nikon

Nikon z7 Review 2020

This post has affiliate links. At no cost to you, we earn a commision for puchases made through links in this post. Read more

In the vast world of full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Nikon Z7 stands out. With headlines drawing attention to new releases from Sony, Panasonic, Canon, and even Nikon, this model still shines bright and is one of the best mirrorless camera money can buy.  

The Nikon Z7 emerges as a formidable contender among the other twelve mirrorless Nikon camera models. If you were under the impression that this is their first-ever mirrorless camera, it is not. The Z7 is Nikon’s first, full-frame mirrorless camera.

With new technology, features, and components, the Z7 is Nikon’s breakthrough in building a top tier mirrorless camera model. Therefore, this review is going to take you through the specifics of the camera. Not only will you get to know in detail about the new features like the Z mount and in-body image stabilization, but also what more they could have included in the model. While the Z7 is, without a doubt, an exceptional camera model, like every other camera in the market, it does have a few flaws. So, sit back and relax while we take a closer look at Nikon’s creation in this camera review for the Nikon Z7.   

Specifications And Some Features Of The Nikon Z7

Nikon z7

Nikon Z7 has a wide variety of features packed in its compact outer body. Considering the price of a professional camera, the camera comes with well-equipped features and components. 

Whether this camera has everything you’re looking for, the resolution, the focus, processor, and more, is a deciding factor for purchasing a camera for yourself. Also, is Nikon’s debut attempt to create their first-ever full-frame mirrorless camera worth every penny? The many features of this camera model will be explored in detail in the following section of this nikon z7 review so that you can decide for yourself.

The Nikon Z7 features a 45.7-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, which gives a burst of beautiful pictures. Adding to that, it is also equipped with its Nikon’s EXPEED 6 image processor to have the best control on your camera. 

We have noticed that the full-frame CMOS sensor present in the Z7 seems to be very similar to the other members of Nikon, such as the Nikon D850 DSLR. However, the only difference between the two is that Nikon has built-in a revolutionary on-sensor phase-detection system.

Nikon Z7 offers you 493 autofocus points covering 90 percent of the frame and an ISO range of 64-25,600, which can be up to 9fps burst shooting. And ultimately, the 4K video recording at 30fps or 1080p at up to 120fps, which gives you a wonderful experience while taking videos at such good frame rates and resolution.

For the ones looking for seamless video capturing, the Nikon Z7 allows you to enable electronic stabilization. The only drawback to this is that it results in a slight crop of the overall video, but the quality is the best nevertheless. 

In your free time, you can fiddle with the time-lapse video feature that is another interesting feature in this camera model. Whereas if you were looking forward to shooting landscapes in time-lapse, the Z7 is your perfect companion.  

Data sharing is another important feature in cameras, and the Z7 supports for N-Log recording and 10-bit capture over HDMI to an external recorder. These features prove to be very helpful for data sharing. 

The Nikon z7 also promises a 5-axis in-body stabilization that will enable you to produce quite sharp handheld photos even at 1.6 seconds. Along with this, there is a silent shooting mode which can be clubbed together with the stabilization for wildlife photography. All the high expectations that you might be having with this camera model are solved once you capture high clarity pictures of your subjects without disturbance. 

If you wonder whether the z7 can also provide you with a burst mode while shooting wildlife, it can. Your hunt for a tool that captures the essence of a flying bird is over. The elegant wingspan of the bird can be shot with perfection using the silent feature combined with the burst mode. This is one of the reasons why this nikon z7 review calls the model the best.

Well, the Nikon Z7 also offers you comfortable photo transferring options, features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that are present that make it possible. Another feature included in the Nikon camera model is the Nikon SnapBridge app, which can be downloaded from the app store for both Android and iOS. This app is a creation of Nikon, and it enables you to automatically transfer images from your Nikon Z7 camera to your phone as soon as they are shot. 

Another fact about this camera is the viewfinder feature that Nikon offers you through your phone. You can use your phone as a viewfinder for remote shooting, another cool feature. The user interface that Nikon offers in its camera makes it easy to navigate around the camera and set up the camera for a particular shot with the improved interface compared to its old-gen models. 

