#940. Nikon Z7 – 12 months on

By Dallas Thomas | Review

Dec 14

The Nikon Z7 for a first effort, is pretty good, IMHO. Sure it may not have Sony like eye detection focus and it has the cardinal sin of just a single memory card. Not having these 2 features has not impacted on my photographic  adventures over the last 12 months and some 12,000 images. The camera is robust and performed in the varying conditions of shooting in sub zero temperatures in the Dolomites and the Paris winter weather as well as summer in Marseilles.


About a month after purchase I completed an opinion piece #809. GAS Strikes Again – Z7 Vs D850 where I said that the D850 would spend the majority of its time in my bag.

This has been the case with one exception where I used it in conjunction with the Z at an historic motor racing meet. The D850 autofocus is slightly quicker IMHO with native F mount lens the Z with the FTZ and it allowed Anne and I to share cameras.

I still stand by my original statement that I will never buy another DSLR. The main reason as those that have read my previous posts know I shoot with manual focus glass and the EVF of the Z is invaluable for this. The slightly smaller body and less weight is also appreciated. You may ask would I have missed shots if I was only using the D850?  Possibly a few given it’s not as user friendly for Manual focus.

Is the EVF perfect? No. It does have slight shutter lag when shooting in burst mode, but again this has not effected me getting the shot I wanted.

Is the Z perfect, well no. Then is any camera currently on the market perfect? Maybe the Hassleblad X1D; Pascal is a great fan.

I’m sure Philippe has gripes with his Sony.

Back to the EVF: when Monitor Mode is set to Auto Display Switch it can play up and not switch on the monitor when the light is a little dull. It can be frustrating but is easily fixed by switching to Monitor Only. I’m told this is a common issue with ML camera’s.

Something I was told before buying a ML camera is watch out the sensor gets dirty very quickly and you will always be cleaning it. I often change lens during a shoot. Well, touch wood, to date I’ve yet to have the sensor cleaned professionally. The rocket blower has been used a few times.

For me for landscape use an L Bracket is essential. Finding an L Bracket that still allowed me to plug in a trigger when using it in portrait mode took some time. Kirk Photo had what I wanted. A bracket that mounts onto the FTZ adaptor. As I only use mainly Zeiss ZF2 Milvus glass and a couple of F mount Nikon glass this fitted the bill to a tee.

IBIS where do I start? I found with the D850 I was needing to shoot with a shutter speed of about 1.5 times focal length to obtain super sharp images. Previously with the D810 smaller 36mp vs 47mp I could get away with about .8 times.

IBIS has allowed me to now shoot hand held at much lower shutter speeds than ever before.

135mm @5.6 1/15

The Z system is something that’s evolving, to-date I haven’t purchased any native glass for it and have no plans to do so. ML for me is now firmly part of my photographic regime. I’m in 2 minds whether or not to sell the D850…………. but a second body is always handy.


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • Pascal O. says:

    Dear Dallas, thank you for this most interesting article.

    I agree with you that, for me as for you, DSLR firmly belongs to the past.

    Congratulations on yet another set of spectacular pictures. Since my memory is not that good, would you mind reminding me what lenses you use with your Z, please, especially on the picture set above?

    That set spectacularly illustrates your point. Thank you!

    • Hi Pascal, many thanks for your kind comments. Apologies I did forget to add them in on the post.

      Lenses used in this set in order are:
      135 @f8
      50 @f4.5
      50 @f8
      50 @f5.6
      85 @f4
      85 @1.6
      135 @f2
      85 @f3.5
      25 @f8
      100 @f8
      25 @f1.4
      50 @f1.4
      135 @f8
      25 @f8

      All are Zeiss Milvus in addition I have an 18, 21, 35. The 21 presently I’m trying to sell.

      Again many thanks for your comments.


  • philberphoto says:

    Excellent review, Dallas! So many times review(er)s spend much too much time on a laundry list of minor features, but not you. And you let your pics tell the rest of the story. You areenjoying this camera, and it shows. And we get great pics. What’s not to love?

  • Kai O says:

    Beautiful shots Dallas! Well done.
    After switching to Sony, I have not touched my DSLR for a few years now…

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    À chacun son goût, as always.

    Well – you have the prospect of buying a whole new range of lenses, to take advantage of that big ‘ole in the front of your camera – but don’t expect that range to be Zeiss glass, in a hurry. Still – eventually.

    And right now, you have a fiendish IBIS – hand held shots up to 1 second are possible – don’t even think to try that with the D850 when you next haul it out of the bag.

    My problem was Nikon announced this development too late for me, Dallas. I have drawers full of gear now, purchased around using the D850/D500 combo that I settled on before Z anything emerged from mothballs. So – I belong to the past, my gear belongs to the past, and we’ll see each other out – happily, in this case, because it does everything I want. (I still have over 350,000 shutter clicks up my sleeve before they both wear out – and my ageing chassis doesn’t have anywhere near that number left!)

    IF I ever relent, and buy anything else, it’ll be one of SIGMA’s Foveon sensor cameras – because I want the change to play with one.

    But back to my first paragraph – I enjoy looking at the photos that you produce with your Z7, just as I enjoy what Pascal produces with his Hassy and Philippe with his Sony and so on with everyone else’s gear. DS would be utterly different if we all decided to shoot with exactly the same gear!

    • Pete, I have know intention of buying any Z mount lenses. My Milvi partner extremely well with the Z as do the 4 F mount Nikon lenses I still have. Agree it would be a shame if we all liked the same things.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Dallas,
    I very much enjoyed your article. The square format works well with your way of seeing. Nice compositions and use of color.
    I was initially surprised to see that you’ve had the Z7 for an entire year already…seems to me that it just came out! A quick google will prove me wrong, of course.
    Either you were a very early adopter, or time continues to speed up for me as I age. Perhaps a bit of both, eh?
    Nice work, thanks.

  • Ken Zmeredith says:

    I’m told the monitor EVF switching problem can be cured by removing the rubber eye cup, then cleaning the little glass sensor at the top of the EVF

  • Mel says:

    I enjoyed your camera review, one based on experience not specs. I have a bag full of older Nikon F-mount lenses. I would like to know more about your experience shooting with F-mount lenses, especially the ease of focus and the quality of the resulting photos. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Mel, Firstly thanks for your kind comments. I shoot about 95% of my images with Zeiss Milvus lenses which are manual focus so my experience with Nikon glass is limited.

      Nikon F mount glass I have and the following lenses spasmodically. 24 – 70/2.8 70 – 200/4, 80 – 400/4.5-5.6. Focus is crisp and quick on static subjects, it can struggle with fast action to track but does a pretty good job overall. As for image quality I don’t see any difference what so ever. I hope this is of assistance to you happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

  • Dan says:

    Great pictures Dallas!

    I like the Z system so much that I dumped my Sony equipment and switched back to Nikon after ~7 years… I was an avid user of the Nikon 1 system and i find its DNA all over the Z cameras.

    There were three main reasons why I switched from Sony: the larger lens mount, much better lossless compression and a better interface/menu system.

    I think that we pretty much reached the limits of the current sensor technology. Until the next major technology shift, sensor improvements will be marginal. The only improvements can come from lenses and digital processing. The larger Z mount delivers in spades – all the lenses so far are best in class or almost there. I am amazed by the quality of the 16-50mm kit lens that comes with the Z50.

    I definitely think that Z mount is the future. At least until a new paradigm shift will make standalone cameras with a lens obsolete. Just imagine – a cloud of minidrones deploying and taking pictures from a multitude of angles and various focal lengths and focus planes, everything merged together in software lately to get a picture that you can walk through….

  • >