Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

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Last August, Nikon has long been one of its most important (and expected) announcements. It was the introduction of his new commitment to cameras without mirrors interchangeable lenses. And as we have seen, with two models, the Z6 and the Z7. The Nikon Z7 is the most advanced model with which you want to mark above and above all later. It is a very comprehensive, ambitious model that needs to compete to gain its market share among the full-frame CSCs that played a leading role this year.

With the dominance of Sony and its A7R III and A7 III, Nikon took a decisive step in conceiving a new system, a new bracket and the future, without neglecting the well-known reflex range for all our needs. After our contact at the last Photokina 2018 The Z7 could be tested for a few days to get new ratings.

Nikon Z7, main features

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

We review in detail its main features, which highlights, obviously, its full format sensor and high resolution (by the way, identical to its large D850 ):

SENSORCMOS of 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm type FX (full format)
OBTURATION SPEEDFrom 1/8000 to 30 s, in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV; Bulb, Time and X200 options
SHOT ON BURSTUp to 9 fps. Continuous at low speed: from 1 to 5 fps. Continuous at high speed: 5.5 fps (NEF / RAW of 14 bits: 5 fps). Continuous at high speed (extended): 9 fps (NEF / RAW 14 bits: 8 fps)
FOCUS SYSTEM493 points (single point AF). Hybrid phase detection / contrast detection AF with AF assistance. 90% vertical and horizontal coverage
ISO SENSITIVITYFrom 64 to 25,600 (expandable to 32 -102,400)
IMAGE STABILIZERMoving the 5-axis image sensor
VIEWFINDEROLED of 3,690,000 points with coverage of 100% approx, 0.8 magnification and ocular sensor
SCREEN3.2-inch TFT LCD and 2,100,000 points. Touch with inclination and 170 ° viewing angle.
STORAGE1 XQD card slot
VIDEO RESOLUTION3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p (progressive), 25p and 24p. 1920 x 1080 120p, 100p, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
CONNECTIONSUSB Type C, HDMI Type C output and audio input / output minijack
FEEDINGLithium-ion battery EN-EL15b (also compatible with EN-EL15a / EN-EL15)
DIMENSIONSApprox. 134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm
WEIGHTApprox. 585 g only the body of the camera (675 g with battery and card)

Design and ergonomics

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

We started with the design, which is the first camera in the new system to contain many new features and details. The first thing to emphasize is the size. Logically smaller than a normal full-frame SLR, resulting in a lightweight camera without compromising the feel of a solid camera with a good grip. In fact, it is very comfortable, with a size and adjusted weights. And of course with a construction that guarantees and guarantees the resistance in bad weather with a closed body.

For what we have tried, it will be fine in this section, at least in a few days. We would have to see if it stays in the same line with time and intensive use, since we already know that its professional SLR cameras do, and we think its design allows for great durability.


Good overall ergonomics, with a very comfortable grip despite that size

The grip is prominent and helps you to have a very comfortable grip despite that contained size. In general, its ergonomics are very good, and even those who like large cameras will not have too many problems to adapt to its handling.

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

In terms of controls, the distribution and design of Nikon cameras does not vary much. In fact, we find them where we just hope they are easy and intuitive, with no surprises and bets on what we found in SLR models. With a camera that is easy to create and in a short time we can control it very well.

If you have a model smaller than a D850, we may not have enough room for some controls, but the basics are where they are expected. With a very comfortable and precise joystick button. The mode dial will surprise you with up to three customizable modes (U1, U2, U3), giving you the ability to include and navigate through different configurations.

For example, you can set one portrait, one landscape, and one indoor shot. Just turn this knob (I’ll learn the central button that locks it to prevent accidental rotation). Simple and direct mode.,

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

We have tested the Z7 together with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f / 4 zoom lens, which will be the objective of the most usual kit in its sale. And in terms of design, it should be noted that the lens when it is locked, remains contracted and to activate it, you have to rotate the zoom ring to extract it and start working.

When we turn on the camera, the warning pops up for us to do this operation. It is a solution to make the zoom more compact, but it does not stop being somewhat cumbersome each time we turn on to find this message and have to turn the lens to unlock its retracted position. In addition, it is somewhat coarse and requires a forceful twist.

