Tuesday 21 July 2020

New Nikon Z5 and Some More XT-2 Thoughts

Spider on a Cattail
Fuji X-T2, Neewer (7artisans) 25mm f1.8

    Nikon announced the new Z5 today, and it's looking like a brilliant camera at a very reasonable cost, $1399 USD or $1899 Canadian. There's also a new and tiny 24-50 f4-6.3 kit lens to go with it, at reasonable cost. I expect this to be the first Z body that moves in any quantity.

    The Z5 is what the Z6 should have been. A lower-cost body with saner decontenting. It doesn't get a proper grip, but can share the largely useless battery pack add-on of the Z6/Z7, gets a new EN-EL15C battery and finally can be USB powered and USB charged via a USB-C port. It gets an older FSI version of the 24MP sensor (the same one from the A7II for all intents & purposes), a lower resolution touch screen (still a decent 1.04 million dot unit) and only 4.5fps advance. The real question will be how well will the AF perform with the older & slower sensor. The EVF is the same excellent 0.8x 3.69MP unit as the Z6/Z7, the vestigial top LCD is replaced by a mode dial in the Z50/D3x00 location and it gets the dual UHS-II slots the Z6 should have had.

    This is very interesting to me, as the decontenting (fps, top LCD, likely worse high ISO and AF) don't affect me, while it solves my major complaint with the Z6 (card compatibility). The real question for me is what does this bring real-world over staying with Fuji.

The reality is that FF, a better EVF and IBIS really don't add that much for my uses and the Fuji LCD is still better for tripod work than the Nikon single-axis LCD (plus, lets be honest, the Fuji's are just a lot more performance for the dollar, the Z5 is X-T3 money but X-T100 performance). I'll have to think about it, I expect I'll end up with one at some point, but the question is will that be anytime soon? At the end of the day, Fuji's lens line is still much better for my uses and it's more adaptable, and the bodies are better suited for my uses as well. A little DR and having my FF UWA's still be UWA's doesn't really change the overall conclusion that Fuji makes more sense as my primary system. 

    As to the X-T2, I'm finding that the little changes from the X-T1 are having as much impact on my use as the big ones. Sure the sensor is a lot better, the AF is improved and the joystick makes AF point selection much better, but the little things are adding up too.

    The slightly taller dials combined with push on/push off locks mean I can easily adjust shutter speed and ISO when looking through the viewfinder, which I couldn't on the X-T1 because of how the locks were and the dials being a little hard to grip sight-unseen. The exposure compensation is also easier to use. Auto-ISO now respecting focal length makes it a set & forget setting rather than one I change with almost every lens change. Similarly the MyMenu being able to have manual lens focal length assigned makes that a 2-click change instead of a menu-dive every time I change manual lenses. Lots of little improvements continue to add up. I've now got around 400 images shot with the X-T2 and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Honestly, where the X-T1 was a great camera for its day, and a decent camera now, the X-T2 is just a great camera. Of all the other cameras I've owned over the last few years, the D750 is the only one I can say the same of. 

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