Nikon has launched not one, but two new full frame mirrorless cameras. The flagship Z7 is aimed primarily at pros and serious enthusiasts after the exceptional image quality promised from its back-side illuminated (BSI) 45.7Mp sensor.
The Z7 shares a very similar design to the more affordable Z6, so key camera architecture such as the electronic viewfinder (EVF), LCD screen and image stabilization remains the same. There are other spec differences however, with the Z7 offering a lower ISO 64-25,600 native sensitivity range, slower 9fps frame rate and more autofocus points, with all 493 points being the more accurate phase detection type.
Nikon promises the Z7’s newly designed sensor and larger Z lens mount will deliver better image quality than their D850, which has been setting new standards for DSLR photography over the last 12 months.
That’s a tantalizing prospect and with only Sony occupying the full frame mirrorless space until today, the introduction of Nikon on the scene will be good for innovation and price.
The new Nikon Z7 is intended as a direct rival to the flagship 42.4Mp Sony A7R III full frame mirrorless and on paper, they are very similar.
|Nikon Z7||Sony A7R III|
|Full frame 45.7Mp BSI sensorttFull frame 42.4Mp BSI sensor||Full frame 42.4Mp BSI sensor|
|ISO 64 u2013 25,600t||ISO 100 u2013 32,000|
|493 autofocus points||399/425 phase/contrast detect autofocus points|
|3.6m-dot EVF||3.6m-dot EVF|
|3.2-inch touch-screen LCD||3.0-inch touch-screen LCD|
|3 native Z mount lenses||20 native FE mount lenses|
|Nikon FTZ F mount lens adapter||Sony LA-EA4 lens adapter|
|9fps continuous shooting||10 fps continuous shooting|
|4k/30p & 1080/120p video||4k/30p & 1080/120p video|
|5-axis in-camera stabilization||5-axis in-camera stabilization|
|u00a33399 (body only)||u00a32899 (body only)|
Will the new Nikon Z series help Nikon reclaim its crown as the king of full frame?
Well, it’s too early to know for sure and we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a full production model to do a proper comparison test, but the first impressions are very encouraging.
The new larger Nikon Z mount is a bold statement and although it means there’s only going to be 3 new native Z mount lenses when the Z7 initially goes on sale, very wide aperture lenses such as the 58mm f/0.95 prime promised will offer something almost unique in the mirrorless space.
Sony’s A7 range is more mature, and with 20 native lenses, an available battery grip, as well as dual card slots, it’s currently a more complete system for the pro mirrorless shooter.
The immediate availability of an F mount lens adapter for the Z7 is a very smart move from Nikon however, giving the Z series full AF and AE compatibility with 93 Nikkor F mount lenses and some compatibility with up to 350. They’ll hope that’s enough to stop more Nikon shooters jumping ship to Sony in the short term, whilst more native Z mount glass is brought to market.
In the meantime the 3 lenses available at launch, including a 24-70mm f/4, as well as 35mm and 50mm f/1.8 primes have the basics covered. That’s probably not going to be enough to satisfy those pros not currently in the Nikon fold to get on board with the Z series just yet. But it could be enough to ensure they don’t ditch their Nikon glass and go to Sony just yet.