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by archfotos on Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:58 am
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Now that the dust has settled on the release of the z7  curious to hear actual experience?  Is there any benefit over the a7r3?  It uses the Sony sensor so are they the same or is there a real world difference.  I thought the a7r3 was released a bit early and am wondering if it's already showing its age? The pixel shift doesn't sound to be up to par with Pentax's system and you need to use Sony's software? Seems like a workflow nightmare???

My subjects are static, no BIF.   

Most of the reviews I've read imho are always put out way too soon.  So any thoughts now that people have truly had time to use the cameras through a multitude of situations would be very appreciated.

thanks

jeff
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:18 am
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I just recently acquired the Z7 and also own the A7R3. I will give my limited impression so far. The Z7 "feels" better in hand, and I found my way around it pretty quickly without having to resort to the manual. The A7R3 will take longer and is not as comfortable in hand. The differences in sensor performance are too small for me to quibble about. I do like the built-in focus stepping of the Z7.
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:53 am
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archfotos wrote:
Now that the dust has settled on the release of the z7  curious to hear actual experience?  Is there any benefit over the a7r3?

My subjects are static, no BIF.   

jeff


I don’t have any “actual experience” with either camera, but if you shoot mostly static subjects like those on your website, the focus stacking ability (or focus stepping) of the z 7 would seem to be a highly desirable feature. It’s not available on the Sony. Here’s a link to an article on the subject:

https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-z7/6

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by archfotos on Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 am
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
archfotos wrote:
Now that the dust has settled on the release of the z7  curious to hear actual experience?  Is there any benefit over the a7r3?

My subjects are static, no BIF.   

jeff


I don’t have any “actual experience” with either camera, but if you shoot mostly static subjects like those on your website, the focus stacking ability (or focus stepping) of the z 7 would seem to be a highly desirable feature. It’s not available on the Sony. Here’s a link to an article on the subject:

https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-z7/6

Joe



thanks you guys for the insights,  Yes I really like the idea of focus stacking, however most of my lenses where I would want to use this with are manual focus.  Any thoughts on Sony's pixel shift workflow is it a no go, is it a PITA, after the release I don't hear much?

thanks,

jeff
 
 

by Mike in O on Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:16 pm
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Playing with On1 software...focus stacking is just a matter of picking the images you want to stack and pushing a button. No need to worry about weak operating system in camera trying to do it. I have not tried with any other SW but I am sure lots are available. In camera stacking would probably be great for the Instagram generation.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:16 pm
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Mike in O wrote:
Playing with On1 software...focus stacking is just a matter of picking the images you want to stack and pushing a button.  No need to worry about weak operating system in camera trying to do it.  I have not tried with any other SW  but I am sure lots are available.  In camera stacking would probably be great for the Instagram generation.


If you read the article I linked to, you will see that the camera only does the incremental captures which are the loaded to and processed by the computer. It is not in-camera processing.

Joe
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by Gary Irwin on Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:43 pm
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Scott Fairbairn wrote:
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.


I hate to say it but IMO the Z7's AF is still hopeless for shooting wildlife even with the 500PF. I hope Nikon can pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming firmware update though, because I'd really like to be able to use the Z7 with the 500PF...it's a perfect match. I'd happy just to be able to shoot static subjects with it due to the quieter shutter (as opposed to the D850). 
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by E.J. Peiker on Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:16 pm
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Writing an article on that now for my spring newsletter out in two weeks :)
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:46 pm
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Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.


I hate to say it but IMO the Z7's AF is still hopeless for shooting wildlife even with the 500PF. I hope Nikon can pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming firmware update though, because I'd really like to be able to use the Z7 with the 500PF...it's a perfect match. I'd happy just to be able to shoot static subjects with it due to the quieter shutter (as opposed to the D850). 



Have you used the 500 with the Z7? I was hoping it would be passable at the very least for relatively static subjects like perched birds, swimming ducks. If it can't do that, then oh boy, did I buy the wrong camera.
 

by Gary Irwin on Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:25 pm
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Scott Fairbairn wrote:
Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.


