Industry News: Nikon Z6 & Z7 specifications leak out ahead of tomorrow’s announcement

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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Good on Nikon at face value. Seems like a solid offering with a carefully planned out messaging strategy.

I'll reserve my judgment until I see:
  • Proof they can move D850-level data while running AE and AF (from the sensor) in real time. To my knowledge they've never shown performance level anywhere near this with liveview shooting before (D850 doesn't capture 9 fps in liveview, right?). Imaging Resource brute forces all sorts of combinations of AF, file type, etc. and how it impacts true fps, so they might capture how fast these rigs really are.

  • A manual that confirms that Nikon doesn't have the 'performance fine print' that plagued the first two generations of A7/A7R cameras.

  • Pictures of fingers coexisting with large lenses, so the A7/A9 'my fingers fly coach' problem is not present here as well (from TDP):
Sony-24-70mm-GM-Lens-Grip 3.20.57 PM.jpeg

Good luck to Nikon. They need a big sales win here. This may save their bacon, or it might throw their financials even further into the fire. We shall see.

- A
 
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edoorn

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agree with the single card slot decision, for a lot of users a no-go. For others not so much of course. Also, Dpreview mentions a somewhat confusing continuous AF modus.

Apart from the better ergonomic grip (at least it seems to me this way), they don't seem to be a better option for the neutral buyer than Sony. And more expensive.
 

Kit.

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 25, 2011
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I would be slightly panicking were I a current Nikon F mount SLR owner. That adaptor had better sing.
According to B&H specs, neither screwdriver autofocus nor mechanical lever aperture control are supported. Those older lenses can still be used, but only with manual focusing and/or manual exposure.

The later all-electrical lenses should work.
 

BeenThere

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Sep 4, 2012
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I think I'd be very happy if I were a long time Nikon user. At least on paper they've brought two good cameras to the plate. I think the way they spec'ed the two cameras was clever. I'd say they will get at least an initial high demand. The D850 is still supposed to be difficult to get in parts. I wonder what the cameras will do now for Canon. Anything less than these specs would be a major disappointment.
I'd have to say 12 FPS at 24 MP is a very attractive combination. After long use of a 5DSR I'd conclude 50MP is overkill -useful for superlarge prints but awkward file sizes otherwise. 24MP is a sweet spot for details and ease of use. Anyway well done Nikon - I hope it lives up to its promise and keeps my Nikonite friends happy. I await the Canon response with eager anticipation hoping to be reasonably satisfied.
Yep, Nikon has thrown down the gauntlet! Response is eagerly awaited.
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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Yep, Nikon has thrown down the gauntlet! Response is eagerly awaited.

'Response' somewhat implies a threat exists for Canon. We're not there yet (at least not from Nikon). Show me a Canon EF to Nikon Z adaptor and some footage of how reliably and quickly it autofocuses and then we can talk about Nikon truly courting Canon users. As Sony showed us, that really wasn't a priority until the II generation of A7 cameras came out.

Nikon's first foray into mirrorless is not remotely aimed at flipping Canonites. It's about selling a Z6 or Z7 to as many Nikon SLR owners as they can. Canon will do the exact same thing when their first FF mirrorless bodies arrive.

- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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Fine print alert!

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-z7-first-impressions-review

From DPR's listed spec list: "Up to 9 fps shooting (JPEG and 12-bit Raw)"

Stomach-turning if true. This is why we need to read the manuals, folks. Looks like Nikon won't deliver full 14 bit RAW at full burst speed.

This is Sony A7 sort of shenanigans: promise X, but deliver Y until the III generation comes out.

I'm not looking for a gotcha here, mind you, I do want Nikon to succeed. But I thought Nikon and Canon were beyond shenanigans like this.

- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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More info on the iffy list for the Z7 (and remember that this is the nicer one of the two):
  • Sync speed = 1/200 (not the D850's 1/250)

  • Buffer continuous shooting = "Up to 9 fps at 45.7 MP Up to 5.5 fps at 45.7 MP" (WTH, that's from B&H)

  • I'm hearing some grumblings about a 300 shot battery, but I can't find where that's coming from (battery specs are not listed at B&H). D850 batteries should fit in these cameras, but they are introducing a new one for the Z6 and Z7 (with presumably more juice).
Can't find AF sensitivity info yet.

Good news:
  • 1/8000 shutter. They didn't skimp there.

  • Bodies are weather sealed. Expected and needs to be tested, but good to see.

