Attended the Nikon Z Event in Los Angeles!

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Aug 29, 2018
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John Van Atta
-- Smaller camera bodies
-- Smaller wide angle lenses, not really visible yet on the Z mount, but look at say the Batis 18mm.
-- Cheaper camera bodies, from a manufacturing standpoint, though we obviously aren't getting the benefits of that yet :)
-- IBIS is better than optical stabilization for most focal lengths, and works on fast primes where it's supremely useful. Synch IS, using both optical and IBIS on long telephotos, is a miracle.
-- CDAF is more accurate than PDAF for stationary targets. Particularly for faster lenses. I can't stress this enough. It's obviously something Canikon haven't been telling people...
-- Plus you can zoom in the EVF to manually adjust focus if the autofocus isn't going where it's supposed to. This can be automatic whenever you turn the focus ring, in practice it's extremely fluid.
-- Far better experience with manual focus lenses, since you can magnify in the viewfinder to nail focus. There's been a huge resurgence of interest in old MF lenses thanks to mirrorless. Modern DSLR viewfinders simply aren't optimized for MF.
-- Amplification of the EVF image in extreme low light--I can accurately focus in moonlight with an EVF, given some time.
-- You can see exposure in real time, plus highlight burning warnings, in the viewfinder. Makes exposure, especially ETTR, easier.
-- Chimping in the EVF can be useful in extreme conditions, like very bright light or when there's rain coating the back screen.

I'll let someone else comment on the video benefits, which I know are substantial as well, but it's outside my knowledge.

The difference in fine detail from IBIS and CDAF accuracy, put together, surprised me when I went to m43. I think those that haven't shot recent mirrorless will be shocked. For handheld photography, I expect the Z7 to significantly exceed a d850 in effective IQ, at least for things that aren't moving too fast.
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
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Eden, NY
As I've stated before, I believe the new Z mount S lenses are the real story. The cameras exist to use the new lenses. The new lenses will exhibit better corner and edge behavior due to the new mount. Nikon is pouring a lot of R&D into their S lens roadmap which is filled with fast and/or wide lenses.
"Nikkor Z lenses pursue a new dimension in optical performance, by taking advantage of the superior design flexibility made possible by the combination of the larger Z mount with its inner diameter of 55mm, and a short flange focal distance of 16mm. The lenses offer sharp resolution with both still-image and video recording, and are equipped with functions that include: compensation for focus breathing (the shifting of the angle of view when focus is adjusted), quiet operation, smooth exposure control, a control ring and performance that is well suited for video capture."
The Z6 and Z7 appear to be solid contenders for Nikon's foray into this new system. Those cameras will eventually evolve and their feature sets refined by market pressures. But, the new S mount lenses will outperform their counterpart F mount lenses regardless of Z cam features.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
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Lompoc, CA
OK, I understand the excitement about a new toy...
But one serious question: What can a mirrorless camera do better than a DSLR?

Please don't be mad about me
Klaus
To me the big things are better lenses, esp. WA lenses because there are big advantages to getting the rear element closer to the sensor and lower manufacturing costs without having to deal with the reflex mirror.
 
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387
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MN, USA
OK, I understand the excitement about a new toy...
But one serious question: What can a mirrorless camera do better than a DSLR?

Please don't be mad about me
Klaus
Just to expand a bit on John, James and Geoff above - Using M43 lenses has been an eye-opening experience. Particularly in the pro line, those lenses are sharp edge to edge from wide open (as long as your image is in the plane of focus) to when diffraction begins to rob at the smaller stops. You no longer need to stop a lens down 2 or 3 stops to get to the 'sweet spot' and so aperture becomes purely a means of controlling the depth of field.

I suspect that Nikon, as a premier lens company, is acutely aware of this and I believe several times their literature (and some of interviews/videos with the engineers) have mentioned that the new S lenses aim to be critically sharp wide open, edge to edge. The MTF charts (though computed, not measured) on the new 35 and 50 certainly suggest this.

All the internet noise aside, I suspect the Nikon is betting on the lenses selling the bodies. Combine that with a D850 quality sensor in a compact body - and that's the future.
 
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Jul 13, 2008
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Connecticut
OK, I understand the excitement about a new toy...
But one serious question: What can a mirrorless camera do better than a DSLR?

