Nikon Z7 camera test

In September, I was lucky enough to test Nikon’s new 2018 full-frame mirrorless camera, the Z 7. And that test took place in challenging conditions in Iceland and Greenland. In Iceland, the camera went straight into action. I spent 10 days in the highlands in rain and snow with 10-20m/s wind. Here are my impressions.


Assembly, Interface

The Z7 is built in a magnesium body and is well prepared for harsh weather conditions. My main claim to a mirrorless camera has always been reliability, because on trips to Antarctica or Greenland, in autonomous hiking the camera just can’t fail. It feels in my hand like the D850 and has a comfortable, slightly protruding grip. I mounted the L-Plate directly under the FTZ adapter, which was very handy for grasping with both hands. By the way, the standard L-plate from the D850 did not fit on the camera itself – the screw threads are deeper.

They put a small information display with exposure parameters and classic wheels to control shutter speed and aperture, the shooting modes. Conveniently. The camera feels much lighter than the D850.

There is a pivoting screen with an intuitive touchscreen. There are two programmable buttons on the front, one of which I set for bracketing. I put the second button to change the focus type. Buttons are smaller now and are on the right side. Of course, it became more difficult to operate with gloves on, but everything looks logical, and I got used to the buttons in a day.

The menu is a copy of the classic Nikon D850, with very little difference. I like the “i” button, which I can use to quickly set all my shooting options.

The camera has only one XQD memory slot. This has already been mocked on the internet as a major drawback. Some photographers really need a backup, but I’ve never used two cards in landscape and travel, I just copy photos at the end of the day to my hard drive. Plus with reliable XQDs there are less and less risks now.

Photo equipment

Aperture f/13

Shutter speed 1/100, ISO 100

Focal length – 14 mm

Camera – Nikon Z 7

The lens is AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED


Aperture f/9

Shutter speed 1/60, ISO 160

Focal length – 75mm

Camera – Nikon Z 7

The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2 lens.8E FL ED VR


The body mount is wider now. And it is long overdue to make the lenses more light and compact at the same time. However, this also necessitated the development of a lens that fit the lens mount.

But Nikon offered the surprising thing of compatibility with their entire line of lenses and accessories. You can use an F-mount lens through the FTZ adapter. Knowing how slow converters can be, I was quite skeptical about using only my F lenses while traveling. Also, my favorite lens is the 14-24 f/2.The 8 in the Z line will not be released until 2019.

What I found most surprising, however, was how quickly and accurately the camera focused on the F lenses 14-24 and 24-70. When focusing, almost the entire frame area works right up to the edge of the frame. But after sunset, at all in twilight, still the phase focus of DSLRs works faster.

Picture quality

This is where the camera is at its best. They say the sensor is even slightly better than the Nikon D850. But to be honest I haven’t noticed a difference yet. I only tested the camera with F lenses. The color, texture and resolution are very similar to the D850, it’s hard to tell the difference as the quality is excellent. This is especially valuable for landscapes, where every detail is important.

The battery is

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes speculation here as well. But in practice it turned out that in the cold conditions of Greenland one battery was enough for me for 2-3 days of landscape photography. This is about 400 shots with frame planning through the camera screen. I turned the stab off. On timelapse in silent mode, 500 shots ate up only half the battery. I was pleased to find that the batteries from D800 and D850 fit in the camera, so I didn’t have to buy extra things.

Photo equipment

Aperture f/3.2

Shutter speed 8 at ISO 3200

The focal length is 14mm

The camera is a Nikon Z 7

Lens – AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

Photo equipment

The aperture is f/2.8

Shutter speed 3, ISO 1600

The focal length is 14mm

Camera – Nikon Z 7

The lens is an AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED


This part of the test was the most difficult for me, because I am used to an optical viewfinder. Had a hard time adjusting to the brightness and seeing a digital picture. It’s just a matter of habit, of course, especially the ability to see the photo “in real time” with focus picking, histogram and so on is a big plus. The pivoting screen also captures great low-angle shots with a pronounced foreground.

On my photo tours I had the opportunity to compare the electronic viewfinders of other cameras, so I will note that the Nikon is at a good level.


This was probably the part where I saw the biggest difference from the D850. The camera now has a stab, which works very cool. Combined with VR F lenses, even handheld managed to get a clear shot at 24mm focus and 1/6 shutter speed.

The ability to shoot 4K video, 4K timelapses even inside the camera, 120 fps HD and N-Log 10 bit, though only through external HDMI output. Autofocus track on moving objects works quickly. If you turn on Active D-Lighting for video, the picture is absolutely beautiful.


Aperture – f/16

The shutter speed is 1/50, ISO 320

Focal length: 14mm

Camera – Nikon Z 7

Lens – AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED


The aperture is f/18

Shutter speed 1/80, ISO 100

Focal length – 14 mm

Camera – Nikon Z 7

The lens is AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED


There were a lot of questions about possible bugs, since this is Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. I tried very hard to find them. So far I’ve found these:

1 Bracketing in manual mode doesn’t work, only in Av and other semi-manual modes

2 After the camera is turned off, the timer setting is reset. I wish it would hold, on the D850 there was such a mode – timer on the control wheel

3 they removed 3D autofocus. It’s not a bug, but I liked the way it worked.

D850 or Z7?

This is probably the most popular question I’ve been asked in person and sent on social media. And the hardest choice. Right now I’d go for the Z 7. It’s basically the power of the D850 in a smaller body and with the added bonuses of a stabilizer, the ability to shoot with smaller S lenses. I would save the D850 for difficult camping trips with no access to electricity. But if you have an outlet at least once every 5-7 days, then 3-4 batteries are definitely enough to capture the scenery on the Z 7. But for offline trips longer than a couple of weeks – go with the D850.

For videographers I would definitely recommend going with Z6 or Z7. With the Z7 it was perceptibly freer to backpack in the mountains of southern Greenland. Now the hope for a lighter lens.

In general, the camera feels like a reliable tool, for three weeks I got used to it, and it has never once let me down. A camera without major bugs, the combination of Japanese experience and the latest innovations at the level of the D850 has made such a strong mirrorless camera.

In the end, my impression is that the Z7 is a mirrorless version of the D850, considerably lighter and even with minor improvements. Surprisingly, Nikon released it almost immediately after the D850. Now photographers have a very difficult choice.

Photo equipment

Rate this article
( No ratings yet )
Add Comments

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: