As an expert panorama photographer, switching to a mirrorless digital camera system is one thing I’ve been considering for a while, though I’ve been hesitant given the weaknesses of early digital camera fashions. Dangerous climate sealing, poor cold-weather efficiency and normal unreliability have been among the components that made me resolve to attend.
However right this moment, it appears as if the trade has lastly labored out most of the bugs, to the purpose the place the mirrorless full-frame digital camera fashions are simply pretty much as good, if not higher, than your favorite DSLR.
For those who ever spent a protracted, sizzling day of panorama images trekking along with your DSLR, trifecta of lenses, equipment, and a sturdy tripod strapped onto the facet of your digital camera bag, we’d in all probability agree that the again pressure just isn’t notably pleasing.
Regardless of how younger and match you’re, there may be one plain reality about hauling round cumbersome digital camera gear all day lengthy. That stuff is heavy.
And though this was the catalyst compelling the change to mirrorless, there was additionally a domino impact of optimistic facet advantages that I gained alongside the best way.
Disclaimer: Nikon doesn’t pay me
I ought to level out that I’ve no affiliation with Nikon in any respect, and this isn’t a evaluate of their gear. I merely like their merchandise as they’ve at all times carried out nicely for me. However irrespective of your alternative of digital camera producer, you should still profit in the identical methods I’ve should you resolve that mirrorless is for you.
I’ve been capturing Nikon full-frame our bodies since 2014, so once I made the change to the mirrorless Nikon Z7II, it was a pure alternative. The Z7II is Nikon’s mirrorless flagship mannequin for picture high quality, which is essential contemplating that I make my residing promoting wonderful artwork prints. Moreover, the ergonomics and menus within the outdated and new cameras are very comparable and intuitive.
The load and the majority of the Nikon D850, together with my trifecta of F-mount lenses was undoubtedly a driving issue behind my resolution to modify to a lighter mirrorless digital camera system. However the different advantages, like improved optics and sharper pictures of the Nikon Z7II and it’s Z-mount lenses made the choice a simple one for me.
The Z7II weighs in at simply 615 grams, versus the 915 grams of the D850, making it about 1/3 smaller and lighter. As a panorama photographer, among the different enhancements within the Z7II that profit me and my capturing model embody:
- Improved autofocus system with higher accuracy, in some situations, permitting autofocus by a 10-stop ND filter.
- Twin picture processors and a sooner steady capturing velocity at 10FPS, in comparison with 7FPS with the D850. That is essential, for instance, when capturing out of an airplane or chopper at excessive ISOs, so I can stack pictures later in post-processing to lower sensor noise.
- A most 900-second shutter velocity versus solely 30 seconds on the D850. This permits lengthy exposures with out the trouble of switching to bulb mode.
After all, there are some things missing on the Z7II that I’ll miss. There aren’t any backlit buttons for capturing at night time, which was useful on the D850. The numerous lower in battery life in comparison with a DSLR (widespread in most mirrorless cameras) can also be one thing I should get used to.
But when these are the one downsides that have an effect on me and my capturing model, I’m OK with that. I at all times carry a number of batteries and a headlamp with a pink gentle anyway.
You will discover a great evaluate of the Nikon Z7II right here if you’re .
And, yet another level concerning the timing of fixing programs. As of this writing, the D850 remains to be the present mannequin. When it will definitely will get changed by the subsequent technology physique (a D860?), its worth will lower sharply. So, promoting now simply is smart for me.
Sizing up the outdated and new Nikons
For these of you capturing Nikon, the photographs under will likely be helpful in providing you with an thought of the variations between the DSLR and F-mount lenses, in comparison with their equivalents within the mirrorless Z7II and Z-mount lenses.
Above, we see the Z7II and Z 24-70mm f2.8 S lens, in comparison with the D850 and AF-S 24-70mm f2.8G ED lens. The principle variations are the additional bulk of the D850 physique and the dimensions of the outdated lens hood. Though the bodily dimension of every lens is comparable, the brand new Z 24-70 is nearly 100 grams lighter than its predecessor.
