To "Z" or not to "Z"......?????

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flyguy

New member
Have worked my way from a Nikon D70s, to a D80, then a D300 and finally a D7100 before jumping into the very deep end and getting a D850, my first and only FX digital. Have had it for almost two years now, lots to learn about it, part of the challenge I accepted. The only downside is the darn weight of the camera; after a while it eventually gets to be more than I want to carry; three full days and nights at Disneyland in June of 2019 convinced me of that. That is when I started considering something between my D7100 and D850; something preferably FX. Have been thinking about a Z6, now a Z6 II; the snag, I have several older Nikkor manual focus primes from film days; they do OK on the D7100; they do even better on the D850. I enjoy putting one of those primes on either body and going photo op hunting for the day and getting creative. Those primes also do pretty well with taking video. Does anyone know whether those old primes might be compatible with a Z body with that FTX adapter? The other snag, would have to get a Z mount lens, so that gets the investment into any Z system into the questionable to doubtful range. Second option is a D780, the main challenge there....PRICE! I am intrigued by its video capabilities as hyped by Nikon; I especially want in camera time lapse, have enjoyed doing some of those with my D850; D7100 cannot do in camera time lapse video. Third option would be a D750, either a very good preowned or new; the price differential between a new D750 and the D780 is significant enough to make me seriously consider a D750 even though it is older technology. I shoot primarily 'scapes, land and sea; rarely do wildlife or people events or sports. Also do low light and some night shooting. My FX lenses are Nikon 24-70 and 70-200; have used both on both the D7100 and D850. At present the 70-200 is on the D7100. Suggestions, please.
 
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Steve

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First, your old primes are going to work well on the Zs - it's the best camera for old primes since you have focus peaking and magnification options in the viewfinder - manual primes have never been easier to focus. Plus, you'll have some degree of in-body image stabilization with them as well (not the full 5 axis, but you'll still have some stabilization).

As to the other challenges, it's tough. None of your choices are bad, although I don't know that I would want to use a D750 over a D850 - there's less than a 0.4 pound difference in weight and significant differences in technology. I don't know that I'd go that route.

The D780 is interesting though - it would give you the Z6 sensor and better low light capabilities than you have with the D850. Video is outstanding too. The AF system isn't as good as the D850, but it doesn't seem like you really need those capabilities. Still though, the weight savings over the D850 isn't huge (about what you'd have with the D750).

I think if weight is the primary concern, one of the Z cameras are really the best choice here.

Another thought is to get a first generation Z camera. They use the same sensors as the II versions, so no loss in IQ. Their performance capabilities are more than adequate for landscape work and the price is far easier to swallow. Heck, you can probably land a used one pretty soon for less than $1000. Just a thought.
 

flyguy

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Thread starter
Because the Z6 and D780 have the same sensor, I presume their low light capabilities are about the same?

Using those manual focus old primes on a Z6 would be great; they would certainly lighten the load and make for a more compact outfit when necessary.

Does a Z6 have in camera time lapse video capability like the D850?
 

Steve

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Because the Z6 and D780 have the same sensor, I presume their low light capabilities are about the same?

Using those manual focus old primes on a Z6 would be great; they would certainly lighten the load and make for a more compact outfit when necessary.

Does a Z6 have in camera time lapse video capability like the D850?
Exactly the same :)

And yes, the Z6 does have an option for time lapse, so you're covered there.
 

Strodav

New member
For family vacations I take my 24mp D7200 with a Tamron 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens (a very good lens BTW) and a Nifty Fifty for those low light situations. It still has Nikon's highest rated DX sensor and, IMHO, the image quality is excellent. It's small and light and inexpensive enough that I won't cry near as much if it gets damaged or stolen. I fit the body, glass, spare battery, spare sd cards, cleaning kit and a couple of filters in a Peak Design every day sling 5L, although their newer model is 6L. Small and light enough to carry all day.
 

flyguy

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Thread starter
There is confusion/contradiction as to usage of old manual focus Nikkor primes and the FTZ adapter. Per Ken Rockwell, yes, you can mount those lenses but there is no communication whatsoever between the lens and camera as happens with those lenses on a D850. On the other hand B & H told me those old lenses will work just like mounted on my D850. So which is it, please???? This wil make or break the deal for purchasing a Z6 or Z6 II.
 

flyguy

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Thread starter
Still learning how to use this forum. The above dragon image was taken with a D850 and NIkkor 28mm f/2.8 manual focus prime lens; this was shot at night and hand held. This is why I enjoy those old primes.
 

