Nikon Z7 Camera
By most accounts, the Nikon Z7 has been a smash hit with Nikon shooters (and plenty of others, too).
It’s packed full of incredible features and has racked up some excellent performances on crucial indicators like image quality, ISO performance, and sharpness.
But, like any camera, the Z7 is not perfect.
That being the case, if you’re considering adding a Z7 to your camera bag, here’s a few things you should know before you buy.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: It’s Has Essentially the Same Sensor as the Nikon D850
If you look under the hood of the Z7, you’ll find the same 45.7-megapixel full frame backside-illuminated sensor as you do in the Nikon D850. You’ll also find no anti-aliasing filter for improved image capture.
This means that the Z7 performs nearly identically as the Nikon D850. The small differences in dynamic range, color depth, and ISO performance are likely attributed to the presence of phase-detect autofocus pixels on the Z7’s imaging sensor.
Sharing the same sensor as the D850 is a good thing given that it is so utterly good (it was the first to receive a perfect score by DXOMark).
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: It Produces Huge Files
In its default settings, the Nikon Z7’s maximum resolution output is 8256 x 5504. Each image, depending on the subject, camera settings, and so forth, is in the neighborhood of 17-31MB.
After opening the image in a program like Photoshop or Lightroom, the file size measures a whopping 130MB.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: The Buffer is Small
One of the biggest complaints about the Z7 is the size of its buffer.
When shooting JPEGs, you’re limited to 25 frames. In 12-bit NEF format, that drops to about 23 frames. It falls further to 20 frames when shooting RAW + JPEG.
Once the buffer is full, it takes roughly 4-7 seconds to clear. Though you can’t shoot more images while the buffer is clearing, you can at least adjust camera settings so your time isn’t lost.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: There’s Tons of Lenses Coming
Though the Z-series of cameras launched with just three lenses, many more are on the way.
Additionally, Z-series cameras can use F-mount lenses using Nikon’s FTZ adapter, shown above.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: The Z6 is the Better Option for Video
I wrote an article that compares the filmmaking abilities of Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, and the conclusion was clear: the Nikon Z6 is the superior camera for video.
You can check out the full comparison for more details, but of particular note is that the Z7 doesn’t have full sensor readout when shooting in 4K UHD. Instead, you have to shoot with a 1.5x crop factor to get full sensor readout.
As a result, full frame footage is soft and noisy when compared to what the Z6 is capable of capturing.
Get more details on the differences between the Z7 and Z6 in the video above by Nice Lady Productions.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: The EVF is One of the Best in the Business
The Z7 has garnered lots of love for many of its features, but perhaps none more than its impressive EVF.
With 3.69-million-dots of resolution, the EVF is beautifully bright, crisp, and clear.
Additionally, it boasts a magnification of 0.8x (the same as the Z6), which bests the D850’s 0.75x magnification. That makes the EVF in the Z7 and Z6 the largest Nikon has ever made.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: The Grip Isn’t Quite Big Enough
I have big hands, and though the Z7 has a nice, large grip for a mirrorless camera, my pinky dangles alone below the grip.
This isn’t a problem for smaller-handed folks, but for us bigger people, it’s a little uncomfortable.
Having said that, at least Nikon worked to get as big a grip as possible on this camera. Aside from not having enough room for my pinky finger, the grip is spot on.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: Connectivity Isn’t an Issue
The Nikon Z7 offers a range of connection options, including Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Additionally, the camera features the newest iteration of Nikon’s SnapBridge wireless system.
SnapBridge allows you to transfer RAW and JPEG files wirelessly to your computer. You can also use it to control the camera from a smartphone.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: Image Quality is Spectacular
One of the claims to fame for the Z7 is its superb image quality.
As noted earlier, the backside-illuminated sensor without an anti-aliasing filter sure helps in the image quality department.
The new EXPEED 6 processor also helps by reducing noise. Having 5-axis image stabilization doesn’t hurt, either.
The Z7 also ranks near the top of the food chain in dynamic range.
See some sample Nikon Z7 images in the video above by The Big Picture.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: The Controls are Laid Out Perfectly
If you’re a Nikon shooter, the Z7 will feel like an old friend.
The power control button is positioned around the shutter release, which makes it super easy (and intuitive) to turn the camera on when you pick it up.
Likewise, the exposure compensation, ISO, and video record buttons can be reach with your index finger without issue.
The only caveat is that when moving from ISO to Auto ISO, you have to use your middle finger to manipulate the command dial on the front. This is a little difficult, to say the least.
What You Should Know About the Nikon Z7: Its Hybrid AF System is Fantastic
For a first go at hybrid AF, Nikon seems to have gotten it just right.
The system boasts 493 hybrid phase detect and contrast detect autofocus points that cover approximately 90 percent of the frame.
In addition to excellent coverage, the Z7’s autofocus system is quick to focus and performs well in challenging lighting conditions. When shooting in extremely low light, you need to engage the camera’s low-light AF mode to maximize its performance.
Nikon Z7 Price
Clearly, Nikon got it right with the Z7.
Though it was a long, hard wait for its release, the extra time Nikon spent developing this camera has definitely paid off.