Screen and viewer

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Within the screen display options we can not find the way to leave the frame alone without any info

The other options that we can highlight are its screen, which meets very well in general lines (good tactility and resolution, tilt although not fully articulated, which would have been ideal …), although curiously does not allow, within the options of visualization, to eliminate all the data and to leave the image alone, with nothing else, to compose with maximum detail and without distractions, something that the viewer does, which locates the data out of the frame.

Interesting and useful is the top OLED screen, small but sufficient to have the main data at a glance: exposure settings, compensation, battery level, number of shots remaining on the card … Of course, this screen does not allow no personalization and we can not add the information we need most at any time (there are other cameras, such as Fujifilm’s X-H1 that does allow it). We have to conform to such and how it is designed, and for the price and benefits we think it would have been nice to have it.

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
The viewer is one of the great achievements in design. Probably because Nikon thinks that many users of SLRs who are accustomed to optical viewers will show more restraint or change too much. But the truth is that they worked hard and the viewfinder is excellent. Quality, refresh rate, fully customizable information and the ability to increase brightness when working in low ambient light scenes It is very easy to get used to and the results are very remarkable.

A single card slot and XQD format

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

One of the topics you’ve been more than commenting on since its launch is that Nikon has decided to take the format of XQD cards very seriously. So much so that this Z7 has only one card slot and they need to have this format. Using a Z7 with SD cards is simply not possible. If there were two slots, it is more compressible that one was meant for XQD. This is an earlier step, an adaptation for many photographers to get used to, while manufacturers and the market offer us more options (it is still difficult to find them and there are only a few models and prices to choose from).

A very risky decision and certainly something that can arouse the interest of many in this Z7. What if there is a picture change (although we can continue to use F lenses with the adapter), so do this in card format. For those who want to partner with another Nikon team, for example, this could be your choice. In addition, many professionals need these two slots for their usual work. This is an option that we will not find in this model.

In addition, we not only need XQD cards, but also a card reader if we want to download them to our computer. The most comprehensive and fastest alternative (using wireless connectivity from a smartphone or tablet that is also in use) is what we used via the Type C USB port and the Nikon Transfer software. Something that is undoubtedly cumbersome.

Battery: now also allows USB charging

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

The Nikon Z7 uses the new EN-EL15b version (similar to the standard EN-EL15 used by other Nikon models) with the special feature of being able to charge via USB. This is an advantage as we do not need to use the charger which is also included and we can charge it conveniently. Of course, it is compatible with EN-EL15a batteries, although in this case they will not allow charging via USB.

In terms of its autonomy, it should be noted that it can reach up to 400 rounds according to specifications, but this is always variable depending on the type of use. Our tests have allowed us to increase this value without misusing the image revision or increasing the brightness.

However, when we use wireless connectivity, video recording, continuous image verification, autonomy suffers greatly. Here, the ordinary SLR user will logically notice the perceptible difference, but neither can he be said to have very little autonomy of being a camera without a mirror.

While this is clearly intended for professional use (and when we compare it again with the competition, such as the A7 III), the need for extra battery is needed to wait for a future grip that extends the possibilities.

The autofocus

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 30s; f / 5.6; ISO 3,200

The Nikon Z7 launches a new autofocus system . Recall that it has 493 points and that, as a handicap, it has the high reputation of the Nikon D850, D750 … that have a very fast and accurate autofocus system. In our tests we have verified that the Z7 fulfills well and even manages to stand out in the approach with low light, although in the most demanding scenes (such as action, sports or little contrast) is where the quality that we find, for example, in the mentioned D850.

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 10s; f / 5.6; ISO 1,600
When the conditions are favorable, the autofocus achieves outstanding results

The advantage we see here is when the conditions are simple: good light, static objects … the results are outstanding. Thanks to the electronic viewfinder or screen, we can achieve high precision before shooting. In the other scenes and proportions, however, it is slightly below the brand’s most advanced SLR cameras.

And that does not mean it’s not a good autofocus, but there’s still room for improvement, especially when we see what its expertise can achieve (for example, the A7R III).

The continuous approach to moving subjects is good if a single point is used, and some less precise for the entire area (3D tracking, as it is called in the advanced models of the Nikon reflex), where sometimes it is not beating comes. Like the recognition of faces, very good with static motives, but slightly more irregular when they move. And we have not found the option of autofocus with attention, something that other models already offer and that lacks the ambition of such a camera on this first model.

