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Nikon Z7 ISO Series from ISO 64 to ISO 25600 (Juniper over Beaver Pond)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist and and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This page shows ISO 64 to ISO 25600 on a real-world outdoor scene in which the background is out of focus, and thus yields a good look at just how noise develops with the Nikon Z7 including how it looks in smooth areas and how it obscures details.

Two series are presented, one without noise reduction and one with chroma and luminance noise reduction (long exposure noise reduction used for both).

Nikon Z7: ISO 64 to ISO 25600 (Juniper over Defunct Beaver Pond)

Includes images up to 4320 pixels wide, plus actual pixels crops, all with and without noise reduction from ISO 64 through ISO 25600.

f3.2 @ 0.4 sec, ISO 6400; 2018-10-08 19:02:31
[location “Lundy Canyon above large defunct beaver pond”, altitude 8400 ft / 2560 m, 40°F / 4°C]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4

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Reader Comment: Nikon Z7 and Nikon NIKKOR Z Lens Line

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

Greg H writes:

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the evolution of your review of the Z camera system. Although you have experienced some glitches with your Z7 that I have not, I recall your initial enthusiasm for using the Z7 body. Does that still hold? I enjoy the Z7 body a lot, and image quality SOOC in RAW is quite good for me. On some images taken with my Otus 28 and Milvus 18/25, I can prefer the Z7 image over the D850, but not really enough to matter. [Still waiting for PhaseOne to update CaptureOne for Z7 RAW files.]

I have been unimpressed with Nikon’s lens roadmap, but now, I am increasingly unimpressed with the lenses themselves. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S is adequate to me for being a walk-around lens. I have not tried the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, and after your review/images, I am not likely to. It is looking increasingly like the Nikon FTZ lens adapter will be permanently affixed to my Z, and that my Zeiss lenses will be my most likely traveling companions in this kit. I envision the Zeiss Milvus 135, and the 25 as the base kit, and then maybe one other depending on specific target shooting. But not the miniaturized version of a Nikon D850 kit I was hoping for. This doesn’t bode well, in my view, for long term success of these cameras, unless 3d party lenses pick up the slack.

Part of the frustration for me is that the Z6/7 seemed so promising due to Nikon’s commitment to a larger lens opening and short flange distance. And I think the body itself is quite a pleasure to use. No, it’s not the D850, but live EVF histogram and the smaller body size [and what should be more manageable lens sizes] could present some opportunities for the landscaper/backpacker. That’s my primary use case: compact body [essentially the same size and weight of the Lumix G9, but with the much better image quality], and with lenses that should be even better and more compact than the current lineup. Sadly, that latter part does not appear to be coming true from Nikon any time soon. The traveling landscaper, especially one who has to board airplanes, should be getting a better product out of Nikon. You said it well in your review of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS: "This optical laziness seems to be all the rage these days.” Still, I have my fingers crossed for some Zeiss lenses native to the Z, but I am not holding my breath.

This is really unfortunate. I am not much of a fan of the ergonomics, menu, and EVF of the Sony A7Riii, though I know Sony could make a better body/menu/EVF if they just decided to, and maybe the will; maybe the A7RiV will be the camera I want. Conversely, though every Sony Artisan describes every Sony GM lens as “tack sharp,” I know that’s not exactly spot on correct. Overall, though, the Sony lenses, and the Zeiss Loxia/Batis line, may be good enough to make the switch tolerable. And a Sony/Zeiss backpack is an easier, more compact burden than the equivalent Nikon Z/FTZ/Zeiss backpack.

None of this is “bad.” It’s great to have choices. I just wish the array was not quite so disappointing.

DIGLLOYD: my enthusiasm for the Z7 camera body holds, mainly because of the EVF. I’d sum it up as “love the camera, disappointed in the lenses”. The Nikon Z system badly needs support from Zeiss in the form of Zeiss Loxia lenses at the least. Or an adapter suitable for Zeiss Loxia to Nikon Z—there is 4mm of flange focal distance to work with. It should not be hard at all, but I presume patents are involved.

