Words and Images by Jerred Zegelis
Until recently I hadn't had much experience with some of the new mirrorless systems out there.
I had already made my own personal jump to mirrorless years ago with Fuji, when Nikon and Canon were just making tentative steps into the field.
So it's been a ton of fun recently to use the Z6 and Z5 full-frame mirrorless cameras from Nikon for some of my photography outings. I took them out exploring into my back yard, Heron Haven, and a few more random spots around the Omaha area.
What's stood out to me more than anything are the way they fit in my hand. The Nikon Z cameras just fit about as perfectly as I could want. On my two-plus hour walk yesterday with the Z5 and the 105mm macro, I mostly held the camera by hand the entire time. The weight distribution and balance seem just about perfect for me with that lens and also the 24-70 F/4.
Coming from Fuji, I'm going to have to admit that using the Nikon Z's were much more comfortable than my X-Pro3, which I find a little cramped.
For a lot of photographers the "fit" in the hand isn't the first thing to consider when purchasing a camera, but as a photography teacher, I really do practice my own advice to students: buy the camera that you enjoy using the most (and that fits with what you want to accomplish). For me, the Nikon Z cameras impressed me so much that if I did leave Fuji, I might skip Sony completely (my wife's Sony A7III is an incredible camera, but never felt right in my hands) and head on over to Nikon.
Other things that impressed me:
The autofocus worked fine for what I do, quickly focusing on leaves and flowers as they swayed in the wind. I used both continuous and single autofocus modes with positive results, though I had to go with manual focus for some of the windier shots, but that's normal for hand-held macro photography. Nikon has drastically improved the autofocus on the newer Z series cameras, but since I don't shoot sports or photograph fast-moving birds, this is not a feature I use often.
And the image quality? Fantastic. Using full frame sensors again after years of using Fuji has reminded me that there really are benefits to bigger sensors. The high ISO shots are wonderful. The backgrounds are easier to blur.
Finally, the cameras performed quickly and responded pretty much instantly to anything I asked it to do.
The menus are a little confusing, with options hidden deep within other options - but I'll chalk that up to me not being used to the Nikon system.
Overall my time with the Nikon Z system was a lot of fun, and the Z5 especially attractive for the price it's going for!
For more information about local photographer, Jerred Zegelis and to see his work, visit his website - https://jerredz.com/about/
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