Nikons Z World
To Z or not to Z … . The Z-series of Nikon cameras is the change from lens-reflex to mirrorless design in the Nikon camera ecosystem. Its this design change that Sony made years ago and where other camera manufacturers found their niche to survive against the big DSLR duopoly (Canon/Nikon). Since in a shrinking market the profits slowly are reduced – this is clearly the way to go: less parts, less costs and profits with big sensor design and new possible better/sharper lenses on a new very high density sensor with a bigger mount and less lens-sensor distance.
So for most of us the switch to mirrorless is a natural step to upgrade to latest and best equipment. However in some photography domains the mirror-less design is just no yet clearly the best choice. In sports photography we need speed and battery capacity. Weight is not a concern since in sports photography the lenses are very heavy anyways – saving 500gr in body weight is useless when the lens wheigts above 5 kg and: the big sports tele lenses for the Nikon F-Mount are excellent, there is hardly much improvement when you fully move the the new S-Type tele lenses for the Z-Mount. Its different when we look at wide angle lenses.
The switch to the mirror-less systems is discussed everywhere since years – and I did not comment much on it. Both concepts have its pro and cons right now. For me I didnt see the big advantage for what I do since I mostly do outdoors and heavy sports shootings with very long lenses and/or extreme wide lenses or T/S systems. The Z won’t add much new possibilities for me. Power drain is higher with the Z cameras, you need new lenses to fully use the Z with all its advantages, overall the Z cameras are smaller – not an advantage for me – the old Z6 and Z7 systems had no battery pack (the mkII systems have one), the Z9 is finally where the “Z” becomes interesting for my kind of shootings but the investment is pretty high if you decide to go “full in” with new lenses (new set of trinity top f2.8 lenses) – so overall for me its wait and see what works for my style of shooting and what doesn’t. One big advantage of the mirrorless systems is with filming and slomo footage. Here a Z6mkII or the Nikon Z9 beast is clearly on my list. Mainly because high frame rates and raw movie formats make the difference if we want to do stunning slo-mo footage.
Since the market now quickly merges movies and stills we all have to combine gear that does both: high frame-rate footage and high res still-photography. So priority for me is equipment that can quickly be switched between both worlds and thats where the Z-cameras come into the game (and where DSLRs are old tech and wont work). So yes I will slowly transform my setup to the Z-system but this is a very slow transformation where I will start with a dedicated movie high frame rate Z camera body in 23 first (likely a Z9 or an Z850 equivalent if at all available) and very much later update lenses – primarily starting with the 14-24 f2.8 S version. But keep in mind that for most of our photography the lenses make the difference not the camera bodies. So investing in new lenses makes usually more sense than directly buying into the Z9. Since you cannot use a Z mount lens on an F-mount DSLR (there is no optical adapter) you have to buy a Z body to be able to use the S-Line lenses. Using a Z body however you can use all F-mount lenses with an adapter. So the transition with long F-mount lenses is easy. So exciting times ahead again for high speed photography.