The Nikon Z 7II is Among the Finest Investments You Could Make

After having previously used the 24-megapixel Nikon Z 6II for a few months, we are now moving on to its bigger brother, the Nikon Z 7II, and I will begin a series of articles on Nikon’s most recent high-resolution entry into the market for mirrorless cameras, the new Nikon Z 7II.

In the end, everything boils down to this. As a photographer who has been working professionally for close to 20 years, I have never been without a Nikon as the primary camera that I use. Different tasks need the use of a variety of tools.

So, throughout the course of the past several years, I have used pretty much every brand of camera and every format, but Nikon has always been the one that I’ve really owned and used for the great majority of my stills work that does not need medium format.

But throughout that entire period, I have always shot with a DSLR camera that has a sizable and brilliant optical viewfinder and is as durable as a tank. And despite the fact that I have experimented with more than my fair share of mirrorless bodies, I have not yet settled on one as my go-to tool of choice.

When mirrorless cameras first appeared on the market a few years ago, I did what everyone else did and experimented with them. But despite the fact that I’ve owned a number of mirrorless cameras over the last several years, including Nikons as well as models from other companies, I haven’t been able to come across a single one that has made me seriously consider selling my DSLR camera.

However, mirrorless cameras have become much more popular over the years and have even gained a few advantages that are difficult to overlook. Since my Nikon D850, which I consider to be the passion of my life, is turning four this year, should I finally make the jump to a new camera?

At the risk of postponing your satisfaction, I will state that today is not the day I will answer the definitive question of how the new Z 7II compares to the now-iconic D850. I will say this in the event that I risk delaying your gratification.

In the upcoming weeks, I want to do a completely independent investigation that will most likely be rather extensive and will compare and contrast those two cameras. However, for the sake of this essay, I would just like to discuss the Z 7II. I took it right out of the package. What do I like? What do I wish was different about the situation? Who exactly is the target audience for this camera?

I suppose that I should begin by providing the response to the very last question. It’s the kind of camera that just about everyone can use. at the very least everyone for whom a resolution of 45 megapixels is the optimal amount available. The Z 6II, which has a resolution of 24 megapixels, is likely to be the camera of choice for photographers who chronicle events such as weddings and events, as well as for those who find that the benefits of smaller files outweigh those of increased detail.

In the past, I’ve written quite a bit on the difference between the amount of resolve that we require and the amount that we desire. However, because 24 megapixels is sufficient for the great majority of photographers, selecting between the Z 6II and Z 7II will primarily depend on whether you are a photographer who belongs to the camp of high resolution or the camp of reduced file size.

For most of the items, I need to photograph, a resolution of 45 megapixels is sufficient, in my opinion. I work as a photographer in the field of commercial advertising. I photograph advertising campaigns for companies that make athletic and lifestyle products. The majority of the photographs I take will be published in some manner, either as a billboard, an in-store display, or anything else along those lines.

In addition, my customers frequently crop my photographs in a variety of different ways during the usage cycle. This is done to accommodate the several formats into which they will be placing their material. Therefore, for me, 45 megapixels is plenty to provide my clients with enough megapixels to crop from while yet preserving sufficient quality to enable them to blow up the final image.

Even while I spend most of my attention on active photography for advertising purposes, I’ve found that having more megapixels may be helpful in other areas of photography as well. Photographers who specialize in wildlife, for instance, may not be able to get sufficiently near to a small creature and so require additional space around the subject to allow for cropping.

Photographers that specialize in the product still life are required to display every nuance of detail and texture of a client’s goods in the studio. Photographers that specialize in portraiture and wish to develop in-depth examinations of the subjects they picture. Or a landscape photographer who wants to produce a print of epic proportions after photographing a particularly impressive canyon.

If you are currently shooting with a Nikon DSLR like I am, the first thing that you will notice about the sensor that is included in the Z 7II is that it is, for all intents and purposes, the same sensor as is present in either my D850 or the Z 7. I’m no engineer. And I have no doubt that they have altered a thing or two.

However, after shooting with both the Z 7II and the D850 over the course of the past few months, I can declare with confidence that the two cameras produce images of practically comparable quality. And because it has always been outstanding in the bodies that came before it, that exceptional performance in terms of image quality is carried over to the Z 7II. At the end of the day, it is a remarkable sensor that possesses a large amount of dynamic range as well as stunning color reproduction. Therefore, continuing in this manner makes perfect sense.

Because the two cameras can practically be used interchangeably, which helps to expedite your workflow when dealing with several systems, there is also an extra benefit for individuals who might be switching over from the D850.

It would be dishonest of me to say that I wouldn’t be more than somewhat fascinated by speculations that a 61-megapixel sensor will be placed into future Nikons, but having both the Z 7II and the D850 in my kit for a couple of months has underlined the benefits of keeping in the 45-megapixel range.

