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Nikon Z7 II Review

We review the Nikon Z7 II - Nikon's high-end full-frame mirrorless camera, with a 45.7mp sensor, 4K 60fps video, 10fps continuous shooting, has Nikon done enough to impress, and should you buy one? Find out in our review.

|  Nikon Z7 II in Mirrorless Cameras
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Nikon Z7 II (9)

Quick Verdict

The Nikon Z7 II, like the Z7, offers great image quality, and great handling, but with added speed as well as the convenience of an SD card slot. The Nikon Z7 II and the other camera's in the Z series offer great handling, and the Z7 II offers a full-frame 45mp BSI CMOS sensor that is able to offer high-resolution images. When combined with the extremely high-quality Z series lenses, you'll find your self extremely impressed by the image quality on offer from the camera.

+ Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Extremely high-quality lenses available
  • High-speed shooting possible - 10fps
  • 5-axis image stabilisation
  • SD card slot a welcome addition
  • Excellent handling

- Cons

  • 4K UHD Video (not CINE)
  • Some will wish the screen could face forwards (not everyone)
  • Battery life is still quite short


Nikon Z7 II (3)

The Nikon Z7 II is the updated version of the Z7, which we reviewed in 2018, and comes with a number of updates, including a new image processor, faster continuous shooting offering 10fps continuous shooting, improved video, and more. There's a 45.7mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, in-camera image stabilisation, a 3.2inch tilting touch-screen, and 4K 60p video recording.


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Nikon Z7 II Features

Nikon Z7 II (10)
The Nikon Z7 II is currently Nikon's top of the range full-frame mirrorless camera, with a 45.7mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor. The camera has a 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation system, that works with Z mount lenses, but also works when you use a Nikon F lens with VR, with the FTZ adapter so that you can benefit from both image stabilisation systems. The system is said to give up to 5-stops of image stabilisation.

If you're familiar with the Nikon Z series, then you'll know it's Nikon's full-frame mirrorless camera system, offering a more compact choice in comparison to Nikon's DSLRs, and featuring an electronic viewfinder (EVF) instead of an optical viewfinder. The Z series cameras use Nikon's Z lens mount, and a there is an ever-growing range of Z series lenses available. You can use Nikon F-mount lenses, with an adapter.

There are three current cameras in the range, with the top-of-the-range 45mp Z7 II replacing the Z7, the 24mp Z6 II replacing the Z6, and the 24mp Z5 sitting lower down the range. Let's have a look at what's new on the Z7 II, compared to the original Z7:

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 improvements:

  • Dual Expeed 6 image processors
  • Improved AF, sensitive down to -3EV (-4 with low-light AF)
  • Improved burst shooting (10fps vs 9fps)
  • Longer shutter time (900s), Timelapse support
  • Improved buffer (200 JPEG shots, 77 12-bit uncompressed raw)
  • Faster write speeds
  • Improved EVF refresh rate, reduced blackout
  • 4K 60p available (1.08x crop), 30p no crop
  • Eye/Face / Animal detection AF for stills and video
  • Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) support
  • Second memory card slot (SD UHS-II and CF Express / XQD)
  • Slightly improved battery life (360 shots vs 330)


The camera offers 10fps continuous shooting, at full-resolution. There is a focus stacking feature, interval timer shooting, time-lapse movie support, and HDR shooting available. Flicker reduction is included to help when shooting under fluorescent lighting. There's also an electronic shutter option, for silent shooting.

Focus is taken care of with 493 phase-detection AF points on the sensor, which covers 90% of the frame. The camera will focus down to -3/-4 EV (with a lens that has an aperture of f/2 or faster). There's AF tracking, Pinpoint AF, and face and eye detection focus available for both humans and animals. The camera uses dual EXPEED 6 image processors. 

There's a locking mode dial on top, with 3 customisable user settings (U1, U2, U3). There are all the usual shooting modes, including P, A, S, M, and to switch to the video mode you use the photo/video switch on the back of the camera. There is an Auto mode, but no scene modes are available. There are a number of "picture control" options available, with different colour styles, which can be customised. You'll also find a number of "Creative Picture Control" presets, with effects similar to the digital effects you get on other cameras. 

Nikon Z7 II vs Nikon Z6 II - differences between the Z7 II and Z6 II (and Z5)

Nikon Z7 II Nikon Z6 II Nikon Z5
45.7mp 24mp 24mp
10fps continuous 14fps continuous 4.5fps continuous
3.2inch tilting screen 3.2inch tilting screen 3.2inch tilting screen
4K 60fps (1.08x) 4K 60fps (APS-C crop) firmware update Feb 2021 4K 30fps
360 (VF), 420 (screen)  battery life* 340 / 410 shot battery life* 390 (VF), 470 (Screen)
£2999 body only £1999 body only £1300 body only

*without energy-saving mode

Video features - The Nikon Z7 II records 4K (UHD) video at 60fps with a crop, or 30fps without a crop, using the full-frame of the sensor. You can also record FullHD video up to 120fps (which is also cropped). Video recording also benefits from the in-camera five-axis optical Vibration Reduction (VR) system, and the camera offers electronic image stabilisation which can add to the stabilisation system.

Wi-Fi / Bluetooth - Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in to the camera, and can be used with Nikon's SnapBridge software. This lets you transfer JPEG images, shoot stills, and record video remotely.

