There are several focus modes, including 493 points of multipoint. You choose manual focus via a switch on the lens.
On the top right is an LCD panel showing useful information. The XQD card door is on the right (only one card is supported). The 14Wh battery slides into the hand grip. It’s rated at 330 shots using the viewfinder and 400 using the monitor, and 85 minutes for movies both ways. But all that depends, of course, on the various settings. The battery can be charged in place or in the included battery charger.
On the left side is a HDMI output, a USB Type-C socket for charging and photo/video transfer, a headphone output, a microphone input and a port for certain Nikon accessories. The Nikon Z7 also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
As usual, with a full function camera you can expect to find yourself ascending a fairly steep learning curve. That said, anyone with experience with a modern DSLR or MILC (mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera) should find no real difficulty.
It’s generally a good idea to at least glance through the manual before you head out to take photos of a multicultural festival. I didn’t.
Still, the only wobbles I had were when I was trying to set the shutter speed in shutter priority mode. I was thumbing the rear wheel and nothing was happening. It turns out that for that one you have to use the front wheel, not the rear one. Likewise, when attempting to choose between single and burst modes, the arrow keys did nothing. Ah, you use the rear thumb wheel for that one!
So, for me there were only a couple of familiarisation wobbles. After that, the camera could be used at any level, as easily as a point and shoot compact, or as carefully and slowly as circumstances demanded. Auto focus was fast and sure. I mostly used the rather versatile Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/4 S zoom lens. By default, with auto focus on I could half-press the shutter release to set focus, and then finely adjust it manually using the wonderfully smooth adjustment on the barrel.
The rear monitor folds out to 90 degrees for viewing from the top, and 45 degrees for viewing from below, always useful for taking photos in real-world circumstances.
Files and transfer
I started to do my usual speed check on transferring photos from camera to computer via the USB Type-C connection, and it proceeded at quite a leisurely pace. At which point, I quite lost confidence in what I was doing. It took 17 minutes and 20 seconds to transfer 22GB of content, consisting of 331 files. That’s slow (less than 22MB/s).
But the specifications of the camera clearly say “Type C connector (SuperSpeed USB); connection to built-in USB port is recommended”. Which means that the transfer should be at something well in excess of 100MB/s. It was at that point that I paused writing this review to investigate my USB Type-C cables. It turns out that all the cables I had to hand were only rated for USB 2.0, USB 3.0.
Unfortunately, Nikon suddenly announced that it needed the camera back, so I didn’t have time purchase a new SuperSpeed+ cable before the camera disappeared on me. I’m going to assume that it’s fast. You shouldn’t have that problem. The camera is supposed to come with a suitable USB cable. It was missing in the review one.
By default, the picture-taking format is set to full resolution “normal” JPEG mode. That gave pictures of around 10-12MB in size. You can choose the “Fine” setting. That pushes it up to around 24MB per picture. There are several RAW options. The one I settled on typically used just under 70MB per shot.
What can I say about the photos produced by this camera? Oh, so natural. Oh, so detailed. I really am in loved with the detail provided by 40+ megapixel cameras. The give you so much more flexibility when it comes to post. You can crop down to a tiny proportion of the original image, and still have a better result that typically provided by a phone camera.
What follow are a few photos I took, fairly carelessly, handheld and opportunistically. Canberra was having its annual February multicultural march, preparatory to the evening festival. I was at the staging area.
Multicultural festivals certainly are colourful. The camera clearly had no difficulties with that: