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Friday, 09 December 2022


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The Z model that has the UI similar to a FE2 would have been such a temptation to me of it’d come out in 2014. But it didn’t and now I’m 8 years down the Fuji road, happy, and disinclined to re-enter the fold. I’m still a little upset about this. I loved Nikon but it felt like they didn’t love me back. Oh well, love my Fuji, my Nikon FE, and my bevy of cheap AI’d lenses.

I recently bought a Z7ii when it was significantly discounted. After years of rather formal work using a shift lens on a tripod-mounted camera, I wanted a small camera I could handhold for a more spontaneous approach. The Z7ii is very well suited for this! It is quite small and unobtrusive - about the size of a film SLR - has IBIS and handles high ISO settings well. I took pictures in near darkness using a 40mm lens, 1/2s at ISO 3200, handheld, and they turned out fine. Even at this sensitivity, the files are sufficiently clean to allow for opening of shadows by one stop!

I use Voigtländer M-mount lenses on an adapter: the 28mm f/2 and the 40mm f/1.4. Both lenses are tiny and fit into a coat pocket. Just hang the camera over your shoulder, and you can stroll around leisurely, unencumbered by a bag or a tripod, and take pictures in almost any light. How cool is that?

To sum it up: The Z7ii is a small, but well made and powerful camera. Ergonomics are great - it is almost impossible to change a setting by accident. Battery life is not a problem either, as I was able to shoot for three hours at about 0°C, and still had 50% charge remaining. In my opinion, this is definitely a fun camera!

If I were to go FFM, I would go the Nikon Z route! Until then, my Nikon is the F3/T.

There are many fanboy photo sites that praise the benefits of Canon and Sony endlessly. And there's no question but that certain sites that get their testing cameras for free from the camera companies know they won't continue to get them if they provide a bad review. Unfortunately many of those sites are unreliable, but they likely create a lot of sales for those companies.

Many professionals prefer the Nikon cameras because they continue to maintain their ergonomic features from one generation to the next (and their engineers have long refined the usability index of Nikon cameras) and they match or are so close to top-of-the-class in so many other features that the differences are minor at best. It is also recognized that the sensors in Nikon cameras (mostly produced by Sony - but a different division than the camera company) get the most out of those sensors, which are considered the gold standard.

Nikon also has determined that sales volume is not the most important measurement by which to go. Nikon has set its focus on margin and profitability. While they are no Apple, their latest business strategy is more Apple-like, and as a long time Nikon user I'm perfectly fine with that. Let the others chase the volume. As long as Nikon keeps producing quality cameras and lenses I'll lstay in its camp.

I got my first Nikon in high school in 1970, a black F which served me well through art school. My most recent Nikon was a D810 I bought when that model was new. I sold it after switching to FF mirrorless a few years ago. The only reason I didn’t choose a Z camera then, is that Nikon didn’t offer a 4:3 aspect ratio viewing mode (and still doesn’t). Neither Sony nor Leica did either in the spring of 2019, though Sony later made it a standard feature across the Alpha line. Panasonic had it from the start, and I ended up with a Lumix S1R, though I’ve since switched to Sony, with no regrets.

My opinion: There’s no reason why a digital camera with an electronic viewfinder shouldn’t allow a full range of aspect ratios for in-camera composition. I think Nikon missed the boat here.

Maybe Nikon should make a digital S2/S3, with choice of colour or monochrome sensors. If they maintained margins, maybe they could give Leica some competition. I suppose the market is too small even for Nikon.

I purchased the older Z7 during Black Friday at a nice discount. I don’t shoot events or sports, the sensor is the same as the ii, and the focusing has been improved via firmware updates so it seemed a not-terrible decision. The past few years have been a blur for me so it seems appropriate that my “new” camera is from 2018.

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