Nikon has a great-sounding setup while attempting to implement the full-frame hybrid autofocus. While it was the brand’s first attempt, they have certainly done an amazing job implementing the hybrid autofocus. 

The interchangeable camera lens has used lens-based VR (vibration reduction) but the Nikon Z series still uses existing Nikon VR lenses. They still do an amazing job as the two systems work seamlessly together and that is what Nikon brings to you. 

The in-body VR shows that the Nikon users will also be benefited from the new 5-axis, 5-stop VR system. Even with non-VR lenses, this feature is a total game-changer. With the introduction of the brand new mirrorless body design, there comes a new lens mount. The brand has cleverly made the Nikon z7 mount 11mm wider in length than its other members like the Nikon F DSLR mount. The increase in length makes it more accessible than the other mounts. 

Nikon also claims that this particular Nikon model has “liberated” its lens designers, which made it easier to produce this very new and ambitious lens that focuses to deliver a step up in subtle optical quality. 

The flange-to-sensor distance is just 16mm, and it said that it seems to be a lot shorter than the regular Nikon F mount. Having a shorter mount allows plenty of space for the new Nikon FTZ lens adapter, this can be bought separately in stores, or it can even be purchased as a whole camera bundle as part of new cameras. With the help of this adapter, you can actually fit all the 90s and the current Nikon lenses and receive full autofocus and automatic exposure for the best experience. 

The brand already offers up to 360 lenses with the auto exposure feature. The new mount in the Nikon Z7 does not feature an autofocus screw drive, so basically, the older AF lenses of the camera are set to be restricted to manual focus, but the wide compatibility of Nikon with its existing Nikon F lenses can make it very easy for the current Nikon users to change their mount to the new mount at their own willing, mostly giving you the maximum flexibility to change the lenses at your own pace.

What’s Good About Nikon z7

Nikon has a massive reputation when it comes to making cameras, and the Nikon Z7 does not disappoint, it is a revolutionary alternative that has changed the game.

The features, as talked about in the previous section of the nikon z7 review, certainly point to the fact that it brings many good components and features to the table. Some things like the 45.7 MP camera, a fast frame rate, professional quality images, and versatility are just some of the many good things about the Nikon Z7. Moreover, no matter what the setting or occasion, the Nikon Z7 helps you to shoot in a well-structured and designed manner.

The most important thing is to communicate ideas through pictures and this camera does the same. Combining the great advantages of a lightweight mirrorless design that Nikon offers and a sophisticated brand new full-frame lens mount and matched lenses, gives you the edge you are looking for.

So, if you still use the old school models of Nikon you should change to the newer ones. To help you understand what is so good about the z7 model, here are some of the many uses of this camera and what makes it perfect for all. After quite a lot of testing, we will now be able to give you insights about its real-world usage and its amazing qualities.

1. Travel & Landscape Photography

Even though the nikon z7 is a full-frame camera, the compact design developed by Nikon is a feature that strikes the travel photographers as an attractive option. If you are keen on having top-notch quality images throughout the day, this camera is perfect for you to carry around. The collapsible S 24-70mm F4 poses a well-sized pairing for the camera and is quite useful too.

The Nikon z7 does not only give you excellent stills quality but the in-body stabilization for filming makes it a good pick for hand-held videos. Another thing that makes your job much easier while transferring photos to your phone or a Wi-Fi device is the Bluetooth-supported Wi-Fi. If you are a travel blogger and post pictures regularly then this option is even better for you, you will have ready-to-share JPEGs in no time.

Losing charge is another thing that is a high possibility while traveling and highly dreaded. The option of charging through USB makes it easy for travelers to charge the camera time and again.

You no longer need to be worried about the weather conditions because this well-built z7 mirrorless camera is by your side. With a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, it has been built to withstand almost any weather.

2. Close-up Moments With Family & Portraits

When it comes to producing JPEGs with satisfying skin tone quality, the z7 is not one to stand back. All your shots will portray attractive skin tones and can easily be shared with your peers or family members. The Bluetooth-supported Wi-Fi is the feature that makes image-sharing possible.

The option of Face detection is good and works wonders in ample lighting. With still subjects, you will get higher quality pictures as well as the good working of the Face detection feature.

