Nikon mirrorless has arrived! We all knew this was coming. Mirrorless cameras are clearly the future of photography and rumor sites have been feeding us nuggets of information for a few years. All that hype and speculation is over now because Nikon has finally joined the party with their new Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras.
I have been shooting Fuju mirrorless for about a year now and absolutely love what is possible with mirrorless technology. You can read what I love about it in this post. I expect these new Nikon mirrorless cameras to offer the same benefits that my Fuji and other brands have over traditional DSLRs. I will try not to repeat myself too much here so check out that post for 5 things I love about mirrorless.
Things I Love (So Far) About The Nikon Mirrorless Announcement.
I’m not going to run down all the specs of the announcement. There are plenty of other YouTube personalities and blog sites doing that so check those out too. I am just going to highlight a few things that stood out to me and note what I’m excited for.
Two New Cameras
I love that Nikon is releasing two cameras when launching their mirrorless line. The Z6 is a 24 MP camera that should be a favorite among wedding photographers. I will expect this camera to be really good in low light. The Z7 is a monster at 46 MP and will be in the running as one of the best landscape cameras out there.
The Z6 and Z7 will both have Nikon’s new EXPEED 6 processor. I would expect this processor to really improve high ISO performance in both of these new cameras. My D850 has the EXPEED 5 and it does really well in low light, even at 45 MP. The EXPEED 6 should be even better, especially on the Z6.
In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
In Body Image Stabilization, or IBIS, will make it’s Nikon debut in these two cameras as well. This will be a very nice feature that will allow much slower shutter speeds when using these cameras in low light. That means lower ISO is needed. Combine that with the new processor and these cameras could be a low light dream to use.
I love the design of these cameras and can’t wait to get my hands on one to try out. I have rather large hands and really like that these cameras weren’t trying to be as small as possible. From the pictures available online, it looks like this camera will have a really nice grip on it that would make it comfortable to hold for hours when on a job.
One of the flaws of other mirrorless brands is that the weather sealing isn’t up to par. Nikon claims that the weather sealing will be of the same quality as their DSLRs. This is a must for landscape photographers. I have been out in the rain, in waterfall mist, and taken direct hits from Lake Michigan waves with my Nikon DSLRs. I have never had an issue with my camera not working because of water. If the new Nikon mirrorless cameras have the same reliability in inclement weather then I am very excited.
New Lens Mount (with a roadmap!)
Nikon has come out with a new lens mount called the Z-mount. I think this makes a lot of sense. The F-mount is old, like, really old. It has limitations and it’s time to move on from it. Nikon knows this and that’s why they have a new mount. This new mount will have more contacts that will allow for faster communication between the camera body and lens. This will mean super fast AF performance. The new mount is also larger to allow lenses with a f/0.95 aperture. That’s huge! Can you image the tiny, tiny, depth of field that will be possible? Bokeh galore! 🙂
At launch, only a few lenses will be released. I think a 35 f/1.8, a 50 f/1.8, and a 24-70 f/4. This is a pretty measly lineup of native Z-mount lenses. I think Nikon knows that they need to let everyone know of their plans. Thats why they released a lens road map for the next couple of years. Now everyone who prefers f/2.8 zooms can know when they are coming. This is something Fuji has done with their X-mount lenses and Fuji shooters love it.
Z-to-X Lens Adapter
I’m sure many people who shoot f/2.8 lenses would hold off of purchasing these new cameras because they don’t want to be stuck with a f/4 lens. Even if only for a few months. That’s why Nikon is also releasing a lens adapter for attaching all our F-mount lenses to these new cameras. This is huge because now we can use all out existing lenses and don’t have to wait for the new f/2.8 Z-lenses to use these cameras on a job.
By the way, I use f/2.8 zooms as an example only because that’s what I prefer to shoot with. You can use your f/1.4 primes as as example too. 🙂
I expect this lens adapter to be pretty much flawless as far as operation goes. Since it’s from Nikon and not a third party there is no reverse engineering going on so it should work like were used to on out F-mount cameras.
The final thing that I noticed right away is that this camera will use an existing the battery design of the EN-EL15. This is great because I have many EN-EL15 batteries and it will be nice to know that I don’t have to run out and purchase multiple brand new batteries for these new Nikon mirrorless cameras.
3 Things I Don’t Love About Nikon Mirrorless
There are a few things I am not particularly excited for with these new cameras. I know this is only announcement day and these cameras are first generation Nikon mirrorless cameras. So I expect these to be different in the Z6/Z7 Mark II (or whatever their naming convention will be with this new line).
1 XQD Slot
This topic has been quite the controversy in the photography world over the past 24 hours. Both of these cameras will have only one slot and it will be for XQD cards.
XQD cards are fine, they are much better than SD cards when talking speed and reliability. However, as I write this there is only one company with a current line of cards. That means they are all very, very expensive but Nikon is releasing their own brand of XQD cards so that will definitely help supply and hopefully price too.
Though not a deal breaker, I will still likely buy one of these cameras, the single card slot is a little disappointing to me. When shooting a wedding, or even shooting landscapes at once in a lifetime locations, I really like having an in-camera backup of all the shots I take. Admittedly, I have never had a memory card fail on me so I will be alright. But it’s nice to know that if I did have one fail before I could offload the images to my computer, I would have a backup in the second card slot.
There is speculation that Nikon does not want to cannibalize their pro-DSLRs like the D5, D850, or the next iteration of those cameras. That makes sense. But I was really expecting Nikon to hit the road running when they entered the mirrorless market by releasing cameras pros can use as their primary camera.
Shutter Sync Speed
This is super minor but shutter sync speed is only 1/200 sec. My D850 has a synch speed of 1/250 of a second. The difference is so small that it really doesn’t matter but it’s nice to have a little more freedom before switching to HSS.
This really shouldn’t noted with things I don’t love about these cameras but I feel like I should point this out. According to Nikon, battery life will be about 330 shots per charge with the newer EN-EL5b. This seems low compared to DSLRs, but that’s expected. There is a lot more technology in mirrorless tech and I expected this with Nikon mirrorless cameras too.
Also, I should just mention that actual battery life will be much better than the 330 shot estimate. My X-T2 has a CIPA life expectancy of 340 shots per charge that I get much, much more life out of a battery than that. I just shot a senior session last night with my X-T2. It was a two hour session and I tool around 600 shots and I didn’t have to worry about switching battery.
Will I buy one?
I just bought a D850 last year and I would like to get more use out of it before spending another $3,300 on a new camera body. Because let’s face it, I would choose the Z7 and it’s 45 MP sensor for landscapes.
However, the question of whether or not I will buy a Nikon mirrorless isn’t “if” but “when”. Like I mentioned above, mirrorless is the future. Just as film, DSLRs with a mirror will eventually be phased out. Since I shoot Nikon now, I will shoot Nikon in the future. I love my Nikon cameras and don’t foresee myself switching to Sony. Or even Canon when they announce their full frame mirrorless. I just don’t know if I will purchase either of these cameras right away.
I will definitively rent one though ASAP so I reserve the right to change my mind after I try one out. 🙂
The future of Nikon is here!