Kevins S writes:

I’m developing a similar mindset to Greg H, that the Nikon Z7 and Zeiss Milvus/Zeiss Otus are the quality landscape workhorse combination for the foreseeable future, and Sony A7R III/iii w/Batis/Loxia/Sony fills the gap for what the Z7 doesn’t do so well (action, eye AF portraits, lightweight travel/hiking). Expensive to maintain two systems, but once invested in both Nikon and Sony lens ecosystems the Z7 plus A7R II /A7R III bodies are the incremental price of covering a wide range of applications well.

For me, the benefits of the Z7 – fantastic EVF, excellent focus peaking, natural ergonomics (buttons & menus), freedom from DSLR back focusing – make all F-mount lenses vastly more useable and enjoyable, both manual focus and auto focus. While I’m sure there will be Z mount cameras in the next 1-2 years that fully supersede the D850, the benefits of the Z7 today for ‘slow photography’ landscape work are just too great to wait for the uber-Z. By then, the trusty D800 will be a paperweight and there will be need of a second body.

I, too, would love to see compact Zeiss Z-mount (ZZ?) lenses, but don’t expect to see that anytime soon or before the eventual arrival of the uber-Z. Adapting E-mount lenses to Z-mount would be wonderful, of course … but I’d hate to be handed the job of developing E-to-Z physical and electronic adaptation in 4mm depth! Will definitely require some ingenuity – hope there is a quality outfit out there up to the challenge. Might be in Zeiss’s interest to take this on themselves, even if not in their traditional wheelhouse? Given they’ve reverse engineered the old F-mount interface (albeit w/o AF), how difficult could reverse engineering a modern Z-mount (with or w/o AF) be?

Certainly second the sentiment that it’s great to have all these choices. May we all live in interesting (photographic) times.

DIGLLOYD: the Zeiss Loxia are all manual including aperture control, so in theory if one can live without EXIF info, a simple physical extension would make the Loxia lenses work on Nikon Z. But again, it’s the patent thing I think, not a question of reverse engineering. I declined to be an expert witness in a pending lawsuit I’ll say no more about.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 50mm: View Over Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 50mm on a far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 50mm: View Over Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/11.

View past Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak
f8 @ 1/50 sec IS=on, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 12:44:09
[location “Lower Morgan Lake”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 54°F / 12°C, polarizer=Zeiss, LACA corrected]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 50mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Color Fringing (Lateral Chromatic Aberration) with/without Correction

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This page evaluates correction for color fringing (lateral chromatic aberration) of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at multiple focal lengths.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Color Fringing (Lateral Chromatic Aberration) with/without Correction

Includes pairs of crops corrected and uncorrected at 24mm, 39mm, 105mm.

f13 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 15:17:51
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, polarizer=Zeiss]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 24mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 39mm: View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 39mm on a near to far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 39mm: View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/11. Includes a tip on how to optimize sharpness in such a scene given the focus shift and field curvature behavior.

View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak
f9 @ 1/50 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 14:42:28
[location “Old mining road approaching cutoff to Bear Lake”, altitude 10000 ft / 3048 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, polarizer=Zeiss]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 39mm

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Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Arrived, Testing it Soon

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF has arrived. At about $1299, its pricing is consistent with the other Batis lenses. Although I am backlogged with the Nikon Z7 system and the Canon EOS R system and my knee is injured, I’ll be covering the Batis 40/2 quite soon.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF (“Close Focus”) is the first Batis lens with macro capability (1:3.3 reproduction ratio). Zeiss has seemingly thrown a great deal of optical chops into the lens design, with 3 elements of special glass and three aspherical elements (one of special glass). Accordingly, I’m little puzzled at how MTF at f/4 never reaches the 80% level, which the Zeiss Loxia lenses easily do (see MTF for the Zeiss Loixa 25mm f/2.4). It appears that total consistent imaging quality over the frame and near to far may be the compromise involved.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2
Zeiss Batis lens family
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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 24mm: Late Day Light on Bear Lake

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 24mm on a near to far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 24mm: Late Day Light on Bear Lake

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/13.

Keep going up the canyon to Split Lake and then Spire Lake, which vies in its own way with Patagonia—I visited Spire Lake in 2015 but had to leave immediately due to waning daylight. Take the notch at far left (steep boulder field near cliff). Don’t break a leg, because your bones will be picked clean by the time anyone finds you—don’t hike alone.

Late Day Light on Bear Lake
f9 @ 1/50 sec IS=on, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 15:17:44
[location “Bear Lake, CA”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, "beautiful light good for only 30 minutes or so"]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 24mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 56mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 56mm on a close to medium distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 56mm: Logjam at Outlet of Bear Lake

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/13.

