Nikon Mirrorless Announcement - My Views by Philip Swallow

Ok, first and foremost this won't be a deep technical analysis of the Nikon Announcement, plenty of people have covered that already despite not having access to review units yet!

There will be some technical references however as I think they are necessary. This is mostly about my thoughts as a Nikon user and how I see the general direction of travel and when I will jump on board with this modern camera technology.

Overall, I think this is the right move for Nikon as it is the way the industry is heading. Sony have delivered some excellent Full Frame (FF) mirrorless bodies and a number of photographers have made the switch, one notable being Hannah Couzens who moved across from Canon earlier this year.

Sony going first has been good for them but it also allows the likes of Nikon (and Canon) to assess their offering and shape their own lineup accordingly. I don't think you always have to be first, but you do have to get it right. Worth noting here that Apple have typically watched the market and then delivered a world-beater, i.e. let the other guys to the R&D and test the market then strike your blow.

I never buy Version One of anything. It is the final beta version in so many cases. I will be regularly catching up with the real world reviews, YouTube coverage and sales numbers. But I don't expect to invest in a new Nikon Mirrorless body for around two years.

I do think it odd that they only provided one card slot but only time, sales and XQD performance will see if they rue that decision. Sony found a way of fitting two cards (SD, one slower than the other) in a smaller form factor FF mirrorless body but Nikon said it wasn't possible for these launch models. A response to a comment I made on Instagram about this saw the following reply from a Nikon employee "never seen an XQD card fail". As the saying goes, "there's a first time for everything" and a wedding shooter would not want to be at the mercy of that first failure! 

I think the pricing is realistic and some of the bundle offers look good (for 2018 only?). But that would still be Version One of course.

I'd like to understand more about battery life, which looks poor on paper. Add in a tether setup and you would really need to plug in the USB-C charging cable to keep it all going for a day in the studio - assuming this is possible. Generally the Nikon batteries have been so good and so reliable so this could be seen as a dilution but the EVF does cause drain so you can't have everything. I would have preferred a larger form factor that could have supported a larger battery . . .

I like the fact that Nikon have set out a draft lens roadmap. That suits my own high level timetable but again, let others experience them for real before I decide what to do. Having an adapter means I am under no pressure to replace everything straight away.

One other technical point is the AF. Sony have Eye AF, I've never tried it but people seem to like it. As a portrait photographer I am perfectly able to select the focus point and admit I have never craved something that needs to detect an eye! But some people think it is a missed opportunity.

So have they got it right? Very hard to say. This is a new era for the company, but it does seem like a mixed bag and it is impossible to please all the people all of the time. 

We shouldn't have to wait long for some proper feedback and commentary on this new hardware. The bodies will be released in late September (Z7) and late November (Z6) and review units will be available prior to then - exciting times!

So, are you going to pre-order, watch, wait, move systems?? I'd love to hear any comments you may have!