Those who are upgrading to the Z 7II from either the first generation Z 7 or the Z 6 will also appreciate the substantial increase in focus speed. My Z 6 never seems to give me the same focusing problems that were observed shortly after the camera’s original introduction, and I believe this is due to the most recent firmware change. However, the Z 6II and Z 7II take this focusing speed to a whole new level because of the twin CPUs that are built into each of these cameras.

I am not the type of person who does scientific experiments to determine minute differences in attention speed. In all honesty, the only thing that really matters to me is whether or not the camera can keep up with the action in the real world. Moreover, although I’ve been using the Z 7II for the past several months, I haven’t come into any circumstances in which the focus speed of the camera was unable to operate as expected.

Keeping within the confines of the topic at hand, the Z 7II has included not one but two significant upgrades that have important implications in the real world. To begin, they have introduced a new wide-area AF mode that is capable of recognizing faces and eyes, not just of people but also of animals.

As someone who shoots with a DSLR and is accustomed to pushing the focus point up to the subject’s eye, I am still getting used to the concept of allowing my camera to spot the eye for me and get focus on its own rather than moving the focus point myself. It will take some time before you get used to it. In spite of this, the camera performed an excellent job of locking onto the subject’s face and following their gaze when I tested it in portrait mode.

The new wide-area AF mode gives you the ability to make the camera’s job simpler by reducing the scope of the region in which it needs to search for subjects. So, for instance, let’s assume you are photographing a group of models that are staggered, but you want the viewer’s attention to be drawn to the woman who is standing in the center of the frame.

Instead of relying on the camera to guess which model you want in focus, you can move the smaller box over the desired model and then let it find that model’s face and eyes while ignoring the other subjects if you have the wide-area AF and human face and eye detection turned on. This allows you to keep the other subjects out of focus. It might not seem like much, but in a crowded environment, it might end up saving your life.

The Nikon Z 7II is Among the Finest Investments You Could Make 1

When you turn the dial to pick your AF mode, Nikon has also included all of these other settings, which you may access by rotating the dial. Simply turning a command dial allows you to go from single-point AF to wide-area AF with animal face and eye detection all the way up to auto-area AF with human detection. You may do this in whatever order you choose (and the concurrent pressing of a function button). When compared to the earlier versions, this makes switching between focus settings as well as activating and deactivating eye detection simpler and more time-efficient.

When coming from a camera such as the D850, which has separate dials and buttons for many of its tasks, the reduced number of outside options found on cameras in the Z series is immediately obvious.

There is little question that in order to make the body of the Z cameras more compact, a significant number of the outside dials and buttons that you would normally find on a camera like the D850 have been deleted. And if I’m being completely honest, there are only a handful of those external options that I actually utilize while I’m out in the field.

On the other hand, they are a glaring omission. As someone who avoids going into their menus until it is absolutely essential, I really wish there were one or two additional buttons that were devoted to the outside of the device. However, a significant portion of these issues have been resolved by the streamlining of the programmable control dial options; this is an example of an incremental change that yields significant results.

Having said that, I do wish that there was a mode that was a little bit more all-encompassing and could maybe incorporate all of the other focus modes and make focusing even simpler. I am aware that this contradicts what I said previously about enjoying the feeling of having control over the spots at which I focus my attention.

On the other hand, I have used previous mirrorless camera systems where I was able to put the camera into a mode called “all,” and it would intelligently choose between single-point tracking, broad tracking, face identification, and eye detection on its own. If this feature were implemented on the Z 7II, it would or might not be considered an enhancement.

But one thing that I have observed when shooting with the Z 7II is that I seem to spend more time switching focus modes than I did when I was using my D850. This is something that I did not experience when I was using my D850.

It’s possible that this is just a figment of my imagination and that it’s happening because I’m working so hard to test the capabilities of the camera. On the other hand, it seems as though the Z 6II and Z 7II are better optimized when you are more particular about the focus mode you are using for each subject, but when I use my D850, I often choose a mode at the beginning of the shoot and then forget about it until the end of the session.

Even if I’m not in the optimal mode on my DSLR—for instance if I’ve been using dynamic to shoot action and then want to move in for a portrait—it is still relatively simple to get quick and sharp autofocus without changing focusing modes; all you have to do is adjust the position of your focus point to get the results you want.

Even if I’m not in the ideal mode on my DSLR, it is still relatively simple to get quick and sharp autofocus. To make things even more efficient, the Nikon D850 offers a feature that allows users to choose which focus modes are associated with certain buttons on the camera.

But more on that when I get to the part of the article when I compare the two cameras next to each other. When using the Z 7II, I’m going to get the best results for portraits by selecting one of the auto-area AF settings that include face and eye detection, but in order to obtain consistent shots of motion, I’m going to have to switch to either the tracking or the dynamic mode.

This is OK since each mode does what it was designed to achieve. However, this does imply that a shooter like me, who can switch at the drop of a hat from taking portraits, action shots, and close-ups of the product, has one more item to consider before pressing down on the shutter button.

