It has been precisely one year since Nikon’s flagship full-frame mirrorless camera was made available for purchase, and since then, the camera has been put through its paces in a wide variety of photographic subgenres. As part of my review, I put this camera through its paces by putting it through the urban photography paces, which is the sort of photography that I do. Urban photography is not so much a distinct sub-genre of photography as it is a mash-up that incorporates several other sub-genres in an overlapping fashion.
The practices of landscape photography, street photography, and of course, photography of buildings are all integral parts of urban photography. This review primarily consisted of only two shooting days spent traveling around just one city because shooting in an urban environment provides a useful preview of a wide variety of shooting conditions that a good camera should be able to accommodate. Because of this, the review was completed in a relatively short amount of time.
The Resolution and the Sensor
Nikon Z7 with Nikkor 24-70mm f/4 lens used to capture the setting sun behind the cityscape
The 45.7-megapixel sensor offers a great deal of potential for capturing fine details right from the beginning. That can’t possibly be called into doubt under any circumstances. It has been demonstrated without a reasonable question that the flagship model of this camera has the capability of bringing out the finest details in every subject that it photographs.
Even more so, this became obvious to me when I used it to take photographs around the city. Apertures of f/8 and above are what I use for the vast majority of my photographs. This is something that evolved during the process of taking landscape photographs by myself.
After purchasing the Nikon Z7, I came to the realization that there are occasions when I would need to refrain from using very tiny apertures since having an excessive amount of crisp features in focus might be a diversion from the composition of a photograph. In all honesty, it’s possible that the post-processing stage will call for a little bit of restraint.
On the other hand, that is not always a negative thing at all. Any photographer would much rather have an abundance of detail to work with and have to control it than try to restore something that is hardly even there. In addition, for the sake of this review, I only utilized the Z-mount 24-70mm lens;
however, I did take sufficient images so that I could use them even if I had to crop them since I did not have a longer zoom lens. Even after cutting out a quarter or even a third of the original picture, the resulting image is still rather huge and can unquestionably be put to some kind of productive use.
The dynamic range and color spectrum have both been exceeded.
The dynamic range is one aspect that I found to be comparable between the Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R III, which makes sense given that both cameras feature sensors that are fairly comparable to one another. Now, it has been established for a considerable amount of time that both cameras sense and record close to 15 stops of light difference. Now, with increased dynamic range comes an increase in the amount of color, as well as an increase in the amount of information in the extremities of the camera’s visible spectrum.
When I was shooting on a normal day (that is, when I was not using such powerful cameras), I would have to make heavy use of the shadow sliders in post-processing in order to bring out more details in the darkest areas of the image. When I was shooting with the Z7, I found that I needed to make a very little adjustment to the exposure tabs in post-processing. In addition to this convenience, it also appears that the size of my shooting window has increased.
In the Philippines, our blue hour only lasts for around 15 to 20 minutes, which means that you might have to pack up (and give up) after the specified period because the city lights may already be overpowering the sky. In other words, you won’t be able to see much of the sky beyond that point. Naturally, if the camera has a greater dynamic range, it will be able to withstand dealing with overpowering highlights for a few long minutes.
Because the sensor is able to take in so much information from the highlights and shadows, the colors can become a bit too dense. This was another unfamiliar experience I had while testing this camera. Sometimes I would need to desaturate the images, especially when using the landscape native color profile.
This camera provides you with enlarged ranges of light and color, allowing you to get a balanced exposure and a consistent treatment for your images without having to push any settings farther than they already are. Again, it is preferable to decrease something that is excessive rather than to increase something that is hardly nonexistent.
Both Swiftness and Concentration
The use of a quick shutter speed is not often required for urban photography. The most difficult shooting circumstance is generally going to be one in which you have to take pictures of people who are moving about and then incorporate them imaginatively into a well-prepared composition. The Nikon Z7 has the capability of shooting up to 9 frames per second in rapid succession, which is more than adequate for the conditions described.
Of course, this may not truly be sufficient for more demanding genres of photography, but perhaps in the future months, Nikon will unveil a mirrorless camera that will compete on the same level as the flagship models that are designed for sports photography. The autofocus makes use of a 493-point hybrid phase detection/contrast AF technology that is both very responsive and able to recognize targets that are in motion.
You just need a little bit of practice with the controls and a little bit of patience, and the camera will reliably assist you in achieving the visual design that you have meticulously thought out.
Construction, Industrial Design, and Ergonomics
When I first got a hold of the Nikon Z7, I immediately had the impression that it was a well-balanced combination of a lightweight and small build as well as a robust construction. It was reassuring to find out that shooting in wet conditions is possible, even though it is possible that weather sealing is not as important while shooting only within the city.
Even when I was shooting, the electronic viewfinder on it pleased me quite a bit because it did credit to the dynamic range that the camera is able to take in. The EVF on it is half an inch, and it impressed me because even while I was shooting, it did justice to the dynamic range.
When I was shooting with the screen, the 170-degree vertical tilt came in very helpful when taking pictures from low angles; nevertheless, it would have been good to have even a few degrees off horizontal tilt for additional versatility.
Naturally, the touch screen made it much simpler to make adjustments to the settings as well as choose where the focus should be placed. Additionally, the Nikon Z7 is equipped with the conventional means of networking as usual.
WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth are supported for wireless communication, while HDMI and USB Type-C connectors are available for outputting content to other electronic devices. The ability to charge using the USB Type-C connector comes in quite helpful, especially in circumstances where there are no available power outlets.
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