Nikon Z Interview by

Germany website has an interview with Nikon executives about the new Nikon Z6 & Z7 full frame Z mirrorless cameras.

Below is the detail of the interview: (Translated by Google)

If you take a picture of my Sony Alpha 7R2 with a preset aperture, it focusses on F11 at this aperture. If the aperture is even smaller, the aperture opens minimally (an estimated aperture value). With small pre-selected apertures, the focus sometimes “does not sit properly”. How does the Nikon Z 7 behave at pre-selected apertures?

This is an interesting aspect that you address, we have the current Sony Alpha 7 III with the 24-105 F4 G lens in the editor, so I could compare the behavior of this camera with the Nikon Z7. Both behave very differently.

The Sony actually sets the aperture at manually preselected aperture, which one sees as number in the display, closes the aperture thus z. For example, on F16. For focusing, the aperture in the lens opens fully for a short time. Our F4 lens is focused accordingly with aperture F4. After that, the iris closes again to the set value. On the monitor you can see the opening of the aperture with a short extreme brightness change (“flashing”), in addition you hear the aperture open and then jump again. Apparently, Sony wants to make sure that the focusing is done with the lowest possible depth of field, ie maximum precision. This applies, as I said, for the Sony Alpha 7 III, so the currently latest 7 Series from Sony. The behavior of your 7R2 is very different.

The Nikon fades with both currently available lenses (zoom and 35mm fixed focal length) before the actual recording to a maximum of F5.6, even if you z. For example, set F16. With small apertures (F6.3 and higher) you basically do not get a realistic depth of field impression in the preview. Nikon may think that previewing the depth of field is more relevant for large apertures. Focusing is done on the Nikon Z 7 at the preset aperture value, but not more than F5.6 (the aperture does not open when focusing). Accordingly, the brightness in the viewfinder remains absolutely constant and you only hear the focus engine but no aperture. F5.6 is certainly good for focusing (much better than F11 or F16, for example).

Which method is the better, I would not presume to judge. The absolutely inconspicuous behavior of the Nikon with completely quiet viewfinder image in conjunction with the significantly better viewfinder leads me to forget that sometimes I even look through an electronic viewfinder. In addition, I like the Nikon Z 7 the “calm” way to photograph, without Aperture and with very quiet autofocus (but the current Sony Alpha 7 III is undoubtedly synonymous a great camera).

In the coverage of the Canon EOS R I read about your 1.7x Crop 4K videos. Do the Nikon Z cameras have no crop?

The Nikon Z 6 will actually have no crop, but a so-called full frame readout (ie the whole sensor is read out). It is therefore only a trimming of native 3: 2 aspect ratio to 16: 9 aspect ratio (top and bottom is a little cut to 16: 9 aspect ratio to come, the width of the sensor is fully utilized). This applies to the Z 6 both for 4K videos as synonymous for FullHD videos with 120 frames / s.

Nikon Z 7 with its 45.7 megapixels also uses the full sensor range at 4K and FullHD with refresh rates up to 60 füs. With FullHD at 120 fps, it switches to the so-called DX format, ie APS-C (ie approx. 1.5 times the crop factor).

We also looked at what the electronic image stabilizer “costs” at pixels or focal length: at 4K and FullHD to 60 fps, the effectively used area is still about 7,434 x 4,182 pixels (really only about that is difficult to determine exactly). This corresponds to a crop of about 1.16. This is very little and with freehand shots you will certainly like to use (when shooting from the tripod or with a gimbal you can of course do without it). At 1080p120 approximately 5,390 x 3,032 pixels are used. Since we come arithmetically to 1.6 times Crop. According to Nikon, the electronic image stabilizer should not be as effective on 120fps videos as in the modes where the whole sensor is used.

How has Nikon protected the sensor in the Z camera against dust, since there is no mirror as “dust protection”?

The Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 have a sensor cleaning function (shaking / shaking the sensor to work independently of the image stabilizer) and a menu item to enable it. In addition, the sensor can of course be cleaned “by hand” (of course, only carefully / professionally). I would doubt that a mirror has a meaningful function as a dust cover. Just by the flip of the mirror, the likelihood is great that loose dust there quickly drops again and then find the way to the sensor. In this respect, a mirrorless camera in this regard is not likely to behave much differently than a SLR camera (in which one may also need to clean the sensor from time to time). Tip: When changing the lens, hold the camera opening down,

Can I use the AF Nikkor 14 mm 1: 2.8D ED with the FTZ adapter on the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 or which is the shortest focal length that can be used on the adapter?

