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Nikon Z8 Focus Stepping (“Focus Shift”) for Focus Stacking

re: Sony A7R V and Sony A7R V

The Nikon Z8 has five (5!) highly irritating behaviors that impede my work and waste my time when switching between focus stacking and single-shot operation, which I will detail in my review. Most are just flat-out design by sloppy idiots. Do engineers ever take pictures with their own sh*t? The Z8 does a lot of things well, but apparently there is a diversity quota for nitwits in engineering. Long live the Nikon D850.

In addition to operational nuisances, there is no sequence number with “focus shift” captures, so my automated image organization cannot detect related images. This costs me many hours for my shoots. Sony and Fujifilm include a "Sequence Number" in the EXIF.

However, the Z8 gets the focus stacking job done exceedingly fast and well.

So well that it sends my thoughts in the direction of “I love the Voigtlander APO lenses, but I could not make this stack 1/10 as fast, plus the risk of focus gapping is dramatically higher doing it manually”. Speed in particular is super important (changing light or subject motion). But where does that leave you with 2nd-rate optical performance autofocus NIKKORs?

The Z8 creates beautiful images and nobody will ever be disappointed in that.

But dubious optical performance with most (!) of the lenses grates on me. That, along with runner-up sensor resolution to the Sony A7R V makes me feel like I am wasting my time—same amount of effort for a lower resolution image. At least with the Sony A7R V vs Fujifilm GFX100S, there are clear differentiators on size/weight/lenses/operation/DoF, etc.

OTOH, the forced exercise of shooting competing camera systems exensively yields a wide and deep perspective on the pros and cons of each system. That is what I try to bring to light in my reviews. Why make an expensive mistake on the wrong system for your needs?

Wild Roses under Aspen Canopy
f9 @ 1/25 sec electronic shutter focus stack 5 frames, ISO 64; 2023-07-05 07:46:40
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S @ 14mm
ENV: Hilton Creek area, altitude 7250 ft / 2210 m, 75°F / 23°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, WB 5200°K tint 14, +10 Whites, +10 Clarity, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

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