Below, the outlet of Bear Lake contains a log jam from what must have been a year with torrential water, since it was there and has not changed since 2015.

View Past Bear Lake Gorge to Spire Peak
f9 @ 1/30 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 16:37:08
[location “Bear Lake CA”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 35°F / 1°C, LACA corrected, "arrived too late in day, freezing temps and losing light", diffraction mitigating sharpening]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 56mm

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Trout spawning physiology

Below, my 5-trout dinner is in a Ziploc bag but these heads and innards show that spring-spawning rainbow trout unable to spawn can hold their eggs a good long time. One trout held this spring’s eggs and last years as well (the light orange deflated ones).

Remains of five rainbow trout, with unspawned eggs
f5.6 @ 1/13 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 16:19:22
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 35°F / 1°C, LACA corrected, "Rainbow Trout, eggs from spring still there, oversized heads indicates malnourishment", "composite f/5.6, f/8"]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Nikon Z7: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

I evaluated white balance and tint for the Nikon Z7 using a SpyderCHECKER® color checker card to evaluate the appropriate white balance and tint in the Adobe Camera Raw 11.0.0.61 dialog in Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.0.

The Nikon Z7 raw files have an unusually strong magenta tint compared to other cameras I’ve used as of late 2018. The settings on the following page might save you some grief:

Nikon Z7: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw

An about $127 DataColor SpyderCHECKER was used for this evaluation. I use the clamshell version so I can safely carry it without damaging it. I do not use the calibration software as I have not been satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles.

Datacolor SpyderCHECKER, as shot on Canon EOS R
f5.6 @ 1/640 sec handheld IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-16 10:20:12
[location “Eastern Sierra”, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 60°F / 15°C, LACA corrected, "mid-morning October sun, clear blue sky, crystal-clear air"]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 43mm

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Canon EOS R: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

I evaluated white balance and tint for the Canon EOS R using a SpyderCHECKER® color checker card to evaluate the appropriate white balance and tint in the Adobe Camera Raw 11.0.0.61 dialog in Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.0.

The Canon EOS R has a strange white balance compared to other cameras I’ve used as of late 2018. The settings on the following page might save you some grief:

Canon EOS R: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw

An about $127 DataColor SpyderCHECKER was used for this evaluation. I use the clamshell version so I can safely carry it without damaging it. I do not use the calibration software as I have not been satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles.

Datacolor SpyderCHECKER, as shot on Canon EOS R
f5.6 @ 1/640 sec handheld IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-16 10:20:12
[location “Eastern Sierra”, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 60°F / 15°C, LACA corrected, "mid-morning October sun, clear blue sky, crystal-clear air"]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 43mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 105mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 105mm on a far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 105mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/8.

Below, this image is too blue, and was not processed with white balance as I later found to be quite unusual.

Below, Bear Lake lies hidden in the gorge near bottom at ~10200 feet. It is full of hungry trout, if you can get there. I reached it about an hour later. A few years earlier, I hiked to Spire Lake, which lies beneath Spire Peak (top, center). To my chagrin, I injured my left knee on this long and grueling hike (too much weight, too many miles, a nag became a limp) and it might be some time before it recover and I can hike such territory again.

View Past Bear Lake Gorge to Spire Peak
f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 14:27:56
[location “Old mining road between Morgan Lakes and cutoff to Bear Lake”, altitude 10500 ft / 3200 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA corrected, polarizer=Zeiss]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 105mm

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James K writes:

The quality of the Canon RF 24-105/4L makes the photo looks like it was shot with an iPhone. You have been making some very nice artistic images lately (log dam in particular). You should always have the Zeiss Loxia 25/2.4 handy so that you will have some technically brilliant photos after all that hiking and physical effort.

DIGLLOYD: that's not quite fair—the Canon EOS R sensor is good for what it is (30MP) and looks good at ISO 100. But I’ll be damned if I’ll carry a camera that far and hard to get 30MP instead of 45MP, particularly with a dud lens.

