Why switch to "Z" system?

2456

Comments

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    AHIKERAHIKER (Gordon): At this point in time consider it a matter of preference. There are pluses and minuses and as time goes on the pluses will get bigger and the minuses fewer. Maybe 5 years from now the Z system will clearly be superior in all ways to the DSLR system such that Nikon will stop producing DSLRs. Even then, the old existing DSLRs will still make great pictures if you don't need the latest "gee wiz" features. The best way to see if the time is right for you to get a Z body is to use one. Rent or borrow one with your favorite lens and use it for a week. If you like shooting portraits with a 50mm or longer lens at f2.8, f2, f1.8 or f1.4 I think you would find the eye AF feature very convenient but if you shoot portraits at f8 or f11 to insure sufficient depth of field the DSLR face detect feature will be good enough to insure sharp eyes. If you do portraiture with flash the EVF won't be a benefit but if you like to shoot with available light or constant light it will be a benefit. Your preferences in shooting will determine your preferences in gear.
  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    PB_PM said:

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t take Thom seriously I’m just saying take what he, or any other sponsored writer says with a grain of salt. Meaning, does what he write lineup with camera writers in the larger community? IMO, his comments about AF do not lineup with the great pool of writing out there. Many other writers comment, such as, but not exclusively, photography life authors, well know and respected reviewers like the former Camera store TV guys (now with Dpreview), about the poor AF compared to equivalent DSLRs and other mirrorless offerings. For one Thom never mentioned how many shots he had to take to get “better” shots than the D850 user he mentioned, nor what lenses they were using.

    It should be noted that many of the reviews out there are from before the 2.00 firmware update, including the original PL reviews.

    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    Many reviewers did update their reviews to cover the update.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • retreadretread Posts: 554Member
    Thom is sponsored by a retailer of many brands not a manufacturer of one so it seems he would give good advice if he wanted you to buy and be a repeat buyer. Just my two cents worth.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member

    PB_PM said:

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t take Thom seriously I’m just saying take what he, or any other sponsored writer says with a grain of salt. Meaning, does what he write lineup with camera writers in the larger community? IMO, his comments about AF do not lineup with the great pool of writing out there. Many other writers comment, such as, but not exclusively, photography life authors, well know and respected reviewers like the former Camera store TV guys (now with Dpreview), about the poor AF compared to equivalent DSLRs and other mirrorless offerings. For one Thom never mentioned how many shots he had to take to get “better” shots than the D850 user he mentioned, nor what lenses they were using.

    While there is no doubt in my mind that the Z cameras are great at focusing on stationary subjects, likely better than a DSLR, it is clear from every single review writer, and video maker, I’ve seen that AF-C is still far behind a DSLR. Thom doesn’t mention which focus modes he used, making his comments, hard to judge fairly.

    OK, that is fair and I have noticed that too. I just don't think it can be attributed to his desire to "make money". Thom is not a sponsored writer and his links to retailers don't make him a sponsor. Thom has spoke to this before. Is he a liar? It is impossible for me and likely anyone to categorically dismiss that, but it doesn't ring true.

    It would be a good article for him to write about, why he is different. One thing about Thom - he shoots the crap out of something before he seriously writes about it. It could be that he has it figured out. It may be that the writers you are comparing him to did not undertake that learning curve. If this is the case, I wonder if we can figure it out without having to buy the user guide.
    Thom responded to a question I posed to him as follows (posted with his permission):

    As for that comment you quote, yes, maybe I have figured it (AF) out. Thing is, I’ve been noticing something a lot lately. People who claim that the Sony AF is better are shooting on basically let-the-camera-make-all-decisions AF. And yes, the Sony’s do that better than the Z’s, particularly since the Z’s use the crippled Nikon 1 3D-Tracking mode and not the Nikon DSLR one.

    The Nikon DSLR shooters who are claiming that they are better than the Z’s are wrong. They two systems are different. The way you use them is different, and they way they fail in real shooting is different. You simply have to learn the tool you have in your hand.

    My intention at this point is to do a followup at B&H’s Event Space (which would be streamed).

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,198Moderator

    - I am sure that Spraynpray just chocked...…...

