Nikon Z7 Review | A Portable Landscape Photography Workhorse

For this camera review, I am going to unabashedly focus on the genres of photography for which the Nikon Z7 is best-suited. Because, honestly, most readers already know how the Z7 stacks up against its competition – at least on paper. Although my hobby is landscape, nightscape, and timelapse photography, my day job is wedding and portrait photography. Therefore I will attempt to briefly mention those types of photography (and more) when giving my overall assessment of the camera. Without any further ado, let’s take Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera out for a spin!

Lensrentals was generous enough to send me a Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S to accompany the Nikon Z7 for review, during the first snowfall of the winter in Yosemite National Park. I shot photos, video, and timelapse of a beautiful snowstorm, in below-freezing temps most of the time. The Nikon Z7 was, overall, a very positive, promising experience.

Nikon Z7 Review

The Tunnel View Horde | Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 1/4 sec, f/4, ISO 3200

Nikon Z7 Review


Nikon Z7 Pros

Incredible Image Quality

On the one hand, the cat is already out of the bag: the Nikon Z7 has an image sensor that is based on the sensor of the Nikon D850 but with the addition of a new on-sensor autofocus system. (And yes, if you try, you can reveal faint, faint banding. More on that in a minute.)

On the other hand, the lack of a giant leap beyond the D850’s image quality is not a bad thing, because Nikon already had an excellent thing going. The D850 and the Nikon Z7 are image quality beasts. Out in the field, away from all the lab tests and ranking charts, the native base ISO of 64 makes the Nikon Z7 a natural choice for many types of photographers who work with those lowest ISOs.

Furthermore, at the higher ISOs many serious photographers commonly use, (to be conservative, let’s say ISO 3200 or 6400) …the Z7 also holds its own against the other high-megapixel competition, despite the added resolution.

Nikon Z7 Review & Rentals

Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24mm f/1.8 G | 15 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

100% Crop (Minor sharpening and noise reduction applied)

But, enough about comparisons and rankings. When you’re out on location, all that matters is that the images are jaw-droppingly detailed and highly dynamic. Case in point: with just four vertical frames, (including sufficient overlap) …you’re looking at 100+ megapixels with no AA filter. It’s truly impressive.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, nine vertical frame panorama
F/10, 1/125 sec, ISO 64, hand-held

100% Crop (Fine-radius sharpening applied)

100% Crop (Fine-radius sharpening applied)


Now, a word on this shadow banding issue. It was a non-issue for me, no matter how hard I tried. I went absolutely bonkers (that’s a scientific unit of measure, it means “do horrible things to all the sliders in Lightroom”) with shadow recovery on quite a few images, and I only ever saw some faint horizontal lines buried deep in shadow areas that were already unacceptably noisy.

Essentially, here’s my in-the-field diagnosis: The banding lurks mainly at that threshold of shadow recovery acceptability, just before shadows turn to completely posterized, green/magenta mush. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where this banding is ruining your images, the real problem is that you were lazy and didn’t bracket another exposure. Unless you’re creating a timelapse and you need to capture an entire scene in a single click, don’t be lazy. Shoot another +2 or +3 EV exposure.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 1.6 sec, f/11, ISO 64

Of course, I bracketed this scene, just in case. However, a single NEF file got the job done.

100% Crop. That’s some impressive detail retention, for what was previously a near-black area.
The Nikon Z7 is sufficiently ISO invariant for almost any “torture test” you can think of.


Then again, to be fair and honest, Nikon’s shadow recovery has been roughly this jaw-dropping since the D750 and D810. If you’re considering the Nikon Z7 for its dynamic range alone, you’re missing the point of the Z system.

The only thing I hope Nikon keeps working on is high ISO dynamic range. To me, this is the final frontier of Bayer pattern, BSI, dual-gain CMOS sensors. (And, the one item which keeps me paying attention to what Sony and all other camera makers are up to.) Unfortunately, I doubt we’re going to get much better at counting individual photons, without a significant change in the core sensor technology.