Extraordinary stabilization system

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 2s; f / 8; ISO 6.400
The performance of the stabilization system is great, much better than we expected

It is remarkable that this Z7 has opted for stabilization in the body. It’s the first Nikon to integrate it that way. And the truth is that it was a complete success. His performance is excellent, much better than we expected. Even Nikon guarantees that its operation is perfectly compatible with stabilized optics.

It allows us to shoot at low speed and with great guarantee (like the previous picture, shot at 1/2 second and squeeze), and of course you can see its excellence in video recording. Outstanding in this aspect for the Z7.

Image quality and performance

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 10s; f / 18; ISO 64

The fact of using a sensor of such high resolution leads us to offer really outstanding results and sharpness (even though it has a low pass filter). We would say that at the height of the D850 which is a reference in this regard. The capture of details is fantastic, its color reproduction is also extraordinary, even when shooting in JPEG you can see very good files, crisp and with a great color (especially green shades, as is usual in Nikon). Very real, without abusing excessive processing.


The capture of details and its color reproduction is extraordinary

Also, remember that it allows us to use an ISO 64 sensitivity , which when we need the maximum detail and sharpness and we have good light conditions, the results are as good as with the D850 (although it is a conclusion without comparing face to face) .

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 60s; f / 4; ISO 200

By increasing the sensitivity we can also achieve very good results, even reaching values of 8,000 ISO (remember that they can reach up to 25,600 ISO). This leads to very contained files in the noise signal.

It is noteworthy that we liked the configuration of the automatic ISO, with several options that allow us, for example, to work in certain circumstances and to manually control the sensitivity (for indoors or very variable light scenarios, this is a solution of guarantees). ,

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 200s; f / 5.6; ISO 1,600
Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 25s; f / 4.5; ISO 6.400

Nikon Z7: a multi-purpose camera

As with the D850, Nikon has been looking for a very advanced camera for the most demanding users, professionals and professionals. That is, a camera that offers versatility, for the travel photographer, for reportage, for portraiture and for the landscape as well as for video recordings.

It can also be done for not very demanding sports. Remember that it is possible to use 9 frames per second with AE locked (although we do not have a native look for these tasks and you need to pull the adapter and other available targets).

In general, it is good in all scenarios, though in some scenarios it does not reach the level of the D850 we compared with. And if we want, compared to its real competitors (Canon EOS R or Sony A7R III), the pulse remains good, it shines in its clarity, the handling of noise with high sensitivity and good overall performance, with some weak points and can be improved following models.

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows
Nikon Z7 + 24-70 mm @ 1 / 200s; f / 8; ISO 125

Photos taken with Nikon Z7

Gallery in full resolution | On Flickr

Where to buy

Nikon Z7, the opinion of HaticiTECHS

Nikon Z7 review: a bet of the future with a great image quality despite some shadows

We are facing Nikon’s (very) very serious landing in the cameras without a mirror, after a foray into the past whose ambition was not very high and was relegated to oblivion. Now, he has taken the bet for it very seriously, with two models, a new mount and offering remarkable results for demanding photographers.

It is a camera of great potential, polyvalent, comfortable and that counts on the quality of its sensor as its main value

The competition has been strong, and in this area Nikon must come up with many arguments, as has been the case so far. It has its lights and shadows, especially when deciding on SD cards, although it is characterized by the quality of a sensor that is at a very high level. A camera with great potential, versatile and comfortable, which focuses on the quality of its sensor as the main value.

The Z7 will still give the professionals a lot of doubt, especially if they know that their AF system is not outstanding (when compared to a professional SLR), but especially when you put on a new mount, in At the moment we only find three available targets that limit their options.

It is true that we have a wide range of options, but the real issue is that if you are looking for lightness and a smaller size, you still have to wait for the optics catalog to expand. We have no doubt that Nikon has bet heavily, and soon we will find many more options.

But surely the use of XQD cards and a high price in the meantime will be arguments that will stop the decision of many photographers. Meanwhile, we also find the Z6, which is considered to be more attractive to many just before reaching the market.

  • Features
  • Design and Ergonomics
  • Controls and interface
  • Performance
  • Image quality

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