Fash­ion­able kit

Joe Mcnally’s late-night NYC Z7 street shoot


One of the charges I had when Nikon loaned me a pre­pro­duc­tion Z7 was to chal­lenge the cam­era in as many ways as I could. How would the cam­era deal with a fluid shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion? How would it gov­ern TTL Speed­lights? How would fo­cus be­have in low light? How would the cam­era han­dle mixed am­bi­ent light? Seek­ing an­swers, we headed to New York City, gath­er­ing about 11pm for hair, makeup and styling, and hit­ting the streets of Chi­na­town at around 3am.

It was hugely help­ful to see the ex­po­sure through the EVF. I am also quickly get­ting ad­dicted to the ‘i’ but­ton, which trans­fers a grid of op­tions, all change­able with a thumb click, right to the EVF screen you are see­ing through. I’m also get­ting used to the pac­ing of the cam­era. Shoot a se­ries of pic­tures, then re­lease the shut­ter but­ton and keep your eye to the cam­era, and they spin in re­view right there in the screen. Cur­sor in, again with a thumb click, and you have con­firm on crit­i­cal sharp­ness. The EVF is ac­tu­ally Nikon glass, and so much tech­nol­ogy is built into that thing it feels like a head-up dis­play on a fighter jet.

We worked through the sticky Au­gust night with a max of two light sources. The above is a new Las­to­lite source, the Ezy­box Pro Strip. It can han­dle two Speed­lights, in this in­stance, two ra­dio con­trolled SB-5000 units, and it is a truly beau­ti­ful, lu­mi­nous source. Strips are amongst my favourite style of soft­boxes, and this one is great. It’s a mas­sive up­grade from other older, com­plex soft­boxes in that it prac­ti­cally puts it­self to­gether – there’s about three to five minutes of setup, but that’s it.

Our lovely, sub­tle and beau­ti­ful model is Sara, styled in typ­i­cally won­der­ful fash­ion by Sa­man­tha Brown, with makeup by Deb­o­rah En­gles­man. Production, as usual, was im­pec­ca­bly won­der­ful, pulled to­gether by our own Lynn Del­mas­tro. Cali, An­drew To­masino and I hit the streets and started shoot­ing.

I didn’t use a tri­pod all night. I let the cam­era crunch on back­ground de­tail, while I gov­erned the fore­ground with Speed­lights (SB-5000S), which the cam­era con­trolled in pre­cise and rather pre­dictable fash­ion.

In short, as an in­tu­itive street in­stru­ment, the pre­pro­duc­tion Z7 was out­stand­ing, and makes me sali­vate for the production-line mod­els. Given the stealthy na­ture of our as­sign­ment, we had to work care­fully, choos­ing our sit­u­a­tions away from crowds. So, quite counter-in­tu­itively, we went to Times Square. But I have to say, at 4:30 am at the cross­roads of the world, most of the folks out there had con­sumed so many va­ri­eties of in­tox­i­cants that they weren’t all that in­ter­ested in mir­ror­less cam­eras.

It was cool be­ing out on the streets of NYC, which I have shot since I moved there in 1976, shoot­ing a Nikon F. Now I’m there shoot­ing with this space-age cam­era… Just wild, and fun.

Two Ezy­box Pro Strips at work. Nikon Z7, Z 24-70mm f/4, 1/15 sec, f/4, ISO400 It worked for a close-up as well. Nikon Z7, Z 24-70mm f/4, 1/30 sec, f/4, ISO800

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