Nikon Z7 Review

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 30 sec, f/4, ISO 12800
Trust me; you don’t want to print this (underexposed) image too large.
At ISO 12800, on any camera, if you don’t nail your histogram, you’re doomed.

Class-leading Build Quality

I’ve been testing and reviewing full-frame mirrorless cameras since the original Sony A7 and A7R. This list now includes the Canon EOS R and the Sony mk3 generation 7-series.

Suffice it to say, the Nikon Z7 feels like a more professional-grade camera than anything else I’ve worked with in the full-frame mirrorless realm. It feels like a Nikon D850, but even more cutting-edge and nimble. If anything, it feels even more “sold” than a Nikon D850, which feels unnecessarily oversized to me at this point.

As the storm worsened, a little voice whispered in my ear… “Roger Cicala from says the Nikon Z7 is the most weather-sealed full-frame mirrorless camera body ever…”

Well, although I’m tempted to use the word “indestructible,” I won’t. Be nice to your $3,000 cameras, folks. I also shouldn’t exactly use the word “nimble”, because I do have a few nitpicks with the ergonomics and customizability of the camera, but for now let’s focus on the fact that the incredible durability, lightweight portability, and other features (IBIS!) give the photographer both confidence and peace of mind.

No matter how weather-sealed a camera is, if you’re going to record video or shoot timelapse, you might as well bag it up! At this point, it was snowing at a rate of multiple inches per hour.


Until now, in the Nikon realm, if you wanted a camera setup this lightweight and portable, then you would have to make a compromise in both durability and sensor resolution, which is of course extremely frustrating to landscape and travel photographers in particular. In other words, we’ve never seen Nikon D850 class durability, functions, and image quality, in a D750 or D7500-sized package.

The Nikon Z7, from head to toe, finally delivers that sturdy flagship feel, feature set, and image quality in a very portable package.

Without a lens attached, the Z7 is downright petite when it’s tucked into a camera bag. It’s no Olympus OM-D, of course, but it’s “tiny” as far as flagship-grade full-frame is concerned. If anything, I’d have been OK with an even bigger grip, if it meant a new battery type with even higher capacity. But I’m already dreaming of how portable the Nikon Z7 will be when paired with the yet-unreleased Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 1/5 sec, f/14, ISO 64, hand-held

In-Body Stabilization (IBVR?)

This feature is great if your existing lens or lenses didn’t already have optical VR, however, as a landscape photographer VR is already present in most of the lenses that might be used hand-held. The Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR and 24-120mm f/4 VR are two lenses that come to mind as top choices for shooting landscapes on-the-go. For all you portrait etc. photographers out there, both the 24-70 and 70-200 are stabilized now, too. Almost every Tamron lens has VC. But I digress.

Instead of resurrecting this dead horse, let’s leave it at this: It’s better to have the feature than not have it. (I’m looking at you, Canon EOS R!)

Most people will indeed consider this a perk, whether or not they use it all the time. It may not be my own personal “main perk” of potentially switching to mirrorless, especially as a nightscape/timelapse photographer, but I’m glad it’s there, and I’m happy Nikon did a solid job implementing it.

Nikon Z7 Cons

Control & Performance Differences From D850

I had high hopes for Nikon’s entry into the mirrorless realm. I guess what I expected was a camera that was almost identical to the Nikon D850, but just a little smaller. While I must give Nikon credit for following in Sony’s footsteps with regard to making two different classes of cameras that are physically identical, there are a few issues I have with the actual control layout and UI.

It’s not just a matter of familiarity or personal preference, either. I truly believe that Nikon’s DSLR control layout and customization functions are superior in a few significant ways. First, the number of dedicated control buttons has been reduced. There’s no dedicated WB button, and no QUAL button, though I don’t miss the latter.

Even more annoying is the fact that the dedicated buttons which are still present, have been moved around a bit. The very useful physical dial for Drive Mode has been eliminated, and I used that a LOT, for everything from landscapes to weddings. Instead, there’s just one button relegated the bottom-right of the camera, literally the exact opposite corner. It’s not easy to reach.