Please don't be mad about me
Klaus
I think it a user preference between OVF and EVF; however, mirrorless lifts some limits. Today, the EVF gives you options in the viewfinder that are not possible with an OVF like focusing peaking, etc.

I don't think the real benefits are fully realized yet; i.e. without a mirror in theory you should be able to get higher frame rates.

I think the real benefit today is the mount change; while I love the F-mount heritage and great glass that can be had on it -- the new mount offers new possibilities. The lens developments is what will get me to purchase Z body.

I've never shot using an EVF and I think I would still prefer an OVF.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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OK, I understand the excitement about a new toy...
But one serious question: What can a mirrorless camera do better than a DSLR?

Please don't be mad about me
Klaus
The main thing I like about mirrorless is focus accuracy using fast primes. My hit rate has gone dramatically up. I've adapted older lenses notorious with focus issues like the Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX on the Sony A7II/III, only to find out it's amazingly sharp. The same lens on my D750 can't even match the focus accuracy even with a 20+ AF adjustment. There's no guessing game.

Though DSLRs also have advantages in battery conservation, instant shooting and better stopped down photography in low light, like stopped-down night shooting and flash photography.
 
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Joined
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OK, I understand the excitement about a new toy...
But one serious question: What can a mirrorless camera do better than a DSLR?

Please don't be mad about me
Klaus
On little thing I enjoy about mirrorless is seeing the image reviewed in the viewfinder right after snapping it. No chimping!! My mirrorless is a 6 year old model and I know that technology has come a long way since then. So, I'm not up on all the benefits.
 
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SE USA
I don't think the real benefits are fully realized yet; i.e. without a mirror in theory you should be able to get higher frame rates.
.
Having two bodies where I can shoot 12 FPS and up to 14 FPS with some limitations, I do not see where a faster frame rate will be of much advantage. Not that we can not come up with some scenarios where it would be handy, but generally I am shooting wildlife/BIF at 8 or 9 FPS and mating rituals at 12 FPS. The 12 FPS mating shots are to capture some of the stuff that last only 0.1 second.

The comment you have made about the lenses I agree with 100%. The new mount and Nikon's determination to produce some extraordinary glass with there S Line will be interesting to see.
 
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Do not be surprised if the owners of Nikon D5/D850/D500 cameras ask you about your dramatic improvement. These people are used to AF misses unless they screwed up.
With CDAF and OSPDAF if it says focused is locked, it's about 99.9% accurate. The only thing that would cause any focus issue is either the photographer or the subject was the cause of movement.

At least with my Sony A7III when shooting people, I can frame the subject anywhere, use the Eye-AF and not have to worry about things like weak outer focus point coverage. Almost every shot with an eyeball is in-focus and perfect.

For portrait shooters and people who generally want a lightweight setup, I think mirrorless makes the most sense. I still wouldn't switch if I was a sports, action or field photographer shooting in demanding conditions. A Sony A9 might be lighter than a D850 or D5, but there's no 300mm f4 PF VR, 200-500mm f4 VR or 500 f5.6 PF VR, which deliver exceptional reach while being lighter and generally affordable.
 
For me, in addition to the lighter weight of mirrorless gear, it is really valuable having information available right in the EVF, including, yes, what my exposure will look like even before I shoot. which then cues me to make adjustments if need be. I tweak the Exposure Compensation dial up or down a little and immediately see the impact. After the shot has been made, I see the results and can then choose to reshoot/recompose for a better perspective or to just move along. It's right there in the camera, no need to move it from my eye. Along with that, one of my favorite features is Focus Peaking, which is especially valuable when shooting macro in manual mode.... Really helps to nail more accurate focus and results.

Smiling now: I still remember years ago when Rich Gibson was over here at my house with his (then new) NEX-7 and a couple of lenses, excitedly talking about....uh....what? Focus WHAT? Peeking? Huh? That didn't make sense! He explained it to me and although I nodded my head, I was still more than a little confused. After he'd left I ran a Google search for more information. Oh.... Peaking.... NOW that was starting to make sense! Once a couple of weeks later, after I had my own NEX-7 and a macro lens in hand and saw focus peaking in action, it made even more sense. :)

Ah, Rich......if he were here now more than likely he'd be shooting with a Sony A9 or a Sony A7RIII and/or a Sony A7III.....or at least have tried each of them and various Sony native lenses! AND of course he'd also be thoughtfully scrutinizing every bit of information about the Nikon Z cameras and lenses, eager to get his hands and eyes on them, too...... He was an engineer and a "gearhead," true, and (aren't many of us the latter?) but he also knew what he needed and wanted to get the kinds of results from images that he liked to shoot, especially when traveling, which he and his wife did frequently, in particular making annual trips abroad. He was serious about evaluating new camera bodies and lenses as they came along to see if they would fit into his shooting style or not. I t think it was really the potentially obtainable results that more interested him rather than any particular brand of camera or lens, although he shot Nikon for years.