The extreme wide-angle lens 14 mm 1: 2.8 ED should be used with the FTZ adapter on the Nikon Z cameras, it is not included in our preliminary list of incompatible lenses. However, fisheye lenses (6 mm 1: 5.6, 7.5 mm 1: 5.6, 8 mm 1: 8, OP 10 mm 1: 5.6) are generally not compatible.

The Nikon D850 and the ES-2 adapter can be used to digitize color or black-and-white slides or negatives. Is this possibility also with the cameras of the Z system?

The Nikon Z 7 currently offers no menu option “negative digitization” like the D850. Whether such with a later firmware update is still retrofitted, we are currently unknown.

How high is the loss of light of an adapted lens when using the FTZ bayonet adapter?

The FTZ adapter for using Nikon F lenses on a Nikon Z camera produces no loss of light at all. The FTZ adapter contains no optical elements (lenses), as it is the case with a teleconverter. It merely bridges the distance to the sensor, which occupies the mirror box in a SLR camera, and transmits the electrical signals.

What is the correct spelling of the type designation of the cameras, with or without spaces?

The correct spelling is with spaces, so Nikon Z 6 and Nikon Z 7 (not Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7).

In the live broadcast of the launch event, I’ve heard Japanese Nikon staff say it’s “Nikon See Sistem,” actually “Nikon C System,” why?

This is the American pronunciation of the letter “Z” and in fact confusing for us Europeans. An Englishman would rather speak of the “Nikon Sett System”. In German, simply the German name, pronounced “Nikon Zett System”, will establish itself. That is perfectly OK, there is really no reason not to pronounce the letter typical of the country. Incidentally, the Japanese usually pronounce “Nikon” “Nikon”, as we do in Germany (and not in English “Neikon”).

Was that the Nikon DSLRs and the Nikon F bayonet? Are now no new cameras and lenses developed because all the development power goes into the new Nikon Z system?

Nikon says (of course) “SLR will definitely be developed!”. Nikon wants to keep the market share in the DSLR area and in the KB-full format the number 1 by value (not necessarily by number). In my personal opinion, Nikon will not neglect the still important DSLR segment and continue to incorporate in the cameras all technical innovations in new products. In particular, innovations such as powerful processors, new firmware, improved sensor technology and the like benefit both systems equally and will lead to further developments in both the DSLR and the DSLM sector. In the DSLR lenses Nikon is already practically complete and very well positioned. For the lenses, I assume Nikon will focus on the Z system in the near future. The published roadmap is indeed quite ambitious and will certainly make good use of the lens developers.

If the large Nikon Z bayonet with its 55 mm inner diameter basically for larger sensor diagonals, ie z. Medium format, suitable?

Nikon says the Z-bayonet is optimized to full-frame KB and Nikon has no plans for an even larger sensor in the bayonet. My personal assessment is that this would be fundamentally or technically possible; one would not have thought earlier that Sony in the actually designed for APS-C format E-Mount would once very successful squeeze a small picture sensor. But technically and above all commercial, an even larger sensor probably has no meaning. The image circle of the lenses that would have been created would not be enough – new lenses would have to be developed for the even larger sensor.

Which manufacturer are the image sensors from?

According to Nikon, the sensors were developed by Nikon and are manufactured according to Nikon specifications by a sensor manufacturer. Which this is, does not betray Nikon.

The cameras are called Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, not Nikon Z 1 and Z 2, which leaves space for free. Are there nice plans for more Nikon Z camera models?

Of course, Nikon does not say anything about that at the moment, not even about how future numbering will work in the Z system. So we can only speculate. Both cameras are technically, except for the sensor resolution, very similar and with their performance currently in the top class settled. The case quality is great. But a still settled above the Z 7 camera is of course quite conceivable. Maybe with a RJ45 network connection, as with the Sony Alpha 9th A second memory card slot already miss some potential users. Even portrait controls (optionally optional as a battery grip) would certainly have to have a still higher settled model. For the Z 6 and Z 7, on the other hand, the focus was on a housing that was as compact as possible.

