A Sony A9 II without innovation

Sony has announced the A9 II, successor to the leading A9 mirrorless pro camera. Same 24 MP sensor as its predecessor, no EVF improvement, but better AF tracking. Nikon and Canon will be relieved.

Nikon – quo vadis?

The camera market is shrinking and so are revenues of companies in this field. Nikon, my favorite brand, is very good in managing this change – after all, they are profitable year after year.

But slowly I get the feeling that there must be more than micro-management to keep the company stable and the ship floating. Signs are on the wall that austerity alone doesn’t bring new customers. Some observations based on my own location in the middle of Europe (your mileage may vary, but I hear similar repots from other continents):

  • Nion Austria closes the only Nikon Servicepoint in the country so I will have to ship a broken camera to another country (Czech Republic), a major inconvenience
  • Nikon Austria no longer offers the “Nikon Photo School” for workshops/seminars – where will all the newcomers learn to shoot?
  • Nikon will not do a booth on Photokina 2020
  • A year after launching mirrorless Z6 / z7 cameras there still is no battery grip available (aren’t accessories like a grip where major profit is made?)
  • Ever heard about “Computational Photography”? Nowadays its all about software, not hardware! Big players like Apple, Google and Samsung pump massive amounts of money to bring new features to smartphones – I can’t see how comparatively small companies like Nikon, Canon Imaging and Sony Imaging will have the power to keep up with these developments – at least if they do R&D all alone.
  • Expensive disasters like Nikon 1, Nikon DL (never saw the light), Nikon Keymission (too little, too late).

Don’t get me wrong, this comes from a Nikon fan still buying expensive cameras and lenses from them. But I have raised eyebrows.

Nikon Z6 and Z7 service advisory due to problems with VR

Nikon USA published a service advisory for Nikon Z6 and Z7 due to problems with VR:

“It has come to our attention that the vibration reduction (VR) feature in some Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 cameras may not function fully.” and “Nikon has resolved this by making available corrective service for affected Z 6 and Z 7 cameras free of charge”

Visit the page to find out if your camera is affected:
https://www.nikonusa.com/en/service-and-support/service-advisories/technical-service-advisory-for-users-of-the-nikon-z-6-and-z-7-cameras.html

Review Nikon Z7

I finally got my Nikon Z7 + Nikon S 35 /1.8 + Nikon S 24-70 / 4.0 and was able to test it for a few hours.

I took full risk in buying the camera and switching from DSLR (Nikon D850) to mirrorless. I sold my D850 a week before I got the Z7 because the earlier I sell it the more money I can realize. For me it is the right thing to do as I don’t need the speed of the D850 (fps wise) but I will benefit by the 90% AF coverage, the silent shooting (theater photography), WYSIWYG viewfinder.

My take on the Nikon Z7:

  • EVF (electronic viewfinder): excellent. For my kind of work the EVF is a 100% replacement of the OVF. My wife noticed a slight colour variation to the blue but I was able to correct this in the menue.
  • Camera body: the grip is much better than expected, the cam definitely has a “Nikon feeling”. I have no small hands and if the body was even smaller I would get a problem. What I miss? Dedicated buttons e.g. for AF, illumnated buttons (come on Nikon).
  • To be able to control exposure compensation via the ring on the objective is an excellent feature, this way I’m much faster than using the +/- button. Caveat: still not sure if I will use it in real conditions, it’s way to easy to accidentally change it by touching the objective. It would be better if the ring was a bit tighter.
  • Loudness: finally a silent camera, yeah! Not only the camera but also both objectives.
  • 90% AF coverage: finally!
  • AF speed in AF-S mode: for me on the level of the D850.
  • Face tracking: seems to work, but not 100% – e.g. I had a case where it detected a hand as a face. I will see if the hit rate is high enough that this will prove as a useful feature
  • EVF blackout: no problem for me but I don’t take pictures of racing cars.

Verdict: it will take few days to get used to the Z7 but for my kind of shootings it will be perfect. No showstoppers, it seems Nikon got it right a the first try (if you dont count the Nikon 1).