One of the ways I keep tabs on the camera industry and how things are going with different brands is through my Google Analytics.
Since 2013 I’ve been doing all the memory card tests in every camera and while it’s been a battle to keep that number one spot in Google search, it at least gives me an idea of how cameras are selling.
Aside from some of the consumer products like GoPros and smartphones, the Nikon Z6/Z7 is the #1 hit article I have for memory cards. Meaning, a lot of people are buying the Nikon Z6 and Z7 right now.
This could be because it uses a new memory card format that could be contributing to the increase in search and I combined the Z6 and Z7 into one article (but it’s mostly the z6 driving that traffic), but other articles like my lists of Nikon Z lenses are also showing good traffic compared to other brands. Not bad considering there are only three cameras for the system.
It would appear the system is doing well considering everything that’s going on right now.
Why am I telling you this?
Because there are still a lot of big influencers still only saying bad things about Nikon and I know this can be discouraging if you’re a Nikon shooter. But my analytics are pointing to a different story. So I offer you a bit of encouragement if you’re a Nikon fan.
Yes, the Nikon Z6 & Z7 are still not perfect. Eye AF is still a touch behind what Canon and Sony have in their latest releases, and AF tracking does struggle a bit in low light, but nothing in the system has really been holding me back, it’s still phenomenal in retrospect.
It’s also probably one of the best hybrid cameras for video for the price, if you’re not looking for a high frame rate that is.
It’s kind of funny to think that the Nikon Z6 IS the Sony A7sIII everyone has been waiting for. Kinda – I would actually say, even if the A7sIII came out 2 years ago when it was supposed to, it probably wouldn’t be as good as the Z6 is today since it would probably still be limited to 8-bit.
Today people keep saying the Black Magic 6k cam is a better camera while pointing out all of the Nikon Z6 issues with ProRes RAW.
But here is a different angle.
Yes, there are issues with the line skipping when shooting full-frame ProResRAW 4k, but when you shoot in the DX Crop mode, which gives you a sensor area similar to the Black Magic 6k, then all those problems go away. You’re just limited to 4k and 30p – which is fine.
Also, the Blackmagic 6k is a Canon EF mount. So right there the Nikon with its mirrorless mount a more compelling system since you can adapt anything to it including vintage PL mount lenses. Plus you have those Z prime lenses which are currently better than any of the lenses Canon has in the EF mount if you’re going for autofocus.
To get set up to match Blackmagic output you would have to get the Ninja V whereas the BlackMagic can just go USB-C out to a drive. So technically you could probably get fully set up with the BlackMagic for cheaper.
I’m not dogging the BlackMagic 6k or anything, it’s an incredible camera and if was going for a video system, that would be it for so many other reasons, but as a hybrid system, the Z6 is still a nice way to go since it’s also an incredible stills cameras, plus you get 4k full frame if you want to really overuse shallow depths of field like a noob. 🙂
Now Fujifilm just needs to put 6k ProRes RAW in the X-T4. That would be something.
Will Nikon Die Like Olympus?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I don’t think so.
Here is what I’m thinking. Of course, feel free to share your opinions as well in the comments.
I could see the camera war turning a little bit into what’s going on with the gaming console wars. Where the Sony and Xbox would lose money on the initial console releases in order to make money with the games.
With the cameras, it could become less about the cameras and more about the lenses and Nikon is in a very good position to win this.
Nikon’s reputation IS with their lenses, they could potentially just undercut everyone and give the camera bodies away at cost, or below cost, and rely on lens sales to keep them afloat. Canon would be in a great position to do this as well, but this could hurt Sony who drives people into their system via third-party cheap lenses. If everyone buys Tamron, Rokinon and Shmigma instead of Sony lenses and they’re not making money off their bodies because Canon and Nikon are undercutting them, Sony could have a rough future.
Nikon has kept their mount under lock and key, so third-party lenses never perform as well as Nikkor lenses. Still to this day Sigma and Tamron have to hack the camera protocols to get AF to work, so this always gives the Nikkor lenses an advantage.
Canon has been opening up their mount, but they have such a unique line of lenses, they’ll likely be ok.
That’s my Nikon update for the week. Keep your head up Nikon shooters, despite what everyone is saying, the Z system is doing well – at least according to my analytics.
Here are some more recent Z6 shots.
Good points all around—and I hope you’re right. I mostly shoot with Fuji, but I want Nikon to thrive. They have a history of amazing cameras and lenses, and what they bring to the table with the Z system is much more interesting than Sony.
And the upcoming releases of the Z5 and Z30—presumably even cheaper offerings—suggest that you’re right about their strategy of offering bodies at cost and profiting mostly from lenses. Hopefully those will be strong cameras in their respective categories.