Unfortunately I injured my knee badly by carrying a too-heavy pack with Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 kits with various Zeiss Otus and Zeiss Milvus lenses ~12 miles that day, including up one steep and loose slope to Bear Lake where I think I mildly tweaked my left knee. No particular incident, just a slight tweak followed by a nagging irritation followed by over discomfort. By 9 PM when I finally reached my Mercedes Sprinter I was limping and the knee was swollen up badly. I am really bummed as I won’t be able to hike my favorite places for a good while probably (I’d be thrilled if it were only a 2-week downtime) as while the knee swelling has come down (prednisone accelerated that), it is still crunchy.

My points are twofold: (a) I am always evaluating new gear and there was no room for the Sony A7R III on that hike, and (2) I bit off more than I could chew: bad planning on timing as it was a 10.5 hour hike and I carried gear I didn’t have time to put to use (the Milvus and Otus and ZF.2 and ZE lenses). In the future, I’m going to take along the compact hanging scale I have in my garage for weighing bikes and such, and keep it in my van so I can hang and weigh my pack, and thus limit myself to a predetermined weight in order to cut the risk of such injuries down.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Lundy Canyon at Dusk (Nikon Z7)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon on a distance scene from f/1.4 through f/6.3. In dim flat light, 'penetrating power' is needed to deliver good contrast and micro contrast; the light here was very flat and diffuse.

Shot on the Nikon Z7 using the Nikon FTZ lens adapter. The Nikon Z7 has an ultra-thin sensor cover glass 1.1mm thick that may impact the imaging performance versus the Nikon D850 (~2.0 mm thick).

In Zeiss DSLR Lenses*:

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Lundy Canyon at Dusk (Nikon Z7)

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

* Lens reviews always go into their native publication.

Lundy Canyon above the large and now defunct beaver pond
f2.8 @ 1.6 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-08 18:50:47
[location “Lundy Canyon above historic large beaver pond”, altitude 8350 ft / 2545 m, 40°F / 4°C, "little or no wind"]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

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Must Read: Nikon Z7 Aperture/Lens Diaphragm Behavior While Viewing/Focusing vs Focus Shift in Lenses

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This page discusses how the Nikon Z7 behaves with respect to aperture behavior when viewing vs when focusing vs when shooting, including perspective on the Nikon D850 along with best practices for Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses vs model-citizen Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus lenses.

Nikon Z7 Aperture/Lens Diaphragm Behavior While Viewing/Focusing

This is a must read for anyone shooting Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses. Includes a best practices discussion.

The Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses are a big disappointing to me because of poor performance at the wide end (24-70) and because of absurd amounts of focus shift (35/1.8). I don’t have high hopes for the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 which I have not yet tested.

I cannot reconcile that marketing hype with the 35/1.8 actual performance. In my view, focus shift and field curvature are the #1 and #2 lens performance bugaboos, but apparently Nikon thinks otherwise.

...every S-Line lens achieves new-dimensional optical performance including outstanding resolution that can keep pace with future imaging demands...

How bad is the focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S? And what to do about it?

Putting the behavior to comparative analysis (show-and-tell):

Focus Comparison: Refocusing for Each Aperture vs Focusing Wide Open (Stunted Aspen Amid Boulders)

Stunted Aspen Amid Boulders
f1.8 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 31; 2018-10-14 16:53:22
[location “Rock Creek about 3/4 mile below Mosquito Flat”, altitude 10100 ft / 3078 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA corrected, "Focused once at f/1.8"]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series shows overall lens performance along with the pronounced rearward focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, the resulting delayed arrival of sharpness in the foreground, and the damage to the intended visual impact.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake
f6.3 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 16:34:14
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 34°F / 1°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series uses a 3D subject angled to the camera along with appropriate foreground and background to show the rearward focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, the resulting delayed arrival of sharpness in the foreground, and discusses how the intended visual impact is negatively impacted.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake
f2.8 @ 1/10 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 18:16:56
[location “Near Morgan Lake 2”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 32°F / 0°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

Canon EOS R, Shooting it Today

See my Canon EOS R wishlist. (if not yet live, use this link to Canon EOS R system).

PLEASE pre-order using my links—thanks!

The Canon full-frame mirrorless system is here. Well, not the whole system since the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L is not due till December, and I did not snag a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L (backordered). I do have the Canon EOS R and the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L and the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, so I can shoot a few Zeiss DSLR lenses on it also.

