Z AHEAD FOR NIKON

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our full re­view of Nikon’s new flag­ship full-35mm mir­ror­less cam­era, the Z 7, else­where in this is­sue, but here’s an overview of the Z Sys­tem on which the com­pany is build­ing its fu­ture in in­ter­change­able lens cam­eras.

It’s based on the Z mount, which has a flange back dis­tance of 16 mm and an in­ner di­am­e­ter of 55 mm, which is wide enough to al­low for the de­vel­op­ment of larger aper­ture lenses such as the 58mm f0.95. It’s a four-bay­o­net claw fit­ting with a to­tal of 11 elec­tronic con­tacts, and the first time that Nikon has de­parted from the F mount which started it all back in 1959. The Z-to-F mount adap­tor – called the FTZ – main­tains full func­tion­al­ity with the cam­era bod­ies, in­clud­ing three-axis IBIS which is claimed to give up to five stops of cor­rec­tion for cam­era shake. Five-axis cor­rec­tion is pro­vided with Z mount lenses.

Both the Z 7 and Z 6 share the same SLR-style body which has mag­ne­sium al­loy cov­ers and is fully weather sealed, ap­par­ently to the same level as the D850. The con­trol lay­out is cen­tred around a main mode dial, dual in­put wheels and a large top-panel LCD read­out. There’s a sin­gle me­mory card slot for the faster XQD for­mat and Nikon is of­fer­ing its own branded de­vices with 64 GB and 120 GB stor­age ca­pac­i­ties, and a max­i­mum write speed of 400 MB/sec­ond.

The key specs of the Z 7 in­clude a 46.89 megapix­els (to­tal) BSI-type CMOS sen­sor with a sen­si­tiv­ity range equiv­a­lent to ISO 64 to 25,600 and ex­tend­able to ISO 32 and 102,400. There’s no low-pass op­ti­cal fil­ter and, as on the D850, the ef­fec­tive res­o­lu­tion is 45.7 megapix­els, but this isn’t the same sen­sor as it has PDAF pix­els as well. Max­i­mum image size is 8256x5504 pix­els, but im­ages can also be cap­tured in the ‘APS-C’ for­mat (Nikon’s ‘DX’) at 5408x3600 pix­els. As with Nikon’s higher-end D-SLRs, NEF RAW files can cap­tured with either 12-bit or 14-bit RGB colour, with or with­out com­pres­sion.

The sen­sor is matched to Nikon’s lat­est-gen­er­a­tion, high­speed ‘Ex­peed 6’ image pro­ces­sor. Aut­o­fo­cus­ing is via a hy­brid con­trast/phase-dif­fer­ence de­tect sys­tem, which em­ploys a to­tal of 493 mea­sur­ing points to give 90 per­cent frame cov­er­age both hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally.

Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is avail­able at up to 9.0 fps with the AF and AE locked to the first frame (5.5 fps with con­tin­u­ous ad­just­ment). Si­lent shoot­ing is pos­si­ble at up to 8.0 fps. The Z 7 also records 4K video at 25/30 fps (with a full pixel read-out) in Ul­tra HD (3840x2160) and can cap­ture time-lapse se­quences in 8K. Full HD video can be recorded at 100/120 fps for slow-mo ef­fects. Sig­nif­i­cantly, the ‘raw’ video out­put to the cam­era’s HDMI con­nec­tion is in 10-bit 4:2:2 colour – sim­i­lar to Pana­sonic’s GH5 and GH5S mod­els – and which will un­doubted put the Z 7 in the frame as far as video-mak­ers are con­cerned. It also has ze­bra pat­terns, N-Log colour pro­file, a fo­cus­peak­ing dis­play, time cod­ing and built-in stereo mi­cro­phones sup­ple­mented with both a stereo au­dio in­put and an out­put.

Both cam­eras have a 1.27 cm OLED-type panel with a res­o­lu­tion of 3.69 megadots and a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.8x. There’s a tilt-ad­justable 8.1 cm TFT LCD mon­i­tor screen with a res­o­lu­tion of 2.1 megadots and touch con­trols. There’s no built-in flash, and sync is via a hot­shoe only.

The Z 6 has a 25.28 megapix­els (to­tal) BSI-type CMOS sen­sor with the lower res­o­lu­tion en­abling a faster con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed of 12 fps (with AF/ AE locked to the first frame). The ef­fec­tive res­o­lu­tion is 24.5 megapix­els and the sen­si­tiv­ity range is equiv­a­lent to ISO 100 to 52,000 with ex­ten­sions to ISO 50 and 204,800. The Z6 also has a hy­brid con­trast/phase de­tect AF sys­tem, but with a to­tal of 273 mea­sur­ing points, although frame cov­er­age still ex­tends to 90 per­cent. Both Z bod­ies have built-in WiFi and Blue­tooth LE wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity.

The Z 7 with the Nikkor Z 2470mm zoom lens is avail­able now, though there’s al­ready a wait­ing list so don’t ex­pect to just walk into a cam­era store and buy one. The Z 6 is ex­pected lo­cally in late No­vem­ber. Kit op­tions will in­clude one with the FTZ mount adap­tor for users who have a num­ber of F mount lenses they still want to use. Nikon Aus­tralia doesn’t is­sue RRPs, but you can ex­pect to pay around $4999 for the Z 7 body only and $2999 for the Z 6 body. As a guide, re­tailer DigiDIRECT is quot­ing $6188 for the Z 7 with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm zoom, $4188 for the Z 6 with the same lens and $3488 for the Z 6 pack­aged with the FTZ adapter. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www. mynikon­life.com.

Nikon Z 7

Nikon Z 6

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