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Nikon Z7: the Single XQD Card Slot Thing

Get Nikon Z at B&H Photo.

The Nikon Z7 has a single XQD card slot. So what?

Yes, I know that there are going to be photographers out there who talk about RAW on one card, JPEG on another and duplicate copies, etc. So for a certain group, I acknowledge the negatives.

Does it matter to me? Emphatically NO. Indeed, it has been so annoying to have the camera default to the wrong card (after pulling one to download and then re-inserting) that I’ve said the hell with it. I just use the SD slot on the D850 because I have an SD slot on my MacBook Pro. End of story.

I’ve never had a card fail in the camera—glitches sure, but failure no. So I just don’t care about a 2nd slot. I’ve had ZERO utility out of the 2nd slot—for years.

Features that are absent like Eye AF are far more important to me than a second card slot.

CLICK TO VIEW: Nikon Z System

Nikon Z7

David M writes:

Having a single card slot in the Nikon Z7 is a good thing. I've been shooting digital since 2000 (Canon EOS D30) and have never had a card fail. I've had write errors, usually loosing the last image shot. Not a big deal. I shoot RAW + JPG. it's a non issue to separate the files into separate folders after downloading.


I pre-ordered the Z7. This will be my first Nikon in 25 years. I use Canon (and recently, a Fujifilm GFX) for work. Nowadays it's common for clients to request both photo and video from a single production team. Commercial budgets are shrinking and it's harder to have a dedicated photographer and video crew on set. I feel the Z7 may be the answer. Full frame, high resolution still photos. Decent 4K 4:2:2 video output via HDMI to an external recorder. I'll keep my Canon bodies and tilt shift lenses for architectural and product photography. There may be Canon to Nikon lens adapters in the future. Or, Canon may just surprise us with a decent full frame mirrorless next year. We'll see...

DIGLLOYD: ditto. I know some shooters need two slots, professionally speaking, but very few people do. As for failures, I’ve never had a card fail outright; at worst I’ve also had an image glitched due to a bad sector on a card, and that does not change with two slots unless one record raw to two cards simultaneously.

Gary J writes:

Most pros definitely want dual memory slots. As a veteran world traveler I desire dual. Sometimes Iforget to put a card back in after copying. Also many of our trips were once in lifetime experiences. Much of our joy in old age is viewing the photos of our trips around the world together.

I very much appreciate your intense analysis.However, many of your subscribers such as myself have different needs, views, and interests than your landscape/portrait orientation.

DIGLLOYD: I’m a pro, and I don’t need or want dual slots. Maybe most do (doubt it—stated and actual needs differ). And when the two slots use two different card types, they are less useful and more costly to deal with (e.g., having to buy two different types of cards and two card readers, what a hassle).

Setting aside specialized situations, dual card slots seem to me to be a nitpick issue compared to a consistent and disciplined strategy for image protection in the field—see my Workflow area in diglloyd Advanced DSLR in particular Downloading and Backing Up Images In The Field.

In 18 years, I have NEVER lost an image by not having dual slots, though admittedly I once started a hike without a card in a slot—that’s why I always carry a spare in my pack—as should always be done anyway.

Back here in 2004, I used a single slot Nikon D2H on a trip that could never be replicated for my eagle shots.

Just because I focus on what I prefer does not make me ignorant of other interests. I am smart enough not to cover areas that are not my area of expertise. But I reject the notion that travel photography differs in any meaningful way from my needs for landscape photography, which is all travel. :)

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