The whole weight discount of those physique/lens combos is available in at 395 grams, or 0.87 lbs lighter for the Z system.
Lastly, it’s value noting that the brand new Z 24-70 wants 82mm filters, against the AF-S lens which makes use of 77mm filters.
Subsequent, we see the Z7II and Z 70-200mm f2.8 S lens, in comparison with the D850 and AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II lens. With this specific mixture, it’s rapidly apparent that there’s hardly any distinction within the bulk of the 2 programs.
The principle distinction is a slight weight discount, because the Z lens is 70 grams lighter, together with the Z physique being 300 grams lighter. Complete weight financial savings of this mixture is 370 grams or 0.82 lbs for the Z system.
Each of those lenses use 77mm filters.
Above, we full the panorama photographer’s trifecta with the brand new Z 14-24mm f2.8 S lens, in comparison with the long-lasting AF-S 14-24mm f2.8G ED lens. Though the outdated 14-24mm is among the finest wide-angle lenses ever produced, it is usually very heavy, tipping the scales at 1000 grams, or 2.2 kilos.
One other disadvantage of the outdated design is the fastened hood and bubble-shaped lens, which doesn’t settle for screw-on filters.
As an alternative, a wide range of aftermarket filter choices can be found for the AF-S mannequin. I used the Fotodiox Wonderpana filter holder, which could be very nicely designed. The all-metal building and gigantic 145mm round filters work very nicely, though they’re very cumbersome and take up further room in your digital camera bag.
The excellent news is that Nikon has fully reimagined the brand new Z 14-24mm f2.8 S lens, and there are main enhancements. Nikon solved the filter subject with a singular and intelligent design with the lens hoods.
There are two hoods and two lens caps included; a smaller one when no filters are getting used and a bigger hood that’s threaded and accepts 112mm round filters.
Above, we see the Z 14-24mm f2.8 S with the big lens hood hooked up. I exploit polarizing filters repeatedly, so I selected the 112mm NiSi Pure CPL. It screws simply onto the lens hood and can seemingly keep there completely. Hudson Henry Pictures has an excellent filter shootout for this lens to assist select the best one for you.
Lastly, Nikon scored a giant dwelling run right here on the subject of weight discount. The brand new Z lens is a featherlight 650 grams or 1.4 kilos. The whole weight financial savings of this physique/lens mixture is 650 grams or 1.43 kilos for the Z system. That’s large.
Much less weight, much less tripod
One of many extra facet advantages of switching to a mirrorless digital camera system is that with the load discount, you received’t want a large tripod to maintain issues secure.
My most popular stabilization tools is usually from Actually Proper Stuff, just because they make nice merchandise with high quality. For those who handle your tripod, you might by no means want to switch it. Once more, I’ve no affiliation with RRS in any respect. I point out them right here as a result of I like their gear.
My important tripod is a Actually Proper Stuff Versa TVC-34L with a levelling base. As soon as I add the RRS BH-55 ball head on prime, this beast is available in at a hefty 6.5 kilos. It’s rock strong although, and ideal for heavier setups.
I generally use a multi-row panoramic rig which is kind of heavy, so I want all the steadiness I can get. I’ve no plans on parting with this spectacular tripod and can preserve it with me particularly when I’m trekking shorter distances or utilizing my panoramic rig.
However for lengthy backcountry treks or picture journeys to different international locations, saving weight is a giant deal. That’s the reason I’ve added the brand new Actually Proper Stuff Ascend 14-PF journey tripod to my package.
The brand new Ascend is offered in a couple of completely different configurations, however with ‘gentle and compact’ as my important precedence, I selected the mannequin with the shorter legs. This tripod additionally comes with an non-obligatory built-in ball head, nevertheless it has some finicky knobs that could possibly be robust to regulate in chilly climate with gloves on. As a result of I dwell in Canada and do a number of winter images, that might doubtlessly be a problem.
Due to this fact, I selected the ‘PF’ platform mannequin and purchased an RRS BH-30 ball head to mate with it as an alternative.