That Z5 does look interesting. Now they just need some pancake lenses or at least something a little more compact.
Im still excited for that Fujifilm 50mm f1 and X-H2. Hopefully they’re not too expensive.
Yeah, I’m also really curious to see how that new 50mm will render. And if the X-H2 has the rumored 43MP sensor, that’ll be fascinating as well—though the smaller pixel pitch and diffraction potential give me pause. Should be an incredible camera, though.
I have a sneaky feeling the X-H2 will be a quad bayer sensor. So it can operate in several modes. You could get good low light 4k, or high res 8k. Seems like it will be video focused and I bet they ditch X-Trans. At least I hope it’s this way. The Mavic Air II actually does this.
Thanks for writing this, I took the jump from Fuji to the Nikon Z system about a year ago and all I’ve ever read on the internet is how they are going to fail. The paradox to this is the majority of their prime lenses receive excellent reviews and the Z6 is often in the top 3 camera lists. I was drawn to them through their history and my dad is a huge Nikon fan.
It unnerves me with all the doom and gloom, I wonder sometimes if I made a mistake not going with Sony instead.
Alternatively, if Fuji did do MKII’s of some of their primes I may be tempted to go back eventually. Given you own Sony too, any thoughts?
It’s great to see how much you enjoy the Nikon Z system.
I do own Sony. Been with the A7r series since day one and still use the A7rIII. I think they have cool stuff and I still really like their APS-C system a lot. I stuck with the A7r system because those are the only full frame Sony cameras worth buying. I’ve never liked the A7III, or that series. Sony cut too many corners with those.
I love what they’ve done with the A6xxx series though. The Magnesium bodies and now the new bigger battery on the A6600. Camera feels great, it just needs UHS-II memory cards. I don’t really expect as much out of an APS-C camera which are meant to be smaller and lighter. If Sony adds UHS-II cards with some better video I could see myself picking up another A6xxx series camera in the future. I use to have the A6300. Loved it.
My problem with Sony today is they still hold back using nice components compared to everyone else. It didn’t matter when they were the only mirrorless camera, but now it matters.
They still use low resolution 3.0″ screens, compared to Nikon, Canon and Panasonic’s 3.2″ 2m-dot screens that has no touch menu interface. Their menus still feel primitive and their video specs are still very primitive. 100Mbps 8-bit, no 10-bit option at all. Overall the Sony cameras are just ok, you’re mostly just buying them for their sensors and autofocus today. I bought them for Landscape photography. For years I just wanted something smaller and lighter and Sony was perfect for this. Even the A7rIV is a great camera for this.
They filled that void for a few years so they gained dominance, but now that everyone else has full frame mirrorless cameras people will eventually wake up to the fact that Sony is cutting corners on the development of their bodies and Sony will either have to really try to push harder to make competitive cameras or they can continue to make cameras with poor components but will have to bring the price way down.
If you’re wondering why I don’t like the A7III, here is a list of reasons.
No lossless compression.
Camera gimps down to 12-bit with continuous burst when shooting with their bad compressed format.
No 10-bit video.
Very low bitrate 4k video – 100Mbps
Small screen with low resolution. 3.0″ under 1m-dot.
Screen that still after all these years has delamination bubbling issues.
Pretty bad EVF.
Really long bootup times.
No touch interface.
Now I find out that the IBIS mech is cracking because it uses a plastic mount. So pretty much if you buy an A7III you’ll have to buy a new camera in a few years.
Dual card slots but only one is UHS-II, so if you want to shoot backup you have to gimp down to UHS-I performance.
I was really hoping Sony would fix most of these issues and lead with the A7rIV and A9II, but they didn’t. They just added dual UHS-II and improved the EVF and that’s basically it.
Which sucks cuz I really do like Sony. Been shooting with their video cameras and stills literally since 2005 and their cinema cameras are still great.
At the end of the day, my complaints with Sony are all minor little things, it’s still really not that big of a deal which system you go with, they all leap frog each other every few years. But for me now, I want a do-it-all hybrid system and Nikon and Fujifilm are the best for this because of their great video options and lenses.
@AlikGriffin:disqus thanks so much for taking the time to give such a thorough answer! I find this really helpful and you’ve given me some confidence I haven’t totally lost my mind betting on the Nikon Z + Fuji.
It’s remarkable how pro the internet is to Sony. I hadn’t really realised some of the body features were behind some of the competition, the majority of reviews focus on the AF.
I’m hoping to see some more lenses appear on the Z roadmap this year. Here’s hoping for the compact 28/40mm. I am also hoping to see a 16-35.
