I’ll have the Nikon Z7 system for review tomorrow October 4th, whereupon I leave for the Eastern Sierra. I will be publishing my findings starting this weekend.
James K writes:
Once you see the effect of the EYE AF there is no going back. This is a MUST HAVE feature if you photograph people. I shot a few portrait tests with my 50mm f/1.4 FE this afternoon. Scary sharp and perfectly eye focused. I have gained a new appreciation of the Sony system.
DIGLLOYD: so sad to see no Eye AF with the Nikon Z7. Wide open at 85mm and f/1.4 I’ve seen a 99% hit rate.
Two things that made me return the Z7 today:
a) It can track a person slowly moving from side to side – hit rate only 60%. When the person moves towards me, hit rate is only 20%, sometimes zero (lens at 60mm, distance from the other person from 7 meters - 4 meters - 7 meters when moving side to side, and from 7 meters to 2 meters when moving toward me). I switched to face-tracking, which works only with full sensor coverage, and although the little square tracked the face, it misfocused in almost all pics (from 7 meters coming towards me up to 2 meters, slowly walking, always at the center of the frame, viewfinder center part on her face at all times).
b) The IBIS performance is rather weak, giving me a max of “satisfactory” 2.5 stops, and only when I used front-curtain e-shutter. I usually get equal or better performance on the Nikon D850 with a stabilized lens and mechanical shutter.
c) I didn’t notice any banding outdoors when pushing shadows 100% in dark areas, but I didn’t test extensively with such a purpose in mind either. All I wanted was a stabilized D850 as companion camera, but the Z7 looks like an incomplete product. If I wanted a slow camera, I’d get a GFX.
As for sharpness at low shutter speeds, image stabilization including IBIS is a good feature that often delivers less than promised and on Sony, IBIS destroys image sharpness on a tripod—a horrible 'gotcha' that has destroyed my work more than once.
Terence M writes:
When the Nikon Z7 arrives I would like see in your review your opinion on the camera for portraits especially compared to the Sony A7R III.
One thing I noticed playing with the Z7 in a camera store you don’t have to focus and recompose like a DSLR since the AF points cover most of the frame.
DIGLLOYD: based on the incredibly high hit rate of Eye AF in Sony mirrorless, lack of Eye AF in the Nikon Z7 is a gaping hole that should put Sony mirrorless ahead in desirability for those who regularly shoot portraits.
More focus points is a plus, but it is a weak consolation prize that still requires focus-and-recompose; subjects don’t just sit frozen in place while the photographer is diddling the focus point to be precisely on the iris of the eye—that’s just not a viable shooting approach for high quality shot execution unless a person is unmoving. And it’s pretty easy to miss and have the camera focus on eyelashes or eyebrows or nose hairs.
Here in late 2018, lack of Eye AF is a BAD JOKE—IMO, lack of Eye AF unacceptable if the camera is to be used for portraits. Face tracking is a primitive feature useful for some things (I suppose), but not at all a substitute. I don’t care how good the camera is otherwise—hit rate with Eye AF on the Sony was at least 95% when I assessed it, versus something like 35% with the Nikon D850 (shooting at wide apertures, I’m not talking about shooting at f/11 here).