At least I was able to customize exposure delay mode to one of the Fn buttons, and put the E-shutter in the quick menu that is accessible even while your eye is to the viewfinder. If only I could dial my Kelvin WB by merely holding down a single button and twirling a sub-command dial, like on most Nikon DSLRs.

The combination of re-arranged drive mode and AF mode controls make the camera much less effortless to use for more fast-paced things like portraits and weddings, let alone action sports or wildlife.
(And, while we’re on the topic of autofocus and action sports, indeed it has been well-reported that if autofocus tracking is critical to you, a Nikon D5 or even a Nikon D850/D500 is still going to be your go-to camera. If you’d like to stick with Nikon, that is.)

One thing that I found to be a surprising departure from Nikon’s habit of offering a helping hand when trying to understand various menu items, this message popped up quite a lot. It never explains what the restriction is, though, so you’re left to guess.

Nikon, we’ve had the little “question mark sub-button” for about a decade now; why couldn’t you have written a little bit more code to offer up in-camera explanations for what seems like a whole new level of unavailable options?

Collectively, these minor issues leave me feeling like, even for something as slow and methodical as landscape photography, some photographers will have a slightly more frustrating user experience with a Z7, depending on how familiar and comfortable they are with their Nikon DSLR.

The FTZ Adapter Minor Let-Down

My second main issue with the Nikon Z7’s ergonomics has to do with the mechanics of the FTZ adapter. The camera body and the adapter do not lend themselves to tripod foot/plate use, when frequently switching between native Z lenses and adapted F lenses.

You simply can’t mount an ordinary tripod plate to both the camera body and the FTZ adapter at the same time. Even mounting one tripod plate might not work unless you get the right adapter that can slide fore/aft enough to allow the FTZ adapter to still mount. I had to dig up my most teeny-tiny Arca-Swiss plate to even be able to mount/unmount the FTZ adapter with the plate attached.

What’s worse, the FTZ adapter lacks both an AF-D motor (though I expected this) and full AI-S lens compatibility. You can enter the lens’ focal length and max aperture in the menu just like with most Nikon DSLRs, but that’s where compatibility ends. The FTZ adapter doesn’t have the sensor tab which notices what aperture you’re setting.

I expected a secondary, aftermarket FTZ adapter to come out eventually, maybe even with an AF-D motor built into it, even though it would be expensive. I don’t even know if it’s possible, but I hope Nikon can add full aperture compatibility for AI-S and other manual focus Nikkors.

EVF Is A Respectable Start, But Not Superior

The electronic viewfinder is fantastic, and a respectable start for Nikon. However, dots and refresh rates aside, it’s just not as stunning as the Canon EOS R’s viewfinder, for example. I tried out the various brightness settings, in various lighting conditions, and the Nikon Z7’s EVF seems to have slightly less “pop” and clarity to it.

Next, the shutter blackout. Yes, its severity varies depending on which shooting settings you’re using, but here’s the bottom line for me: one of the reasons why I’m willing to switch from an OVF to an EVF is to be able to shoot at any FPS I want, with zero shutter blackout, and nothing but maybe a faint (faux) clicking sound to let me know that I’m actually clicking pictures.

For many serious shooters who would instead pounce on decisive moments than rely on good ‘ol spray-and-pray, this could be a strike against the Nikon Z7. Nikon, please try and make the FX mirrorless experience as similar as possible to a DSLR when appropriate, while implementing the new advantages to mirrorless that other makers like Sony are incorporating.

Nikon Z7 Review

Single XQD Memory Card Slot

No, I’m not going to sweep this one under the rug. But, let’s not beat the dead horse too much. Here’s my opinion- most people are blowing this issue way out of proportion. Sony was SIX full-frame mirrorless cameras deep into their FE lineup before they ditched the single, slow SD card slot.

Most photographers will be just fine with a single XQD card slot. Personally, the only time I need dual card slots is when I’m shooting weddings. If I’m shooting any sort of action, timelapse, landscape, or just casually, I use a single card slot. And after literally 2+ million NEF files, I haven’t had more than one or two images go corrupt. (Knock on wood)

USB Charging and Battery Life

This was something I was truly disappointed by. I expected Nikon to have figured out something as simple as operating a camera directly from USB power, and charging the battery while the camera is on.

