As much as I hoped this release would entice me to open my wallet, now is not the time for me. In my mind, Nikon needed to hit a home run, but is still fouling off pitches to stay alive at the plate.
 
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Beachside!
I think the reps for these things are in the dark because company's have to keep everyone in the dark until the last min. People just wont keep their mouth shut, and with the internet and phones..
If I was a large company I would constantly give out internal info that was completely made up to find and terminate as many as possible. Put their pictures by the time clock with a large red X over their face. :dead:

That said, why camera company's in particular have a event like this in too small of a room with crap lights..now that is just dumb. But it is almost every time.
My takeaway so far is the same as your last thought "Though I'm more excited now to see what Nikon DSLRs they plan to release next!"
I have to think they have some cool stuff coming.
Gary



I just attended the Nikon Z event here in LA! The Nikon rep gave an hour long (or longer) presentation talking about the Z cameras and mount. It was pretty much the standard information from the internet. After the presentation, a bunch of us rushed the sample cameras in order to play with them! Like many of these Nikon Z events, we were in a dimly lit camera store room and there were quite a few people, so everyone took turns for a minute or so handling the camera.

The head Nikon rep actually said we weren't supposed to mount our own lenses, but we ended up hitting up one of the junior reps whom I presume didn't hear his boss! Another photographer mounted his Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and it seemed to work fine, so that would make it the 2nd confirmation regarding Sigma lenses working on the FTZ adapter. Jared Polin confirmed his Sigma 50mm Art worked at the Nikon press event in NYC. In fact the Nikon rep actually mentioned this and I believe he got in trouble!

Anyways, I finally was able to try the camera out myself. It's well built and feels like a mini Nikon DSLR. Lenses are metal and they seem fairly well made. I have no complaints about build quality or handling, works like a Nikon! The EVF is nice and smooth. The FTZ adapter is probably the nicest mirrorless AF adapter I've handled and it's very solid with very little to no wiggle. I also was told the Z cameras can use flashes from around the SB-600 flash era, so no need for new flashes.

Regarding the auto focus, I would say it feels on par if maybe a bit better than the Sony A7 II, but no where as responsive as the A7 III. It definitely feels 1st generation, but on the bright side this is the most polished 1st generation camera I've tried. It's not the fastest, but it's not the slowest either. I also had my Sony A7 III with me so I was able to try AF simultaneously.

A couple of my personal observations:
I really felt like I was hanging out with the old guys at the used bargain camera show. While I understand Nikon is trying to keep their current customers, I also feel Nikon doesn't do much to attract a younger demographic. Also there were a lot of unknowns when people asked the Nikon rep questions and I felt this was incredibly sloppy on their part. The reps themselves even admitted to having very little time to prepare for this camera.

I think the Nikon Z cameras are decent and would be a good small camera addition to the kit, but not necessarily purchased as a primary body. I do not think the Z cameras will replace your Nikon DSLRs. If you want to make the full transition to mirrorless and want a more fleshed out and mature system...at this time I think M43, Fuji or Sony might be better options depending on your needs.

Final thoughts:
To be frank, I almost felt like Nikon doesn't really have their finger on the pulse anymore. I think changes in technology like smartphones and mirrorless have been a major disruption to the way Nikon operates. I do think the Z mount has potential, but I also feel Nikon is in a position where they can't fully support the Z and abandon the F-mount DSLRs. Saying that, I don't see myself being an early adopter and will probably hold off until the system matures. Though I'm more excited now to see what Nikon DSLRs they plan to release next!
 
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Los Angeles, USA
This is not a criticism in anyway just an observation. Regarding the bad light and the AF observations, the lighting was bad enough that the attached photos are somewhat soft.
No criticism taken, I was shooting with the A7III with the 35mm 1.4 Art @ 1.4 and I was still having a hard time nailing shots because it was so dim! If I were to coordinate these events, I'd do them on the weekend in the daytime and setup an outdoor booth so customers can test them out. It wouldn't be too hard since most camera shops have decent sized parking lots.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks for posting! I'd be really interested to hear your thought about the autofocus compared to m43 cameras--my guess was perhaps similar to an EM-1 mark 1?
In my mind M43 and Olympus especially has some of the best single-AF in both dim and bright conditions, even besting Sony and their latest cameras. I think the E-M1 mk.I probably can lock-on faster in the dark better than my current A7III and the Z cameras. Though I think where Sony and now Nikon pull ahead is in continuous AF.
 
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Thank you so much, Jonathan!! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I have been doing my research....that along with your review has helped me to decide to cancel my preorder. I have great hopes that future models will be better and I am willing to wait. It takes a lot of thinking and soul searching to figure out what path one wants to take. You have helped me by giving your impressions. You have nothing to gain personally by doing this. I know you love Nikon and would want them to make a great product. So, I trust your opinion.
 
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Thanks for the feedback, Jonathan. As much as I hoped this release would entice me to open my wallet, now is not the time for me. In my mind, Nikon needed to hit a home run, but is still fouling off pitches to stay alive at the plate.
I don't think the cameras are bad in anyway and if you're looking to supplement a smaller FF camera to your current Nikon DSLR, I think they'll be more than capable as a secondary or 'B' camera. Saying that, for the price or cheaper than the entry Z6 you can also get an E-M1 mk.II, X-H1, A6500 and the A7III especially if you have to buy new glass. The FTZ adapter while nice, will make for a pretty bulky setup.