And if Nikon wants to reach large quantities, the price range below the Z 6 and Z 7 must certainly be developed in the medium term. But that makes sense only together with a second, less expensive lens line. Both will certainly come in the long term, but in my opinion, not in this decade.

Following the naming logic of the Z 6 and Z 7, even higher-quality cameras would have to carry a higher number (but probably remain single-digit, ie Nikon Z 8 and Z 9). Less expensive cameras would be located in the range of Z 1 to Z 5. The fact that Nikon launches with the type designations Z 6 and Z 7, actually indicates that the manufacturer sees in full-frame in the long term also many opportunities for lower-priced cameras. Looking a few years into the future, the full-frame format could take on the status of the APS-C format.

The Nikon internal model designation of the Z 7 is the way N1710, the Z 6 will probably have the number N1711. Under these numbers, the cameras were registered in early 2018 with their wireless technology (WiFi and Bluetooth) at the certification authority. N1710 is on the Nikon Z 7 also on the nameplate under the LCD monitor and in the manual.

  • Picture The Nikkor Z 24-70 mm F4 S is an "expandable". Already for the wide angle position, it has to be extended a bit. It is retracted for transport, so that it is as compact as possible. [Photo: MediaNord]

    The Nikkor Z 24-70 mm F4 S is an “expandable”. Already for the wide angle position, it has to be extended a bit. It is retracted for transport, so that it is as compact as possible. [Photo: MediaNord]

Is the Nikon Z bayonet licensed to other manufacturers? Will there be third party lenses for the system?

The bayonet interface should not be licensed to other manufacturers according to Nikon and interface information is not made public. If third-party lenses are to be launched on the market in the future, then they would have to be developed by reverse engineering.

How long did the development take on the system? When did the decision to consistently set to 35 mm full frame fell?

For such questions Nikon always says that this question can not be answered, one would have watched the market continuously, and so on. Nikon does not look into it. It can be assumed, however, that the development in total should have lasted at least two to three years and that the decision to set all the way to full frame format was made at the very beginning of the concrete development phase.

Why do the first fixed focal lengths only have a light intensity of F1.8 (and not F1.4, for example), where Nikon has just proven the suitability of the large bayonet for very high light levels?

F1.8 offers the best compromise between size, image performance and price. At a light intensity of F1.4, the lenses would be much larger and more expensive with the same imaging performance. Both would be unfavorable for the beginning.

What is the resolution of the lenses in line pairs per millimeter? Are the Z-System lenses better than comparable lenses for the Nikon F bayonet?

At the moment you can only compare the Z 35 mm F1.8 S lens with the Nikon AF-S 35 mm 1.8G ED for the Nikon F bayonet. The latter is 300 euros cheaper than the Z-lens and delivered in our laboratory on the Nikon D800E dimmed about 73 line pairs resolution in the center of the image, with open panel, however, only 43 lp / mm. At the edge of the picture, the maximum is a good 62 lp / mm, but only 41 lp / mm in the case of the aperture. The Nikon Z 35 mm F1.8 S on the Nikon Z 7 actually does a lot more. It is at a maximum above 85 lp / mm, but only slightly less at open lids at 79 lp / mm. Even in the corners is more to see: over 71 lp / mm in the maximum and here at open aperture with just under 59 lp / mm much more than the comparable DSLR lens. The Z-Lens is actually worth its extra price and it can also be fully exploited very well use. If you want to see it all in graphs and detailed tables, it’s best to check our lab test logs.

All previously introduced lenses of the Z system carry the suffix “S” or Nikon also speaks of the “S-Line”. Will there be other (cheaper?) Lens lines?

The “S” is actually for “Superior” and therefore for the highest quality, About future developments Nikon makes, except the published lens roadmap, no information. Personally, I assume that all lenses included in the roadmap will be part of the S-Line, which means lenses with a particularly high image quality. At least when Nikon but wants to penetrate once with the system in lower price ranges, cheaper lenses are required (at least the usual standard zoom and actually a telephoto zoom and at least a budget fixed focal length in the range of 35 mm or 50 mm). But this is currently pure speculation.

The Nikon Z 58mm Noct S is heralded as a manual focus lens. Why does the super-light lens not autofocus?