Alas, the Nikon Z7, like the oldest Sony A7-series bodies, must be off to charge the battery via USB. Even then, it is painfully slow, even with a 2A USB battery. (And not every 2A port seems to work, by the way; for some reason one of my USB battery packs would only charge the EN-EL15b from a 1A port, which was almost pointless at about 5% per hour.)

Nevertheless, I gaff-taped my USB battery to my tripod leg and compulsively switched off the camera whenever I wasn’t shooting.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S | 6 sec, f/10, ISO 64

At the end of a very long day in freezing cold temperatures, with EN-EL and USB batteries all critically low, to be honest, I was missing the Nikon D850. Sure, if I use the Nikon D850 in live view all the time or record 4K video, battery consumption is about the same. But a lot of time is spent just casually wandering and snapping, which can be done through the optical viewfinder and barely consuming any battery power.

What’s more, Nikon is trying to crack down on third-party batteries, even generic dummy batteries, so my 12V LiPo battery with a custom voltage regulator, which essentially offers unlimited battery power for all-night timelapses and/or video shooting, …gave me the dreaded “this battery cannot be used in this camera” message. Thanks, Nikon.

Nikon Z7 Mirrrorless Review

The Unprotected Sensor

Thanks to Nikon’s downright enormous mount diameter, and extremely short flange distance, that sensor is just begging to get scratched, and it loves to collect dust. So far, Sony hasn’t gotten this right either, Only Canon’s EOS R is willing to put its shutter at risk to keep the sensor safer and cleaner.

A new shutter is usually a few hundred bucks. A new sensor and IBIS unit, well…

The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S

Before we wrap things up, a quick word on what will likely be the very first lens that many photographers mount on their Nikon Z7: the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S.

Nikon 24mm f/1.8 G ED N, versus Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S

Yes, it’s impressively compact, lightweight, and weather sealed. Yes, it’s very sharp throughout most of the image frame, even wide open. However, I noticed two things that stopped me from absolutely raving about it:

First, I’m always skeptical of lenses that have a “baked-in” profile that I can’t turn off. What manner of vignetting and distortion sins is Nikon concealing, which Adobe refuses to let me see?

There’s definitely something weird going on. At the edges of the image, there’s some sort of color or tonal shift going on. Unfortunately, it’s evident when shooting high-key, white-on-white landscape images of snowy scenes. See the image set below:

Nikon Mirrorless Review

This might not be noticeable at all for shooters who don’t shoot such smooth-toned, near-white images. However, it was very prominent in this whole scene — good thing the scenes lent themselves to black & white so well.

I was at around f/11 too mind you, so I’m confused as to what could be causing the issue. If anybody wants to chime in and give their own account of this phenomenon, (or say that I’m an idiot because this is a common issue when shooting white subjects in below-freezing temperatures,) …please do let me know!

Nikon Z7 Landscape Review

The other point of contention I had was, I’m a little bummed that Nikon went for a collapsible, 24-70mm design in the first place. I’d rather have a Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens, even if it were the size of the 24-70mm f/4 in its un-collapsed state, or a bit larger.
By comparison, Canon’s RF 24-105mm f/4 is impressive at all apertures focal lengths, right to the extreme corners, making it well worth the extra 200 grams.

Versus the Nikon D850

So, let’s recap- where do we stand when comparing the Nikon Z7 against its big brother, the Nikon D850? The bottom line is that there is not an absolute, clear winner. It will depend on what you’re looking for in a camera, and where you’re willing to make compromises. Because, neither camera is genuinely perfect, despite both cameras being champions in their own right.

In short, the Nikon D850’s optical viewfinder, and off-sensor phase-detect autofocus may still be preferable to those who are still familiar with SLRs. The Nikon Z7, however, may be preferable to those who are willing to embrace the WYSIWYG of a decent quality EVF, despite the blackout and the autofocus that may struggle in poor light or fast action. Oh, and the IBIS. Oh, but the single XQD card slot.