The burst mode will help you capture the perfect moments, like the first steps of your child or them blowing out candles on their birthdays. It is another justification as to why it is a good handheld camera.

The z7 makes it possible to shoot a quick burst in less than one second of 5 frames. This rapid effort has been made possible with the help of image stabilization. You will get a good set of pictures from front to back. There will be such negligible differences in each photo that you will be able to blend them all together.

3. Video Shooting

The Nikon z7 offers stellar video features, specifications, and quality. For all the video shooters out there, it is a superior option amongst the other options in the market due its 4:2:2 10-bit recording with N-log. The ‘N-log’ recording option is a new feature that makes color grading easier in post-production. This feature isn’t present in any other Nikon model, making the z7 one of a kind.

After having shot videos using 4K full-frame mode, the outcome is that the video quality is the best especially when using the IBIS and hand-holding the camera. Moreover, the Un-cropped 4K makes filming, top-quality, hand-held video effortless. Even full-frame DSLRs have competition as the Nikon z7 has one of the greatest video specifications.

Another feature that videographers would find quite useful is in-body stabilization. The super 35 mode or the APS-C crop presents to you even higher quality, oversampled video. This means that you can get extra reach without having to sacrifice the video resolution.

If you use the 4K video mode with the super 35mm crop, the Nikon z7 will do a full-pixel readout that creates 4K footage. So, you will end up getting the best video quality. More small features like customizable highlight alerts, touch AF, time coding via HDMI output, live histogram makes the z7 good for video shooting.

For advanced shooters, Nikon’s Flat Picture profile is simple to work within a post. The 10-bit Log footage gives flexibility and can be captured easily to an external recorder. While video autofocus is not as reliable it is still useful in many situations.

4. Special Events

If you are photographers who cover many live events, weddings, or similar occasions, you definitely need a brilliant camera to back you up. The z7 has a good dynamic range that comes along with a high-resolution sensor. The silent shutter mode also makes it perfect for noiseless shots and makes sure you are not heard.

Events have rapidly changing compositions and the autofocus joystick will help you respond to them quickly. The Nikon z7 makes sure to not miss even a moment while shooting events so important. The camera is also highly compatible with Nikon’s currently existing flash system.  

Microphone and headphone jacks are present in the Nikon z7 which help in hooking up of these devices through the ports present. On the side of the camera, you can attach them for recording using the microphone and audio monitoring through the headphone. This feature is useful for many of the other categories mentioned in this section of the Nikon z7 review.

5. Sports Shooting

The z7 is a great device for casual shooters, it is capable of some good AF-C performance in good light with a single point. Sports involve a lot of rapid movements and to capture it all, the autofocus joystick quickly moves points. The subject tracking is useful only for some isolated subjects but not reliable enough.

What Can Be Improved

Reading the nikon z7 review until now, you might be thinking how a first-generation camera model could be so perfect. Well, while Nikon has done an exceptional job in creating this camera, it is not without flaws. We are not stating that the present firmware or components are downright bad but can be improved upon. There are a few shortcomings that we have listed down for you to go through and if you feel like these are of importance when it comes to shooting various subjects, you can reconsider your choice.  

1. Autofocus

a. Reliable Performance

When compared to Nikon DSLRs, the Z7’s autofocus algorithms don’t seem to be on the same level. There are times when you would rather re-initiate autofocus as the focus of the camera isn’t as decisive and often hunts in the wrong direction. 

While the auto-area autofocus with face detection is also at fault, it often doesn’t select the right subject. The z7 can be found focusing on objects that are not faces like chairs, labels, and other non-human objects. Moreover, the ‘Auto’ quite frequently, fails to prioritize the nearby subjects over distant ones.   

b. Make 3d Tracking Mode Usable

The DSLRs produced by Nikon claim to have ‘industry-leading’ tracking mode however the z7 doesn’t really offer such focus. The camera fails in the accuracy of subject tracking, which is the capability to maintain the focus on the subject regardless of where it moves about in the frame. The tracking ability of the nikon z7 is not precise and considering that the area is quite large it becomes even more difficult. They could improve upon this by fixing the 3D tracking method.

c. Improve Low Light Autofocus Sensitivity

Another issue that we would like to point out in the nikon z7 review, is how rapidly the camera’s AF system starts to struggle in low lighting. When compared to the competing mirrorless camera brands, the nikon z7 lacks in this area. After great testing, we have figured out that the nikon z7 begins to hunt in two to four stops brighter light levels. This estimation is in comparison with similar cameras from brands like Canon and Sony.

