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New Nikon Z series: finally, a system camera for professionals

New Nikon Z seriesThe new Nikon Z series has a signal effect. The camera giant is finally taking mirrorless cameras seriously and is entering a duel with Sony. But when will a full-frame camera come to the mass market?

The name Nikon stands for, among other things, high-quality lenses and strong SLR cameras. There has always been a duel with its rival Canon. But the market has radically changed with system cameras and ever-improving smartphone cameras. Though a bit late, Nikon has now reacted to the trend with the professional full-frame system cameras Z6 and Z7 in an impressive way.


Image sensors: full-frame captures more detail than the APS-C or 1-inch sensors.

Both new models are an announcement. We are now moving away from the half-hearted alibi solution, the Nikon 1, with its measly 1-inch sensor. Now for real professional equipment. The fact that Nikon has given the Z series cameras a full-frame sensor speaks volumes: Look here, we are finally taking mirrorless system cameras seriously!

Nikon Z series: full-frame and compact

Both new cameras in the Z series are built almost identically. Thoroughly compact, with mechanical control dials, a full-frame sensor, but also, according to Nikon, a very large 55mm Z bayonet. The sensor is said to take a lot of light. It is a backside illuminated BSI sensor. Both cameras have an Expeed 6 processor; and the autofocus works with phase recognition (PDAF).

New Nikon Z series

Compact, almost identical cases on the Nikon Z6 and Z7

The Z7 has a resolution of 45.7 megapixels and offers a light sensitivity with an ISO of 64 to 25,600. The Z6 has a resolution of 24.5 megapixels and covers a sensitivity range with an ISO of 100 to 51,200. In terms of the processor speed and autofocus, both cameras exceed those of Sony. With that, they are also suitable as 4K video cameras. The Z7 can also be used for 8K oversampling if desired.

With the case and FTZ adapter, the Z7 costs 3,849 euros SRP and should be available from September. The Z6 should be on the shelves from November and will cost 2,449 euros SRP together with the FTZ adapter. These are clearly professional prices. The first three Z lenses are also available, the best one having a pleasing maximum aperture of f/0.95.

What has sparked Nikon’s new love for system cameras?

It would not be wrong to question their sudden, voluntary support. The times when Nikon oversaw duopoly with Canon are over and the rest was hardly significant. The last two cameras established by Sony are strikingly powerful mirrorless system cameras. The Alpha 6000 turned the mass market upside down with breathtakingly fast autofocus and consecutive shooting mode. The Alpha 7 brought in the first professional full-frame sensor for system cameras.

Larger full-frame sensor in cases. Rule of thumb: the larger the sensor, the more details the camera can capture.

With the Z6 and Z7, Nikon has entered the fight against Sony and has finally announced professional system cameras. The Nikon 1 series, first announced in 2011, could unfortunately not exhibit this predicate. Though it was a compact and really beautiful case, ultimately its image quality was disappointing. You could also take this as a message: only our SLR cameras offer real quality.

Now that that is over, the Z6 and Z7 provide the bayonet adapter FTZ as standard. This makes it possible to connect the Nikkor lenses intended for SLR cameras onto the new Z series cameras. The good news for professionals: Look here, your next camera could well be a system camera.

Connecting SLR lenses to a system camera? This will soon be possible with the Nikon FTZ adapter.

There is just one thing that Nikon has not concentrated on for the two new cameras: the mass market. When will we finally get a handy, affordable full-frame camera for the best part of 1,000 dollars? A camera, which could also attract those recreational photographers who have long been content with a good smartphone camera.

Our day may still come. Who knows, maybe Nikon will give us a Z5 in the foreseeable future, which fulfils our demands. At least the manufacturer has finally proved with the Z series that they understand what it is about.

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