All in all, however, I must again say that the D850 and Z7 together have me putting a hold on my envy of Sony’s offerings. Not so much when it comes to wedding and portrait photography, but certainly when it comes to landscape and timelapse photography, where durability and portability are essential.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4

Versus the Sony A7RIII

As impressive as the Nikon Z7 is, Sony’s A7R III is a tempting competitor. On paper, the 42 MP sensor is roughly equal, or slightly better, depending on your priorities. (In short, the Z7’s ISO 64 dynamic range is marginally better, but the A7R3’s high ISO noise (and dynamic range) are marginally better.)

But, allow me to stir the pot a little bit: in the real world, any dynamic range or high ISO noise differences will likely be hidden by most photographer’s inability to nail every single exposure to within 1/3 EV of “perfect”. In other words, If you upgrade cameras (let alone switch entire systems) for a mere 1/2 or 1/3rd EV of dynamic range or noise levels, but on average you miss your exposures by a whole 1-2 EVs, then the joke is on you!

Despite my few gripes with the Z7’s ergonomics and interface, I definitely give the nod to the Nikon Z7 for its overall build quality, ergonomics, and customizability. I’ve spent a lot of time customizing Sony’s physical buttons and quick menus, and while the mk3 generation bodies are leaps and bounds ahead of the mk2 and mk1 generations, I still think Nikon (And Canon, for that matter) ergonomics and customizability are preferable.

With that said, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the A7R III to anyone who is ready to shoot things like portraits or any other serious professional work for which both dual card slots and reliable AF are a must-have. Sony’s lens lineup is well-established, too. Truth be told, if you’ve already tried a Sony camera and don’t have any problems with the ergonomics, menus, and customizability, it’s pretty hard not to recommend the A7R3.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 1/8 sec, f/11, ISO 64

Who Should Buy The Nikon Z7

In case I have already made it totally obvious, the Nikon Z7 may be a dream camera for some, and a frustrating experience for others. So, who is it for, and who isn’t it for? Quite honestly, if you already own a Nikon D850 or even a Nikon D810, then to justify the Z7 you’ll really, really have to be putting the mirrorless advantages to good use- the IBIS, EVF, and portability had better be at the top of your “must-have” list. Also, you’ll have to be okay with switching batteries (and lens adapters) more often, and being very careful and strict with your memory card safety and workflow. I’m going to call the Nikon Z7 a “dream camera” for travel, landscape, and timelapse photographers, but that’s about it. For most other types of photography, the Nikon Z7 is certainly capable. However, it is not without caveats and some stiff competition in the Sony A7R III.

So, there you have it. I’m giving Nikon’s Z system a year or so to mature before I dive in. I might rent a Nikon Z7 or Nikon Z6 again for a certain special project or two in 2019, (there’s a lunar eclipse in January that I’d love to capture; I previously had a blast catching it on my D800e!) …however until I see more Z-mount lenses, and maybe even a 2nd generation body within the next 365 days, I’ll stick to my Nikon DSLRs.

Nikon Z7 Review Conclusion

So, as has been the case numerous times for me over the last 5+ years, I’m left with the same feelings regarding the “mirrorless vs. DSLR” debate: In order to gain the benefits such as in-body stabilization, great on-sensor autofocus, and a beautiful EVF, there are some quirks that must be put up with.

Personally? I’m going to give Nikon’s Z-system time to grow, before I jump on board. I’d like to be able to use nothing but native-mount lenses, and I’d like to see Nikon make a few tweaks to the physical ergonomics as well as the menus and customizations.

I will say this, however. I was previously on the brink of jumping to a Sony A7RIII for the landscape photography that I like to shoot, and a Sony A7III for the weddings and portraits that are my day job. That ship seems to have sailed, at least for another year. Because a Nikon Z7 with a few button and menu tweaks, plus a 2nd card slot of course for the weddings, and I’m sold.

Queue the comments about me being totally biased and/or downright wrong. Personally, if I had all the money in the world, I’d be that guy who owns (and uses) a camera from every single brand, from a Fuji GFX 50R, to an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II. I simply enjoy getting to know new cameras of any kind and going out to take pictures.