In someways part me feels Nikon should just stick with the F-mount and deal with limitations, but by doing so they can make a mirrorless DSLR with all the bells-n-whistles. I thought Nikon would build the Z cameras more aggressively, but I feel they've imposed artificial limitations to protect the DSLRs. Same strategy they used when they had the Nikon 1 system and we know how that turned out.
 
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Nice to hear your thoughts Jonathan and well reported to. I do feel that Nikon has made a big mistake in regards to the size the chose for their new mount. They failed to make real progress with the changeover from the old mount as it still limits their sensor size to full frame. Why didn't they go the full hog now and make the mount larger to make room for a medium format sensor? This I feel is their biggest mistake. Not having held the camera for myself and only going on the information I have gotten here and on the web I think the camera itself is decent but only as a walkround or holiday type camera.
Mike
 
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Thank you so much, Jonathan!! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I have been doing my research....that along with your review has helped me to decide to cancel my preorder. I have great hopes that future models will be better and I am willing to wait. It takes a lot of thinking and soul searching to figure out what path one wants to take. You have helped me by giving your impressions. You have nothing to gain personally by doing this. I know you love Nikon and would want them to make a great product. So, I trust your opinion.
I seriously wanted to come back from the event excited and amazed, but it feels like Nikon corporate culture is living in a bubble. They cited things that pretty much every other mirrorless camera does, but acted like it was a Nikon first. The system has potential and everything that was shown appears to be solid, but I didn't come away thinking I need have this camera now. If you're happy with your current setup, I see no reason to change that. :)
 
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I don't think the cameras are bad in anyway and if you're looking to supplement a smaller FF camera to your current Nikon DSLR, I think they'll be more than capable as a secondary or 'B' camera. Saying that, for the price or cheaper of the entry Z6 you can also get an E-M1 mk.II, X-H1, A6500 and the A7III especially if you have to buy new glass. The FTZ adapter while nice, will make for a pretty bulky setup.

In someways part me feels Nikon should just stick with the F-mount and deal with limitations, but by doing so they can make a mirrorless DSLR with all the bells-n-whistles. I thought Nikon would build the Z cameras more aggressively, but I feel they've imposed artificial limitations to protect the DSLRs. Same strategy they used when they had the Nikon 1 system and we know how that turned out.
Hi Jonathan. You posted this reply as I war posting my last post. I certainly agree with your observations in this post. I do feel that Nikon is still not fully committed to Mirelis cameras as they should be andare trying to protect their DSLR sales.
Mike
 
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Thanks Jonathan! I had ordered the Z7 but cancelled yesterday. I am eager for a new camera, and particularly want mirrorless, but I like to get a camera and have it for years. So probably first generation isn't the way to go.
 
Thank you SO much, Jonathan!!!! This is the report many of us have been waiting to see...... And, yes, you've clarified things nicely for me with regard to the road I'll probably be heading down in terms of my next gear purchase. As we all know, you've got a lot of experience in various camera bodies and lenses, and that really pays off at a time like this!
 
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Thank you SO much, Jonathan!!!! This is the report many of us have been waiting to see...... And, yes, you've clarified things nicely for me with regard to the road I'll probably be heading down in terms of my next gear purchase. As we all know, you've got a lot of experience in various camera bodies and lenses, and that really pays off at a time like this!
HI Connie - Ace Photo in Ashburn is hosting an event in two weeks Wed, Sept 12 from 3pm to 8pm. I will try to attend
 
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A couple things to note:

- I think Nikon in the future will have far better Z prices especially if they eventually move manufacturing to Thailand. The fact they're matching Sony A7III and A7RIII prices (which are made in Thailand) while building them in Japan, tells me there is wiggle room on price. Perhaps by this time next year, they'll be much cheaper.

- Now that the Z6 is out, this also allows Nikon to release a proper D750 update if they decide to go that route similar to a D850 and D500. Something more akin to a true D700 follow-up.

- Also Nikon can very well apply the same tech they did on the Z cameras back into the DSLRs in regards to the OSPDAF. Now that they have experience with this tech, perhaps future Nikon F-mount bodies will function similar to the Z cameras. Now that the puzzle pieces are in place, Nikon can only improve the system.
 
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Thanks Jonathan! I had ordered the Z7 but cancelled yesterday. I am eager for a new camera, and particularly want mirrorless, but I like to get a camera and have it for years. So probably first generation isn't the way to go.
Nikon is going to improve the Z system no doubt. The only reason I'd buy right now is if I was either a landscape photographer or someone who needs large prints, but doesn't want the bulk of a D850 -or- someone who just wants to shrink their kit immediately and get something like the Z6 as a backup or lightweight travel alternative within the Nikon FF ecosystem.
 
HI Connie - Ace Photo in Ashburn is hosting an event in two weeks Wed, Sept 12 from 3pm to 8pm. I will try to attend
Oh, thanks, John!!! I hadn't heard about that!! I probably won't get out there -- it's kind of a hike for me -- but it would be kind of fun..... At this point I am pretty much going in the direction of not preordering or even purchasing one of these new Z cameras and doing something else instead.
 
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