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Michael T.

Z6 or Z7 for stills?

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Hi,

I searched the topic but couldn't find something like it. 

 

I'm wondering which of the two cameras to buy if you are a photographer with no intentions about videos? I watched a lot videos on YouTube about shooting the Z7 under water - but no-one seems to shoot the Z6? Why is that? is the Z6 so much worse than the Z7? Do I really need the 47 MP? Is the Z7 that much better in low light?

Who tried both and can tell me about it? or direct me to other sources I didn't find.
 

What do the experts say: how long will the digital viewfinder work? I owned my D800 for 8 years now and want my next to last as long as the D800. But I'm a bit concerned about the viewfinder in the Nikon Z´s.

 

TIA,

Michael

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Posted (edited)

"The Nikon Z6 and Z7 are the same camera, except for excessive resolution in the Z7 (you can't see it due to Pixel Dumping) and more speed (both ISO and frames per second) in the Z6. Other than that, the only two differences are that the Z7 offers a 4:5 crop option in addition to the 1:1 and 16:9 crops in both, and that the Z7 includes a redundant EH-7P Charging AC Adapter. The real difference is that the Z6 only costs $1,997 and the Z7 costs $3,397 for otherwise the same camera."

https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/mirrorless/z6-vs-z7.htm#:~:text=The Nikon Z6 and Z7,per second) in the Z6.&text=The real difference is that,for otherwise the same camera.

My choice based on this would be clear for me. 

Good luck!

Edited by bill1946

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As Bill sets out, the only real difference is the price and the number of pixels.

I've been using a Z6 above-water since shortly after they were released and really like it. Highly transportable - especially if you use the Z lenses. The FTZ adaptor works well with, eg the Nikkor 105. Images are sharp and unless you want to blow them up to mega-proportions where the Z7 may be better, the Z6 is much better value and gets the job done just fine. 

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Posted (edited)

I have reviewed both of these cameras for uwpmag.com and this is my take as a still photographer. First these cameras are Nikons first jump into the full frame mirrorless market. I reviewed the Z7 as a pre-DEMA teaser for the Nov/Dec 2018 issue #105. At the time the only lens I used was the Nikon 60mm F/2.8 macro with the FTZ adapter and Nauticam's MWL-1 and SMC-2 C/U lenses which were also about to debut  at the DEMA show. At the time the auto focus was not up to par but that has been corrected with firmware updates. With the Z6 (M/A 2020 issue #113) review all of the introductory shortcomings has been corrected and I also had the opportunity to use the excellent Nikon Z 14-30mm F/4 S and the also outstanding Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye with FTZ adapter.

As stated above both cameras are very similar using the same frame and excellent built quality Nikon is known for. Both cameras fit into the same housings without any modification. This reduces production costs and benefits the U/W photographers like myself who carry the high MP camera while traveling and use the low MP camera as a backup and surface camera. At the $2000.00 and $3400.00 price points I would have expected Nikon to offer a little more on the high end. Both have the same EVF I would have expected the higher 576,0000 rather than the 369,0000. Both have a 1/200th flash sync speed, I would have expected 1/250th for $3400.00. Both have a single card slot which they got slammed for on release by terestrial reviewers and both use in-lens stabilization which only works with the limited Z lens line. I apologize if this issue has been corrected in a FTZ firmware update. 

Most U/W photographers don't use the higher frame rates of the Z6 but it is always nice to have and I would rather have the Z7 ISO range on the bottom end rather than the top 204800 ISO on the Z6. Most of my U/W work is done in the ISO 50-1600 range so the Z7 suites me in this regard. Most U/W photographers will be more than happy with the Z6 and if you find the need for more MP's as you expand your horizons you can always add the Z7.

The biggest issue is how much are you willing to spend because the housing, ports, extensions, strobes, arms, lenses, gears and more will all be the same for both cameras making the overall difference an additional $1400.00 for the Z7. 

If you wish to read my reviews they can be found in the back issues at uwpmag.com, these are free PDF downloads.  

Edited by Phil Rudin

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I don't think the Z series cameras offer a mature option for underwater photographers (yet).