Author: Matthew Saville

My name is Matthew Saville and I am an astro-landscape and timelapse photographer based in Southern California. I have been exploring the American West with family and friends my whole life, and have been serious about wilderness adventures and astro-landscape photography since 2005.

Posted in Equipment
  • SF_Expat

    I have used it by locking it in the office of the venue, which is within its 130 foot range or so, or is there is an assistant who is doing culling on the editing machine while starting the slide show, is all goes very smoothly. But if you want two XQD slots, mayne the D5 is the only answer. Using SD card defeats and backup or reliability efforts since they NEED 2 at least to assure reasonable integrity. The Z cameras obviously are not for you but for many they are the best option, the only rugged FF mirrorless cameras out. Even my D850 has poorer odds of retaining backup files since the second slow slot is SD. As least the primary slot is XQD so that one is not going to fail. The whole internal bus system of XQD, bases on PCIe 3.0 Buss that is a next generation data bus with 8 separate 1 gigB/second pipes. with error correction. The whole ecosystem of the bus, interface socket is 2 generations ahead of SD which will quickly be phased out. The CFExpress shown so far 1 Terabyte and suitable as mobile replacement for SSD. That will please a lot of videographers who will be switching to Nikon for the ProResHD Raw data stream. The other brands will have to change storage to compete. ProRes RAW is more of a game changer than mirrorless.

  • Craig Collins

    A lot of good stuff here, but there’s an important error. He states that “You simply can’t mount an ordinary tripod plate to both the camera body and the FTZ adapter at the same time. Even mounting one tripod plate might not work unless you get the right adapter that can slide fore/aft enough to allow the FTZ adapter to still mount.” This is false. I’ve made this work with 3 different combinations, and the one I recommend is first here, posted along with my first solutions. the ProMediaGear L plate with a small plate on the FTZ (also ProMedia but others fit fine — I like ProMedia’s because of its easy sliding of the L to accommodate connectivity). IT WORKS FINE. I did very cheap ones with knockoff plates from eBay that worked just as well, though I had to take a rattail file and widen a slot to provide compatibility with the plate on the FTZ (also attached).

    We’ve entered this strange world where people expect their new toy to work flawlessly from the start, and have lost their ability to adapt and invent solutions as needed. My view: we’re supposed to be adapting and inventing as image makers, as every situation we encounter requires our imagination and our full toolset to respond.

    This applies to the tiresome XQD single-slot noise machine. We got in the habit of 2 slots as a backup concept (although for me and many, we used one card for RAW & one for JPG), but aside from the touted high reliability and durability of XQD, the issue ignores one of the best features of the camera that’s scarcely mentioned: the ability to seamlessly upload lo-res JPGs to your iPhone in real time, providing instant shareability and camera-free backup.

    As to autofocus: I remain confused. I don’t have D850, which is clearly the flagship autofocus machine from Nikon. But the Z7 kicks butt over the speed and low-light performance of my D810 & D750. I see plenty of impressive examples of high-speed wildlife and sports imagery from others, so I’m convinced the issues others complain about are about technique and understanding the nuance of this highly complex camera.

    I’ve been just astonished at the whining and entitled behavior among so many that I just scratch my head. Perhaps part of the problem for us experienced photographers is we don’t like admitting that the technological advances we’re experiencing require us to be humble and go back to the basics of camera operation, with willingness to learn anew.

    Also I love the Yosemite images. Nice work!

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  • I’ve been casually following this option, however it still seems rather complicated compared to just having two slots. Plus, a laptop in a camera bag near by is a prime target for thieves. I assume the laptop has to be out and open to receive files? Or can it be done while the laptop is closed and tucked away?

    Furthermore, my studio’s workflow hinges on the convenience of being able to send the backup cards home with the 2nd shooter, and the primary cards home with the lead shooter, so that you have two-location before you even leave the venue. I suppose this could be possible if your laptop had the ability to send files to a network drive at home, but that would require a mobile hotspot subscription…

    Either way, I’ll continue staying apprised of the options. Thanks for your input!