  • From Digital Trends: "At launch, the Z-series will support only XQD memory cards, a format that so far only Nikon has adopted in still cameras. However, Nikon will release support for CFexpress when that format is ready. CFexpress cards use the same form factor as XQD, so a simple firmware update is all that’s required to move to the new media."
- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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DPR's launch page -- not the hands-on multi-page thing -- is putting a lot more 'oh no' on the page if you want this thing to succeed:
  • "The Z 7 can shoot bursts at 9 fps with full autofocus but with exposure locked on the first shot, or at 5.5 fps with with continuous exposure and focus." That's a disaster. The shutter isn't rate-limiting, the AF isn't rate limiting... but AE slows it down? What?! Total Sony fine print move for this price of camera. Shameful.

  • "The Z 7's buffer fills up after about 18 14-bit compressed and 23 12-bit lossless compressed Raws." I recognize it's a high res rig and the CPU is churning in Liveview, but that's a mere fraction of what the D850 can do.

  • Ouch: "Battery life is rated at 330 shots per charge (CIPA) and a battery grip will be available in the future." The A7R III is 530 in comparison.

  • Re: AF sensitivity: "it's sensitive down to -3EV on lenses with apertures of F2 and faster." They were referring to subject tracking in this context, so I'm not sure if that's a general AF sensitivity statement or just when tracking is enabled.
Torpedoes in the water on a few of these specs! They don't have to match Sony, but some of these specs will disappoint the Nikon faithful.

- A
 
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ahsanford

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Mechanical or electronic shutter?

Don't know yet, but mechanical would be a fair bet given that they have a 9 fps shutter in the D850 today and that the max speed is 1/8000. Higher than 9 fps or faster than 1/8000 would likely be on the table were it an e-shutter.

But that's just me thinking out loud. Don't know for sure.

- A
 

Aglet

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Feb 26, 2012
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These new Z bodies look good, ergonomics should be decent (I like the little physical separators between adjacent buttons) and quite compatible with the existing accessory line.

As someone with a lot of Nikon gear and who was really looking forward to this announcement I am, honestly, a wee bit disappointed.
The z6 and z7 are very well-rounded, first-entry products into FF ML market and they will likely sell to a lot of Nikon enthusiasts, gearheads and pros as well.

Simple things, from my perspective, are missing, considering the state of the competition:

- I was really hoping for a sensor-shift resolution-enhancement mode like Oly, Sony, Pentax and Pany can do. The hardware should be capable enough with a 5EV rated IBIS so it's more a matter of software feature to add on later. Will it be a firmware update on these models or do we have to wait for another body to come out? It's a feature I've decided is a deal-breaker now that I've used it.

- I don't need a built in GPS but a lot of shooters like and want that. I like when that's combined with the IBIS to perform the Pentax "Astro-Tracer" function which is an occasionally handy trick.

- high speed e-shutter only operation like my EM1v2. Even if only 20fps w-o AF vs the Oly's 60. (Pany can do this too)

- FTZ adapter doesn't have AF-drive or aperture lever drive?!? WTH! This could have been done within that adapter volume and would have made a more compelling reason to buy the body. No wonder we only saw the Z side of it in the early photos.

- QXD cards!?! Yuck. They're rare and pricey right now and the latest high speed SD express (nearly 1GB/s) protocol should outperform them. Only 1 card slot's not a deal-breaker for me, just an added risk factor to be aware of when shooting critical events.

FWIW, Cfast and QXD connectors are similar but not the same, neither is the protocol (SATA vs PCIex) so not sure how realistic it is the camera could handle Cfast format without a hardware change.
CFexpress, OTOH, is PCIex protocol and does share QXD form factor... could be done.
SDexpress uses PCIex protocol also. while current SD UHS III is comparable speed to QXD so converting to SD express may be another option Nikon could consider.

- AF mode selection and control. Sounds like they kinda goofed there. The higher level SLRs have a very effective and fast way to switch modes and options so without experiencing the Z's method I'm only going by early reports that it's a bit underwhelming.

- battery-life. At least they're still using a common battery format that's been around for a while so we can use some of our older ones as spares but it seems like this thing sucks electrons in large gulps to keep running. That could be a bit of a hassle for some to get used to but some of my current ML bodies are similarly battery-handicapped. It may depend on how you use it. E.g. Using my EM1v2 in mostly high speed e-shutter mode with a mix of maybe 10% mechanical shutter I hammered around 4500 images on one battery and still had about 30% left. (Majority of shots were jpg only).
If I start using advanced functions like hi-rez mode and focus stacking I can kill a battery in less than 100 shots.

