Nikon gives full frame mirrorless it’s due with Z7, Z6 ships Nov. 16

Nikon Z7 camera with 24-70mm lens
After celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017, Nikon is starting a new chapter with the introduction of its Z-series cameras, the Z7 and Z6. The full-frame models represent Nikon’s big push into the mirrorless category, which has been hotly anticipated for some time. After launching the Z7 first, the availability of the Nikon Z6 followed, beginning shipments with a Nov. 16 launch.

The Z7 and Z6 are nearly identical cameras with full-frame sensors. The big difference is the resolution: the Z7 has a 45.7-megapixel back-illuminated sensor with the optical low-pass filter removed, while the Z6 has a 24.5-megapixel sensor with an OLPF — you could call it the Z7’s baby brother.

Another big thing that separates the two is price: the Z6 has a more consumer-friendly price of $2,000 (body only), putting it in competition with Sony’s A7 III, while the Z7 is priced at $3,400 (body only). The Z7 would be aimed at professionals, particularly existing Nikon owners looking to move into mirrorless.

The Z7 could be considered the mirrorless version of the highly lauded D850 DSLR. Both have a similar sensor, and share common features. The sensor, along with the newly introduced Expeed 6 image processor, is newly developed. The Z7 also has equal build quality and similar ergonomics to the D850 with weather sealing, but in a more compact body.

Not surprisingly, Nikon has also introduced a new lens mount, the Z-mount. Z-series cameras will support Nikon’s entire lineup of F-mount Nikkor DSLR lenses via an adapter, but the new Z-mount isn’t just about accommodating the smaller mirrorless form factor — it actually has a wider diameter, allowing for lenses with super fast f/0.95 apertures, something that simply isn’t possible on the F-mount. It also has a 16mm flange focal system, the shortest possible to make the camera compact without compromising performance.

Hiroyuki Ikegami, the corporate vice president and sector manager of Development Sector, Imaging Business Unit at Nikon Corporation, talks about the new Z lenses during their official launch on April 23, in Tokyo.
Hiroyuki Ikegami, the corporate vice president and sector manager of Development Sector, Imaging Business Unit at Nikon Corporation, talks about the new Z lenses during their official launch on April 23, in Tokyo. Les Shu/Digital Trends

During the official launch event in Tokyo, on August 23, Hiroyuki Ikegami, the corporate vice president and sector manager of Development Sector, Imaging Business Unit at Nikon Corporation, described the new lenses as the “embodiment of Nikon quality and brings value to the mirrorless market,” and said they demonstrate a very high level of performance. With the Z-series cameras, Ikegami said users benefit from a wide variety of lenses (including the F-mount lenses), high resolving power, and features for movie making.

What is more surprising is how serious Nikon has gotten about video on both Z cameras, which shoot 4K with full pixel readout and even offer the new N-Log logarithmic tone curve and 10-bit color for better dynamic range. The cameras are also Nikon’s first interchangeable lens models with built-in image stabilization.

The new mirrorless cameras aren’t signaling a complete shift away from DSLRs, however. Nikon says it will continue to advance both platforms, with new DSLRs and F-mount Nikkor lenses to come (one such product is the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF VR). But the entry into mirrorless means Nikon finally believes the category has legs; it’s a crowded one that’s dominated by Sony, as well as Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic, but Nikon does have a compelling product now. (Nikon had a previous mirrorless series, called the Nikon 1, that had some success with casual consumers, but the Z-series is a true effort at building a high-end mirrorless system.) It will be interesting to see where Nikon goes from here.

In addition to the Z cameras and the new lens, Nikon also announced a dot sight accessory designed to help with tracking moving subjects when using long telephoto lenses. It’s built with the new P1000 in mind, which has a staggering 125x zoom, but it will work on any camera with a standard hot shoe.

Read our hands-on with the Z7.

Updated on Nov. 14 to include the availability of the Z6.

Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Photography

Photography news: Best spot for fall photos, new firmware from Fuji and Nikon

Where's the best spot to take fall photos? Michigan, according to social media and a Nikon contest. The results and more in this week's photography news, including significant firmware updates for the Fujifilm X-T3, X-H1, and GFX 50S.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: iPhone X problems, Single’s Day sales records, and more

On the 15th episode of DT Daily, Digital Trends' live morning show, Greg Nibler and Marie Pardo-Garber examined the news of the day, including iPhone X screen problems, Alibaba's record-setting day of sales, and more.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…