The “Low Light AF” mode present in this model hardly improves much. The only thing that it does is slow down focus only when it detects the lowest light levels. This feature proves impractical as the slowing down of focus can only be useful if you are shooting tripod-mounted static shots. 

There might not be much that Nikon can do in this z7 camera model, however, a suggestion would be to develop a flashgun-based autofocus assist system. This would come in handy for event photography where there is a need for fast focus in low lighting. The system will most likely require a new set of radio transmitters and flashes. With better flash and radio transmitters, the camera could project a suitable colored grid pattern for the nikon z7, and the system could lock on to this when needed in dim situations.   

d. Add The Eye Autofocus Feature

There is one big feature that’s currently missing in the Nikon Z7, and that’s Eye autofocus or Eye AF. Although, Nikon claims that in the near future that the brand will implement the exclusive features in the future Nikon models. This is good enough as well as this feature is a very useful and efficient feature that can be used to sharpen the focus of shots of people especially their eyes.

This feature comes in handy while photographing portraits and it is said to have a very wide-aperture lens to give the ultimate performance. It is said that in the soon to come firmware Nikon will be including the brilliant Eye AF feature alongside the improved low-light AF performance. This would be a blessing to many photographers who need these features for better photography.

e. Improved AF User Interface

While the above points in the improvement section of this nikon z7 review talk of the many performance improvements that can be brought about; there are also some ways that it can change its operation. 

Presently, there are some operations like the subject tracking mode that is the same as the auto area autofocus mode. As a result, it becomes slower to select this option as it could have been activated if could be set to have its own area mode. 

f. Enhance AF In Backlit Shots

There are many cameras out in the market that struggle greatly with backlit shots. However, the fact that a professional camera like the Nikon z7 is unable to achieve that kind of focus in specific situations, is a shame. This is because such situations are easily combated by affordable and less advanced camera models as well.   

The sad part is that the z7 autofocus system seems to struggle with both low light and backlighting situations. When you give severely backlit portraits a chance and shoot subjects that aren’t lit up as per requirement, the device fails to focus. It takes a long time and you shouldn’t bother waiting because sometimes it never even achieves focus.

2. Improving Customization

There is a requirement of a simple fix in the Nikon z7 and it is of the customization level. What needs to be done is the matching of the customization level to that of the Nikon DSLR. When you look at the market position and the price of the z7 model, it’s customization needs to be at least at par with the Nikon DSLRs. 

Instead of being better or at the same level, the camera misses some of the important and beneficial features. Taking the example from z7, in this model you cannot override the current AD mode by simply assigning custom buttons. Many people lean on such features to try when the original way of working fails and has been a blessing many-a-times.

Lastly, we would love to see better button customization on the Z series preferably, a D5-level. This customization would not only give the user the ability to allocate any button to the AF mode required but also entirely override the settings of the camera model with the press of a button. 

Brands like Sony and Canon have put their foot forward and provided their consumers with solutions. We would like to see if Nikon tries its best to bring about some changes like quick format button options, or the useful two-button reset feature.

Mirrorless Cameras Vs DSLRs

If you have just recently developed a passion for photography and are wondering if the Nikon z7 is the one for you, we are here to make it clear for you. If you are still not completely clear between your choice in the type of camera you want to buy, here are the many differences between the two types.

While DSLRs and mirrorless cameras both shoot amazing videos and click the best quality stills, they both have their own pros and cons. To make you confident about your choice, we have compiled a few points that will help you make the best decision for your needs.

1. Basic Difference

When it comes to DSLRs, they make use of the traditional design which is like that of old age 35mm film cameras. There is a mirror placed inside the body of the camera that reflects the light passing through the lens straight up to a prism. From the prism, the light passes through a viewfinder that is for you to preview the shot you took. To capture the final image, you press the shutter button which flips the mirror and opens a shutter through which the light falls onto an image sensor.