There will probably be other things Nikon fans will be disappointed with on these new ML bodies but that will come out soon enough. I don't think I'll be on the pre-order list this time without a serious incentive. More likely to buy a Mavic Pro 2 and carry on shooting with 3 mirror-flapping Nikon FFs for now.
 
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ahsanford

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AF mode selection and control. Sounds like they kinda goofed there. The higher level SLRs have a very effective and fast way to switch modes and options so without experiencing the Z's method I'm only going by early reports that it's a bit underwhelming.

Good list, appreciate the post.

On AF, SLRs simply don't cover the real estate that mirrorless rigs do -- so I somewhat understand why they didn't clone (say) the D850 AF setup. The N7's AF may not be Canon DPAF quick or reliable (we shall see), but I'd be stunned if Nikon didn't think through the AF selection/interface.

- A
 

Aglet

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Good list, appreciate the post.

On AF, SLRs simply don't cover the real estate that mirrorless rigs do -- so I somewhat understand why they didn't clone (say) the D850 AF setup. The N7's AF may not be Canon DPAF quick or reliable (we shall see), but I'd be stunned if Nikon didn't think through the AF selection/interface.

- A
I like the AF point coverage for sure, very useful especially when set up on a tripod and needing an AF point out in the borderlands. That's still not hard to do with magnified live-view on a flapper but if you need some AF dynamics live view doesn't cut it.
Also hearing no eye-focus function, just face?.. Eye-AF is a really useful feature for shallow DoF portraits when subject and photog are moving around.

But back to the AF mode control.
D800 class bodies and some other higher end Nikons as well. There's a button you press and control wheels can then change the focus method and AF point grouping functions really quickly. I don't see a comparable way of doing this on the Zs. This kind of quick-change AF functionality is generally used on cameras intended for some active shooting like sports and wildlife.
Perhaps the hybrid phase + contrast methods Z bodies use are quick enough with S lenses to make this AF programming unnecessary or there's a simple work-around like using pre-programmed user modes.

I think these new cameras have the hardware chops to do a lot more than the shipping firmware is enabled to provide. Would be nice if they get creative with firmware updates like Fuji has done.
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
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Hey AvTvM – are those the specs of a 'really right' FF MILC lens mount?

It doesn’t matter; Nikon marketing nerfed it with the crippled battery indicator.
 

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Talys

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DPR's launch page -- not the hands-on multi-page thing -- is putting a lot more 'oh no' on the page if you want this thing to succeed:
  • "The Z 7 can shoot bursts at 9 fps with full autofocus but with exposure locked on the first shot, or at 5.5 fps with with continuous exposure and focus." That's a disaster. The shutter isn't rate-limiting, the AF isn't rate limiting... but AE slows it down? What?! Total Sony fine print move for this price of camera. Shameful.

  • "The Z 7's buffer fills up after about 18 14-bit compressed and 23 12-bit lossless compressed Raws." I recognize it's a high res rig and the CPU is churning in Liveview, but that's a mere fraction of what the D850 can do.

  • Ouch: "Battery life is rated at 330 shots per charge (CIPA) and a battery grip will be available in the future." The A7R III is 530 in comparison.

  • Re: AF sensitivity: "it's sensitive down to -3EV on lenses with apertures of F2 and faster." They were referring to subject tracking in this context, so I'm not sure if that's a general AF sensitivity statement or just when tracking is enabled.
Torpedoes in the water on a few of these specs! They don't have to match Sony, but some of these specs will disappoint the Nikon faithful.

- A

5.5fps with continuous exposure and focus is a bit disappointing -- and surprising.

The problem with Sony is that the Nikon looks so much like a Sony that the comparisons will be invariably there. I am very curious as to hw good the autofocus is, especially compared to Sony A7R3 and to D850. In my opinion, the D850's AF speed flattens the A7R3 (it isn't even in the same universe), so I wonder where the Z6/7 will fall.
 

CanonFanBoy

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This past weekend I was thankful for dual card slots. The first day of a shoot I hit 845 photos. Not a problem. Uploaded all of them (about 24GB). Second day I filled my 64GB CF card, then formatted my SD card to continue shooting in RAW. I really should get another CF card, but never anticipated ever filling it. Dual cards are now a must for me, especially now that I might start making money with my camera. Hopefully at least enough $$$$ to fund a new body in 2020 and some extra glass, etc. Still just a hobby.
 
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