I hate to say it but IMO the Z7's AF is still hopeless for shooting wildlife even with the 500PF. I hope Nikon can pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming firmware update though, because I'd really like to be able to use the Z7 with the 500PF...it's a perfect match. I'd happy just to be able to shoot static subjects with it due to the quieter shutter (as opposed to the D850). 



Have you used the 500 with the Z7? I was hoping it would be passable at the very least for relatively static subjects like perched birds, swimming ducks. If it can't do that, then oh boy, did I buy the wrong camera.


Yes, I have the z7 and 500PF. The Z7's AF is quite acceptable PROVIDED the light is decent AND contrast is good...otherwise AF-C -- even single point on static subjects -- really struggles (relative to my D850). I don't even bother trying to shoot dynamic AF-C in any situations...it's a waste of time. 
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:37 pm
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Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.


I hate to say it but IMO the Z7's AF is still hopeless for shooting wildlife even with the 500PF. I hope Nikon can pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming firmware update though, because I'd really like to be able to use the Z7 with the 500PF...it's a perfect match. I'd happy just to be able to shoot static subjects with it due to the quieter shutter (as opposed to the D850). 



Have you used the 500 with the Z7? I was hoping it would be passable at the very least for relatively static subjects like perched birds, swimming ducks. If it can't do that, then oh boy, did I buy the wrong camera.


Yes, I have the z7 and 500PF. The Z7's AF is quite acceptable PROVIDED the light is decent AND contrast is good...otherwise AF-C -- even single point on static subjects -- really struggles (relative to my D850). I don't even bother trying to shoot dynamic AF-C in any situations...it's a waste of time. 


Ok thanks. That’s disappointing to hear. I read Thom Hogan’s review and he made it seem like it wasn’t that bad. I guess I’ll need to decide between a D500 or D850 for the action body.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:50 pm
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For those that are unaware - there is a new FW coming soon that significantly improves the AF system...  for both cameras!!!
 

by Gary Irwin on Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:23 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
For those that are unaware - there is a new FW coming soon that significantly improves the AF system...  for both cameras!!!

Well, all we know for sure is that it adds eye-AF (as demonstrated by Youtube videos...though accuracy is unknown) and low light AF is supposed to be better but Nikon said nothing about improving dynamic AF-C. We shall see.
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by Gary Irwin on Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:29 pm
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Scott Fairbairn wrote:
Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
Gary Irwin wrote:
Scott Fairbairn wrote:
The one difference that may be important is that the continuous autofocus is superior on the Sony. I'm still fighting with it on the Z7, but my initial impression is that it's nearly hopeless, but I'm hoping more familiarity will prove me wrong. I'm waiting for the 500PF to arrive and I'll see how it performs with that lens.


I hate to say it but IMO the Z7's AF is still hopeless for shooting wildlife even with the 500PF. I hope Nikon can pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming firmware update though, because I'd really like to be able to use the Z7 with the 500PF...it's a perfect match. I'd happy just to be able to shoot static subjects with it due to the quieter shutter (as opposed to the D850). 



Have you used the 500 with the Z7? I was hoping it would be passable at the very least for relatively static subjects like perched birds, swimming ducks. If it can't do that, then oh boy, did I buy the wrong camera.


Yes, I have the z7 and 500PF. The Z7's AF is quite acceptable PROVIDED the light is decent AND contrast is good...otherwise AF-C -- even single point on static subjects -- really struggles (relative to my D850). I don't even bother trying to shoot dynamic AF-C in any situations...it's a waste of time. 


Ok thanks. That’s disappointing to hear. I read Thom Hogan’s review and he made it seem like it wasn’t that bad. I guess I’ll need to decide between a D500 or D850 for the action body.


