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Thursday, 21 September 2023


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You've noted the new Fujifilm, Panasonic and Nikon offerings, but no love for Sony. I would think the recently announced A7CR, 61 MP with latest technology in a compact body would pique your interest, no?

[Trying to get around to everything. There's the new iPhone 15, too. --Mike]

The Zf camera itself looks beautiful and charming. Its only problem are the huge, ungainly lenses in the Z system - if they still made lenses like the small and nice Ai and AiS Nikkors ... Sure, one can adapt old manual focus Nikkors, but they only work in stop-down mode and the Ai aperture coupling isn't implemented in Nikon's FTZ adapter. Perhaps one day Sigma might offer their Contemporary i-Series lenses for the Z mount.

Re the Df, I believe this camera still has a cult following, even though it had been denigrated by the "reviewers". Second-hand prices for the Df seem to be considerably higher than those for Nikon FF DSLRs of similar vintage (e.g the D800 and D810). Apparently actually using a camera is something different than comparing spec sheets, and bloviating on the internet.

[I resemble that remark. --Mike]

I have to admit, I was struck by how beautiful this camera is the instant I saw it earlier this week. It made me want to buy it, even though I don't have any Nikon Z series lenses. Of course, I have lots of old Nikon manual focus lenses that are a joy to use on film cameras. If they could make a digital camera as easy to manual focus as an FM or Nikomat, I'd be the first in line. I miss that little circle of ground glass that lets me nail focus in about a second.

Been waiting for the actual camera to arrive since the rumors of it started to appear months ago.

I always regretted not getting the Df when it came out. The price just made it untenable for the build, but I'd kill for that D4 sensor. When I decided to "go for it", it was discontinued. You snooze, you lose.

This camera looks like it could be in my future, but two things kind of disappointe if I think of this as the mirrorless Df. First, yet again it is clogged with video capability even though the body style screams "stills camera". Never took 10 seconds of video and would rather not have it and the pages of menu items to support it. The designers of the Df understood this. Second, they went full articulated screen, probably to support videography. Uhggg! Fujifilm did rear LCDs right with the X-T2, 3 and 5. Don't like the extended size and physical vulnerability of that screen hanging out to the side on this Nikon.

On the positive side, I'm so glad that they didn't do that stupid megapixel jump to some ridiculously high count that most people would never need. 24mp is a good sweet spot, but would have preferred 16mp.

Will be watching for the real world reviews and waiting out the initial "fixes" that come in the beginning.

I really want to buy this camera - will wait, I'd rather travel than get a new camera with a similar sensor as my Z6 - but golly, I really love this critter, or in fairness, the idea of it.

By the way, Nikon has also released two versions of some of its Z-series prime lenses, identical except for the appearance, clearly for the folks who want their Nikon mirrorless Zfc and Zf cameras to look consistently retro.

"The "(SE)" in the product name is short for 'Special Edition.' The lens inherits its design from the classic NIKKOR lenses released around the same time as the Nikon FM2 film SLR camera."

As far as I can tell, the SE series so far includes a 28mm f/2.8 and a 40mm f/2.8. Each has a list price $10 higher than the regular Z version.

Mike, I was mentally composing a snide little comment telling you that I understood what 'to the manor born' meant, but not 'to the manner born' - a smart-arse way of telling you that you had made a mistake, or worse still, an Americanism. Luckily I added some discretion to my valour. Sure enough, 'to the manner born' is what Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. Some bastards have since bastardised that to 'manor'.

[ :-) Actually either is correct; both are widely used, and have roughly the same meaning. --Mike]

What’s that funny thing where the PC connector should be, and is there a PC connector someplace?
I would have thought that Nikon would have styled a camera after the F2 or F3 which I always thought were the epitome of rugged, straightforward cameras. The FE and the FM always seemed a little fragile to me.

"To the manner born"

I believe the phrase is "To the Manor born". English class consciousness and all that.

[Either way is correct, but Shakespeare, who originated the phrase, used "manner":

"But to my mind, though I am native here / And to the manner born, it is a custom / More honored in the breach than the observance."

(Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4.) --Mike]

I had to laugh really hard that it was announced yesterday. See, my 60th birthday present to myself (the big day is on 9/30) arrived yesterday as well. It too is a retro mirror-less Nikon camera. Comes with a Nikkor 5cm f/1.4 lens too...

Of course, mine is 68 or so years old and was the first model of Nikon sold in the US :) the S-2. Beautiful camera.

I'll get a Z sooner or later. But I have some film to burn first ;)

Retro fail for me on this one.

Easy fix though.

Make dials less like tall buildings.
Have them pre-distressed with a Patinamatik(TM).

To my eye, it looks like a new flagship Fuji cam. Presumably quite the tasty treat for a would be thief. For the same reason I don't wear my Rolex when I travel, I wouldn't wear this around my neck.

It sad. But that's the reality out there.

I had an FM2 that I used with a 50mm F1.4. That was the perfect size for a camera and lens. I really loved it.

This leaves me cold. I ownend a Z6 and an 85mm F1.8. The image quality was amazing, but the camera and lens were just too much to carry with me everywhere. I don't even want to imagine holding this thing with that skinny grip. It would be quite unbalanced.