  • I feel the same way about some of Nikon’s bodies. I’ll look forward to the day when I can pick up a used D5 or D850 for dirt cheap. As a timelapse and astro-landscape photographer, you can never have too many cameras.

  • tom rose

    I am hoping that lots of Canon photographers make a switch to mirrorless when Canon gets around to releasing a model with twin card slots. Then the market will be flooded with second hand pro-DSLRs and I’ll be able to pick up a 1DX mark ii at a bargain price!

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  • Urbex Mark

    Very nice review!

    Can you do another how to on shooting stitched together panoramas? That looked fantastic!

  • Dave Hachey

    Very nice, even-handed review. If I didn’t have so much Canon and Sony gear I might even be convinced to switch. Good review, thanks…

  • SF_Expat

    Have you considered the excellent connectivity for backing up files as you shoot a wedding? I take 1 or two laptops with a pocket router and files zip over to the computer[s] and an assistant can start a slide show right after the first shots are fired. A 14 bit raw file takes just over 1 second, 2 at the most. After doing a few events with the Z7, the D850 and it have switched places in the primary/secondary camera role. I have never even removed the XQD card from its socket. If a file checksum fails handshaking sends it again. So far, none have failed it has been solid. I can even send the files from the laptop automatically to my network drive at home. Once you get used to having all the files on a hard drive or SSDas you shoot, it seems so logical and the path for the future. For those doing field sports or farther than 120 feet or so from the computer, they can use the WT-7 1gb/s wireless adaptor for 660 foot range, and it can access nodes if you know its IP address so a file server can write the files directly to the network drive.

  • BG

    Actually, accurate = correct.

  • Greetings from Southern California!

  • I own a Nikon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 for that exact reason. Galen inspired me posthumously when I learned that he sometimes used those cheap “plastic fantastic” N-series film bodies and “kit” lenses. Now, even though I also own a host of f/2.8 zooms and other various exotic lenses for various purposes, but when I want to run around chasing light, (or shooting though a chain-link fence!) I reach for one of those dinky things with a 52mm filter thread. I actually just shot a timelapse of a storm passing the Hollywood sign, and it wouldn’t have been possible without that 80-200. 🙂

  • Oh wow, you DIY’d the “swap your ballhead on and off” trick. I saw that advertised by RRS, and thought it was cool.

    Also, anyone who thinks it’s totally normal to own multiple tripods, is cool in my book. 😛

  • Ebrahim Saadawi

    Troll alert.

    There’s no review anywhere offering more “perspective”. This is a real working landscaper perspective.

    I don’t know about wisdom, I have no idea how wisdom could fit in a technology gadget review!

    Thank you Matt.

    Greetings from Egypt.

    Dr. Ebrahim.

  • John Motzi

    I also have both and use both. btw – I enjoyed a trip to the Galen Rowell museam a few years ago and enjoyed learning that on the trail he often used small cameras (example: Nikon FE) and lightweight lenses (example: 80–200mm ƒ4.5–5.6 AF-D ). See this article:

    I sometimes think of that when I am lugging around my D850 & Zeiss lenses that I enjoy 🙂

  • John Motzi

    I just did that for the picture. Usually there is a ball head on there. Some years ago, I retrofitted all of my tripods (this one is a gitzo) by attaching a RRS TA-LBC: Round Lever-Release Clamp to the base plate, I just drilled and tapped holes in the base plate and “permanently” attached the clamp. Then on the bottom of my ball head, panning clamp, etc. I fitted a TH-DVTL-55: Dovetail Plate in the usual way. The result is a quick release system where I can easily change heads between tripods and avoid all that spinning onto the tripod stuff. But as you say, I could also just mount the camera or lens on it and avoid the head altogether (using the tripod legs to move the camera) – although I’ve never done that.

    For this picture I just left off the ball head since it didn’t add anything to the picture….

    Here are some details with the Gitzo plate and also a mini tripod

  • I’m referring to the article posted @ Imaging Resources: which I think is trustworthy.
    That’s not like not having a high-res body is impacting my photography somehow – but once you tried a nice crisp high resolution sensor – you’re hooked up 🙂 I really like how the AF works on the EOS R, and if they make a high-res body with similar specs as the EOS R (5 accurate fps is enough for me) – the dream will come true!