This has several reasons, explain the developers of Nikon. Normally, try to keep the lenses inside the lens, which are moved by the autofocus unit, as small as possible, in order to realize a low moving mass and with appropriately dimensioned motors a fast, precise autofocus. In the case of the high-speed Noct, however, the lens group moved during focusing is necessarily quite large. If you wanted to move them through autofocus motors, they would have to be strong and big again. This would further increase the size of the already large and heavy lens and also push the price much further up. Possibly, say the developers, an autofocus in such a lens would also bring optical quality losses.

  • Image The Nikon Nikkor Z 58 mm S 1: 0.95 Noct has an extreme light intensity of F0.95 and is manually focused. An autofocus would make the lens even larger and more expensive and possibly have a negative impact on the picture quality. [Photo: Nikon]

    The Nikon Nikkor Z 58 mm S 1: 0.95 Noct has an extreme light intensity of F0.95 and is manually focused. An autofocus would make the lens even larger and more expensive and possibly have a negative impact on the picture quality. [Photo: Nikon]

Is there an approximate retail price for the Nikon Z 58mm Noct S announced for 2019?

Not officially. My personal assessment: The Nikon developers emphasized again and again in the presentation of the system, the great symbol character, the F0,95 lens. I understand this so that the Noct is apparently more about showing the limits of what is possible than to sell this lens in larger quantities. The price is expected to be very high (prohibitive for normal users).

What will the battery grip do? Will this also have additional portrait controls?

At the launch of the Nikon Z system, there was only one really early non-functional mock-up, apparently made by 3D printing. So far, it is only known that the additional handle should accommodate two batteries and thus approximately double the battery life. Since the camera has no contacts on the bottom, I do not see how control information of possible controls could be transmitted to the camera. Also in the battery compartment of the camera, apart from the battery contacts, no further connections are recognizable. In principle, it would of course be possible to connect the handle by cable to the side remote trigger interface, which is located directly above the handle, but this would not be a particularly elegant solution.

How fast is the battery in the camera charged via USB-C socket in the camera?

In a first test, the battery was fully charged within about 2.5 hours from “nearly empty” (red battery warning on the camera screen, but some photos were still possible). I used a powerful notebook power supply. The charging of the batteries in the supplied charging cradle (battery charger MH-25a) is by the way Nikon with 2:35 h for the charge of completely empty to full, ie the battery inside and outside the camera charged approximately equally fast.

Incidentally, charging within the camera only works with the supplied rechargeable battery EN-EL15b. The previous models EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a can not be charged in the camera, but only externally in the battery charger supplied with the camera.

  • Bild The supplied Nikon EN-EL15b battery can be charged directly in the camera. The older types EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a also fit, but can only be charged in the charger supplied with the camera. [Photo: MediaNord]

    The supplied Nikon EN-EL15b battery can be charged directly in the camera. The older types EN-EL15 and EN-EL15a also fit, but can only be charged in the charger supplied with the camera. [Photo: MediaNord]

Can the camera be permanently operated via the USB-C socket?

No, that does not work. Connected to a battery pack or AC adapter, the camera does not automatically go to standby, but the camera obviously does not get its power from the USB port, but the internal battery is discharged (with several power banks and power supplies tried). As soon as the camera is switched off, the battery is recharged internally.

For permanent operation of the camera to mains power you need the optional battery compartment EP-5B. This is used instead of the battery in the battery compartment. Through a small recess with rubber closure in the handle of the camera, the cable is led to the outside and connected to the also optional power adapter EH-5c / EH-5b. Thus, of course, only operation on mains power is possible, a long-term operation in the wild (for example, for time-lapse recordings), however, not.

Can the camera be recharged in the car via a USB power pack or on the cigar brother USB charging adapter?

Basically, both work with some devices, but not with others. At the moment we can not make any clear statements as to which prerequisites must be fulfilled. For the only on the Z 7 (but not on the Z 6) supplied “power adapter with battery charging” EH-7P Nikon 5 V 3 A indicates. It should work with USB chargers delivering 3 A to 5 V. However, we also had luck with some power supplies and in-car USB outlets where we pretty much assume that they will not deliver 3 amps (how long then the charge takes in the camera, we have not yet determined). Basically, all we can say right now is that if you already have a device that you want to use, just give it a try.