There is no doubt that Nikon's engineers have done clever stuff by redesigning the flange so that the lens:sensor distance is reduced. This has the potential to improve image quality and make the most of the camera's potential autofocus.

But we cannot take advantage of this due to the lack of native lens support. Nikon has announced that they do have 60 and 105 mm macro lenses Z mount planned, but there are no release dates yet. There are no native fisheyes announced.

Cn you use the FTZ with F mount macro or fisheye lenses? Yes, although this removes the potential advantages of the Z mount. 

My experiment with the AF suggests that it is considerable inferior to the excellent AF on the D5/D850/D500 series. 

I would suggest that in use, these cameras will give a similar overall performance to the D800 or perhaps D810 (underwater). The D850/D500 series are currently better cameras for underwater photographers. With rumors of a D860 (?), I would bide my time await before jumping over on to the Z system.

Adam

 

 

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Thanks so much for your input!

I heard the rumors of Nikon having the successor of the D850 in the making but I can't wait 'til next year :-( . My old Nikon died and I need to go on now. With all the F-mount lenses which can be used on both cameras doesn't make the decision easier. Until I read Adams post I was sure to get a mirrorless... now even more unsecure.

But thanks all of you for your words!

 

Cheers,

Michael

 

 

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I don't shoot any of these cameras but I would tend to go with what you know, early adopters always pay a premium to be beta testers. 

Having said that the main shortcoming seems to dedicated lens availability and AF performance. this is how I would look at it:

  • Lenses on the adapter will be optically the same as what they perform on a DSLR - there is no glass in it just a spacer
  • the advantage of dedicated Z lenses will mainly be wide angle - optics tell you that - a non retrofocus design has better opportunity to be sharp.  But that extra resolution and definition could well be lost on UW wides due to issues with dome port optics.
  • AF on the adapter will likely vary from lens to lens
  • AF for wide angle work (reef scenes, CFWA)  on the mirrorless bodies is probably already OK - it's not very demanding
  • AF on macro or perhaps fish portraiture or seals for example where fast AF is needed is where you will see any penalty
  • The lifetime of the EVF should be no different to the rear LCD - the reliability of which is probably no better or worse than shutter and mirror reliability and almost certainly more reliable than mechanical connections to stop down the aperture on older lenses and AF motors on any lens.
  • On the pixel dumping it sounds like a great argument except it ignores the fact you don't have to use all the resolution.  The Z6 and Z7 will be near identical if you down sample the Z7 to Z6 resolution, you gather the same amount of light with both so image quality should be so close as to be indistinguishable apart from fine detail on very large blow-ups.  You might be able to crop the Z7 a little more and blow up to larger sizes but...
  • In underwater work particularly with full frame people stop right down to deal with dome corner sharpness and you are in diffraction and losing some of that extra resolution.   My feeling is that for most lower resolution will be fine for UW shots for most people - but there are certainly those who can make use of it.

For now I would think you can either pickup a second hand D800 as a stopgap  to last till Z6/Z7 mkII come out or the D860.... or go with a something new.  On the something new if AF is important to you a D850 is known quantity and will certainly produce great shots.  The Z6 or Z7 will also do fine if you can live without the AF of the D850.

Where I see advantages for mirrorless is brighter viewfinder images and features like focus peaking to help with focus.

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I think the issue with AF on the Z6/7 is not a function of the adaptor, it is that it is simply not as good as the AF on cameras with a dedicated AF sensor. 

It hunts terribly with the 105mm f/2.8 VR.

To further confuse things, I think the single best camera out there for underwater use right now is the D500. The good news is that these are relatively cheap (although their housings are not...), their lenses are also relatively inexpensive and those that you used with the D810 will mostly work.

Sorry :)

 

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I think what I was trying to say was AF on the adapter for the 8-15 fisheye for example might be acceptable but would suck on a macro lens as you said.  The problem is no way to predict the performance unless someone else has tried it out - all you really can be sure of is it won't be as good as the same lens on a D series Nikon.

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I’ve shot the Z7 underwater - for a handful of dives in Cayman - but only used it with the 14-30mm and Nauticam’s new WACP-2.