  • Fingers crossed that the 14-30mm doesn’t have “weird” corner issues.

  • I’m not sure what “confirmed by Canon execs” info you’re going on, but I was fortunate enough to talk with a Canon exec at the EOS R press release, and the suspicion I have is that a high-megapixel camera is coming soon. If the rumors are saying that a cheaper version of the EOS R is coming sooner, maybe the high-res version will come at the same time, or shortly after. Either way I think it’ll be out in 2019.

  • Yup. It was on this adventure that I discovered that BOTH of my “waterproof” jackets were completely not waterproof anymore, and my waterproof boots were also not at all waterproof. Needless to say, I went shopping at REI over the holidays, haha. I’m going to try and snow-hike to Sentinel Dome in February, so weatherproofing my own self will be a lot more important…

  • I regularly carry 50+ lbs of gear up mountains and into the wilderness for days on end, and it’s totally fine. But, every pound I can shave off of one camera or lens, is room in my pack for a second or third (or fourth) camera body or lens, as a timelapse & nightscape photographer. I’d carry one Z7 and two Z6’s (and 5+ lenses) into the wilderness if I could.

    So, that’s why I gripe about “big and heavy”. ;-P

  • Jo Jundt

    Very nice and informative review, thanks a lot for the outstandingly nice pictures and the time lapses, too.

    Having both bodies in the bag, I very much agree on your findings. And I didn’t expect it would grow so quickly on me. Sometimes I simply like to use the LCD to compose the picture, enlarge the focus area to check sharpness better. That’s also possible with the D850 but always additional LV must be switched on – and the lag between release and taking the picture is too long. The Z 7 to me is a D850 in constant LiveView with some nice and welcome improvements. And like you I really like the weight. Not only of the camera: For the D850 I’ve a 35/1.4 Sigma Art which is just 300 grams heavier.

    But looking at the uncorrected pictures in CaptureOne, the distortions of the 24-70 are really the worst in my book.

    Wait until you can shoot against front light from a pointy light source and a dark background – the 24-70 “creates” at 28 mm some colour blotches which compete easily with the flares of the Nikkor 14-24. You’re not the only one looking forward to the 14-30/4.

    For the stupid level difference between camera bottom and FTZ bottom (why, oh Nikon, you haven’t looked at Tamron’s and Sigma’s latest tripod collars with the Arca type dovetails?) I customized a cheap Mengs L-plate, but today there are plenty of better solutions from Three Legged Things, Smallrig ( or ProMediaGear ( I still like my DIY for what it is.

  • AnotherView

    Nice review Matt!

  • AnotherView

    Nonsense. I own both the D850 and Z7. The Z7 is clearly the superior camera for landscapes…WYSIWYG EVF, better live view/focus peaking when manual focusing, IBIS for all lenses, smaller and lighter overall (especially with the new S lenses) also leads to smaller/lighter tripod and head. My D850 remains king for action photography, but that’s all.

  • TurtleCat

    I will say this gives some context to some of the comments you have made in other forums. Great pics, too.

  • CameraCrazy

    big and heavy? ROFL OMG, I know an anorexic girl with no muscles that hauls around a D850 up mountains for her photog.

  • CameraCrazy

    accuracy does not = correct… its the same as making an ACCURATE assessment of room by looking thru the keyhole of a locked door.

  • I’m glad you did, because I never would. I have come to the conclusion that all cameras have better weather resistance than I do.


  • Hi Matthew,

    I looked at your portfolio and it’s amazing.
    Everything that you said is true, and even more – I’m using the EOS R exactly for general portraiture lol. Here is what I shoot: I had a 5DsR before and I’m missing its 50Mpx resolution, even if the DR wasn’t great. The 30Mpx sensor is a joke for the new 50/1.2 – it definitely needs more. Unfortunately the next “R” camera will be a very basic model (under the EOS R) which is confirmed by Canon execs, so I will have to wait longer… That’s why I said “2025” 🙂

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