Honestly, the Zfc is the better successor of the FMs. APS-C sensors have been far superior to film 35mm for a long time--decades now. And even then, I am with Thom Hogan on wanting a lot more grip and a lot less nostalgia.

Exactly what I’m looking for except the high res sensor (sigh)….

Almost Nikon, you are getting closer to my purse, but not yet. I loved all my F3s so much that I had to buy a pristine silver (Nikon calls champagne) F3T for a nick-nack. This new Zƒ is somebody’s charm, just not mine.

I've been using the Zfc for two years as you describe. Set up in monochrome mode, screen turned inward (NO CHIMPING!), plus I use several manual Z-compatible lenses and it really does mimic my old FM with Tri-X.
Here it is with the Meike 25mm F1.8 lens and a representative photo. Great fun!

However, I mostly use the Nikon Z DX zoom lenses - the 12-28 is a jewel, the kit 16-50 is super and the 50-250 is great for critters and surfers. The new Z lenses seem to have really benefitted from modern lens design using CAD.
The dials are nice to use, you can change setups without menus most of the time. BTW, one great feature is the USB-C connection. Connect to computer, download photos then charge the battery before putting the camera away.
But I'll bet there are lots of inexpensive manual lenses available in Z FX mount - Thom Hogan has them listed on his website. https://www.zsystemuser.com/z-mount-lenses/third-party-lenses/

As a D800 and Fujifilm X user, the Zf is the first Z-series camera that I find at all tempting, definitely a step in the right direction. There is still a whiff of Frankencamera about it though, at least in the product photos.

And what lens/es? The two fake-retro SE lenses don't really cut it and everything else in the Z lineup is massive.


I presume you noticed the B&W mode? The other Zs have a switch for choosing between stills and video modes; the Zf adds a third switch position, for choosing between stills, video, and B&W modes.

As for those concerned about the extended size and physical vulnerability of that screen hanging out to the side: just leave it stowed. (And by the way, it can be stowed “screen in”, unlike other Zs, which should protect the screen better.)

And for those who don’t want the “bloated” features and menus related to video, leave the little switch—mentioned in the first paragraph—set to stills mode.

The great thing about Nikon DSLR cameras is that the 35mm frame versions have the AF screw drive motor built-in making the small, AF pre-D and D lenses excellent choices for a small bundle. Maybe Nikon is preparing a line of small lenses for the Zf, if, of course, the camera sells well.

As for Lumix vs Panasonic:
In 2013 I visited at the time my 87yr. old father whom I hadn't seen in a while. We caught up on things during which he asked me if I was still doing photography. I assured him yes and casually said that I liked Panasonic cameras. To which he, a non-photog replied, "you mean Lumix,” pronouncing it correctly. How he knew didn't seem important then.

The Lumix GX9 is peachy.

What I would like to see from Nikon is a digital version of the Nikonos.

I own the Df, and it spite of the thoughts of others I find it a very pleasant camera to use compared to other digital cameras, although its nothing really like the old film Nikons. I sold my old Nikon FE2 and FM2 this year, they have been in a cupboard for 10 years since I abandoned the darkroom, I always thought I might use them again but I didn't. I like the look of the new Zf, but the fundamental point for me is its not the 'look' of a film camera I want, its the simplicity. If I could have a digital camera that, like an FE2, I only needed to set the ISO, shutter speed, aperture, with the only automation being aperture priority I would be happy. I dont even need autofocus. The one modern improvement I would want is IBIS - that is a big help. What really annoyed me about 35mm cameras was the 3:2 aspect ratio, all those years I spent cropping negatives to make 8x10 or 16x20 prints, how much film was wasted. One of the reasons I dint switch to digital for many years was I was holding out for a 5x4 sensor (non MF), I couldn't believe that the obvious mistake of 3:2 was perpetuated. The bad thing of film cameras has been kept, and the good things thrown away. I wont be buying the Zf, though if it had been a 'Df Monochrome', I probably wouldnt have been able to resist.

Comparing my FM and Z7II with an AI 28/3.5 on each (via an FTZ on the Z camera), they're similar in size and weight. The noticeable dimensional difference comes from the film plane location for the Z camera being so far forward of that of the FM resulting in about an inch of extra depth behind the sensor for the digital body. Bob's your uncle if you figure out how to slim that down. The Z7II body is also slightly taller than the FM but then the FM is wider.

The best of the Z lenses are indeed large and heavy but that's been the case with the best Nikkors for a few decades now. The smaller, older travel friendly Nikkors work well on the Z cameras just as they did on the SLR and DSLR cams. No change there. I haven't tried the tidy little 28mm and 40mm Z lenses. I suspect they offer excellent but perhaps not outstanding results just like the compact Nikkor primes of the past.

My concern with the Zf is simply about the choice of sensor. I think a Zf with the Z7II sensor would have provided the cool retro camera feel along with the added flexibility the greater resolution offers. I enjoyed shooting with my D600 for nearly a decade but I wouldn't take a step backward from my Z7II now. My guess is the Zf is film-like in many ways.

Anyway, I suspect someone who enjoyed shooting with the Nikon F-series cameras, the Nikkormats, and/or the FM/FE cameras will also enjoy working with the Z-series cameras. The Zf certainly looks fun to use.

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