Nikon Z5, Z 24-50mm f4-6.3, 9 stop ND
Did a nice little hike with the Z5 yesterday at the north end of Rouge River National Urban Park, I shot with 3 lenses, the Laowa 15mm Macro, the Z 24-50 kit lens and a 105/2.5 AI-S. That combo worked out pretty well although I'd rather have had a 70-300 than the 105, there's a couple shots I could have gotten with the zoom that I just couldn't with the 105, particularly a skittish juvenile Chipmunk.
At just over 3 weeks of ownership and just under 1000 shots (there was no photo walking last week due to weather and work), the Z5 continues to do well. But it's not perfect.
So, here's 5 things I dislike about the Z5
1. It's porky. The Z5 is definitely the largest & heaviest mirrorless camera I've owned, and that is noticeable, it's just enough that it bugs me if I walk around with it in my hand with one of my heavier lenses and the FTZ (the 105/2.5 AI-S most notably, as it is compact but heavy)
2. Pointless UI crippling. There's a few areas this annoys me, particularly with regards to things the F mount bodies can do and the Z's cannot. These are: No lens data to EXIF for non-CPU lenses unless using an FTZ. Annoying especially since Auto-ISO behaviour clearly shows the camera is respecting the Non-CPU lens setting. Second is no 2-button format shortcut. That was a great feature on all the higher-end DX and FX DSLR's and I miss it a lot. My X-T2 has a similar feature. The third is no ability to override DX crop with a DX lens mounted. This makes one of my favourite cheap FX combos impossible, namely using the 35DX with FX crop (where it vignettes slightly). All of these are fairly clearly deliberate decisions by Nikon to dictate how users use their cameras, and Nikon really should fix all of these via firmware updates. Note all of these are common across the Z bodies, not Z5 unique items.
3. Limited Control customization. There's really 3 fully-assignable buttons (Fn1, Fn2, Record) and three with limited assignability (AF-On, Joystick press, OK), and in some cases moving a default function only moves its activation, not the control (AF Subject tracking is the big one here, you can move activation off OK, but control is always OK+ Zoom -). Plus the zoom buttons shouldn't even exist (this function should be on a control dial) and the drive mode button, ISO button and exposure comp button should all be Fn's as these are all functions that are duplicates of the i menu options.
4. Touch oddities. Why is there a touch i button? Why is it right next to the physical one? Why can we change some settings directly via touch, but have to menu-dive for others that are displayed on the screen already. Touch really isn't fully thought out, although it is light-years better than Sony's implementation.
5. The i menu. Great idea, nice UX. Why so limited? It's 2 rows of 6 settings each. Why not have a near-fullscreen selection like Olympus's Super Control Panel?
And now, to balance that, here's 5 things I like about the Z5
1. It's porky. The ergonomics benefit greatly from the size & solid build. It is the nicest mirrorless body to hold & shoot with of all the ones I've owned (just slightly edging out the E-M1.2)
2. Very well sorted UI. The button assignment options are excellent, the controls are all well placed and the menu system is very well laid out and also well translated (no 1 fish/3 fish or invalid operation buttons)
3. The touch implementation is excellent. By far the easiest to interact with of all the ones I've used. Better than Olympus's already good implementation thanks to very straightforward menu interactions.
4. The i menu. This makes accessing second-level settings quite easy even at eye level thanks to the combination of good graphic design and a well located and easy to discern by feel physical button.
5. That EVF. I know it's not the best on the market, but it's by far the best at its price point and Nikon's implementation bats above the specs in terms of experience. It's much more transparent and less obviously an EVF than the same panel in the X-T3/4 or G9.
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