Steve

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There is confusion/contradiction as to usage of old manual focus Nikkor primes and the FTZ adapter. Per Ken Rockwell, yes, you can mount those lenses but there is no communication whatsoever between the lens and camera as happens with those lenses on a D850. On the other hand B & H told me those old lenses will work just like mounted on my D850. So which is it, please???? This wil make or break the deal for purchasing a Z6 or Z6 II.
The lens and camera don't communicate - BUT - it doesn't matter.

Focus is manual, so that's as expected.

When you stop the lens down, the aperture closes as you do so, but unlike a DSLR where it would stay wide open the entire time. However, that's really not a big deal since you can simply adjust the camera to compensate (ISO / shutter speed). Heck, you can use it with M + Auto ISO or Aperture Priority if you want (even though the camera doesn't know the aperture, it will still adjust the brightness level using shutter speed in Aperture Priority).

Plus, if you have Apply Settings To Live View turned on, you'll see the exact exposure you're about to get. Since you're looking through a stopped down lens, you'll also be able to fully judge the Depth of Field as well.
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Plus, if you have Apply Settings To Live View turned on, you'll see the exact exposure you're about to get. Since you're looking through a stopped down lens, you'll also be able to fully judge the Depth of Field as well.
FWIW, I think that's one point many folks miss regarding Live View or most EVF views in mirrorless cameras. In DSLRs for roughly the past 70 years we see an image with the aperture wide open unless we press the DoF preview button on supporting cameras and aperture only gets stopped down to final settings as the shutter is released.

But with Live View or similar EVF designs we see the actual scene as it will be captured from a DoF standpoint. For landscape work or even wildlife work with deep subjects(e.g. some macro with the subject not completely parallel to the sensor plane) or multiple subjects where we want to keep all of their eyes sharp this can be a huge difference while out working in the field and one of the immediate plusses I noticed when shooting mirrorless. Rather than guess or consult a DoF app or use the DoF preview button and wait for my eyes to adjust to the darker image, I just see the image as it will be captured while looking through the EVF and adjust aperture for DoF reasons accordingly.
 
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Steve

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FWIW, I think that's one point many folks miss regarding Live View or most EVF views in mirrorless cameras. In DSLRs for roughly the past 70 years we see an image with the aperture wide open unless we press the DoF preview button on supporting cameras and aperture only gets stopped down to final settings as the shutter is released.

But with Live View or similar EVF designs we see the actual scene as it will be captured from a DoF standpoint. For landscape work or even wildlife work with deep subjects(e.g. some macro with the subject not completely parallel to the sensor plane) or multiple subjects where we want to keep all of their eyes sharp this can be a huge difference while out working in the field and one of the immediate plusses I noticed when shooting mirrorless. Rather than guess or consult a DoF app or use the DoF preview button and wait for my eyes to adjust to the darker image, I just see the image as it will be captured while looking through the EVF and adjust aperture for DoF reasons accordingly.
Wanna hear something weird though?

The weird thing is that with native Z and AF-S lenses, you actually don't get to see it without actually assigning a button to Preview!

The F/stop won't go lower than F/5.6 when looking through the viewfinder. So, if I'm at F/11, I'm still seeing F/5.6 (they drop it to F/5.6 to avoid the focus shift issues you can get when the lens is wide open). But there's no option to just let you look through the actual F/stop all the time - gotta assign a button to Preview (which seems like a waste of a button, considering there aren't a ton of them).
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Wanna hear something weird though?

The weird thing is that with native Z and AF-S lenses, you actually don't get to see it without actually assigning a button to Preview!

The F/stop won't go lower than F/5.6 when looking through the viewfinder. So, if I'm at F/11, I'm still seeing F/5.6 (they drop it to F/5.6 to avoid the focus shift issues you can get when the lens is wide open). But there's no option to just let you look through the actual F/stop all the time - gotta assign a button to Preview (which seems like a waste of a button, considering there aren't a ton of them).
Yeah, that is very weird and not ideal from a button assignment standpoint...