I’ll be shooting the Canon EOS R today (and the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, which also arrived) up at Rock Creek. It’s due to turn bitterly cold by Sunday night, so after that I’ll be forced down from 10-11000 feet to lower elevations.

I like the Canon EOS R; nice camera but holy cow is it complex in terms of buttons and bars and dials. I’ll be writing up how I configured it, but it’s clear the possibilities are many and varied and I’d say it’s not as straightforward as the Canon 5Ds R, subsituting complexity for button layout—and I am not a fan of a lopsided all-right-side layout as is all too common these days (excepting the one button at left, Menu).

The Canon EVF seems just as sharp as the Nikon Z7 EVF, but to my eye the Nikon Z7 has all EVFs beat for its pleasant color and shadow rendition (a friendof mine, a Sony A7R II owner, immediately was wowed by the Nikon Z7 EVF)

Kobi E writes:

I also received a rental unit from LensRentals yesterday. Agree, like viewfinder very well, and am boggled by menu complexity. My sense is that it is too small and cramped for my big hands, but perhaps I'll adapt.

DIGLLOYD: works Ok, but it's a devil of a time switching between the Nikon Z7 and the Canon EOS R. The Canon EOS R has too many gadget-like features and tiny button IMO. But perhaps over time one would learn them and it would cease to be an issue. The other thing is the position of the front dial is awkward for me—Z7 is better there too.

Configuring the Nikon Z7 (updated)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

A few days ago I posted a custom settings file for the Nikon Z7. I’ve made some changes stemming from what seemed the best way to get at various things in the  i  menu, My Menu, specific buttons.

One thing Nikon did wrong I think, is to force a full  i  menu. I’d rather declutter whenever possible. The settings file can be downloaded in my review of the Nikon Z7:

Downloadable Settings File for Nikon Z7

I don’t necessarily recommend loading this revised settings, because presumably those who did have already tailored it to their needs.

See also

I’ve documented all the settings and custom settings that I change/use (and why) on the Nikon Z7. Some of the settings are critical and some are just useful behaviors.

Nikon Z7 Configuration: Setup Menu

Nikon Z7 Configuration: Custom Settings Menus

Nikon Z7 Configuration: Custom Settings Menus

Custom controls for the Nikon Z7
OWC Easy SSD Upgrade Guide
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
iMac, Mac Pro, MacMini, more!

Nikon Z7 Long Exposures: ISO 400 vs ISO 64 (Trail Through Huge Aspen)

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This page looks at whether shooting a much shorter exposure at ISO 400 can produce better/worse/comparable results to shooting a much longer exposure at ISO 64. Long exposure noise reduction was enabled for both.

Nikon Z7: Long Exposure: ISO 400 at 30 Seconds vs ISO 64 at 272 Seconds

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images.

These Quaking Aspen trees are the largest I have seen in the Eastern Sierra. Special soil conditions submerge the creek below the creekbed by mid-summer, making these aspen save from beavers.

Huge quaking aspen on Lundy Canyon Trail
f11 @ 30.0 sec IBIS=off, ISO 400; 2018-10-10 18:37:28
[location “Lundy Canyon Trail, huge aspen grove”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 24mm

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon Z7: Examples, Handheld with IBIS, Very Slow Shutter: Lundy Canyon (Various)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This page collects examples at very low shutter speeds, as low as 1/3 second, all shot handheld with IBIS with 3 different lenses. Most were a success the first (and only) try, though some took more than one try—a mix of astounding (4 successes at 1/4 sec) and disappointing (5 failures at 1/3 second). Notes are included.

The idea is showing that using optimal handheld technique along with IBIS greatly expands the shooting envelope and given the dearth of native lenses, using the Nikon FTZ lens adapter is going to be common, particularly (for me at least) with Zeiss DSLR lenses.

Nikon Z7: Examples, Handheld with IBIS, Very Slow Shutter: Lundy Canyon

Impressive results. Includes images up to full camera resolution along with shooting notes.

Orange Scrub Aspen
f4 @ 1/4 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 400; 2018-10-10 18:31:38
[location “Lundy Canyon Trail, scrub aspen grove”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 47mm

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White Scrub Aspen along trail
f4 @ 0.3 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 400; 2018-10-10 18:32:49
[location “Lundy Canyon Trail, scrub aspen grove”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

Nikon Z7 Has a Serious Behavioral Problem: Buttons go Unresponsive, Screen Blinks and Blinks

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

I take back my “Kudos to Nikon for shipping the product tested, not foisting testing on users” praise—this is ridiculous.

