Nikon Z7: The New Digital Benchmark

I ordered Nikon’s first mirrorless offering, the Z7 as soon as it was announced. I got one of the first shipments through my great local camera store, Service Photo here in Baltimore. I played around with it a little, and thought the image quality was the equal of the Nikon D850 in a smaller package. I had the FTZ adaptor to try my collection of Nikkor’s, but it kind of kills the small package. So when I traveled to Italy twice, I brought the Leica M10 as a small travel kit and one drive to Pittsburgh seemed best suited for the D850 since it has the tripod mounting plate attached.

But as I mentioned, I’ve returned to photography these last few weeks and when leaving the house I’ve grabbed the Z7 with the new 50mm f1.8 lens and I’m finding that the images I can produce are a level I’ve never seen before. With the 45 megapixels, lack of antialiasing filter and lenses with that really wide mount, I get an almost large format feel to lots of the images.

This image is a scene a see several times a week as I drive to the gym in Owings Mills on Park Heights Avenue. The winter landscape had that gentle light coming at me, so I stopped in the middle of the road, opened the door, leaned out and grabbed this image. There wasn’t any traffic behind me, but the rear LCD let me frame at that awkward angle, resting the camera on the window frame.

The only real post-proccessing trick in the image was converting the RAW image twice, once at normal exposure and one at two stops under to get as much detail in the highlights and sky as possible. So its a single exposure HDR image if you wish, converted to a chromatic grayscale image using Nik Silver Efex.

It’s one of those images that I know I saw, I know I captured, I know I coaxed this out of the RAW file, but can’t quite believe the result. So I’ll give the Z7 a lot of credit.

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