Does that also imply the opposite, that you're seeing a f/5.6 image even when the lens is set to f/2.8 or f/4? IOW, a reverse DoF preview sort of problem when shooting fast glass wide open? Seems that would drive portrait photogs using fast glass, especially some of the new very fast S lenses nuts.
 
Speaking of Z configuration...do the U modes remember whether BBF or shutter button focus is selected? I always use BBF and my wife wont...but she usually shoots in aperture or shutter preferred...wondering if when her Z50 gets here I can set what I want easily via U1.
 

Steve

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Yeah, that is very weird and not ideal from a button assignment standpoint...

Does that also imply the opposite, that you're seeing a f/5.6 image even when the lens is set to f/2.8 or f/4? IOW, a reverse DoF preview sort of problem when shooting fast glass wide open? Seems that would drive portrait photogs using fast glass, especially some of the new very fast S lenses nuts.
Thankfully, no. If you're faster than F/5.6, you see that F/stop (i.e. 2.8 , 4, etc). It only stops to F/5.6 for smaller F/stops to avoid problems with focus shift (LOL, the optical kind, not Nikon's misnamed stacking feature). Once you get to F/5.6, focus shift is between F/5.6 and smaller F/stops is minimal to non-existent. It's a bigger issue when the lens is wide open and you're stopping down.
 

Steve

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Speaking of Z configuration...do the U modes remember whether BBF or shutter button focus is selected? I always use BBF and my wife wont...but she usually shoots in aperture or shutter preferred...wondering if when her Z50 gets here I can set what I want easily via U1.
I honestly don't know that one - I never use user modes so I really can't say. Seems like it would work though.
 

flyguy

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Thread starter
I really appreciate everyone's responses. As for my using the old Nikkor primes, I shoot in aperture priority mode with them most of the time. Does a Z camera have an option in its menu for non CPU lens like my D7100 and D850 have? I have four old primes, 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 55mm f/2.8 Macro and 200mm f/4; the 28mm is my favorite. They are fun to work with.
 

Steve

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I really appreciate everyone's responses. As for my using the old Nikkor primes, I shoot in aperture priority mode with them most of the time. Does a Z camera have an option in its menu for non CPU lens like my D7100 and D850 have? I have four old primes, 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 55mm f/2.8 Macro and 200mm f/4; the 28mm is my favorite. They are fun to work with.
Yup, it does :)
 

flyguy

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Thread starter
Had the opportunity to participate in a demonstration today, guy had a Z6 and FTZ adapter, I brought along my Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 manual focus legacy glass. Interesting!!!
 
I honestly don't know that one - I never use user modes so I really can't say. Seems like it would work though.
Well…I can partially answer my own question now…although not for a Z since I don't have one. However…on my D7500 which has BBF set and stored in both U1 and U2 (U1 for wildlife/landscapes and U2 setup for waterfall shots with bracketing turned on)…if you switch to P, A, S, or Auto from U1 or U2 without turning the body off AF remains set for BBF…but if you turn it off and switch then back on it switches to shutter button AF. Going the other way…shifting from Auto with shutter button AF to either of the U settings changes to BBF. So…assuming the Z's work the same which is highly likely on Nikon's part I would think…I can set up a Z to make both my wife and I happy.
 

ccirelli

New member
Speaking of Z configuration...do the U modes remember whether BBF or shutter button focus is selected? I always use BBF and my wife wont...but she usually shoots in aperture or shutter preferred...wondering if when her Z50 gets here I can set what I want easily via U1.
I had a Z50 for a while (moved to the Z6 since), and yes - the User modes will remember BBF setup options. I had my Z50 set up for both options, and eventually moved entirely to BBF. You can set Manual, Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority for each mode as well, in addition to the BBF settings.

Side note on the Z6 - oddly my Z6 doesn't retain Release Mode in U1-2-3 configs. I think I remember my Z50 being able to do this. I had setups for portrait and action shooting, so on the Z6 it's slightly less useful. Wondering if it's because the Z6 has a dedicated button for Release Mode? 🤔 If you could test this on your Z50 for me, I'm curious if Release Mode is retained in User settings.

By the way, the Z50 is a GREAT little camera, you'll love it.
 
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