Yes, unfortunately none of the more positive reports of the Z's AF are from true birders. I have to remind myself from time to time that birding is, without question, the single most demanding type of photography there is. Period. Anything but the best equipment simply doesn't cut it when your subject is (1) naturally elusive (2) can fly in any direction at any time (3) couldn't care less about what makes a nice perch or where the light is coming from (4) has no boundaries to constrain it and (5) refuses to do the same thing twice in a row. ;-)
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by E.J. Peiker on Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:23 pm
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The discussion is actually about static subject AF according to the original post. The Z7 will never have a9 like mirrorless focus performance for BIF and probably not as good as the a7R III for that either.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:31 pm
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Here’s a link to a video on the z 7 with the 500 f4 and 200-500 for BIF + stills and video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DQFPjvIBQfE#fauxfullscreen

Not the 500PF and somewhat limited, IMO, but the video AF is highly praised.

Joe
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by Gary Irwin on Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:55 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
The discussion is actually about static subject AF according to the original post.  The Z7 will never have a9 like mirrorless focus performance for BIF and probably not as good as the a7R III for that either.


I quit using my Z7 for birding not because of poor performance with dynamic AF-C but because of poor performance just shooting AF-C single point. The Z7 struggles to autofocus on low contrast subjects in even moderate light...situations where my D850 doesn't hesitate. In shade or heavy overcast, for example, where the subject is way OOF autofocus will simply lock up on the Z7 w/500PF no matter how long I hold the AF-ON button or pump it. The only way to unfreeze it is to manually focus to get the subject roughly in focus, whereafter the AF would work, or to point the camera at a high-contrast area at the same distance as the subject, focus on that, then swich back to the subject. The surprising thing to me that the light wasn't that low. My D850 can exhibit similar behaviour sometimes, but only in much lower lighting conditions.

Now, Nikon has indicated the upcoming release will improve low light AF capability so there's hope. Fortunately I bought the Z7 for landscapes and macro'n such which I think it's well suited to, but I'd like to use it for some birding work as well due to it's light weight, small size and quiet shutter.
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:28 pm
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An excerpt from a much longer article on the state of full frame mirrorless from my upcoming newsletter on this very subject, this is from the perspective of landscape or static subject shooting -

If you are a Canon shooter of a 5D or 1D type body, I would not move into the Canon EOS R system at this time.  While the lenses are great and more coming, the bodies are just not up to the lenses yet.  Stay tuned, perhaps by the end of 2019 this will change.

If you are a Nikon shooter of any Nikon full frame camera, the water is getting warmer month by month.  The bodies are ergonomically the best on the full frame mirrorless market and the lenses that match them are starting to come out.  If the forthcoming firmware update does what Nikon claims, then the system will become one that I can wholeheartedly recommend, especially for landscape photography.

If you are either a Nikon or Canon full frame DSLR shooter, the time to switch to Sony has passed.  At this point I would wait until the system that you are invested in is ready to do what you need it to do and then make the switch.

If you are already a full frame Sony shooter, then staying where you are is probably the best bet unless you are fed up with poor repair service or desperately need menu improvements and better 
ergonomics.  Sony is overdue for some new body introductions so perhaps they are making some changes that address at least the ergonomics and menu weaknesses.
 

by Gary Irwin on Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:14 pm
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I think that's a pretty accurate summery E.J. I also expect we're going to see some pretty remarkable improvements from Canon and Nikon in the coming year or two as they try to catch up to Sony's mirrorless lead. Notwithstanding my frustrations with the Z7's AF, I like the camera very much and actually prefer shooting it over my D850. But the Z7 isn't ready for prime time birding, that's for sure. I think the upcoming firmware update will help narrow the performance gap with Sony, but I'm not expecting they can close the gap at this early juncture. Ergo, I expect to be keeping my D850 for a long time yet.
Gary prefers Nikon
 

by archfotos on Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:05 am
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I want to thank everyone for sharing their insights,  I truly appreciate the time and effort for posting.

thank you,
 

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