Nikon Z7 II (13)

Key Features

  • 45.7mp Full-Frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation (IBIS)
  • 3.2inch 2100K dot tilting touch-screen
  • 3.69m dot EVF, 0.80x magnification, 100% view
  • Top LCD display
  • Z-mount
  • 493 phase-detection AF points
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • 4K UHD video recording (up to 60fps)
  • FullHD video up to 120fps
  • ISO32 to ISO102400 (Extended)
  • Weather-sealed camera body
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • CFexpress / SD memory card slots
  • Headphone, microphone, USB-C, HDMI and remote ports
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Nikon Z7 II Handling

Nikon Z7 II (4)

When looking at the new Nikon Z7 II, and comparing it to the Z7, there is very little difference between the cameras, except when you open the larger memory card compartment, to find that there is an SD card slot in addition to the XQD slot. The Z7 II weighs 705g with battery and memory card (without lens), compared to 675g for the Z7, and the design and layout of the Z7 II is identical to the Z6 II, so you'll need to pay attention to the label on the front to know which is which.

There's a large SLR style grip for your hand, with a front and rear command dial. The camera body is weather-sealed to the same standard as the Nikon D850. There is a soft rubberised texture surrounding the grip, and this also extends round to the back of the camera, as well as the left-hand side of the camera. The rear grip for your thumb is large and provides a solid point of contact. The top shutter release button, and surrounding on/off switch will look familiar to anyone who's used other Nikon DSLRs, and the layout of buttons around this is also the same, giving quick access to exposure compensation, ISO and video recording. 

There is a back AF-ON button, so you can set up back-button focusing. There's a joystick underneath this, as well as the Nikon i button. The labelling of buttons used should be very familiar to Nikon DSLR users, as these are very similar to other Nikon DSLRs, although the layout is slightly less spread out. The locking mode dial features an Auto mode, as well as P, S, A, and M, plus three customisable user modes, U1, U2, and U3. To switch between stills and video shooting, there's a switch that surrounds the display button.

There's a top LCD screen which displays the shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO speed, battery life, shooting mode, and remaining shots.

Nikon Z7 II (5)

Focus performance - The Nikon Z7 II has 493 phase-detection AF points, which cover 90% of the frame. Pinpoint AF is available, as well as focus peaking to assist with manual focus. Face and eye detection focus is available, as well as animal detection that works with cats and dogs, with eye-detection focus also working with animals. This works for both stills and video recording.

Focus is sensitive down to -3 EV in normal shooting conditions or -4 EV with low-light AF active. The focus was reliable, with a very good success rate, especially in good lighting conditions, so much so that we didn't need to constantly check photos for correct focus after shooting. You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point, or you can use the joystick on the back, making it quick and easy to precisely set your focus point.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) offers a large, and high-resolution view of the scene, with 3.6m dots, and 0.80x magnification. With dioptre adjustment, it's easy to adjust it to your own personal view. We were impressed by the resolution and clarity of the display. 

The 3.2inch tilting touch-screen is large and clear, with a high-resolution of 2100K dots. The screen tilts up so that you can use it as a waist-level viewfinder, and the screen will also tilt down. You can use it to change settings, scroll through the menus, as well as set the focus point.

In playback pressing the middle OK button will automatically take you to a magnified view of the photo showing you 100%. The 100% view is also signified by the zoom bar going green, just like on other Nikon DSLRs, and this makes it quick and easy to check your image.

Nikon Z7 II (6)

Menus - The menus follow the same layout and design as other recent Nikon cameras, and each section is colour coded, to help you more quickly find your way around the options. There’s a dedicated video menu section, something you don’t always find on some cameras. The “MyMenu” section can be customised, so that you can add your favourite settings, giving you quicker access.

Pressing the i button will bring up a number of on-screen controls, and you can use the touch-screen to change these as well or simply use the 4-way controller if you're not a fan of touch-screens.

Nikon Z7 II (2)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 360 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is low compared to some cameras, and a spare battery is therefore recommended, however, your mileage may vary depending on how you shoot, and you should get much more with continuous shooting modes. You can also extend battery life to 380 shots using the energy-saving mode, or alternatively, you can get up to 420/440 shots using the LCD screen. A new battery grip (MB-N11) is available to extend battery life.

Underneath the camera is where you'll find the tripod socket, as well as the battery compartment. The camera will take the same EN-EL15 battery as previous Nikon DSLRs, however, if you want to use the in-camera USB charging feature, then you'll need to use the EN-EL15C battery provided with the camera. Charging is via the USB-C port on the side, and you can charge the camera using a USB power bank.

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6 Jan 2021 1:05PM
How does the AF system compare to the original Z7 in practice?
Is eye AF more effective than before and do the additional eye AF modes of wide small and wide large offer better performance than the full area available on the Z7?
Is the viewfinder blackout in continuous mode substantially reduced and if so at what drive speed is the minimal blackout available?
Cynog 9 3 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2021 2:48PM
Why is the lack of a forward articulated screen constantly regarded as a con (ePHOTOzine is not alone in this)? I note it is qualified by recognising that "some" will wish for it, but some may not. Personally, I much prefer a tilting screen, as I have no need to photograph or video myself, and I imagine I am not alone in this. I just don't want a screen that hangs off the side of my camera. The problem seems to stem from a number of YouTube vloggers, who seem clueless about photography and review all cameras as if they are vlogging machines. Maybe that's a bit harsh, but vloggers are, I suspect, very much a minority, though a vocal one, and their needs are niche (I do not include all videographers in this category). And don't get me started on the "selfie" generation, though they tend to use smartphones.

At the end of the day, it is all a matter of preference. None of my cameras have a front facing screen, and I like it that way. Some are fixed, some tilt and my favourite articulation method is on my Fuji which also allows a degree of tilt while in portrait orientation. So please, please, please stop listing this as a con!
24 Jul 2022 11:48AM
Would you recommend this or the Sony A7R IIIA? I am only interested in photography and not videos.

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