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Nikon Z 7 Review

Nikon's new high-resolution, 45.7mp full-frame mirrorless camera, the Z 7 is reviewed. Find out how this high-spec mirrorless camera performs.

| Nikon Z 7 in Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 With 24 70mm (2)

Quick Verdict

The Nikon Z 7 offers the best technology from Nikon's DSLRs but in a more compact mirrorless camera body, with a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, and a 45.7mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor that delivers excellent image quality. There are currently three lenses available for the camera that help keep the camera system relatively compact. 

+ Pros

  • High-resolution 45.7mp sensor
  • More compact body than Nikon D850
  • Excellent image quality possible
  • Very low noise at low ISO speeds
  • High-quality 4K video without crop
  • Compact lenses available
  • 3.2inch tilting touch-screen
  • High-resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Built-in 5-axis image stabilisation

- Cons

  • Price
  • Single XQD card slot
  • Short Battery life


Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 (10)

The new Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 are Nikon's brand-new full-frame mirrorless cameras, with a large electronic viewfinder, a 3.2inch tilting touch-screen, and the option of a 24mp or 45.7mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor. The Z 6 and Z 7 use a completely new Z lens mount that is larger than the mount used in Nikon DSLRs, Nikon says this is so that they can develop lenses with the highest image quality possible, setting new optical standards for the future.

First to be available is the Nikon Z 7, with a 45.7mp sensor, the more expensive of the two, so let's find out how this performs.

Nikon Z 7 Features

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 With 35mm F1 8 (2)

Let's take a look at what the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 offer, first by seeing what the two cameras have in common. The cameras share the same weather-sealed, magnesium alloy body as each other, with the following key features:

  • 3.2inch 2100K dot tilting touch-screen
  • 3.69m dot EVF, 0.80x magnification, 100% view, with dioptre correction and eye-detection
  • Top LCD display - showing shutter speed, aperture, ISO, battery, drive mode and remaining shots
  • Z-Mount, with 16mm flange distance, and 55mm diameter
  • Locking mode dial, with 3 custom user (U) modes
  • Two front function buttons, Fn1, and Fn2
  • 4K UHD video recording, FullHD 120fps video
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • XQD memory card slot (side access)
  • Headphone, microphone, USB-C, HDMI and remote ports
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Compatible with Nikon flashguns
  • EN-EL15 battery compatibility, EN-EL15B needed for USB charging

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z6 Z7 In Hand (4)

Here's how the Z 6 and Z 7 differ from each other: 

Nikon Z 6 Nikon Z 7
24.5mp BSI CMOS sensor 45.7mp BSI CMOS sensor
273 PDAF points 493 PDAF points
ISO100-51200 ISO64-25600
ISO50-204800 (Extended) ISO32-102400 (Extended)
12fps continuous shooting 9fps continuous shooting


Both cameras offer focusing down to -4 EV, and face-detection focus. The cameras use the EXPEED 6 image processor, which includes a new "Mid-range sharpness" setting, on top of the other sharpness settings. 

Nikon say that the Nikon Z 7 will give better image quality than the Nikon D850.

The 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation system works with Z mount lenses when they are used, 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.

The focus stacking feature, first seen in the Nikon D850, has been improved so that there is now a mono preview available so that you can preview what it is going to look like. Flicker reduction is included to help when shooting under fluorescent lighting. There's also an electronic shutter option, for silent shooting.

The cameras use the Nikon Z mount, and initially, there will be three lenses available, with more to follow:

  • 24-70mm f/4, which is a premium kit lens, that is collapsible, meaning you need to extend the lens to 24mm before you can start using it. It extends as you zoom to 70mm. 
  • 35mm f/1.8
  • 50mm f/1.8

The new Z-mount lens range offers a customisable lens ring so that you can choose whether to use it to set the focus, aperture, or another setting. The FTZ adapter will work with up to 93 Nikon F mount lenses. 

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 With 24 70mm (1)

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. 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. 

Video features - The Nikon Z 7 records 4K (UHD) video at 30fps, using the full-frame of the sensor, and Nikon says they oversample from 8K, giving 4K footage with "spectacular fineness and detail". You can also record FullHD video up to 120fps. 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 Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 With FTZ Adapter (4)
Nikon Z 7 With FTZ Adapter

Nikon Z 7 Handling

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 (3)

There's a large SLR style grip for your hand, with a front and rear command dial. 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 setup 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.

Focus performance - The Nikon Z 7 has 493 phase-detection AF points, which covers 90% of the frame. Pinpoint AF is available, as well as focus peaking to assist with manual focus. Face detection focus is available, but the camera does not feature eye-detection. Focus is sensitive down to -1 EV in normal shooting conditions, or -4 EV with low-light AF active. 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. 

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 Z6 Screens Menus (2)

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. 

Nikon say that the "EVF view rivals any Nikon DSLR."

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. 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.

Pressing the i button will bring up a number of on-screen controls (shown below), 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.

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.

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z6 Z7 In Hand Menus

The menus follow the same layout and design as other recent Nikon DSLRs, 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.

There's side access to the single XQD memory card slot. Some people will find this a deal-breaker. Others will not. For most people, it will mean you’ll need to buy an XQD card and reader unless you manage to get one free with the camera, as some retailers are offering this.

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 USB charging feature, then you'll need to use the EN-EL15B 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 (with the camera switched off).

Nikon Z 7 Review: Nikon Z7 (1)

Battery life is rated at 310 shots for the Z6, and 330 shots for the Z 7, according to CIPA testing standards. Nikon is working on a battery grip for the camera, which will extend the battery life.

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Z 7

UFOOld BridgeShoppingA meetingThe water wallThe last touchThe Sax playerNews of the dayInner City sunsetPurple rainEleganceSwan lakeAutumn reflectionsOver his head

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LenShepherd 15 4.6k United Kingdom
10 Oct 2018 6:24PM
Five quick comments as a Z7 owner for 2 weeks.

Initially the Z7 comes with a 64 GB XQD card included.
Mine came with a fast 64GB Sony G type.

The single XQD card slot may at first seem a handicap.
The much improved wi-fi transmits a 2 MB jpeg to a smartphone or lap-top in 1 second using free to download Nikon software.
Some could put forward a good case for this being safer as well as cheaper compared to a second in camera card.

You do not say much about the FTZ adaptor which costs £100 when bought with a body or lens package.
It adds 3 stops VR to any none VR lens though it looses D type lens support for AF.
I can now hand hold and get decently sharp images with the 200mm macro at 1:1 at 1/60; otherwise impossible without VR/IS at 1:1 magnification.

New for Nikon (though not some other body manufacturers) is being able to choose what Auto AF tracks within the focus area. The D850 etc can only track the closest subject.
With the Z7 you can select auto AF to track a face, a person or even a flying bird almost anywhere in the frame area, including while changing composition or zooming.

Although there is no conventional dof preview button there is a full dof preview function available.
In the Custom Settings Menu F2, function button Fn2 can be set to operate as a conventional dof button at apertures smaller than f5.6.
Why smaller than f5.6?
The Z7 has real time shooting aperture, stopping the lens down (without using Fn2) to selected apertures between f1.4 and f5.6 as soon as the camera is switched on.

Other customisation is possible via the Fn1, AF-on, sub selector, sub selector centre, video record button, S mount lenses focus ring and on Z mount lenses with an Fn button. The S 24-70 does not have an Fn button option.
mannypr 11 9 Puerto Rico
11 Oct 2018 12:44AM
Like the skin tones and general color , very well balance colors , not over done but not subdued either
14 Oct 2018 4:26AM
Only 1 sample from 35mm f1.8??

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