Z AHEAD FOR NIKON
YOU CAN READ
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