The gear.....and the bag, let's not forget how important the right, the almost-perfect camera bag was, too, for him! (Some of us who were there on one occasion still remember his wife, Carolyn, saying plaintively, "Richard! Not ANOTHER camera bag?!")

Aw, gee, I still miss him! For me and many others, Rich has definitely left his imprint!

Sorry, got sidetracked down Memory Lane..... Anyway, having shot both mirrorless and DSLR cameras over the past several years I find that I really am preferring mirrorless for the way that I shoot and the kinds of subjects that I like to shoot. In the beginning, yes, the EVF took some getting-used-to, but I instantly loved the flow of information that came to me straightaway. The lighter weight of most mirrorless bodies and many lenses is also appealing to me, and that's a consideration as well. Methinks that mirrorless is going to be playing a more and more significant role in my shooting life as time goes on......
 
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Joined
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18,329
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For me, in addition to the lighter weight of mirrorless gear, it is really valuable having information available right in the EVF, including, yes, what my exposure will look like even before I shoot. which then cues me to make adjustments if need be. I tweak the Exposure Compensation dial up or down a little and immediately see the impact. After the shot has been made, I see the results and can then choose to reshoot/recompose for a better perspective or to just move along. It's right there in the camera, no need to move it from my eye. Along with that, one of my favorite features is Focus Peaking, which is especially valuable when shooting macro in manual mode.... Really helps to nail more accurate focus and results.

Smiling now: I still remember years ago when Rich Gibson was over here at my house with his (then new) NEX-7 and a couple of lenses, excitedly talking about....uh....what? Focus WHAT? Peeking? Huh? That didn't make sense! He explained it to me and although I nodded my head, I was still more than a little confused. After he'd left I ran a Google search for more information. Oh.... Peaking.... NOW that was starting to make sense! Once a couple of weeks later, after I had my own NEX-7 and a macro lens in hand and saw focus peaking in action, it made even more sense. :)

Ah, Rich......if he were here now more than likely he'd be shooting with a Sony A9 or a Sony A7RIII and/or a Sony A7III.....or at least have tried each of them and various Sony native lenses! AND of course he'd also be thoughtfully scrutinizing every bit of information about the Nikon Z cameras and lenses, eager to get his hands and eyes on them, too...... He was an engineer and a "gearhead," true, and (aren't many of us the latter?) but he also knew what he needed and wanted to get the kinds of results from images that he liked to shoot, especially when traveling, which he and his wife did frequently, in particular making annual trips abroad. He was serious about evaluating new camera bodies and lenses as they came along to see if they would fit into his shooting style or not. I t think it was really the potentially obtainable results that more interested him rather than any particular brand of camera or lens, although he shot Nikon for years.

The gear.....and the bag, let's not forget how important the right, the almost-perfect camera bag was, too, for him! (Some of us who were there on one occasion still remember his wife, Carolyn, saying plaintively, "Richard! Not ANOTHER camera bag?!")

Aw, gee, I still miss him! For me and many others, Rich has definitely left his imprint!

Sorry, got sidetracked down Memory Lane..... Anyway, having shot both mirrorless and DSLR cameras over the past several years I find that I really am preferring mirrorless for the way that I shoot and the kinds of subjects that I like to shoot. In the beginning, yes, the EVF took some getting-used-to, but I instantly loved the flow of information that came to me straightaway. The lighter weight of most mirrorless bodies and many lenses is also appealing to me, and that's a consideration as well. Methinks that mirrorless is going to be playing a more and more significant role in my shooting life as time goes on......
I thought about Rich's Sony Nex camera the other day!! Great memories!!!
 
