Images and Text by Jerred Zegelis
Some of the most enjoyable times I've had photographing this year has been with the Nikon Z system, and I look forward to more time with the Z cameras (and amazing Nikkor lenses!) in 2022.
I've taken thousands of images over the last few months with every current Z camera, and these are my thoughts:
1 - The ergonomics across the board are superb.The handling, feel of the body, and tactile input across all Z cameras are fantastic. The way cameras feel in a person's hand is highly subjective, of course, but in talking with other photographers, Nikon has been known to make cameras that are comfortable to shoot with. Even the entry-level Z5 feels fantastic, and from pure handling along, I'd have never guessed it was almost half the cost of the Z7.
2 - The Z5 is a powerful entry-level camera.
With the Nikkor Z 24-50 and Z 24-70 lenses, the camera performed flawlessly on a recent trip to Tenessee. Again, I’m just enthralled by how well the Z5 handles, even with these “kit” lenses. There are times with some of the other systems I’ve used that the words “kit lens” brings a frown to the photographer’s face. Not here. Both lenses performed with snappy autofocus in good light, and the image quality across the board is strong. While the 24-50 was a bit “slow” for my purposes at low light, I still can’t argue with the image quality. On a full frame sensor at 24 mm, the 24-50 was able to capture fantastic detail across the entire range of the scene. The Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 is just a solid, accurate, fast-focusing lens that was a joy to use in the field.
3. The Z6II is fast. Really fast.The camera has a more advanced 24-megapixel sensor than the Z5 and shines in low-light situations and in places when you need fast burst shooting. It's a great camera to choose in almost every situation, able to capture fast-moving kids and then take to the garden for some amazingly detailed nature shots. Having two card slots and weather sealing only makes it a better all-arounder for portrait and wedding photographers.
4 - The Nikon Z7 II sensor is something to behold.
I’m not kidding here. I’ll admit that when I first loaded up some of the files from the 45.7 megapixel sensor, I thought “these look pretty good,” but they didn't blow me away immediately. However, when I started actually working with the files, I realized that they are incredibly rich in detail and gives the photographer many options in the editing stage.
Check out this initial image at base ISO 64, which I accidentally underexposed by quite a lot.
Now, check out the “fixed” version where I increased the exposure in Lightroom:
Fantastic, right? Prepare to be even more impressed, however, when I show you this corrected image zoomed in:
The way it kept the shadow detail is stunning. Bringing all that back in post processing sometimes introduces muddy details and grainy shadows, but with the Nikon Z7 II, those shadows are rich and clean!
Nikon has proven that the Z series of mirrorless cameras has something for every level and type of photographer, and with the Z9 coming out soon, the opportunities for photographic excellence are endless!
Below are some photographs taken with the Z system recently:
For more information about local photographer, Jerred Zegelis and to see his work, visit his website - https://jerredz.com/about/
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