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Nikon Mirrorless cameras - Z6 and Z7

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D800 AF is rated from -2EV to 19EV while Z7 is from -3EV to 19EV. It's better to wait for some reviews but the Z7 on paper seems better in low light AF. Regarding flash sync speed the Z7 allows auto fp mode in which you can use any shutter speed with flash so probably it will be possible to use 1/320 with UW strobes like in the D850. Probably there will be some penalty regarding strobe power in doing so (for 1/250 and 1/320 ss). As for battery real world reviews talk about 1200 shots per battery which is not a deal breaker. There's also continuous AF tracking which seems to be not as good as D850.

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This is not really anything new. Mirrorless has for a long time had an advantage in low light single shot AF. It has problems in AF-C and especially tracking, where DSLRs are still King of the Hill.

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The D850 is rated to -4EV and Z7 only -1 without AF assist. Not sure if it will work through the dome underwater, especially if its IR. Anyone know about this?

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The D850 is rated to -4EV and Z7 only -1 without AF assist. Not sure if it will work through the dome underwater, especially if its IR. Anyone know about this?

I think you're confusing two Z7 functions. It is the "Low light AF" custom function that increases low light autofocus capability from -1EV to -4EV. This is not an assist light but works with internal electronics at some expense of autofocus speed so should only be used in extremely low light situations.

The "AF assist illuminator" on the other hand may be used in low light and outside a housing does shine a green light onto a close subject. As with most other housed cameras, I doubt that the assist illuminator will be useful underwater, but this has nothing to do with the Z7's inherent low light autofocus capability.

Incidentally, neither of these functions work with AFC mode.

The D850 and D500 DSLRs low light autofocus capability is better than the Z7 by specification (-4EV central spot and -3EV for the rest) and as far as I know this is available in AFC mode. -4EV corresponds to half-moonlight illumination so extremely low light and may be a lot darker than most of us try to autofocus even underwater. However, in his Z7 field report, Nikon Ambassador Marcel van Oosten suggests that the Z7 Low Light AF accuracy in AFS mode is even more accurate than with the D850. He does also say that from his limited experience (using pre-production firmware), that AF is in general not as fast as on a D850 and that tracking a moving subject is more challenging.

 

Mark

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Nauticam has announced their Z6/Z7 housing and acording to their data the housing has about the same size and weight than the D850 housing! If this is correct I can't see anyone using a Z6/Z7 underwater!

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Hopefully the Z6 and Z7 are the first step on this path and they will be followed by cameras that are more suited to underwater shooting.

 

Alex

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I had an opportunity to use the MWL-1 with the new Nauticam NA-Z7 housing and Nikon Z7 camera two weeks ago. The system was outfitted with the Nikon 60mm macro for DSLR's and the Nauticam SMC-2. The lens ships with a neoprene dome cover and my test unit had the Nauticam dual flip adapter. My test unit did not have a buoyancy collar and I used float arms which seemed to offset any imbalance. The Nikon Z7 has the same growing pains found with the first generations of the Sony A7 cameras and other mirrorless offerings. Build quality of this camera is superb the best of any mirrorless I have used so far, excellent weather resistance. I only had the system in the water for about two hours so hardly enough time for a full review. I did like the idea of being able to cover from 150 degrees AOV down to 4X in macro. Attached are MWL-1, 60 macro and 60 macro with SMC-2 photos.

If you would like more information go to UWPMAG.com and download the latest free issue for my thoughts on this system.

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post-2618-0-96461300-1541171521_thumb.jpg

post-2618-0-89528900-1541171532_thumb.jpg

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Some additional information on the Nauticam NA-Z7 housing with MWL-1 and SMC-2 can be found in the current issue of Underwater Photography Magazine. Go to uwpmag.com for your FREE PDF download.

 

 

post-2618-0-89486100-1541433366_thumb.jpg

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I had a chance to make 3 dives at Blue Heron Bridge with the Z7, 60mm macro and the MWL-1. Overall I think the Z7 is a good mirrorless camera and considering this is Nikon's first pro level mirrorless, I think they did a nice job. The main complaint I see from most reviews is the AF. The AF is not as good as a D850 or D500 but it was still quite usable. The image quality looks really nice, typical Nikon. I do work for Nauticam, so my opinion may be a bit biased.

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I would agree with Todd in regard to the Nikon Z7. The biggest issues being thrown out are the lack of two card slots something that would not have even been noticed there or four years ago. Others issues include the 1/200th sec. top flash sync and the AF-C. Image quality is in a word superb and on the same level as the D850. I had no issues with AF-S during you short one day use of the system.