    OMG Westie has been taken over by an alien entity!
    Always learning.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    That happened when I was a small child.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,000Member
    Quote... You simply have to learn the tool you have in your hand.

    You don't pay good money to fight the tool you bought due to the manufactures incompitance.
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 1,412Member

    Quote... You simply have to learn the tool you have in your hand.

    You don't pay good money to fight the tool you bought due to the manufactures incompitance.

    Don't you think that it is reasonable that there is some learning involved when moving to a different system that uses different tech?
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    A good tool has a level of simple intuitiveness, but the user cannot expect a new system to work exactly the same way as an old one does. Anyone who thinks the combined contrast and phase detect system of the new mirrorless cameras will function exactly as the older phase detect only systems is a little foolish. Just as a DSLR functions much better at auto focus then older compact system, so does the mirrorless camera function differently than a DSLR. At the same time the manufacture should consider changing the language used in describing such systems (in the manual), if they do not function in the same manner, to avoid confusion. None the less, the user has to learn to adapt to a new system, regardless. Being different doesn't make it better, but it also doesn't make it worse.

    I think part of what Nikon, and some other camera makers, have failed to do is use the correct language to describe aspects of the auto focus systems. For example, if AF-C doesn't function in the same manner as a DSLR, then maybe a different name is in order?
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    What's the percentage of DSLR users actually know how phase detection works? And how many of mirrorless users know the difference between phase detection and contrast detection? My guess is that other than there is somehow no mirror slapping around, most users don't know a thing about the difference between how DSLR and mirrorless focuses.

    Finally, why should people care about how AF works? AF stands for auto focus. So all people want is that when a dot or square is put on a subject, it got focused asap. How it achieves that is irrelevant. And if Nikon Z has to behave differently, why should people learn that? People can just learn how Sony's AF works then. The point of same brand ergonomics is that they operate similarly.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    edited September 2019
    It's not about knowing how it works, but how it behaves. Maybe you forgot, but you did have to learn the different AF modes on a DSLR, unless all you used was "auto" or aka closest subject setting. Needless to say, if the behavour is different, calling them the same on a DSLR and mirrorless system camera doesn't make sense.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    But Nikon Z6/Z7 does have phase detection as the main AF. Even when you go from D600 to D750 to D850, the AF modules change, but the AF modes stayed same. Why the same AF modes are not good enough when it's still phase detection on Z6/Z7 and people somehow have to learn different ways to AF?
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    edited September 2019
    The phase detect and contrast detect work in together to achieve focus, phase to get it close and contrast for finish. Almost all the modern Canon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Nikon mirrorless systems use this method (Panasonic being the odd one out, still only using contrast based AF alone). Why? Phase detect is faster at figuring out distance, while contrast has higher accuracy. So, the behavior is bound to be different than a system that relies on phase detect alone.

    This is why still subject focus on mirrorless cameras tend to have a higher accuracy, while still being quick. The problem is, until the contrast detect gets faster there is a greater chance of a moving subject being missed during the contrast based AF part of focusing. A way around this would be to simply only use the phase detect focusing for AF-C, but the camera makers may have tried that already. I assume they would, otherwise they wouldn't be using the other method, which they clearly see as being superior.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 659Member

    ...You don't pay good money to fight the tool you bought due to the manufactures incompitance.

    Did you mean to say “manufacturer’s incompetence”?

    I have not fought any incompetence. The Zs are pretty easy to use if you are already in the Nikon ecosystem.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    edited September 2019
    But to the user, why do I care how it gets there, (other than to just tolerate issues)? If I use single point or d9, the objective and how it should function is well defined. I just want it to focus to where ever I put the square on. Is there anywhere that says the definition for single point focus is only valid for phase detection? Why with Z6/Z7, those modes no longer work well and I have to use some other modes? From what you are saying, adding contrast should help with focus, so if I can already focus well enough with single point/d9 on a D850, shouldn't adding contrast in addition to phase detection make those modes even faster on Z6/Z7? Is that the reality?
    Post edited by tc88 on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    edited September 2019
    tc88 said:

    ...shouldn't adding contrast in addition to phase detection make those modes even faster on Z6/Z7? Is that the reality?

    That's not how it works in practice though. Contrast detect AF is slower than phase detect, with the computational power we have right now. The reality is the while contrast is more accurate, it is slower, which is why the phase detect system is still being used.

    For the end user it shouldn't matter, you are right. The reality is that the behavior of modes clearly isn't the same, which is why I was saying that they should not be called the same thing as on a DSLR. Nikon made this distinction on some high end compacts, calling it AF-F (AF-Full time) rather than AF-C, but for some reason they didn't do that on the Z cameras. Strange choice, since the behavior matches that those cameras. It's basically the same as the Nikon 1 cameras, just faster.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    edited September 2019
    Actually I think Nikon's original definitions are very reasonable.

    AF-S stands for single shot, so focus one and be done while AF-C stands for continuous, so keeps on refreshing the focus.

    single point/d9/d51, etc defines the focus area, primary and secondary.

    All those definitions have nothing to do with how focus is achieved, because users don't care whether it's phase detection or contrast detection or through miracle. All that matters is how fast and how accurate focus is achieved. That's up to the camera makers to solve that task. So saying somehow those modes are no longer valid and people somehow need to learn new modes to focus does not make sense.

    What learning the new system and modes is just an excuse to get around the deficiency of the new system, and try to get it to do what it's supposed to do originally.
    Post edited by tc88 on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    edited September 2019
    You won't get any argument from me that the new system is inferior, for AF-C, no matter what Thom says. I was only saying why it was different, and why it will continue to be different until contrast AF is made faster.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    :smile: I think he's just looking for an excuse to explain why his conclusion is so different from others, and "learning to operate a new system differently" is an easy catch all argument.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,000Member
    By fight the equipment I mean the useless memory banks on the D8XX series which could have been corrected years ago with a bit of re programming and bringing out mirrorless with crappy focus tracking,, No no brothers and sisters I will wait before releasing my $$$$
  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    edited September 2019

    By fight the equipment I mean the useless memory banks on the D8XX series which could have been corrected years ago with a bit of re programming and bringing out mirrorless with crappy focus tracking,, No no brothers and sisters I will wait before releasing my $$$$

    Sounds like another AF update might be coming soon:
    https://youtu.be/sFsrLCK30I4?t=42
    Post edited by BVS on
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    OK Pistnbroke, that is reasonable. Nikon could give us what we want here and keep the “useless memory banks” (I suspect that some use them and like them).

    I must admit, I scratch my head on this one. There is no extra hardware required, I trivial amount of firmware and as I noted above, for those that like their old cheese, no reason to take it away.

    My only explanation is that despite the complaining of people like Ken Rockwell and yourself, professional photographers are generally not asking for this. Nikon’s ROI calculation may deem the benefit not worthy of the research (it has to be designed and they have to talk to people), added complexity (yes, it is small but 20 small requests add up to complexity) etc.

    I for one struggle with imagining how I would use it. It seems like a “customizable program mode” and my usage is 95%, 4%, 1%, 0% between A, M, S and P mode.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,096Member
    You really don’t get how the user mode work do you? Look it up, and come back before saying is useless.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,000Member


    Thom responded to a question I posed to him as follows (posted with his permission):

    As for that comment you quote, yes, maybe I have figured it (AF) out. Thing is, I’ve been noticing something a lot lately. People who claim that the Sony AF is better are shooting on basically let-the-camera-make-all-decisions AF. And yes, the Sony’s do that better than the Z’s, particularly since the Z’s use the crippled Nikon 1 3D-Tracking mode and not the Nikon DSLR one.

    Not sure what Thom is referring to here...maybe there is some secret mode we don't know about in the Z's :smiley: Otherwise, yes, I let the camera make automatic decisions to focus under the focus point...last time I checked that was the purpose of autofocus. Otherwise, I would be shooting manual focus.

    The Z's are great cameras, but reliably acquiring focus takes longer than a DSLR like a D5/D500/D850, or is not as reliable on an equivalent time scale. This is how Nikon designed the cameras; its fine, but let's not declare them champion sports shooters. Wait for when Nikon releases an updated Z camera with Sony-type speed...I bet Thom will then be claiming the AF is amazingly improved :open_mouth: which of course we should then grill him on why the new camera is necessary since he can reliably shoot action with on the Z7!
Sign In or Register to comment.