- EXPEED 6 image processor
- Native ISO Range: 64-25,600 (expandable to 32-102400)
- 3.69-million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD with 2.1-million dots
- 9 fps burst shooting (12-bit RAW)
- Hybrid PDAF autofocus system with 493 AF points
- AF Sensitivity: -1 to +19 EV
- 4K UHD video at 30 fps
- Magnesium alloy body
- Full weather sealing
- 200,000 shutter life
Since its release in August 2018, I've wanted a Nikon Z7 in my hands.
And now, I do.
I've used a Nikon D850 as my primary camera since I picked one up in the fall of 2017. I'll have a head-to-head review of the D850 and Z7 later on.
For now, I wanted to share my experiences with the Z7. Spoiler alert - it's awesome.
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out my initial Nikon Z7 review for more details.
Nikon Z7 Overview
As a Nikon shooter, I can identify with everyone else that felt like Nikon took absolutely forever to launch their mirrorless line.
But, man, was it worth the wait.
The 46-megapixel sensor in the Z7 has the same specs as the D850, but the Z7 benefits from a newer processor that results in reduced noise compared to images captured with the D850.
The addition of 5-axis image stabilization to the Z7 makes it a more capable performer than the D850 as well.
Other features of note on the Z7 are as follows:
Nikon Z7 Ergonomics
If you're a Nikon shooter, the Z7 will feel like an old friend.
That is, the Z7 is very obviously a Nikon camera and will make you feel right at home from the first moment you shoot with it.
In fact, I'd argue that the Z7's ergonomics are a lot like the D850, despite the D850 being a much bigger, heavier rig.
The grip, in particular, reminds me of my D850. It's big, chunky, and gives you the feeling that you have a good, solid grip on the camera.
What's more, the grip offers all the space you need for your right thumb so your hand doesn't feel at all cramped.
I also like that Nikon placed the shutter button a little higher on the body. I've found that this gives me a feeling of having more control over the camera in terms of stability when I'm handholding it.
Something else that is familiar about the Z7 is the two programmable function buttons on the right side of the lens mount.
These buttons are similar to those on the D850, though different in shape, and are easily reachable when using my ring finger and middle finger to access them. Like on my D850, I've set these buttons to work in tandem with the front dial for making adjustments to my camera settings.
On the back of the camera, you'll find key buttons and a joystick that are easy to use and access.
I was afraid at first that it would be cumbersome to utilize the joystick, in particular, due to the smaller size of the Z7 body. Those fears were unfounded, however.
Nikon Z7 Build Quality
Any Nikon shooter could probably identify this as a Nikon camera, even if they were blindfolded. It just feels like a Nikon.
The camera's magnesium alloy shell is rock-solid, and with full weather sealing, I suspect it will stand up to just about any type of weather. I haven't had an opportunity to test it out in the rain or cold, but I can tell you it's working wonderfully in the warmth and sun of a California spring!
The rubber that covers the grip feels, well, grippy, and though some Nikon enthusiasts have complained about its look and durability, I have encountered no issues with it thus far.
Nikon did a wonderful job designing and building the Z7's 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen.
Aside from being incredibly bright and detailed, it tilts smoothly and the touchscreen works like a charm. Though it has lower resolution than the D850's LCD, I honestly wouldn't have noticed a difference had I not read the spec sheet prior to unboxing the Z7.
A big difference between the LCDs on the D850 and Z7 is that the former is in 3x4 format while the latter is in 2x3 format, so it matches the dimension of your photos.
As a result, the LCD on the Z7 seems bigger than it actually is.
Nikon Z7 Performance
One of the best performance features of the Z7 is, in my opinion, the 5-axis image stabilization.
Unlike its DSLR cousins, the Z7 has built-in image stabilization, which is effective up to five stops.
As someone that has a good number of legacy Nikon lenses that are not stabilized, it's nice to be able to mount them to the Z7 body with the FTZ adapter and benefit from the Z7's stabilization.
The camera's autofocus system is worth a mention as well.
You can switch it between single-focus and continuous-focus as well as full-time autofocus when recording movies. The system utilizes both contrast-detect and phase-detect AF points, which render accurate focusing, even in less-than-desirable lighting.
It has predictive focus tracking, which I've found to be highly effective when taking photos of my son running around in the yard. Predictive focus tracking is precisely what you would think - it focuses on the subject and locks on so that focus is maintained, even as the subject moves.
There are multiple AF patterns from which to choose, including single-point and pinpoint options as well as dynamic patterns and wide-area focusing. The Z7 is equipped with focus peaking and manual focus, too.
Unlike other mirrorless cameras, the Z7 doesn't seem to suffer from the initial lag when first powering it up.
There is definitely a longer wake up time with the Z7 than my D850, but it's nothing major. Instead, the camera wakes up with the autofocus system read to go and the viewfinder active so you can take quick shots.
Speaking of taking shots, the Z7's image quality is outstanding, as expected.
Dynamic range is excellent, noise is well controlled (and really not even noticeable below 6400), and the color output is both accurate and pleasing.
Nikon Z7 Price
You can pick up a Z7 (body only) for just a shade under $3,400.
A bundle that includes the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens is just under $4,000.
Should You Buy a Nikon Z7?
Clearly, not everyone can afford a Z7, but if you can, it's a great investment.
Usually you find a variety of issues with first-generation cameras, but Nikon took its sweet time designing and developing this rig, and it shows.
There's truly nothing about this camera that annoys me, nor are there any deal-breaking features (or lack thereof) that would make me think twice about having gotten one.
For some, the lack of two card slots might be a problem, but for me it's a non-issue.
Instead, the good features of this camera are what really shine - an excellent sensor, a superb autofocus system, excellent image quality, fantastic handling...it truly is a magnificent camera.
UPDATE: In the video above, I offer my long-term hands-on review of the Z7. Check it out!