Well Rob, it was the 24-200’s announcement that finally pushed me over the line to try the Z7. I’m a landscape sort of guy, so I don’t need fast glass - but excellent sharpness and range are a big thing (as is the image stabilisation), so the 12-100 has been the perfect m43 lens for me. But of course FF (esp with a juicy 45Mp sensor) should be the ideal landscape tool, so the JIP announcement plus the 24-200 launch pushed me over the line.
Hi @pdk42Well Rob, it was the 24-200’s announcement that finally pushed me over the line to try the Z7. I’m a landscape sort of guy, so I don’t need fast glass - but excellent sharpness and range are a big thing (as is the image stabilisation), so the 12-100 has been the perfect m43 lens for me. But of course FF (esp with a juicy 45Mp sensor) should be the ideal landscape tool, so the JIP announcement plus the 24-200 launch pushed me over the line.
But the 24-200 was new and on serious back-order so I went for the Z7 kit with the 24-70 f4 to which I added the 14-30 and the TTArtisan 11mm f2.8 fisheye. All three were excellent lenses, esp the 24-70 which I found amazing for its size and price. But it was my disappointment with the 24-200 when it finally arrived that convinced me I’d made a mistake. But I’m rushing ahead - here’s a somewhat longer explanation for my volte face.
- The Nikon Z7's IQ is obviously and demonstrably better when you go peering at the files 1:1 in LR. That I can't deny at all. But, speaking as a pretty standard amateur photographer, I can tell you that apart from such pixel peeking, the Z7 did nothing to improve the practical quality of my images (remember - I do mostly landscapes). By that I mean that on Flickr, Instagram, my on-line portfolio, plus the occasional A2/A3 print, the difference is zero or as near to zero as matters. This is a point that the various bloggers and reviewers really never fully address. Of course, there needs to be some baseline of IQ (since otherwise they'd all be telling us to go and buy MF), but I think for most people FF is overkill.
- The one area where the Nikon's improved IQ should have helped me (esp as a landscape photographer) was DR. But the trouble is that nature often throws DR at us that is beyond even the best FF camera; 12-13 stops of DR compared to 10-11 is nice, but if the scene in front of you is exceeding 16 stops, you're in pretty much the same boat whether you have a Nikon Z7 or an Olympus EM1. So you have to do a multi-shot bracket - and the Oly multi-shot burst is faster and better implemented.
- Once I got past this IQ point, the appeal of the Nikon faded away for me. Compared to Olympus m43, there are a bunch of downsides - slightly bigger, slightly heavier, more expensive, narrower choice of lenses, poorer image stabilisation, bigger files (slower computer), fewer camera features, slower e-shutter readout time, much smaller buffer, more troublesome sensor dust, poor WiFi mobile app, and many more.
My conclusion at this point was that the downsides were outweighing the upsides and I couldn’t see a way to get to 200mm that was sufficiently portable. So, I decided to cut my losses and admit my mistake...
- The biggest downside on that list above is the image stabilisation, and the way that it constrains the shooting envelope available (at least for landscapes). The problem is this - you need to stop down FF lenses by 2-stops more to get to optimum optical performance and have the same DOF as m43. Then you can take away another two stops to be using both cameras at their base ISOs (what else for best IQ?). You are now at a 4 stop shutter speed disadvantage compared to FF. But you have an IS system that's probably 2-3 stops behind an Olympus EM1.3 + 12-100. That meant I found myself 6-7 stops nearer to needing a tripod and that made a HUGE difference shooting landscapes in the blue/golden hour. Tripods are not only more weight and bulk, but they compromise the flexibility of shooting.
- I could perhaps have coped with all the above, but now comes my disappointment with the 24-200. Now it’s not a bad lens, but it just felt cheap and its IQ, esp at the long end, didn’t match the 24-70 at all. In particular, purple fringing was quite an issue and I had a number of shots where I couldn’t get LR to remove it. On top of that, at 200mm I found the image stabilisation significantly worse than the sync IS on the EM1.2/3 + 12-100 - despite the Nikon lens offering combined lens+body IS too. At this point I decided to return the 24-200 but looking at other options at 200mm, the only real alternative was the 70-200 which is huge, heavy and ££££/$$$$/€€€€.
Now don't get me wrong, the Nikon Z is a very nice system. If you need the IQ it delivers, need to shoot in low light at high ISO, or demand shallower DOF then it's a great choice. But you need to ask yourself whether you really need any of those because they come with their own set of compromises and limitations.
Reviews of the 24-200 are generally positive and it’s this that convinced me to go ahead. I think the biggest part of my disappointment was comparing it to the 12-100 - whose build and consistent wide open performance across the focal length range are quite remarkable. You don’t feel in any way that you’re compromising IQ by using it in preference to a decent prime - it’s a “Pro” lens (I hate that term, but it seems reasonable to use it here!).Hi @pdk42
Many thanks for the very thorough reply which I and no doubt many others here will appreciate when considering changing or supplimenting their equipment
Some reports I’ve seen on the 24-200 are very good but it’s nice to get a more down to earth appraisal from someone like yourself here - like you I saw this as a very viable alternative to the 12-100 f4.0 but with better IQ with FF sensor. May try it anyway when I can as I obviously cant lug a 70-200 around as a walkaround general use lens !
I don’t know whether going for the Z6 rather than the Z7 would have been better for you ?
(I think it has slightly better DR and Low light performance)
Im quite surprised at how much worse you found the IS on the Z but there again we tend to take the Olympus system for granted
The D500, although now 4-1/2 years old, is still the 2nd best fast action camera out there, just behind the Sony A9/A9II in most tests (excluding the $6,000 Nikon/Canon top of the line bodies). It has the same AF system that is in the D5, but with the added reach that the DX format brings. I am using 2 Nikon lenses that are both 15 years or older designs, the 300 f4 AF-S and 70-200 f2.8VR (ver 1) and It is simply amazing just how good it focuses for fast action. Nikon, as I mentioned before, choose not to put it excellent AF-C system into the Z bodies, and they have paid for it. But supposedly the latest FW update helped a lot, you should ask @ijm5012 what improvements he saw with this latest update. And you can always just shoot AF-S and pan, which I am sure you are very good at, having used the EM1 for motorsports...........
I know @ijm5012 has both a D500 and a Z6 and only tends to use the D500 for his motorsports - not sure if this is because the Z6 is only suitable for other genres and is not suitable at all for MSports ?
In any case I’ve ‘made my bed and will have to sleep in it‘ and will have to give it my best shot
I saw some motocross images on FB today which shows at least some promise so fingers crossed ?
I've read through this and have a question. You state that you've already sold some of your M4/3 gear and you'll be keeping some to go along with your new system, but I don't see where you've said what you intend to keep. Perhaps I just missed it.
I'm sure you've thought it through and are planning to keep some specific gear for specific reasons. I am interested to know what that gear is. Body, lenses, etc. Which do you feel are those you just can't give up?