The camera is very likeable on land - but I didn’t love the camera underwater (I did love the lens and WACP-2 once in the water - which is why I kept using it!). The AF with the 14-30mm was totally fine for WA shooting. The synch speed is a negative and the lack of lens compatibility too. I didn’t like the fidelity of the electronic viewfinder for reviewing images. I also was stuck using strobes I didn’t like with it - which didn’t help.

I used it for a few shots - which you can see here:

http://www.amustard.com/library/page/search/"z+7"/

I didn’t like the files as much as the D850 and I expected them to be the same. I never got to the bottom of why this was. 

I leant the camera around on the trip and some didn’t like it, but one guy, a very accomplished SLR shooter (very regular magazine shooter) loved it - and preferred it to his SLR. So if you get the chance to try one - I would - as I think some definitely prefer this system.

I don’t prefer it to my SLRs. Sadly, I fear that these mirrorless cameras are the future that the camera companies want us to follow. And we will get lots of new mirrorless and less and less SLRs.

Alex

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Glen's review doesn't mention which camera he was using before!

As I would expect, his images show that an 8" dome with the 24-70 is soft in the corners.

Live view in itself of course is not new, and the iteration on the Z6/7 is no better or worse than that of the D5/D850/D500 series. Perhaps his exclusive use of it emphasizes that the EVF is not as good as the optical VF on the SLR cameras that he is used to?

These things are all personal, but I have yet to hear of anyone going from D850/D500 to Z6/7 being happy with the change. As Alex has mentioned, looking down the road aways, it may not be a choice that we will have for much longer.

 

 

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My D800 died (and thanks good I have an insurance) - but I need to buy a new one soon, can't wait until the D860 or Z6/Z/ mkII(?) comes out.

With my diving being most of the time in the Netherlands (so greenwater-diving) and with 70% Macro (with 60 and 105) I really don't like to read about a hunting AF. Next week I have an appointment in a shop to have a look at some housing options and the dealer has both cameras in house. Deep in my heart I stick to the DSLR, but as Alex and Adam mentioned - I also fear there will be no choice in future. And that's why I'm already having a look at them and where my question about the real difference of the two cameras came from. 

Reading about all the things you like and don't like may help with my decision once I had both cameras in my hand...

Cheers,

Michael

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I long ago gave up shooting and traveling with any SLR camera so these insights are just meant for discussion.

Here's another gallery while being landlocked with Glenn using his Nikon Z6, Nikkor 105mm Macro and a Kenko1/4X  teleconverter. Plus an adapted Weefine Macro LED flash (!!!!!)

 
I realize many will say underwater macro is different. But with an adequate aiming light I will bet the results would be similar.
 
Also the fact Glenn jumped into Mirrorless (he has a Nikon D810 too) and has multiple Nikkor (plus some long telephoto lenses) I value his real world shooting experience.
 
Using his Nikon Z6 on several underwater trips seems to show the Nikon Z6 / Z7 as a possible choice at much less cost.  In fact he got his Z6 and Nikon Z "kit" 24-70mm lens just prior to his shark trip. I think his resulting images are what many would hope to get after seeing Tiger Beach shots going back to 2005 when I first went there.
 
I know he has the 14-30mm Z lens and prior to COVID-19 lockdown got some great shots on Grand Cayman with it.
 
The fact camera companies will likely go this route in future development is something to consider if building a new system too.

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After having a look at the (Nauticam) housings for the Z7 and the D850 with no difference in weight and almost same size it will be a DSLR again. Thanks for all you kind help. The camera body might be a little bit lighter than the DSLR is but with the ftz Adaptor and using F-Mount lenses there is also not too much difference any more. 
The handling of the camera: also +1 for the DSLR. I couldn't have a look at the images, I still don't know much about the quality of the Z6/7 compared to a D800/D810/D850. Maybe the next or the generation after that will get it's chance. I can't wait for a successor (and I don't want to go with 60 MP with what the rumors say) and also a Z8 is too much. I think with the D850 I will get a partner for a couple of years. 
 

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