Sunday 14 March 2021

Two Weeks with the Z5

Nikon Z5, Laowa 15mm f4 Macro

The image above is some fun with the macro capability of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro. This is a unique lens in terms of close focus capability and I do enjoy abusing that capability at times, like these tiny flowers left over from the fall.

There hasn't been a lot of photography in the last week, but I'm over 800 frames on the Z5. That's less than the E-M1.2 at the same point, but without vacation time and with only one serious photowalk in the period it's pretty good overall.

I'm quite content with the Z5, and now that things have warmed up I'm starting to warm to the Z 24-50 kit lens. It really is quite good optically and my focus jam issue I had initially turned out to be cold-related. Once it gets over 2-3C the lens has no issues. The 0.35m close focus is pretty decent, not up to the m.Zuiko 12-40 Pro for sure, but acceptable for a cheaper kit lens. Focus is quite speedy and very accurate. Handling is more than a little wonky, with a tendency for the zoom to overshoot 24mm and start collapsing because the zoom stop detent is too soft. The main body of the lens is short enough that you can't really use the lens as a handgrip. Oh, and the focus ring/control ring is well located for a control ring, but in a poor location for focus control, especially if you use an L bracket on your body as I do. 

Overall, I'm not going to rave about the 24-50, but there's nothing truly wrong with it considering the requirement to be short. Both issues I have with the lens are around constraints brought by its collapsible nature. 

I got out for a long walk on Friday, using the 24-50 and my old 50-135/3.5 AI-S. Still don't like that AI-S zoom, but the 24-50 did alright and didn't freeze up once in the warmer temperatures. I would like to see Nikon do a compact telephoto zoom to match up with the 24-50 though, maybe a revisit of the classic 75-150? Doesn't need to be fast, just small and reasonably priced. I'd also love to see something like an 18-30 ultra-compact UWA zoom. The 14-30's great, but it costs almost as much as the Z5 and that's a showstopper for many potential Z5 buyers. The 18-35G is much more reasonable in price and an excellent performer, but it's a little big on the FTZ when pairing with small native lenses, so it needs a compact Z mount equivalent.


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