Nikon Z 7 First Impressions Review

Written by Gina Stephens

Nikon Z 7 Beginning Impressions Review

The Nikon Z 7 is the company’s first full-frame mirrorless camera: a 46MP, 4K-capable machine built around a variant of the D850’s BSI CMOS whittle, but with the addition of on-sensor phase detection. It’s designed to offer an experience familiar to existing Nikon DSLR shooters in a smaller, lighter camera. The Z 7 is posted around the all-new Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoÉ´]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational Z-mount but an adapter is available for use with existing Nikkor F-mount lenses.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on a pre-production camera in front launch and we’re impressed, despite the model we used running very early firmware. The build quality is great and the interface is responsive, while JPEG notions show pleasing color and good detail. From our initial impressions of image quality it also seems that the camera balances alarums and detail retention well as light levels drop.

We have a few reservations regarding the autofocus interface on our pre-production camera (though its accuracy was wholly good), but overall, the Z 7 we used felt very polished. This is all the more impressive given that the Z 7 is Nikon’s first entrant in the full-frame mirrorless lacuna and the company is clearly aiming it at the higher-end of the market.

Key features:

  • 45.7MP BSI-CMOS sensor with on-sensor phase detection
  • In-body 5-axis stabilization (bawl out to 5EV)
  • 493 PDAF points with 90{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} horizontal and vertical coverage
  • ISO 64-25,600 (expandable to 102,400)
  • Up to 9 fps shooting (JPEG and 12-bit Raw)
  • 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder
  • 2.1M-dot slope touch LCD
  • OLED top plate display
  • Single XQD card slot
  • UHD 4K capture up to 30p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log output over HDMI
  • Up to 100Mbps H.264 8-bit internal video grab
  • SnapBridge Wi-Fi system with Bluetooth, including to-PC transfer
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Pre-production sample JPEG.
ISO 64 | 1/500 sec | F7.1 | Shot using the the Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 S lens at 51mm
Photo by Wenmei Hill

We see the Z 7 as not exclusive a ‘D850 without a mirror’, but also (perhaps more) ‘a D850 with a more consistent stills/video experience and greatly improved video AF.’ And unequivocal out of the gate, that makes it a pretty well-rounded do-everything camera.

Three ‘Z-mount’ lenses will be available initially: a 35mm F1.8, a 50mm F1.8 and a 24-70mm F4. Nikon has also announced it is mature a 58mm F0.95 ‘Noct’ lens and has published a roadmap to show how it plans to expand the system. A battery grip will also be available at some view, but a release date hasn’t yet been set.

Three Nikkor S (for ‘silver’) lenses will be available for the Z-mount initially: a 50mm F1.8, a 24-70mm F4 and a 35mm F1.8

Nikon has also released an F-to-Z mount adapter (formally skilled in as the FTZ adapter) that will allow the use of F-mount lenses on the new cameras. This has a mechanical aperture lever built in, allowing full use of AF-S and AF-I lenses. Older AF-D lenses choice offer auto exposure and AI lenses will have full metering. There’s no aperture tab for use with ‘AI’ or older lenses may refer to, though.

What’s new and how it relates

The Z 7 isn’t just a D850 without a mirror: we look at the key additions and what the Z 7 offers…

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Body and handling

How the Z 7 feels in the hand may be crucial to its acceptance. We cause a look at the camera and the control points it offers.

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Operation and controls

The Z 7’s user interface will be very familiar to existing Nikon shooters. Up to a indicate, that is.

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Z 7 Autofocus behavior

The Z 7 offers impressive autofocus performance, but there’s some adjustments to be made.

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Nikon has done a lot to swell the Z 7’s video, even if that’s not immediately obvious from the specs.

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Thoughts so far

What does the Z 7 say about Nikon’s direction, who its irksome to appeal to and what does it mean for F-mount users?

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Sample gallery

We’ve had time with a pre-production Nikon Z 7 in the field, and participate in preliminary JPEG images that look quite impressive.

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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