Nikon has announced two full-frame mirrorless cameras priced at £3,399 and £2,099, with release dates of late September and late November.
The wait is over. Nikon has finally revealed its mirrorless full-frame cameras. Yes, not one but two full-frame mirrorless cameras 3 lenses and an adapter.
Called the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, the new Nikon mirrorless cameras are identical apart from a few aspects arising from the difference in the resolution of their full-frame sensors.
The Nikon Z7 has 45.7million effective pixels, 493 phase detection AF points, a sensitivity range of ISO 64-25,600 and a maximum continuous shooting speed of 9fps (frames per second).
The Nikon Z6 however, has a 24.5Mp sensor with 273 phase detection AF points, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200 and a maximum shooting rate of 12fps.
The high resolution Nikon Z7 is pitched against the Sony A7R III while the Nikon Z6 is an all-rounder that is set to compete against the Sony A7 III. Nikon sees them as the mirrorless siblings to the Nikon D850 and D750.
Nikon DSLR pedigree in a mirrorless camera
The D850 is widely recognised as being the pinnacle of DSLR technology. It has proved very popular, but photographers’ expectations are changing and many want the benefits of things like an electronic viewfinder and silent shooting that a mirrorless camera can bring.
Nikon’s aim in designing the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 was to create cameras that combine the best aspects of its DSLR technology with those of a mirrorless camera.
It has incorporated the ergonomics, build quality and weatherproofing of its high-end DSLRs into the new Nikon mirrorless cameras. Their performance and image quality is also said to be on a par with or better than the Nikon D850 and D750.
Nikon has been using the F mount since 1959 and while this has been appreciated by Nikon photographers, it’s limiting for the company’s optical designers. The maximum aperture possible, for example, is really only f/1.4 or maybe f/1.2. That in turn is limiting for Nikon’s sensor engineers.
Nikon’s new mount is the result of a ground-up redesign that looks to the future of photography. It also enables a maximum aperture of f/0.95.
The F-mount diameter is 47mm, the Sony E mount diameter is 46.7mm and Canon’s EF is 54mm. The new Nikon mount has a diameter of 55mm.
The flange depth of the new mount, however, is 16mm, that’s less than the Canon EF-M (18mm), Sony E (18mm) and Nikon 1 (17mm) flange depths. It means that the new mirrorless cameras are super-slim.
New but familiar
Nikon has opted for a mini-DSLR style for its mirrorless cameras. And although their mount is bigger, they’re much smaller than the D850 in size.
The control layout and menu system are also similar to those of high-end Nikon cameras. A tilting 3.2-inch 2,100,000-dot touch-screen is built-in for composing or reviewing images as well as a top-plate LCD for checking settings.
Although its sensor has the same resolution and backside-illuminated design as the D850’s chip, the Nikon Z7 has an updated version of the sensor – for a start it has phase detection autofocus points embedded in it.
Both Nikon mirrorless cameras also have a new Expeed 6 processing engine which helps cater for the enhanced video options and the electronic viewfinder (EVF).
The EVF is a QVGA 3.6million-dot device that shows 100% of the image and has 0.8x magnification. Nikon optics in the EVF help give a clear view.
The new Nikon mirrorless cameras cameras feature 5 axis stabilisation with 5EV compensation. That means the new lenses don’t need VR built-in. However, the system will work with the VR in lenses mounted via an adapter.
Nikon has opted for a single XQD card port in both cameras. A firmware update will make this compatible with CFexpress in the near future.
The cameras’ weather resistance is said to be to the same standard as the D850.
Naturally, SnapBridge is built-in, but it’s possible to use the Wi-Fi directly and there’s a dedicated CPU to improve connection stability.
The Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 are 4K UHD enabled, with the phase detection operating to get subjects sharp. In addition Full HD video can be recorded at up to 120p for slow motion playback.
Video recorded internally is 8bit but 10bit video can be recorded with N-Log to an external recorder connected via HDMI.
The usual video features such as Timecode, focus peaking and zebra display are also available.
8K Timelapse shooting is possible with the Z7, although the movies must be created post-capture.
The new full-frame mirrorless cameras are fully compatible with Nikon’s Speedlight system and they will work with Nikon’s WT-7 wireless adapter.
In addition, they can accept the Nikon EN-EL15a batteries used in the D850. They are supplied with EN-EL15b batteries.
The Z7 will go on sale first along with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4, Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 and the F-mount adaptor. Confusingly, the lenses are part of the Nikon S line, but have the name Nikkor Z.
The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 will follow with the Z6 in late November.
Nikon is promising pro-lens quality.
Nikon is aiming to make the transition to mirrorless as smooth as possible for its DSLR users by offering an adapter that is compatible with most existing lenses. Any AF-S lenses (introduced in 1998) are said to work as they would on a DSLR.
Further lenses including a wide prime, standard prime, wide zoom, standard zoom and telephoto zoom will be coming in 2019. A 58mm 0.95 Noct lens is also in development.
Nikon Mirrorless Cameras Price
Nikon Z7 Kit Prices
- Z7 plus 24-70mm f/4 £3,999
- Z7 plus FTZ adapter £3,499
- Z7 plus 24-70mm f/4 and adapter £4,099
Nikon Z6 Kit Prices
- Z6 plus 24-70mm f/4 £2,699
- Z6 plus FTZ adapter £2,199
- Z6 plus 24-70mm f/4 and adapter £2,799
Nikon Mirrorless Cameras Release Date
The high resolution Z7 will go on sale from late September while the all-rounder Z6 will be available in late November.