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Nikon Z7 Camera – Mirrorless Maestro


Nikon’s Z7 is their top-end full-frame mirrorless camera designed primarily for professional photographers requiring a high-resolution sensor for landscapes or large-scale prints. Supporting 4K video recording at 30fps, Z7 has a lot to offer to videographers as well, like in-body image stabilisation.

Design and Handling

Nikon Z7 has been designed around their flagship DSLR, D850, but obviously sports a much slimmer body since its mirrorless. The camera has a deep grip that is very comfortable, and users can see a generous amount of rubber used around the body as well.

Nikon Z7 unveils Nikon’s new Z-mount that’s wider than the current F-mount and offers a shorter flange distance resulting in reduced image distortion. The new mount requires a new set of lenses, and Nikon has six NIKKOR Z lenses ready already. One can continue to use most of the existing Nikon F-series lenses with the optional FTZ adapter.

The Nikon Z7 comes with an excellent selection of ports. On the left, there are individual sockets for a microphone and headphones, a Mini-HDMI port, USB Type-C port, and an accessory terminal – all of which are covered by two rubber flaps. Right next to the lens on the front, there are two customisable function buttons.

The mode dial gets locked in its place so that one doesn’t accidentally change it while shooting. The Z7 offers a secondary top-mounted display to check exposure settings quickly. It has a handy toggle that enables easy switching between video and still shooting modes and is also equipped with a joystick that simplifies menu navigation and focus-point setting. With a 3.69 million dot resolution, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is bright and sharp and has an eye sensor for switching between the EVF and the LCD modes automatically. The 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD is useful for framing your shots, adjusting focus, changing settings,

Coming to the storage, the Nikon Z7 has only one slot on the right for an XQD card. Another SD card slot or a slot that supported both formats would have been better for the users.

Specifications and Features

Nikon Z7 has a 45.7-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and Nikon’s EXPEED 6 image processor that delivers 493 autofocus points to cover 90 per cent of the frame. With an ISO range of 64-25,600 (expandable to 1,02,400), up to 9fps burst shooting, and 4K video recording at 30fps or 1080p at up to 120fps, Nikon Z7 is pretty well-equipped. The robust device comes with time-lapse video recording, support for N-Log recording, and 10-bit capture over HDMI to an external recorder to keep things easy breezy for newer photographers. They can also enable electronic stabilisation for smoother video quality.

The Nikon Z7 allows silent shooting but is missing Eye AF that is expected in future upgrades. The upcoming firmware, according to imaging solutions giant, will include improved low-light AF performance, Auto Exposure (AE) tracking while shooting bursts, RAW video output support, and compatibility with CFexpress memory cards. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for syncing the Z7 with phones, the Nikon SnapBridge app enables automatic transfer of images from the camera to the user’s phone as and when they are shot.

Performance and Battery life

The Nikon Z7 has been designed for professional photographers, and it delivers the performance it promises. Without a drop in quality from ISO 64 to ISO 1,600, the Z7 captures details excellently, brings out sharpness, and makes the colours pop. At ISO 6,400, one notices a very slight drop in sharpness A, while at ISO 12,800, the fineness starts fading just a bit. Lastly, at ISO 25,600, the detailing gets visibly weaker, softening the image a little bit, but it’s still quite usable, to be honest.

In daylight, the Nikon Z7 is an absolute delight to work with – the large sensor and high-resolution result in excellent detailing in landscapes and macros, while close-ups seem vivid and velvety. The colours are vibrant, with excellent contrast and saturation. The camera’s face tracking is always on and quickly finds and locks on a person’s face during stills and videos alike. You can even enable subject tracking by tapping on the subject on the viewfinder.

Owing to the fast memory card, the wait time before all the photos were saved is considerably reduced, so the camera is soon ready to shoot again. Another notable feature is that Z7 doesn’t get too hot too quickly when shooting in burst mode repeatedly.

When shooting in low light, Z7 continued to impress by delivering a vast dynamic range, intense colours, and sharp focus. The incredible picture quality from Z7 did not disappoint while shooting close-ups either. In fact, even under dim, artificial lighting, the Nikon Z7 can deliver vivid colours and precise detail with quick autofocus.

Video quality in low light is quite amazing too as the Nikon Z7 gives photographers full manual control to set up the shot. With Nikon Z7, you can shoot 4K video at 30fps without any cropping. In daylight, the quality is delightful as face tracking is enabled as soon as the camera detects a person and does a good job locking on them, even when the subject (or the camera) move around. The built-in microphones are designed to capture good-quality stereo audio as well.

Coming to the battery on this device – Nikon Z7 claims to deliver 330 shots per full charge, which is decent unless you’re looking to save RAW files mostly or want to use the burst mode more often. The device comes with an external battery charger in the box, but the battery cannot be charged using a power bank while it is still in the camera.

Key features

  • 45.7MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor with on-sensor phase detection
  • In-body 5-axis image stabilisation (rated to 5EV)
  • 493 PDAF points with 90% horizontal and vertical coverage of the frame
  • 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 tilting 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 capture
  • SnapBridge Wi-Fi system with Bluetooth, including to-PC transfer

Verdict

In conclusion, we can say that the Nikon Z7 is a solid start for Nikon in the mirror-less segment with the high-resolution sensor offering a good dynamic range, sharpness, and colour reproduction for still images. The Z7 is very comfortable to use and delivers in-body stabilisation, excellent high-ISO performance, fast burst shooting and good quality 4K video recording. It could have been better with a better battery and a secondary SD card slot as XQD cards are not easy to find presently.


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