Over time, there is little question that you will become accustomed to the differences between the various focus modes. However, bearing in mind that, while using the Z bodies, I will need to switch focus modes more frequently to match the subject of my photograph, I would like to be able to do so in the quickest and least disruptive manner possible.

Obviously, this is a rather minor obstacle that can be surmounted. Accuracy in focusing is the component of the equation that bears the most weight. In addition, I have not experienced any substantial problems with my ability to concentrate during the past few months.

I have a Z 6, not a Z 7, so this may not be an exact comparison of apples to apples, but the Z cameras of the second generation have seemed to have a bit more quickness when it comes to the focus department than their predecessors did.

If you are transitioning to a mirrorless camera from a DSLR, you will need to become familiar with the various focusing modes that I outlined before. When you finally get the hang of things, though, you will discover that the autofocus is more than sufficient for the vast majority of uses.

If your profession requires you to take photos of sports, animals, or fast-moving action, you could still find that a classic DSLR gives you an advantage. This is something I continue to recommend. This is not due to the fact that the autofocus system of the Z 7II is unable to keep up with the subjects in question.

A short while ago, I took the Z 7II out with me to perform some bird photography, and I came back with an almost perfect hit rate. However, as someone who has been shooting with DSLRs their whole lives, I will freely say that I still choose using an optical viewfinder over an electronic one since it makes it simpler for me to follow a moving subject and seize key moments. Therefore, the transition from an optical viewfinder to an electronic viewfinder is a significant one for me.

However, this is just a matter of individual choice and in no way reflects on the caliber of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) included in the Z 7II, which is among the very best currently available. During the period that I was taking photos with the camera, I noticed that there was seldom any time spent in complete darkness.

And even though the need to take pictures of fast-moving athletes may be what drives my personal requirements, I can say unequivocally that the viewfinder’s refresh rate will be more than adequate so long as your subjects do not spend the majority of their sessions running across the frame at full speed. This is because my personal requirements are driven by the need to take pictures of athletes.

When I put the Z 7II to the test, it demonstrated that it is more than capable of keeping up with some of the most strenuous sessions. This is true even if action is your area of expertise.

In the piece that will be published the following week, I will once more take you on set with me to show you what happens when I truly push the camera to its maximum in the context of a commercial shot. But for the time being, I can confidently declare that the Z 7II is more than capable of keeping up with the vast majority of moving subjects that you will discover in front of your lens.

The Z 7II has a very pleasant feeling in the hand and is easy to carry for extended periods of time thanks to its excellent ergonomic design. This is especially true if you couple it with the Z lenses, which are the key to fully unleashing the camera’s potential because they are lighter, sharper, and more quiet than traditional lenses.

The Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S was the lens that I used most of the time that I was shooting, and I found that the balance between that lens and the Z 7II was really comfortable. When compared to its DSLR equivalent, this camera is substantially more compact. The total package is a wonderful joy for my increasingly arthritic hands, especially when you take into account the weight differential that exists between the Z lenses and their F-mount forebears.

If you are familiar with Nikon cameras, taking up a Z 7II will be like picking up a familiar piece of furniture. This is one of the highest compliments that I can make to the system. Naturally, a portion of this is due to the menu system, which is something that most Nikonians are well acquainted with.

Also, the top-notch image quality and dynamic range will seem quite familiar to those of us who have been accustomed to the look that our Nikons give us straight out of the box. This is because Nikon cameras are known for their excellent image quality.

The video capabilities of the Z 7II are definitely improved over those of its predecessor in at least one respect. During the time I’ve had the Z 7II, I’ve used it as my primary camera for taking still images as well as video pictures, and it hasn’t disappointed me in either capacity. The Z 6II, with its 24 megapixels, is the more well-known brother among filmmaking professionals. There are a wide variety of technical justifications for this, many of which are much beyond the scope of my expertise.

However, in terms of functionality, the Z 7II delivers a stunning video clip that is capable of completing the task at hand. When using the video mode, the face and eye identification are both smooth and precise. It was put to use for anything from the production of a short video to act as a webcam for what seemed like an infinite number of zoom calls. And it never let me down. Therefore, if you are in need of a single camera body that is capable of performing a variety of jobs on set, the Z 7II is certainly up to the challenge.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be delving further into the Z 7II and describing what it’s like to use the camera in an environment that’s truly conducive to professional photography. When the marching band begins to play, I’ll do my best to provide additional case-specific examples of how the camera responds to the scene. And, ultimately, I will offer you a comprehensive comparison of shooting with a Z 7II vs a D850, and I will let you know if the Z 7II will be the next camera that I purchase for myself.

However, I can tell with certainty that the camera is well worth the value at its present price point of $2,996. In spite of its little size, it packs a significant punch. It is strong and able to withstand a whole day’s worth of labor. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more useful choice if you’re searching for the most bang for your buck and prefer sensors with a better resolution, want the ability to switch quickly and simply between shooting stills and moving subjects, and want to get the most value for your money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Press ESC to close