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Learning curve for Z7/Z6

ericbowles ericbowles

Is from: Atlanta, US
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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landsc... Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 06-Dec-18 10:21 AM
I'm not sure, but the learning curve for the Z7/Z6 may be greater than any recent DSLR model I have seen.

The controls are quite familiar. I know where the shutter release button is located, and without looking picked up the camera and was adjusting ISO, Exposure Comp, etc. It was easy to select Aperture Priority or Manual Modes. I was easily able to adjust Aperture, Shutter and other functions.

But the complexity comes in the next step, and it seems to be why some of the internet blogs and YouTubers got it so wrong.

The AF system is very different from the D850 and D500. Dynamic AF modes are similar to the D850 - you have to keep the sensor on the subject or quickly return it to the subject. Group AF was my favorite on the D850 and D500 - and it is gone. But Group was replaced with two Wide AF options that work the same way and make a group of AF sensors act as one with closest subject priority. 3D AF is gone - and replaced by 3D tracking as part of Auto Area AF that incorporates Face Tracking. It's really pretty good - for faces but not vehicles or animals.

The i-button and the use of an iMenu is very differnt - but critical. You need to customize your iMenu because it's the fastest way to access most frequently used menu functions. It works through your viewfinder so you don't need to use the rear LCD to change menu items. And that changes the way I use MyMenu.

You have a new display - and a display button to navigate between which monitor is used. The EVF is different but can be very realistic. However with AF-S there is a blackout so you know the shutter was activated. With AF-C the blackout is brief - like a hesitation. And if you want movie like performance, just choose AF-C with Continuous High Extended - and there is no hesitation or blackout at all.

The viewfinder works different in crop mode or with DX lenses. The crop is applied - there is no greyed out area or border as in a DSLR. So the crop view is magnified and fills the entire frame - or as much as possible.

The EVF also has other functions - live zoom to as much as 100% and a live histogram. It will take a little time, but the zoom EVF should be very useful for close focus on distant wildlife or just making sure you have nailed focus with a static subject. I can see using the magnified EVF in place of binoculars for birding and photography.

Focus peaking is a nice plus - especially for manual focus. You can quickly see exactly what is in sharpest focus eith er with stills or video.

Finally - VR is becoming a thing of the past with future lenses supported with In Body Image Stabilization. IBIS works for all the old lenses and unstabilized lenses - and stabilizes the viewfinder. I was using a 55mm f/2.8 macro lens handheld with manual focus at 1/10 sec - something that would be very difficult with my D850. And I'm getting a half dozen test shots that are all in sharp focus at f/2.8.

Eric Bowles
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