Buttons and screen go whacko

This one is much more serious as there seems to be no workaround other than waiting and hoping. Even pulling the battery did not work. Symptoms includes:

  • A recalcitrant Menu button which goes unresponsive. Press it 3/4/5/10 times and nothing happens.
  • 10 to 20 seconds later, the menus appear! Then the screen blinks off and back on, and repeats. I think this is once per Menu button press but maybe not, because the display kept blinking. Or, maybe I just pressed Menu more times than I thought.
  • Other rear buttons also go unresponsive so it may be a general issue. But since I press Menu a lot, I would thus tend to see the issue that way.

I’ve found no solution to this issue other than waiting a minute or two. It seems to go away on its own, but when and why I have not determined. Since the symptoms returned even after pulling and reinserting the battery, there is a major Loose Screw in the Nikon Z7.

EVF/rear display switch fails

For a period of about 10 minutes, I could not get the auto-switch feature to work (switching between the EVF and the rear LCD). I worked around this by manually using one or the other with the button on the left side of the EVF hump. Possibly this was a bit of condensation inside the EVF area (condensed water vapor from perspiration from carrying the camera near my body perhaps). Still, my Sony A7R III has never had such an issue.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series at 24mm: Snowstorm Meltwater Pond View to Mt Conness Eastern Ridge

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The series assesses performance of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 24mm on a far distance scene but unlike Summit View at Dusk Over Upper Conness Lake, it includes an excellent near-to-far foreground to assess sharpness taking account of field curvature and focus shift and actual lens performance. Unfortunately, it concurs with the findings in that series, but also yields an important finding as to the cause.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series at 24mm: Snowstorm Meltwater View to Mt Conness Eastern Ridge

A 3rd series at 24mm confirms the results with the other two:

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series at 24mm: Snowstorm Meltwater Pond

Both include actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Below, these small ponds are dry by July or so unless rain or snow fill them. The meltwater from a snowstorm 3 days prior had filled all the ponds in this area.

Rainstorm Pond View to Mt Conness Eastern Ridge
f4 @ 1/125 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 18:02:45
[location “Just east of Upper Conness Lake”, altitude 10750 ft / 3277 m, 45°F / 7°C, "Ponds freshly filled with meltwater from recent snow", LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon Z7: Examples, Handheld with IBIS, Very Slow Shutter: Lundy Canyon (Zeiss Otus 28/1.4)

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This page collects examples at very low shutter speeds, as low as 1/3 second, all shot handheld with IBIS. Most were a success the first (and only) try some took more than one try; notes are included. The idea here is showing that using optimal handheld technique along with IBIS greatly expands the shooting envelope. It was very dim late dusk.

All examples were shot with the Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon. The Zeiss Otus 28/1.4 APO is a very large and heavy lens. Mounted on the Nikon Z7 with the Nikon FTZ lens adapter, the 'rig' needs to be support by the lens and adapter. The mass probably works in its favor for slow shutter speeds, but it is a little awkward to hold, and that works against it.

Nikon Z7: Examples, Handheld with IBIS, Very Slow Shutter: Lundy Canyon
(also in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR lenses)

Includes a best-practices discussion. All images up to full camera resolution.

Below, numerous freak rock slides wiped out big chunks of aspen in Lundy Canyon, sometime in the winter of 2017/2018. Thick layers of large rocks with mud made a slurry that wiped out and buried things; this slide is one of the larger ones, the next image is one of the smaller! Having visited Lundy Canyon for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything remotely similar in scope and sheer destructive power. What was excellent topsoil (for this altitude) is now jumbled rocks. This rockslide (one of many) actually made it to the creek and dammed it, raising the water level about two feet.

Survivors of massive rockslide
f2 @ 1/13 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 200; 2018-10-09 18:38:26
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

Nikon Z7 Autofocus Accuracy: Pinpoint AF vs Magnified Live View Reference Frame

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

NOTE: there is no internet where I am shooting for the next few days. It is tedious and troublesome, but I am making an effort most days to descent for internet service once per day, but there may be exceptions. Please be patient when subscribing.

My review of the Nikon Z7 is in full swing, though I’m spending a lot more time evaluating/publishing than enjoying the gorgeous fall season and weather.

