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Full Frame SLR Cameras, Finally

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

For years, as the only true manufacturer of full-frame SLRs, Sony has basically gone away with the entire segment, which often caused people to wonder when the big DSLR- The giants would fight back with their own high-end mirror-free shooters. Nowadays, we finally look at Nikon's prolonged response in the form of the brand new Nikon Z7 and Z6 cameras.

For Nikon, the Z cameras could not come at a critical time, as Sony passed this month both Nikon and Canon to become the best-selling full-frame camera brand in the world. "Full-frame" SLR cameras are a matter of obsession with camera cameras because their large image sensors – which are about as big as 35mm analog movies – help to provide higher quality images than cameras with smaller APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensors.

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras began cutting up a decade ago with much smaller sensors and aimed at amateurs and wannabees who wanted to switch lenses but did not want big cameras. But even when mirror-free technology began to be very good, Nikon (and Canon) refused to evolve from their full-featured DSLR – with their older mirror boxes of old school – for a variety of reasons, and now they come out with their own answers to the Trend on the last possible others.

And with an informal look at Nikon's new SLR cameras, it is clear that Nikon is looking to cut the crown by going right after Sony's $ 3,000 A7R III and $ 2000 A7III without leaving the bulk of the important benefits and features Nikon has evolved along the way. (We just want to pretend that Nikon's medium-sized 1-series mirror-free cameras never happened, ok?)

That's because Nikon actually releases two cameras, not one. It's $ 3,400 Nikon Z7 (body only) and the slightly cheaper $ 2000 Nikon Z6 (body only). And while the two cameras share many of the same features, there are a few notable differences between the two.

Here's the full Nikon Z series: Nikon Z7, FTZ and all three Nikon's upcoming Z-mount lenses.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

With a particular image-first mindset, the Nikon Z7 has a 45.7-MP sensor – basically the same as the D850-except this time, it powered by Nikon's new Expeed 6 image processor. Nikon says that compared to the D850, the Z7 offers even better predictions for autofocus with 493 focus points covering about 90 percent of the sensor. The Z7 ISO range ranges from 64 to 25 600, with an extended range of up to equivalent to ISO 102 400. As expected from a Nikon top-flight camera, it should be able to handle challenging lighting situations without to brace.

Continuous shooting speeds on the Z7 peak at 9 fps for full 14-bit RAW, while video capture sheds 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at 30 fps, which is a little sad because it would be nice to see support for full 4K 60fps shooting.

Old school photographers may be annoyed that the new Z7 and Z6 have only one SD card slot.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Meanwhile, the cheaper Z6 is positioned as a more capable allround shooter for both stills and video because, unlike having a 24.5 MP sensor with lower resolution, the Z6 has a faster recording speed of 12 fps, a low pass filter (Z7 does not have one), a slightly higher ISO range from (from 100 to 51,200), and support for 4K UHD video recording using a full pixel reading. Physically, everything else about Z6, including the body, controls, and even its weight should be the same as Z7.

And as you expect from cameras in this price range, both Z7 and Z6 have wind-sealed magnesium bodies, a complete complement of ports, including microphone in and out connectors, HDMI (with pure HDMI output), USB-C for charging and data transfer, and a miniDisplay port for boot. Although one thing pro may find frustrating is that both the Z7 and Z6 only have one card slot (with support for high speed XQD SD card).

This is mandatory shot of the Z7 sensor and assembly.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

But what can be the most important aspect of Nikon's new SLR camera is its assembly. Instead of joining the F assembly, Nikon has used the DSLR since its introduction in 1959, taking the development of its new SLRs as an opportunity to enhance the camera's attachment: Enter the new Z-mount.

With an inner diameter of 55m, the new Z-mount is much larger Nikon's F-mount, as Nikon says helps its Z-cameras gather more light while giving the company more control over things like smoother autofocus and focusing breath. And when you add everything, Nikon says that Z-mount has made it possible to make some of the sharpest and fastest lenses the company ever made.

The FTZ adapter could not be easier. The main work is only to serve as a compensation for where the mirror box will be on a traditional Nikon DSLR.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

At the launch, Nikon will offer a Nikkor Z 35mm f / 1.8 lens and a 24-70mm f / 4 zoom lens, with a 50mm f / 1.8 prime lens in a month after the debut of Z7 and Z6. And after that, while there is no official timeframe for release, Nikon says it also revives its line of Noct lenses with a super fast Nikkor Z 58mm f / 0.95 prime manual focus lens.

But what about all the hundreds of other lenses Nikon has done over the years? Well after talking to the company, it seems that concern was one of the most important things Nikon wanted to address properly before losing the Z7 and Z6. A new assembly is great, but it does not force Nikon to throw out all their existing glass.

And here's a Z7 when it's equipped with FTZ mount and an older F-mount lens.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Therefore, Nikon created the new, suitable FTZ adapter, providing full compatibility for more than 90 Nikkor lenses, and supporting another 360 or older lenses that were created before modern autofocusing standards and what not. In practice, the FTZ mount uses as simple as possible. You just connect it to the camera as you normally would, and then connect to the f-mount lens that suits you, with Nikon claiming that the attachment will have zero breakdown of the image.

And in a first for Nikon, the two cameras have 5-axis vibration reduction, as the company's claims are good for five stops with shutter speed compensation. In fact, thanks to their new body VR, the cameras can potentially improve some of Nikon's older F-mount glass that was made before the VR lens was anything.

OK, so now that we have all the basic coverings, what is Nikon's new SLR camera actually like? Honestly, not so different from Nikon's existing DSLR, which is to some extent kind. Nikon went out of the way to make things look like the previous cameras, all the way down to the Z7's different menus on the camera's 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen. That means that for any Nikon shooter for a long time, switching to the Z7 or Z6 should feel very natural.

Although the Z7's top LCD monitor is not very high, it's at least the same as a Sony A Series camera. And as long as it clearly shows shutter speed, ISO, aperture, battery life and shot count clearly, it's fine.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

And while 7.9 ounce Z7 I played with certainly felt less and easier than a D850, it's still not as kind as a Sony A7R III (7.2 ounces) due to of the Z7's more comprehensive grip and shoulder-mounted display. I would also like to spend more time reviewing the Z7's EVF because while it has the same 3.6 million point resolution as what you would like in an A7R III, it looked a little sharper and contained more vibrant colors.

Mic inputs and outputs, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and USB-C.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

I think the people need to adapt to the most is the Z7's shutter sound. Unlike the mechanical flap you get from a traditional Nikon DSLR, the Z7 sounds almost like it buzzes every time you snap a photo. The Z7 shutter simply does not sound like something else right now, of course, one of the benefits of mirror-free is that if you want, you can turn on silent still mode.

So how is Z7's image quality? Well, that's the only thing I can not talk to yet, because while I managed to handle a close-up Z7 and check out the chassis and dimensions, I could not take pictures with it. Fortunately, we should get some examples of photos to show up soon, so check back for more.

And for all the DSLR doors out there, do not worry. Because while Nikon invests heavily in its new mirror-free line, the company says it's still very much committed to DSLR as well.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The Nikon Z7 will be available on September 27th only on the body ($ 3,400) and as $ 4,000 kit paired with the 24-70mm f / 4 Nikkor lens, with FTZ Mounting also arrived on the 27th of the same day for $ 250 (or $ 150 when purchased with a Z7 or Z6). The Z6 will be available sometime in late November, with only the body pack that goes for $ 2000 or $ 2600 as a set of 24-70mm lens.

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