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?: If you could only have one....Nikon Z7 or Nikon D850?

Discussion in 'Nikon Z Mirrorless Forum' started by greyhoundrick, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. greyhoundrick


    Mar 26, 2016
    Hello Everyone,

    I hope you are all doing well!

    Im a 64 year old semi-professional photographer here in Phoenix and have had the pleasure of communicating with you in the past. Ive always enjoyed receiving your input and expertise!

    I have a question I would love for you to answer whenever you get the opportunity.

    I currently have a Nikon D850 and a Nikon D3. Ive had the D850 for a while and I really enjoy shooting with it. However, I have done a lot of research on the Nikon Z7 and am extremely interested in purchasing one, especially now with the Nikon Trade In Event going on until March 31st. They are giving an additional $400 to the regular trade in amount.

    Two things that are very, very luring with the Z7 are the elimination of Auto AF Fine Tuning which, because I am a focus nerd, I drive myself crazy with trying to "dial in" the proper focus all of the time. The charts, software, and time I spend on that is maddening! Then it seems after I make an AF Fine Tune adjustment for one situation as soon as I go to another shot my camera is out of whack! The Z7 does not have that problem. Also, the In Body Vibration Reduction is something I believe I would love because I do have a bit of a tremor which causes my hands to shake.

    Unfortunately, Im in a position where I cant afford another $4000 incremental expense, however, I can swing the $1500 if I were to trade in my D850 for a Z7 with the F mount converter.

    I shoot mostly portraits, pet photography, social events and macro. I also like to shoot sports but I don't shoot them as much as I used to. I used to be the track photographer at Phoenix Greyhound Park until they closed in 2009. My Wife & I are involved with greyhound adoption and have had 15 greyhound family members over the years, they are wonderful dogs.

    Anyway, sorry to digress.

    I am really struggling with this decision as to whether or not I should swap my D850 for a Z7. I think Im ready for mirrorless and this would be a great time because of the Nikon Trade in Event, but I wanted to get your thoughts and comments.

    Can the Z7 and occasional D3 for faster frames per second suffice or will I regret trading my D850???

    I know thats a tough question and a personal one, but if you have a moment and can give me your thoughts I would appreciate it greatly. My belief is that it never hurts to ask people what they think because the more input I get the more I think I will come closer to making the correct decision.

    thanks in advance for your opinions.

    Oh, and please....If you could only have one which would you pick, the Nikon D850 or the Nikon Z7??

    Best to you always,

    Rick Pascale
    Phoenix, AZ
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. I own the D850 and I'm thrilled with it. If I didn't already own the D850, I would purchase the Z7.

    I think mirrorless is the future...and I suspect that most future development that occurs in the lenses and bodies will be targeted that way.

    Since I already own the D850 and it is so early in the mirrorless development, my approach is to keep shooting with the D850. I'll probably wait at least 2 or 3 years before making the switch. But, I won't be buying any more lenses for the D850...all future purchases will be mirrorless lenses.

    My next camera will be mirrorless...and at that point I'll start gradually buying mirrorless lenses. I'll go with the adapter so that I can slowly transition while using the existing lenses in the interim.

    So, if I could only have one...today it would be to keep the D850. In a couple of years, it will be mirrorless.

    • Agree Agree x 4
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  3. Hi Rick.

    If you are going to stick with your current lenses using the FTZ adaptor you won't gain much in size or weight savings.

    You will appreciate the ibis when shooting low speed handheld shots.

    I believe once you get used to using the evf you will love it.

    The Z 7 still needs Nikon to come forth with a firmware update to correct some deficiencies (imo).

    You probably won't be happy if you shoot fast action shots with the Z 7, at this time.

    Ive struggled with it at first almost returning it shortly after I bought it. Im accepting it for what it is now.

    Buy it over the 850? I say yes. All it can do is improve from here.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. greyhoundrick


    Mar 26, 2016
    Thank you Glenn! Always great to hear from you and appreciate your comments! best to you, Rick
  5. greyhoundrick


    Mar 26, 2016
    Great points Mike! Thank you!
  6. My thoughts are similar to Glen. Since you already have the D850 and the Z7 is the first generation mirrorless, the prudent course of action would be to stand pat for a while and see how things develop over the next year or two. After all as you no doubt know by now the 850 is an amazing camera. It's not like you'd be giving up anything from a quality standpoint to stick with it. I'm in a similar situation but still shoot predominantly wildlife with a trend toward more landscape orientation. So I don't feel any sense of urgency to make the switch. But yes that trade-in offer is a temptation :( 
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  7. If I needed a camera for a gig today it would be the D850, and it isn't that close. Mirrorless is clearly the future, but the D850 is the present. To me, buying a Z to use F mount lenses with an adapter is putting the cart before the horse (almost literally). When Nikon has a reasonably full range mirrorless lenses that is when I plan to make the switch. Until then I'll happily use my F mount lenses on my DSLRs.
    • Like Like x 1
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  8. greyhoundrick


    Mar 26, 2016
    Thanks Dan! I appreciate your opinion very much!

    Thank you James. Makes sense and is sound advice!
  9. Well for me the D850 won out. I'm a birder and I didn't like the blackouts and the reports of the tracking system not being as good, plus battery life. I think the Z7 is a very respectable first offering that needs a little polish (plus more lenses) and for me probably the next pro version tracking, I will be very interested how the eye tracking is implemented and how well it actually works. I have tried the current Sony A9 tracking system and when it works it is flat out amazing, and Sony has more things on the way in regards to tracking.

    BTW I have found no need to AF fine tune ANY of my lenses with the D850 and I'm a stickler too, and that really impresses me. Even some lenses that have never been that great before are working much better, I had a post about that in this forum...
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  10. D850, I really like that camera.
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  11. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    With all the lenses I own I'll get the D850.

    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Falter


    Feb 26, 2006
    I had the D3, then the D810 and the D850. I bought the D3 for low ISO performance and not for speed.

    When the Z7 came out I sold the D850 and I have no regrets. Picture quality is equal, AF is superb (I do no sports) and I love the many AF points and what-you-see-is-what you get.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. May I suggest something a bit different. Like you I love my D850, so I picked up a Z6 for travel and family stuff. To be honest, I have not used my D850 as much since getting the mirrorless camera. My plan is to see what the 2nd generation of Z's look like and then maybe trade my D850 and relegate the Z6 to the backup position.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Steinar


    Aug 16, 2007
    I agree with gnagel- I like the more accurate AF from the Z7 (have had some problems with the DSLR.s as You), and I love the vibration control, but if I should buy now it would still be the 850, because I would miss the better part from 850 (AF -mode and more) vs. the Z7 - I think "the missing parts" from the 850 will come in 2 years or so in the Z7S or what they will call it - it is not good enough now after my opinion (vs. 850) , but it will be= Nikon will do it.

    I also have an Olympus with IBIS, and it is really a very great thing - much better than the lenses with VR from Nikon, but Olympus IBIS is better than Nikons so far I can read from reviews and tests, but this will also be better in time
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I'd keep the D850, sell the D3 and buy a Z7 with that money. If you don't shoot as much action, the D850 should be good enough for some occasional action, while the Z7 can be used with more precise AF subjects. That way you have two cameras with shared batteries and similar image output and you can still go back to an OVF camera when you want better continuous focus. If you can't swing the Z7, get the Z6.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  16. Jonathan beat me too it. If sports is really only an occasional thing I'd keep the D850 over the D3. I've not used either for sports or compared their high ISO in real life shooting, but aren't the AF and high ISO both better on the D850? You do give up FPS and have to deal with bigger files on the down side. For my to pick the D3 over the D850 I'd have to have something I could put my finger on and say "this is better on the D3 and I NEED IT".
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Frank Iacone

    Frank Iacone

    Feb 12, 2019
    I own the D850 and would not sell it for a Z7 yet I am happy my lenses are all full frame for the D8850 and many are heavy and would be on the mirrorless as well. I use a Fuji Xt-3 mirolless which I love for travel and event shooting but its hard to beat the D850 and using a 20MM 1.8 for events last year without the grip it was light and my Fuji wa s heavier because you need the grimp for battery life.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. I agree, except I would say get a Z6 instead of a Z7. The $1,400 premium you pay for the Z7 is questionable, especially when one already owns a D850.

    The AF system in the D850 should be good enough for occasional sports (if not more), and if high ISO noise is really a concern, simply scale the D850 files upon export to 12MP. Even against the D4, which has a MUCH better sensor than the D3 for high ISO, the D850 performs very favorably even at ISO 6400 when scaling the images to the same output size.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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  19. TANG0F0XTR0T


    Jun 4, 2008
    Today, the D850 hands down. Mirrorless looks interesting though.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. greyhoundrick


    Mar 26, 2016
    Thank you for your comments! Much appreciated! I have recently decided that with regard to the Auto AF Fine Tune that Im going to set everything to "0" and if IN THE FIELD I feel like Im either front or back focusing I will just bump it a little on the fly. I think this is the best solution for me personally because the charts, graphs, tests, variances, set ups etc. were driving me nuts! Take care, Rick

    I understand completely! Excellent point!

    Thank you! Great info and good to know!!

    Very interesting and for sure worth considering! Thanks so much!

    Great points! Yes, the more I think about gnagel's course of action the more it makes sense to me! Thanks for sharing!!

    Thank you very much! Ive used the D3 to shoot greyhound racing at Phoenix Greyhound Park and IMHO the D3 is just flat out "a beast". I think it is literally a legendary camera. I don't think I will ever get rid of it. The sound of the shutter is worth it alone HA HA!

    I think after all is said and done that Im going to hold off on the Z7 and see if I can fill the piggy bank up in the next year or so and buy either a Z6 or Z7. The more I thought about sending my D850 in the less I could pull the trigger. I bet Ive spent 100 hours researching the subject and I was all set to send my D850 in until last night when I started thinking about all the strobist work I do. The D850 works extremely well with my current speed lights, Alien Bees, Pocket Wizards etc. and Ive read that the adaptation of those with the Z7 is a bit tricky. Also, I think the size of the SB-910s I have might be a bit too much for the Z7. I use the D850 with a grip and honestly it feels perfect to me. Im old and not strong but Ive shot with that weight for so many years that its more than comfortable. Take care, Rick

    Great points and I agree!!

    Very helpful! Thanks so much!

    Yep! I think today it is the D850 for sure!
    • Agree Agree x 1
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