This page evaluates the consistency of Nikon Z7 Pinpoint AF autofocus at f/4 using the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S, comparing it against a reference image focused at f/4 in 100% magnified Live View. All of the conventional autofocus frames were off, and with varying focusing precision.

Discussion includes what to do about the errors that are shown and best practices for this type of shooting.

Nikon Z7: Autofocus Accuracy: Pinpoint AF vs Magnified Live View Reference

Includes a best-practices discussion.

Below, numerous freak rock slides wiped out big chunks of aspen in Lundy Canyon, sometime in the winter of 2017/2018. Thick layers of large rocks with mud made a slurry that wiped out and buried things; this slide is one of the larger ones, the next image is one of the smaller! Having visited Lundy Canyon for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything remotely similar in scope and sheer destructive power. What was excellent topsoil (for this altitude) is now jumbled rocks.

Sole survivor of major rockslide
f4 @ 1/20 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-09 17:18:54
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 45°F / 7°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 34mm

[low-res image for bot]
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Nikon Z7: Thin 1.1mm Sensor Cover Glass Gives Promise of using M-Mount Lenses with Good Performance

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The Kolarivision teardown of the Nikon Z7 finds that the sensor cover glass is only 1.1mm thick, which is much thinner than the 2mm on most cameras:

Another unique aspect: the cover glass of the Z7’s sensor is about half a thick as the Sony’s, coming in at 1.1mm. This means the Nikon will have better performance with adapted lenses right out of the box. However, with our ultra-thin conversion measuring down to 0.2mm, the camera will still benefit a great deal from a modification service if you’re a Leica lens (or other legacy glass) enthusiast.

The thinner glass means that the MTF (micro contrast and astigmatism in particular) degradation will be much less than on the Sony A7R III, suggesting that M-mount lenses (Leica M and Zeiss ZM) may perform reasonably well. Though a high refractive index cover glass cannot be ruled out AFAIK.

See ray angle and Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 MTF on Mirrorless Cameras for a full aperture set of MTF graphs for the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon. It would be wonderful if the ZM 35/1.4 and my Leica M lenses worked well on the Z7 (assuming an adapter materializes).

Depiction of ray paths through sensor cover glass

The graph below is a through-focus MTF graph which indicates the displacement of the blue-vs-red wavelengths for two different thicknesses of sensor cover glass. Without sensor cover glass (e.g., film), the red and blue MTF are close to alignment.

With 2.5mm sensor cover glass, the two diverge substantially, so that peak focus can be achieved for only red or blue, but not both. Moreover, MTF for red wavelengths is degraded slightly and MTF for blue increases slightly.

Through-focus MTF for Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon, without sensor cover glass vs 2.5mm cover glass
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon Z7: Image Sharpness vs Zone of Focus, Autofocus Error and Mitigation

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

My review of the Nikon Z7 is in full swing, though I’m spending a lot more time evaluating/publishing than enjoying the gorgeous fall season and weather.

This page shows just how wildly inaccurate the placement of the zone of focus can be with the Nikon Z7 (and other systems!). Placement of the zone of focus has major implications for total sharpness and visual impact, yet autofocus can easily choose a sub-optimal choice of focus which displaces/biases the zone forward or rearward even as the chosen point is fully sharp. This has implications for total sharpness and visual impact.

Nikon Z7: Autofocus Accuracy: Zone of Focus Error, Example and Mitigation

Includes a discussion of how to manage the issue. In terms of reliably making more sharper images on any camera, this page alone is worth the price of admission, since these days understanding such issues is required for excellent technical execution. See also Making Sharp Images.

Sharp image (IBIS ON), with focus biased to the foreground
f4 @ 1/15 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-08 17:21:32
[location “Lundy Canyon trail near trailhead”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 55°F / 12°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 42mm

[low-res image for bot]
Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
Which Lenses to Choose?🌈

Avoid costly mistakes and get the ideal system for your needs: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Nikon Z7: Shooting Handheld with and Without IBIS

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

My review of the Nikon Z7 is in full swing, though I’m spending a lot more time evaluating/publishing than enjoying the gorgeous fall season and weather.

This page shows pairs of images shot at low shutter speeds with IBIS (Vibration Reduction) on versus off. IBIS is critical for slow lenses like the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 because it allows greater handheld flexibility when the light is relatively dim, e.g., near dawn or dusk.