*PRO TIP* Greenback-wise, it really works out virtually equivalent to getting the built-in ball head model anyway, and the BH-30 has larger knobs with greater than sufficient weight capability. Win-win.
The brand new Ascend additionally has loads of top with the sturdy heart column, so even at six foot one, it’s no downside for me. I desire to maintain my digital camera at chest stage anyway, utilizing Reside View to compose my pictures with the tilting LCD display screen.
Complete weight financial savings utilizing the brand new Ascend/BH-30 combo versus the TVC-34L/BH-55 combo is a whopping 2.7 kilos. My again will thank me later.
A facet word for equipment
The equipment listed under is not going to save a lot weight, however they’re important for making your life simpler within the area. I believed it could be helpful to incorporate them right here, as they are often bought similtaneously a digital camera improve.
First is an L-plate for the digital camera physique, which in fact permits you to rapidly change your digital camera from panorama to portrait orientation on the tripod. I’ve the BZ7-L Ultralight L-Plate from Actually Proper Stuff, which is one piece and lightweight as a feather.
Subsequent, a alternative foot for the 70-200mm lens is a no brainer. It has the dovetail form in-built, which attaches on to the tripod head. So as an alternative of an extra lens plate hooked up to the inventory lens foot, which provides weight, it is a a lot less complicated answer.
Lastly, my Z7II got here with an FTZ mount adapter without cost, which lets you use any F-mount lens in your new Z-mount digital camera physique. In case you have any F-mount lenses that you just want to preserve, you’ll be able to nonetheless use them.
And in case your F-mount lens already has VR vibration discount, even higher. It should mix with the Z7II in-camera picture stabilization for the additional advantage of roll axis, for a complete of 3-axis VR.
Further advantages of Z-Mount
Apart from the load financial savings which have been an essential think about switching to a mirrorless digital camera system, there have been facet advantages that made the selection a lot simpler. In a nutshell, Nikon has made a greater digital camera within the Z7II that makes it superior in some ways to the D850; a minimum of, in the best way that I exploit it for my capturing model.
Along with the aforementioned enhancements, the Z7II additionally has in-camera 5 axis picture stabilization, which is able to assist for sharper pictures when capturing handheld in tight areas the place a tripod received’t match.
And eventually, there may be the optical high quality. The inside diameter of the Z-mount flange on the entrance of the physique is the biggest of any full-frame digital camera available on the market, at 55mm. The mounting flange can also be a lot nearer to the sensor as a result of the digital camera is mirrorless.
With out getting too scientific right here, these two components permit extra gentle to hit the sensor, bettering low gentle efficiency, picture high quality, and edge-to-edge sharpness whereas lowering aberration. The Z-mount design merely permits Nikon to supply higher lenses that outperform their F-mount equivalents.
What’s to not love?
Drum roll, please
The change to a mirrorless digital camera system has benefitted my images in plenty of methods, crucial being weight financial savings and higher picture high quality. Though the change to a lighter tripod accounted for a lot of the majority, it’s nonetheless essential as a result of something we have to carry round simply provides weight.
The whole weight of the D850 and three F-mount lenses is available in at 9.36 kilos, whereas the brand new Z7II and three Z-mount lenses weigh 7.56 kilos, for a financial savings of 1.8 kilos. So, the load of the mirrorless system will really feel just like taking one lens out of your bag.
The large RRS Versa TVC-34L tripod and BH-55 ball head weigh in at 6.51 kilos, in comparison with the a lot lighter RRS Ascend and BH-30 combo, which is just 3.81 kilos. The whole saving on the tripod change is 2.7 kilos.
Including them up, I’m now hitting the paths with a pack that’s 4.5 kilos lighter whereas getting higher efficiency from a digital camera than ever earlier than. And that, my buddies, is a giant win for me.
In regards to the Creator
Dean McLeod is a Canadian panorama and nature photographer, raised within the prairies of Saskatchewan the place he realized to like the pure world at a younger age. Dean’s work as a wonderful artwork panorama and nature photographer has allowed him to maintain that pleasure all through his life. You will discover out extra about Dean and see his work on his web site. This text was additionally printed right here and shared with permission.