On the other hand, a mirrorless camera has a different working mechanism. The light passes across the lens and precisely onto the image sensor, which captures just a preview of the image you shot and displays it on the screen. There are now models in the market that present to you a second screen that is placed inside an electronic viewfinder. This second screen can be seen by putting your eye up to the electronic viewfinder.

2. Dimensions- Size & Weight

Commonly, mirrorless cameras are smaller in size when compared to DSLRs. Their compact design and lightweight structure make them the perfect companion on long travels that involve lugging the camera around. The ease with which you can carry around the camera without straining your body makes them a popular pick amongst those who are into landscape, sports, or travel photography.

When it comes to DSLRs, they are traditionally big and heavy. While some of you might find this to be negative but it can be a big help as well. For the people who shoot with big telephoto lenses or have big hands, in general, are benefited by this weight and size. Although you will find many mirrorless cameras these days that are just as large as DSLRs. 

3. Features

DSLRs have full manual controls, even the entry-level models, although the entry-level models often hide the manual controls under automated features, the mirrorless cameras are no less.

The mirrorless cameras match the DSLRs every feature and often go the extra mile by putting in more features. When it comes to photographic controls and features, both the camera types are hard to divide here.

There is one thing that should watch out for in mirrorless cameras and that is autofocus zones. DSLRs usually focus using a distinct autofocus module whereas the sensors on mirrorless cameras have the autofocus points on them itself. The outcome of this is that you often get autofocus points that take care of almost the whole mirrorless camera sensor. When it comes to cheap DSLRs they offer very few autofocus points that are not as efficient as the mirrorless cameras.

4. Viewfinders

A standard DSLR will offer you a natural, lag-free view, an optical view that is completely clear. This is something many photographers prefer and opt for and can be easily found in DSLRs.

Mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders equipped and the early generations were exceptionally low in quality. However, quite recently the tech has improved so much that many people find this way of shooting to be highly desirable. Photographers get a real-time view of whichever scene you decide to shoot. Along with the real-time view, there is vital information as well that is displayed for you to look at.

It is hard to find fault with any of the latest mirrorless cameras and it all comes down to personal preference. If you feel like high-end mirrorless cameras are better then be ready to receive a camera with a large resolution viewfinder as well as large magnification.

5. Battery Life

In a DSLR there is an average of 600-800 shots per charge. There are models that are better or even pro that can shoot over 1000 and even 2000 plus shots per charge, respectively.

Whereas mirrorless camera models are much weaker and only provide you with 300-400 shots per charge, typically. There are a few models that can handle up to 600 or 700 shots but those cameras either come with large batteries or are fitted with two.

If you are wondering why this is, it is because the DSLR batteries are often larger in size, however, this is not always the case. It might seem like driving the mirror in an up-down motion for every shot would drain the battery, and that an LCD would be equally battery-draining, but the case is similar to that of a mirrorless camera. In the mirrorless variant, the camera must consume a lot of power in order to run the electronic viewfinder.

So, this is an area in which the DSLR has a significant practical advantage. However, if you look at the features in the Nikon z7 review, you will notice it has a USB charging option. This option is great for those who shoot a lot in the day and can be plugged into a power bank for charging.

6. Continuous Shooting

The hard truth is that DSLRs can no longer match the speeds of the best mirrorless cameras in the market like the Nikon z7. As the mirrorless design makes it simple to put in a high-speed shooting.

If you are someone who shoots sports or events and has to transition into new compositions as well as capture many shots, you need a fast continuous shooting mode. The mirrorless cameras are rushing ahead in this race because compared to DSLRs there are fewer moving parts.

The mirrorless designs are focusing on pushing ahead to achieve 4K video and this demands some stern processing power.

If burst shooting is your priority, then even the entry-level mirrorless camera models will offer you quick speeds. Here clearly the mirrorless camera has the edge over a DSLR.