It is fairly certain that many popular 10W (5V 2 A) USB chargers and 2A car USB adapters will not work, as well as small additional smart phone batteries. Neither with an Apple iPad plug-in charger, nor the well-known Pixo C4 universal charger, the battery could be charged in the Z 7, as well as not with the usual small smartphone additional batteries. However, charging does work with “fat” extra high capacity batteries. And even with all the powerful power supplies (notebook chargers with USB-C port and PowerDelivery), charging was easy (and fast). We successfully tested the following devices of the company Aukey with the Nikon Z 7: Car adapter Aukey CC-Y1 (with USB-A and USB-C, supplies 5 V 3 A), 20.000mAh universal power bank PB-Y14 (many different USB ports, delivers 5V 3 A) and 26.

How does it work with the Z 6 and Z 7 with GPS receivers that are connected by cable or plug or via Bluetooth?

Nikon has just two possible ways to do this: either the external GPS receiver Nikon GP-1A, which is connected by cable to the accessory port of the camera or a smartphone with Android or iOS and Nikon Snapbridge app that connects via Bluetooth with the Camera communicates. Both ways work pretty well. We both describe each in detail in a photo tip (the GP-1A has already appeared, which will be released to Snapbridge next week).

External GPS receivers with Bluetooth can not work with the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, because Bluetooth always requires Snapbridge. Whether Nikon-compatible external GPS devices that are similar to the Nikon GP-1A that work on the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 can only show an individual test that you or the manufacturer must perform.

Is there a transmission of compass values, as they are shown in some smartphones in their internal photos?

The GPS receiver GP-1A has no internal compass. A storage camera orientation is thus not present in the Z 6 and Z 7. Even on the smartphone, such a thing can not work, since the orientation of the smartphone when recording yes is unknown.

  • Picture Nikon Z 7 with GP-1A GPS receiver. The hot shoe is then only for attachment. The electrical connection is made via the cable. [Photo: MediaNord]

    Nikon Z 7 with GP-1A GPS receiver. The hot shoe is then only for attachment. The electrical connection is made via the cable. [Photo: MediaNord]

Are Smartwach models known, with which the location in combination with the Z-cameras works perfectly?

Geo-coordinates via Bluetooth require the Nikon Snapbridge app, which is currently only available for smartphones, but not for smartwatches.

Do existing remote control solutions work with the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7?

Both cameras have the bottom left of the housing, the rectangular Nikon remote control socket, in the z. For example, the Nikon MC-DC2 remote release or the WR-1 and WR-R10 wireless controllers can be plugged in. Remote controls that are compatible with Nikon remote controls could also work in principle, but this must certainly be checked in individual cases.

The smartphone app Nikon Snapbridge has also mastered the remote control of Snapbridge-compatible Nikon cameras via Wi-Fi with live preview on the smart device and the possibility of setting some important camera functions.

Does the Z-series provide a depth of field enhancement function, such as: Eg the D850?

Up to 300 photos can be taken automatically one after the other, with the focus point shifting slightly from image to image. The function can be configured in many ways (number of shots, increment of the focus adjustment, storage of the image stack in a new folder and much more). The processing of the recorded image series must be done externally.

The cameras do not have an internal flash. How are external unleashed flash units remotely controlled?

The Nikon SB-5000 system flash unit can be remotely controlled using the WR-R10 radio remote control, which plugs into the remote control socket on the bottom left of the camera. The SB-5000 and all other Nikon remote controlled flash units can also be controlled with the Nikon SU-800 infrared remote control unit, which plugs into the Z 6 or Z 7 hot shoe.

  • Picture The Nikon Z 7 is compatible with all Nikon flashes and other flash accessories. Here is the Nikon SB-5000 plugged. [Photo: MediaNord]

    The Nikon Z 7 is compatible with all Nikon flashes and other flash accessories. Here is the Nikon SB-5000 plugged. [Photo: MediaNord]

Do Z 6 and Z 7 offer an automatic viewfinder lens (enlarged view of the middle part of the picture) when turning the focus ring when manually focusing?

An automatic viewfinder, as you know them from, for example, Olympus or Panasonic, Nikon does not have. With the magnifying glass plus button, however, the magnifying glass function can be activated manually at any time and the screen section then jumps immediately to a section that is comparable to the usual automatic viewfinder. However, the high-resolution viewfinder of the Z 6 and Z 7 is so sharp that you can focus quite precisely even without a viewfinder.