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Nikon Zf First Impressions

re: pixel shift and multi-shot high-res mode
re: Nikon Z8

Nikon Zf
Nikon Zf

More commentary is found in my review page of the Nikon Zf.

First and foremost, the Nikon Zf is a retro style camera. If you like that sort of thing (your wife might), don’t expect any praise from me. Form before function is not why I’d ever buy a camera.

CLICK TO VIEW: Nikon Mirrorless and Top Lenses

However, the Zf maintains the excellent Nikon ergonomics and button (grip excepted) in spite of the retro dials on top, so it’s not really an issue, and if it shoots your shooting style the top stuff may please.

The good

  • Arrived with the latest firmware, v1.10.
  • Grip is very inadequate and not comfortable for my hands.
  • EVF and rear LCD are excellent.
  • Live View magnification is superb.
  • Nice responsive camera.
  • Generally good menu system.
  • Better self timer than most cameras: 2/5/10/20 seconds, and self timer can be used to take multiple images, a crude and slow way to do frame averaging, perhaps.
  • IBIS seems really effective at 105mm.
  • Nikon uses lossless-compressed NEF for pixel shift. Good! Now if only we can get Sony to fix their wasteful uncompressed raw approach; see Sony A7R V: Costly Bad Design for Pixel Shift — Disallows Lossless Compressed RAW.

The bad and the stupid

Nikon Zf
Nikon Zf

Pixel shift does not include a Sequence Number in the EXIF. As a result, software to automate grouping images (eg my 'img' software) cannot easily detect pixel shift sequences (same problem for focus shift shooting sequences).

This is already causing trouble for software support, and not just mine.

This easily fixed design flaw generates a large amount of extra work for me, because I have to manually group images out of hundreds or thousands—it can add an entire DAY to organizing files from one of my trips. Only Nikon screws the pooch this badly; Sony and Fujifilm do it right. Seriously, how godamn stupid do you have to be to do that.

Thing is, the recent major firmware update has failed to fix this issue, and it has existed forever. I first reported it in the context of focus shift shooting back in June 2023.

More

  • The Nikon Zf forces me to remove the camera plate in order to access the SD card slot. I despise cameras designed this way. A camera specific L-Plate can avoid that issue, but you should not have to spend $100 or more to compensate for bad design.
  • Photoshop can open Nikon-processed pixel shift files (NEFX), but does not recognize any lens or lens profile.
  • Nikon pixel shift has no in-camera assembly; it all has to be done on the computer.
  • NX Studio does not fail to disappoint: right-click/contextual menu offers no pixel shift support. It’s bad grammer as File => Performing pixel shift merge.... Huh? Worse, the manual doesn’t explain why you’d want to merge to 1 vs 2 images.
  • Presumptuous software installer for Nikon NX Studio, installing crapware eg Launch Nikon Message Center. Ask first Nikon, the days when crapware can be tolerated are long gone with so many security threats out there. Worse, launching NX Studio re-adds this shitware. And then the damned software wants to be invasive enough to fuck around trying to access my reminders?!
  • What? WTF?! DENIED
    What? WTF?! DENIED

I may do a little with the Nikon Zf, but pixel shift is best tested on the 45-megapixel Nikon Z8 when it arrives in a day or two.

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$2997 SAVE $250 = 7.0% Nikon 400mm f/4.5 NIKKOR Z VR S IN STOCK in Lenses: Mirrorless
Nikon Zf, front
Nikon Zf, top
Nikon Zf, rear

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