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Nikon Z7 Review - Performance

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Nikon Z7 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.5secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response  0.1secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.0secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.2secs
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
9fps (25 shots) (H+)
6fps (55 shots) (H)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 9fps (19 shots) (H+)
5fps (32 shots) (H)

Shutter response and focus speeds are both very quick, and the camera offers a rapid shot to shot time. The switch on time, to first photo, is a little slower than some DSLRs, but the continuous shooting speed is very good. The shutter is quite loud, and switching to the electronic shutter allows silent shooting.


Nikon Z7 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is very pleasing, with rich saturated colours, and anyone who is a fan of Nikon's colour reproduction will be extremely happy with the results from the Z7. Skin tones are particularly good, as you would expect from a Nikon camera. 

There were times when we needed to adjust the exposure compensation so that images weren't under-exposed, but for the most part, exposure was reliable. 

D-Lighting – Nikon's D-Lighting ensures that shadows are not lost, and highlights are kept. There are a number of levels, or you can leave this on Auto. This means that the dynamic range captured by the camera is very good. There is also a built-in HDR mode that will automatically merge a number of shots to record a greater dynamic range. You can, of course, process the raw files if needed.


Nikon Z7 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The camera has built-in lens correction, which includes correction for vignetting (dark corners), diffraction compensation, and auto distortion control (which is on by default with Nikon Z lenses), and we saw very little evidence of these problems in our images, except for some vignetting when processing raw files. The 24-70mm f/4 lens and 35mm f/1.8 lens both give good out-of-focus background blur or bokeh. We also tried to induce flare, by shooting into the sun, but again, we could not spot any problems due to flare. Similarly, we looked for chromatic aberration, and purple fringing, but rarely saw any.

The lenses we used performed extremely well, with sharp detailed images, and it's possible to get even sharper results by processing the raw files. We've shown an example above, with noise reduction turned off, and the image has been sharpened in Adobe Photoshop. 

An electronic first curtain shutter option is available, designed to reduce the risk of shutter shock, and we'd recommend using this (although this does limit the shutter speeds available), as we found there were times when we had blurred images when using 50-70mm focal length, and similar shutter speeds (1/80 - 1/125s). Whether this could be resolved with a firmware update is yet to be seen. It was possible to take photos at shutter speeds of 1/30s or slower and still get sharp shots.

The in-camera image stabilisation system helps to keep images sharp and help avoid image blur, however, care needs to be taken as any image blur will show up in images, due to the high-resolution sensor of the camera. The in-camera image stabilisation system did not seem as effective as other camera systems.

You can shoot JPEG, JPEG+RAW, RAW (NEF), or TIFF (RGB), and the latest version of Adobe Camera RAW will happily open RAW images from the Z7.


Nikon Z7 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The Z7 has a wide ISO range, from ISO64 to ISO25600, which can be extended down to ISO32 (Low 1), and up to ISO1024000 (Hi 2). Noise performance is very good, with usable results up to ISO3200, and even ISO6400. Noise levels increase at ISO12800, and detail drops more noticeably. Colour saturation remains good, even up to ISO25600. ISO51200 shows stronger noise, and colour saturation drops off, so we'd generally recommend avoiding this setting. Noise becomes excessive at ISO102400. Noise reduction options available are Off, Low, Normal, and High. We took these photos using the default setting of Normal, and users of previous Nikon DSLRs may want to reduce this to Low, as the default setting has quite strong noise reduction. Results from the Z7 are very similar to the Nikon D850, with very little difference noticeable. 


Nikon Z7 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten, with a slightly warm result on default settings (Auto1). There are a number of different Auto White Balance (AWB) options, including Auto0 - Keep white (reduce warm colours), Auto1 - Normal, and Auto2 - Keep warm lighting colours. Depending on the subject, you may want your images to be warmer (for portraits) or cooler (for product shots). You can also adjust the auto white balance more precisely if needed. The tungsten preset does a reasonable job, however, we prefer the results from using the "Auto0 - Keep white" option. Auto white balance gives a reasonable result under fluorescent lighting, and there are a number of fluorescent presets available, so that you can choose one that most matches your lighting. 


Nikon Z7 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of preset colour modes, and these can be customised, with quick sharp (adjusts all sharpness settings quickly), sharpening, mid-range sharpening, clarity, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue. You can leave this on Auto if you want. 

After going through the standard colour settings, there are 20 "Creative Picture Control" options, which includes presets such as Dream, Morning, Pop, Sunday, Somber, Dramatic, Silence, Bleaches, Melancholic, Pure, Denim, Toy, to name a few. There is no automatic panoramic mode. 


Video - The Nikon Z7 records 4K video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (UHD) at 30p (progressive), 25p, and 24p, with stereo microphones built-in. 4K video uses the full width of the sensor, so that there is only a crop at the top and bottom of the image, as the aspect ratio changes from 3:2 to 16:9 aspect ratio, and due to oversampling the results are very sharp and detailed. FullHD (1920 x 1080) video can be recorded at speeds up to 120fps, with options for 100p, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p. You can also record high-speed video at FullHD resolution for video playback at 30p (x4), 25p (x4), and 24p (x5) for slow-motion footage. Almost the full ISO range is available for video recording from ISO64 to ISO102400. N-Log video recording is possible for greater dynamic range, and later grading of footage. The built-in sensor based 5-axis image stabilisation helps keep video steady when using the camera handheld. You can watch additional videos from the Nikon Z7 on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.


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Photographs taken using the Nikon Z7

Showing it's strengthOn the RocksGoing, GoingA touch of pinkSue with an f/0.95 lensLine to the SunWarmth of the Setting SunSpring has SprungSimple BeautyLily of the valleyAloneHome sweet home for a spiderThe Aliens LairAfter the DelugeWelcome to my Wood

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LenShepherd 12 4.2k 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 9 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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