Nikon Z7 II review: a solid upgrade, but it lags behind its rivals

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Image Credit: Steve Dent / Engadget

Subject and face / eye tracking is also made easier with a new feature. If you’re shooting in a group, you can limit it to one area so it doesn’t jump on the wrong subject. This was a problem previously with Nikon’s ocular autofocus, as it tended to jump from subject to subject if more than one was in the frame.

If you want to use the silent electronic shutter so as not to disturb your subject, there is a big negative point with the Z7 II. It has a severe roller shutter effect, so if you move fast you may get skewed vertical lines.

The Z7 II has in-body stabilization, but it only offers 5 stops of shake reduction compared to 8 on the EOS R5. In the real world, this means you may need to shoot at a slightly higher shutter speed, or increase the ISO and risk a slightly noisier image.

Image quality

Gallery: Nikon Z7 II review image gallery | 34 Photos

Fortunately, the Z7 II delivers excellent high ISO performance for low-light situations, just behind Sony’s A7R IV for high-resolution full-frame cameras. I was able to get some good photos with usable noise up to around ISO 12800. And even at higher ISO levels, I didn’t lose much in terms of sharpness and color reproduction.

It also works great at the other end of the ISO scale. As before, you get a base ISO of 64, which is very handy for shooting outdoors in bright light. At such a low ISO level, I got extremely crisp, noise-free images, which allowed me to expose highlights and enhance shadows in post without adding much noise, even in sunny conditions and high contrast.

Overall, the Z7 II really delivers picture quality, with crisp photos, pleasing colors, and high dynamic range. It worked well on a fairly wide range of photos including people, landscapes, night scenes, animals, and more. This is important for a high resolution camera designed for shooting landscapes and studio portraits.

Video

Steve Dent / Engadget

As for video, I would recommend Nikon’s Z6 II over the Z7 II, as the latter is not really designed for this purpose. Still, the Z7 II is quite competent at video and much improved over the first model.

As usual, image stabilization works well for portable video as long as you’re not trying to walk or move around. With the latest enhancements from Nikon, video autofocus generally tracks moving or stationary subjects better than ever before, but it’s still not quite up to the latest Canon or Sony standards.

You can shoot 8-bit 4K / 60p video with a tiny 1.08X crop, rather than just 30fps like the original Z7. As before, however, the Z7 II skips the line for 4K video when using the full width of the sensor, unlike the Z6 II. You can only get crisp, oversampled video if you crop to an APS-C sensor size, which means you lose depth of field and get 1.5x zoom.

In addition to the line break, another issue with video shooting using the full width of the sensor is the roller shutter. If you try to pan the camera quickly you will get a very noticeable jello or line tilt. This is much less noticeable when shooting with an APS-C crop.

You can stream 10-bit N-Log or HLG HDR images, but only through the HDMI port to a compatible recorder. And unlike the Z7 at launch, the Z7 II supports external RAW video recording up to 4K (with cropping) or HD using the full sensor.

I have shot videos both internally and on external recorders using the N-log mode. Even using the full sensor, it was relatively sharp and produced rich, accurate colors. Thanks to the excellent dynamic range, I found that I had plenty of room to adjust the video in post, especially when shooting in newspaper or HLG mode. That said, the lack of internal 10-bit, log and RAW recording is a downside for professional videographers, compared to the Canon R5.

Wrap

Nikon Z7 II Reviews Gallery

Steve Dent / Engadget

When Nikon and Canon released their first full frame mirrorless cameras, I gave Nikon the edge. Now that Canon and Nikon have both released new standard and high-resolution cameras, what’s the verdict in 2021?

This time, Canon wins. While the Z7 II has slightly better picture quality, the R5 is superior in almost every respect. It’s much better for video and has superior autofocus, stabilization, and shooting speeds.

I would attribute this to the fact that with Canon’s improved technology, the EOS R5 is a giant leap from the EOS R. Nikon has only made iterative improvements, so the Z7 II lacks this. wow factor.

This is not to say that the Z7 II is a bad camera, and to $ 3,000, that’s almost a big minus than the R5. It’s also $ 500 cheaper than Sony’s A7R IV. If image quality is crucial and you’re on a budget, I would recommend the Z7 II. If money is less of an issue, I’d point you to the Sony A7R IV for landscape and studio work, or the Canon R5 if video is just as important – unless you want to wait for new models. generation of Nikon.

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