From Nikon D850 DSLR to a Nikon Z7 II mirrorless

With Nikon abandoning the DSLR market and going straight into the mirrorless one, it does seem fitting for me to follow them. However, I need some help changing systems.

First, let’s discuss why I’m changing from DSLRs to mirrorless, specifically moving from the Nikon D850 to the Z7II.

Why the Nikon Z7 II? Well, the Z8 wasn’t out yet, and it was an excellent choice to try out the mirrorless system. The idea wasn’t to implement it just yet in my professional kit but to get used to this new type of camera.

During that experimentation time, I made some discoveries. Issues I need to get used to, resolve, or learn to live with.

The obvious difference: a totally different viewfinder

The viewfinder of a mirrorless camera is different than that of a DSLR. Since there’s no mirror to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder, they used a digital solution.

At first, I needed time to get used to looking at a screen rather than a ‘real’ image. Anyway, after a while, I find it very useful. Especially in more extreme lighting conditions, it helps you pre-visualize what you’re doing much better.

Also, the live histogram and information make it a lot easier to make certain decisions.

The smaller body is excellent.

The weight is the most significant advantage of the Z7II over the D850. The camera bodies are considerably smaller and lighter, and I’m sure losing the mirror is a big part of that.

In general, the weight will be a lot easier to handle when doing street photography. Also, the camera size makes it far less obvious for pickpockets and possible models.

In event photography, the smaller body will help: making it easier to navigate denser crowds. But also on the general weight. I usually carry two bodies simultaneously, and losing weight will make my life much easier.

No click when shooting 

If you want, you can remove the artificial sound when you take a photo. I put it on silent. Again, it makes you stand out less in a public space.

But I also find it annoying. There’s no confirmation that you made the photo; you just have to trust it did.

It also made it less satisfying in a way. The mirror folding back really gave me a serotonin boost.

Though, I am getting used to it. For events, it’s probably a lot better too. Whenever it’s a more silent part, with just a speaker, for example, it will be less annoying for the crowd that has to endure my camera clicking away.

Camera waking up from slumber takes a while

Since it’s more virtual than a DSLR, it makes sense that the camera goes into sleeping mode more often to save energy. It also makes sense it takes a while to wake everything up.

But it takes a long while, though.

Battery life is worse. 

Since it’s all electronic, the camera needs lots of energy, which makes sense. I don’t think the battery life is terrible, though. I just noticed that I could do fewer shots with the Z7II than with the D850.

I’ll probably invest in a battery extension when shifting my professional kit from the D850 to the Z series.

It doesn’t work with my Tamron lenses (yet?)

My biggest annoyance, for now, is that it only works with the Nikon lenses I have. My Tamron lenses for Nikon aren’t (yet) compatible with the Z7II—a big annoyance since I have an extensive range of Tamrons.

I hope they change it soon enough. Since I like the lenses I have, they are far from needing a replacement. Since the Z series isn’t new, I feel like this update might never come.

What are your experiences with the Nikon Z series? Let me know in the comments below.

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