Rich was the one who introduced me to Sony and the whole mirrorless thing.....at just the right time, too, as I was beginning to think about new gear for some occasion that I had coming up plus just in general. I wanted something new. For some reason the whole 4/3 thing never really appealed to me beyond the small size, and the attraction of the Sony NEX-7 was that it was using the APS-C sensor, the same size as the sensor in a Nikon DX camera. Never regretted buying and using that NEX-7 and I still have it today!
 
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With CDAF and OSPDAF if it says focused is locked, it's about 99.9% accurate. The only thing that would cause any focus issue is either the photographer or the subject was the cause of movement.

At least with my Sony A7III when shooting people, I can frame the subject anywhere, use the Eye-AF and not have to worry about things like weak outer focus point coverage. Almost every shot with an eyeball is in-focus and perfect.

For portrait shooters and people who generally want a lightweight setup, I think mirrorless makes the most sense. I still wouldn't switch if I was a sports, action or field photographer shooting in demanding conditions. A Sony A9 might be lighter than a D850 or D5, but there's no 300mm f4 PF VR, 200-500mm f4 VR or 500 f5.6 PF VR, which deliver exceptional reach while being lighter and generally affordable.
This is more of a technical question....and I cannot believe I'm going to ask it about the Sony...but I am....and I am fully aware that you may not know....

When using the Eye-AF, say in program mode or shutter priority mode....do you think that the Sony looks at the multiple targets and is smart enough to guestimate a plausible DOF and use an appropriate aperture?

I think that would be a killer feature if it could. Say you have the camera in shutter priority and the shutter at 1/125, ISO 100 and the camera picks f/4. Eye-AF kicks in and sees 3 faces, but determines that they are 3 feet deep in total, so based on the known focal length determines that f/8 is required ans shifts the f-stop to f/8 and ISO to 200.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
6
Location
Oakland
Real Name
John Van Atta
I remember my first camera, a Canon Rebel xti, had an "automatic depth of field" mode on the PASM dial. It was supposed to evaluate the scene and automatically stop down just enough to get everything in focus. I don't know if the algorithm was worthless (likely) or if it just couldn't cope with the dog of a kit zoom it came with; but for a little while, I knew just enough about what depth of field was to be dangerous, and used it heavily.

It was halfway through a trip to Alaska looking at landscape shots of glaciers shot wide open (f3.5 of course) before I began to get suspicious and double checked my understanding of aperture :)
 
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Mar 4, 2005
Messages
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Los Angeles, USA
This is more of a technical question....and I cannot believe I'm going to ask it about the Sony...but I am....and I am fully aware that you may not know....

When using the Eye-AF, say in program mode or shutter priority mode....do you think that the Sony looks at the multiple targets and is smart enough to guestimate a plausible DOF and use an appropriate aperture?

I think that would be a killer feature if it could. Say you have the camera in shutter priority and the shutter at 1/125, ISO 100 and the camera picks f/4. Eye-AF kicks in and sees 3 faces, but determines that they are 3 feet deep in total, so based on the known focal length determines that f/8 is required ans shifts the f-stop to f/8 and ISO to 200.
The Sony Eye-AF isn't that smart. All it does is seek out anything that looks like an eyeball. It'll even lock onto pictures of faces and dolls. Saying that, for portrait work it's pretty darn handy, because you're free to compose anywhere in the viewfinder and not worry about corner AF point accuracy like you would on a DSLR.
 
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Apr 1, 2008
Messages
177
Location
Victoria, B.C.
Hoping you folks might be able to help me in my indecision. I put down a pre-order on the Z6 and FTZ adapter the day after the announcement in the hopes of replacing my D700 (owned since new). However, after reading the concerns listed above as well as those mentioned on various other sites and youtube videos I'm not so sure any more. 90% of what is shoot is photos of my family (mostly my two young boys) with the other 10% being general vacation photos so i don't need the most robust feature set. If i was to cancel my pre-order i would be purchasing a D500 due to the similar price point. One of my main concerns is that this purchase will need to last me another 6 or 7 years as my D700 has which means I'm not in a position to purchase the Z6 only to upgrade in a few years to it's replacement.

What would you folks suggest? Am i simply over thinking this and spending too much time reading first impressions reviews?

As background i currently have for lenses a 24-70 F2.8 / 70-200 F2.8 / 85 F1.8 / 50 F1.8 which have done me well up to this point.
 

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