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Nikon Z7: Validating Focus Accuracy, Exposure, Handheld with IBIS and Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 (Bishop Creek)

Get Nikon Z at B&H Photo and see my Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

What better way to assess focusing, lens performance and metering than to shoot a steady series of images, then evaluate them for focus accuracy, exposure, and how well IBIS worked. For this test, 150 images were shot, all examined and some are shown here. All examples were shot handheld with IBIS and all used camera autofocus (normal, non-magnified) with Pinpoint AF.

These were the key goals, important to me (and highly persuasive), and ought to be highly useful for any Nikon Z7 shooter or prospective buyer:

  • Given the Nikon Z7 focus shift and stopped-down autofocus behavior, can the Nikon Z7 accurately center the zone of sharp focus around the chosen focus point?
  • Just how good is the performance of the Nikon Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S?
  • How effective is Nikon Z7 IBIS when no special efforts are made, just handheld normal shooting... what is the hit rate at low shutter speed?
  • How accurate is matrix metering on the Nikon Z7?

Nikon Z7: Validating Focus Accuracy, Exposure, Handheld with IBIS (Bishop Creek)

Includes images up to full camera resolution for each of many examples.

Fishing South Lake
f8 @ 1/40 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-20 16:00:55
[location “South Lake”, altitude 9700 ft / 2957 m, 48°F / 8°C, polarizer=Zeiss, "Pinpont AF on fisherwoman", LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
Hope Springs Eternal at a shallow pond
f9 @ 1/160 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-20 16:17:26
[location “Shallow pond below South Lake dam”, altitude 9300 ft / 2835 m, 52°F / 11°C, LACA corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]

Glenn K writes:

Great post! Were these all using autofocus? If so, which AF area mode were you using? Single-point or pinpoint?

Looks like Nikon's IBIS works pretty well!

DIGLLOYD: I used Pinpoint AF handheld (no magnification) with Nikon Z7 IBIS for all the shots.

Purely subjective: Nikon’s IBIS seems to work as good and seemingly better for me than all other stabilization systems I’ve used. It could be in part the excellent grip and body size; for example, the Sony A7R III just doesn’t fit my largish hands.

That I can capture 45 megapixels tack sharp at 1/25 second with a high hit rate (at least at 35mm focal) is incredible, and very useful. At lower speeds the hit rate declines, but see the 1/3 second shot in the Otus 28/1.4 post and others at 1/6 second.

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