This page also shows that IBIS is highly effective with Zeiss wide angle lenses, like the Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4.

Nikon Z7: Handheld A/B Comparison With/Without IBIS (Vibration Reduction)

With full-res images and crops (four examples).

Below, a blurred image shot without IBIS at 1/15 second.

Blurred image (IBIS OFF)
f4 @ 1/15 sec handheld IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-08 17:20:47
[location “Lundy Canyon trail near trailhead”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 55°F / 12°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 42mm

[low-res image for bot]

Below, Numerous freak rock slides wiped out big chunks of aspen in Lundy Canyon, sometime in the winter of 2017/2018. Thick layers of large rocks with mud made a slurry that wiped out and buried things; this slide is one of the larger ones, the next image is one of the smaller! Having visited Lundy Canyon for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything remotely similar in scope and sheer destructive power. What was good topsoil (for this altitude) is now jumbled rocks.

Sharp image (IBIS ON)
f11 @ 1/15 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-08 17:35:51
[location “Lundy Canyon Trail”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 45°F / 7°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Examples Using IBIS, Conness Lakes Area

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The series takes a first stab at seeing how effective Nikon’s version of IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) is shooting handheld with optimal technique. It is ad-hoc and gave me a feel for what IBIS can do in the Nikon Z7, a more definitive test comes later.

In my review of the Nikon Z7 system:

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Examples, Handheld: Mt Conness Basin East

Includes a variety of images all up to up to full camera resolution.

Bleached wood
f11 @ 1/13 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 17:37:51
[location “Just pass lower Conness Lakes”, altitude 10480 ft / 3194 m, 40°F / 4°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 53mm

[low-res image for bot]
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
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Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Examples on Nikon Z7: Mt Conness Basin East

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

These examples with the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 were taken in the Mt Conness drainage (east) of the Eastern Sierra late in the season. Indeed, the meadow below was blanketed by snow from a very cold storm just two days later—temperatures about 25°F colder!

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses*:

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Examples: Mt Conness Basin East (Nikon Z7)

Includes a variety of full resolution images. The sensor quality of the Nikon Z7 and the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 are 'golden'—an ideal example of both optical and physical excellence in spite of the Nikon FTZ lens adapter being interposed.

I am concluding that Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus lenses have a great new lease on life given the paucity of lenses available for the Nikon Z7, and the disappointing performance at the wide end of the Nikon NIKKOR S 24-70mm f/4 S, which means the zoom ain’t for me. While I do not like the awkwardness of the largest of these lenses, they work great, and the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 is a terrific choice on the Nikon Z7.

The Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 was used on the Nikon Z7 via the Nikon FTZ lens adapter. The EVF on the Nikon Z7 is a joy to use for manual focus lenses. The Milvus 18/2.8 balances nicely on the Nikon Z7. It is relatively small and lightweight, unlike its faster f/1.4 siblings, so it never feels like a burden.

* Lens reviews always go into their native publication.

Conness Lakes meadow
f11 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 15:28:45
[location “Conness Lakes”, altitude 10400 ft / 3170 m, 55°F / 12°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

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Outflow creek from Conness Lake #2
f11 @ 1/80 sec handheld IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 16:07:04
[location “Outflow from Conness Lake 2”, altitude 10580 ft / 3225 m, 55°F / 12°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series at 30mm: Trail Along Lower Conness Lake

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The series assesses performance of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 30mm on a near-to-far scene. The middle of the range seems to be the best part of its performance.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series @ 30mm: Trail Along Lower Conness Lake

Includes up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Trail along lower Conness Lake
f6.3 @ 1.0 sec IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 18:48:29
[location “Lower Conness Lake”, altitude 10400 ft / 3170 m, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 30mm equiv (30.5mm)

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Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series at 40mm: Backlit Orange Dead Pine

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The series assesses near-far performance of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S at 40mm. It affords a good sense of the quality and depth of field achieved at 40mm as well as field curvature and focus shift.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Aperture Series @ 40mm: Backlit Orange Dead Pine

Includes up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Backlit pine near Conness creek
f9 @ 1/125 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-05 14:38:40
[location “Trail to Conness waterfall”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 55°F / 12°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 40mm

[low-res image for bot]
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