 

Regarding growing pains like Sony, Olympus and Panasonic when they went to mirrorless a full set of native lenses will take a while to roll out. That is what makes the MWL-1 and SCM-1 & 2 lenses so ideal for this system. With the FTZ DSLR lens adapter and the current Nikon 60mm F/2.8G macro this one kit can cover a very wide range of view all on the same dive.

 

Looking forward to seeing offerings for the New Canon EOS R system at next weeks DEMA show.

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@twinner. All that you say about the MWL-1 is not specific for mirrorless cameras, right? You could have the same results with a Nikon D850 for example or not? It would be nice to know the apertures used in the pictures and also if you feel that the lens is only mainly usable for cfwa or also for shooting bigger subjects at greater distances. Thanks

Edited by miguelpereira

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Are the measurements posted by Nauticam accurate? Seems like the housing for this camera and the D850 are really similar in size if so.

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@miguelpereira Correct, the MWL-1 is designed to be used with a 60mm macro lens on FF or the equivalent on a smaller sensor. I just happened to be shooting it with a FF mirrorless but you could get the same results with the D850 and 60mm. You will get the best results with the MWL-1 at high f/stops. f/16 is recommended for FF. I shot most of my images at f/16 to f/22. I only had the lens for a short time so I didn't get a chance to shoot some wider apertures. I will the next time I can take it out. I do think it would work fine for larger subjects and more traditional wide angle shots. I don't think you are going to stop shooting your fisheye or other wide lens but having a 150° WA lens and a 60mm macro lens on the same dive will be perfect for a lot of locations.

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I would agree with Todd in regard to the Nikon Z7. The biggest issues being thrown out are the lack of two card slots something that would not have even been noticed there or four years ago. Others issues include the 1/200th sec. top flash sync and the AF-C. Image quality is in a word superb and on the same level as the D850. I had no issues with AF-S during you short one day use of the system.

 

Regarding growing pains like Sony, Olympus and Panasonic when they went to mirrorless a full set of native lenses will take a while to roll out. That is what makes the MWL-1 and SCM-1 & 2 lenses so ideal for this system. With the FTZ DSLR lens adapter and the current Nikon 60mm F/2.8G macro this one kit can cover a very wide range of view all on the same dive.

 

Looking forward to seeing offerings for the New Canon EOS R system at next weeks DEMA show.

 

I am curious how the well the R will work housed. Many camera controls seem to require one to swipe or touch the monitor screen to make a change on the R. I have the original Eos M that is very much like this. It took me a while to figure out how to change ISO for example. One has to be in shooting mode (touch the shutter release). On the plus side one may be able to use the lens control ring to make one adjustment (at a time). This will require a control gear (up to three for one lens - zoom, focus, and control ring). Nikon has just 2 thus far. I am curious how the dedicated mirrorless lenses work behind a dome port especially as you have given the thumbs up on some of your Sony lens reviews, Phil.

Tom

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I am not sure who that level thing on the EOS R will be implemented but I am sure ISO could be reached from the super screen or what ever they are calling it. Canon has taken a very different approach to mirrorless than Nikon, I was a bit surprised that they did not offer IBIS in stead on in lens stabilization.

 

Regarding mirrorless lenses it appears that the difference in the setback between mirrorless lenses and DSLR cameras with the mirror makes a difference in the size of the port needed for wide lenses. Example Nauticam recommends the 250mm port for best results with the Canon 11-24 F/4 and the Nikon 14-24 F/2.8. For the Sony 12-24 F/4 the 230mm port is recommended for best results. While Sony 16-35 F/4 & 2.8 can be used with ports as small as 180mm. So apples to apples on full frame Sony at 12mm behind 230mm dome should yield the same corner sharpness as Canon at 11mm behind the 250mm given the same F/stop.

 

The prevailing wisdom is that Nikon D850 and D500 have the fastest and most accurate AF of any of the DSLR's and that Sony has the best for any of the mirrorless cameras. I Shoot the 12-24mm in AF-C most of the time and I do not own a focus gear for the lens, in fact the only focus gear I own is for the 90mm macro and I would be hard pressed to say the last time I have used it. Like all full frame cameras I try to shoot at F/13 or higher unless I am looking for shallow DOF. This is one tradeoff for shooting FF. Keep in mind that I am not a video guy so my observations are based on stills. The high end Sony lenses are excellent which has been proven by tests by DXO and others. Also regarding the larger lens mounts selected by Canon, Nikon and Panasonic I understand the concept for faster lenses but the smaller Sony mount seems to be fine for any lens I would use and you can find a bunch of lenses in the F/2 to F/1.2 range that are offering excellent results on Sony FF.

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