7. Price Difference

The price of cameras is a big deciding factor when it comes to selecting any type of camera. While DSLRs are cheaper when compared to mirrorless cameras, they often miss out on features like 4K, touchscreens, and more. However, the cost increasing component in a mirrorless camera is the viewfinder. Many mirrorless cameras are on the affordable side and include many features that DSLRs don’t, but the viewfinder makes a difference.

Many of you might be hoping that the simple and compact design of the mirrorless cameras might make them cheaper, but this is hardly the case. If you are searching for a camera inclusive of all the necessary features, a ‘proper’ camera, but in an affordable range then the DSLR is still the cheapest option. With new technologies coming up, the mirrorless camera price range might dip a bit too in the future.

FAQs on Nikon Z7

Q1. Should I Get A Nikon Z6 Or Z7?

It is not unusual for Nikon to release two versions of a camera that has different components packed in an identical body. However, z6 and z7 are very different models. There is a whopping $1400 price difference along with the target audience that differs greatly in terms of these two camera models.  

Are you someone who is mainly concerned about the video features in these models? If that is the case, then the z6 will offer a downsampled 4k video rather than pixel binned. This makes the z6 slightly better than z7 in terms of video recording. Coming to the stills image quality, the z7 does a bit better but the z6 is no less than the former, particularly at high ISOs. 

The biggest difference between the z6 and z7 camera models is the sensor resolution. As you must have read in the features section of the nikon z7 review, the camera has the option of 45 MP. The nikon z6, on the other hand, provides a 24 MP resolution. The selection of resolution depends from one photographer to the other, if you make large prints and shoot landscapes then the z7 is critical for your work.

Even though the nikon z6 is more popular because of the lower price and resolution, the z7 is still a great pick for those looking for an extreme resolution. There is no right answer to this question, both the camera models are winners and it is up to your requirement.             

Q2. Do Mirrorless Cameras Take Better Pictures?

Mirrorless cameras were conventionally known to have small image sensors compared to DSLRs. The size difference would be considered to mean that mirrorless cameras were of lower quality because not much light would be captured. However, this is no longer the matter and camera manufacturers have developed sensitive chips and learned to suppress the noise from small sensors. 

Several brands that offer mirrorless cameras are now equipped with larger image sensors. A step forward taken by Nikon is the full-frame mirrorless camera that has a sensor that is similar in size when compared to premium DSLR cameras. 

So, the answer to this question from the above-stated facts is that mirrorless cameras and other cameras like DSLRs, both take images of great quality.  

Q3. Can I Use Nikon DSLR Lens On A Mirrorless Camera?

If you are someone who spent thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money into building up your DSLR lens collection and wants to know if the lenses can be used in a mirrorless camera, the answer is yes. All your DSLR lenses can easily fit onto your mirrorless camera but you might have to purchase an adapter. 

The mirrorless camera has a different film plane and an adapter is needed to help your lens focus on that. If you owned a manual DSLR lens then your job will be done with just any affordable mechanical adapter that is appropriate for your model. However, if it is a DSLR that has an electronic aperture, focus, and image stabilization features then the mentioned mechanical adapter will not suffice. To enable the signal conversion between the mirrorless camera and the lens there is an adapter needed that will help in that.   

Nikon Z7 Review – Conclusion

After reading through this nikon z series review, the z7 is the best choice for photographers looking for an opportunity to transition from DSLR to mirrorless. It is a brilliant camera with seamless controls, so it isn’t that hard to recommend the z7. Although this recommendation comes with some terms and conditions applied. We have given you the points upon which Nikon could have improved but as of now, there are some limits to what you achieve while continuously shooting with this model.

On the other hand, if you are in a search for a camera that will offer you the pros of a mirrorless system then the Z7 does a good job of fulfilling that. Even though it is a first-generation product, as you can see from the features, Nikon has done wonders with this model and proves to be perfect for a wide range of video and photography needs.    

Overall, the nikon z7 is a pleasure to shoot or film with even though the buffer can be limiting and autofocus can be a bit unreliable when compared to the competitor brands. So if you need greater buffer depth, faster burst rates, or top class autofocus performance, this isn’t the model to go for. However, if you are one to shoot videos, hybrid stills, or a photographer that is on the hunt for a compact tool for vast subjects, the nikon z7 is the match for you.