I’ve updated the list on Z lenses with what was on their Roadmap. https://alikgriffin.com/nikon-z-mount-lenses/
Looks like they have a 28mm and a 40mm compact coming 2021. They also have a 60mm Micro coming, whatever that means.
And I’m not really sure why the bloggers or Youtubers never mention lack of specs in the Sony cameras compared to other brands. It’s a pretty significant lag in features.
I’ve heard conspiracy theories that camera stores make more money selling Sony cameras, so places like DPreview (owned by Amazon) would push them harder since its more profitable. But take that with a grain of salt.
My Nikon Z6 vs A7III article gets a ton of traffic though, so the message is getting out there and hopefully people catch on to the idea that there is more to a camera than just Eye AF.
It’s also strange, since I’ve been writing about the Z system, the overall response from people in email and comments has been very positive. People are just thrilled about the Z system. I’ve never really seen that level of enthusiasm with the other brands and I’ve been writing about Sony and Fujifilm since 2013.
I will say there is still a lot to like about Sony. When it comes down to it, and from talking to people on this site, I see that most people just want cheap Tamron and Sigma lenses so Sony is the best option still today for mirrorless. And it’s true that good lenses are one of the most important thing.
Even if Z5 looks very interesting for me, the power balance can change in favour of Canon for a real video hybrid camera system with R5 and R6 and the future lenses 50mm, 85mm, 70-200mm f4, 24-70mm f4…
Yeah, looks like Canon is a bit ahead with lenses. Can’t wait to see their 50mm and 85mm f1.8 lenses.
I have an X100F and a Nikon D40X. My camera adventure begin with Nikon D40X last year which my daughter gave me because she was thinking its lens have a problem with autofocus so she does not want to use it anymore. The moment I take it, I was overblown with the OVF and autofocusing lens sounds and lots of things. I took a couple of photos with it but that camera’s indoor performance is not very good also my technical knowledge on how to use cameras was very limited. Fast forward to 1 year… I bought Fujifilm X100F and I shoot lots of photos with it and my technical knowledge is really improved when compeared 1 year before. The pictures I got from X100F always amazed me at Image quality wise. And 2 weeks ago I wanted to take photos with Nikon D40X which was collecting dust and I wanted to apply a few tricks I learned about photography meanwhile. I took a picture of my cat indoors midday with Nikon. Then I went to computer to see them. Man I was blown away at the quality of the JPEG. It is much better than most of my X100F and it has an interesting unique look to it. (I feel cinematic) I was thinking about selling it. Now I will keep it. I also sent it to service and they told me everything is fine. If light is good, that 15 year old camera beats newest cameras. I can not imagine what they did in Nikoz Z6. When I look at your sample shots, I can feel they have some artistic uniqueness in them. I am sure that Nikon will be my next camera purchase.
That’s what people keep telling me. I don’t shoot JPG with the Nikon but their colors are very nice. They have like this very smooth tonal transition between colors and highlights that you don’t quite get from the other brands. Of course they’re all great in their own way, but I’ve been really loving the Nikon for landscape work.
I got a Nikon D200 about seven years ago. I have it set to capture Raw+JPEG, but I’ve used the Raw output maybe a half-dozen times over that stretch, because the JPEG output is almost always spot-on.
And the colours are fabulous; I really like a gaudy sunset and just by switching off the Auto White Balance, the out-of-camera JPEGs are a fantastic match.
You no that is a thing I’ve noticed from renting the Nikon DSLRs over the years. The Z6/Z7 AWB doesn’t seem as on point as those DSLRs.
Hello there, I I can identify well with your view and iI will definitely visit your blog again. I like it!
I would count myself among the ambitious amateurs and maybe future semi-professionals, so i guess I belong to a large proportion of photo and camera enthusiasts. I’ve saved some money to fnally switch from my a6300 to a fullframe body as my Sony just restricts me a little too much, which certainly cost me one or two good photos at the last wedding I photographed.
Since I only have Sigma prime lenses for APCS, I would be open to a system change to Canon or Nikon, but it just frustrates me that I have to compromise with every major manufacturer in the range up to 2000 €/$.
The Z6 appeals to me the most, and I would be more than satisfied with the 1.8S series for the next few years, but it lacks too much what Canon or Sony did right – but of course there are other things on their bodies missing… .
I just wish they would have made a different approach with their Z bodies.. they’re now trying to fix that with all that rumours about the entry-semi-professional Z5 and maybe a pro Z8 coming up but i’d rather like to see a Z6 MI with improved AF and dual SD slots and a flip screen to attract more amateurs and semi-professionals as well as a Z7MII that would have everything the D850 had including dual XQD and or a SD slot added as well as proper battery grip with more controls for portrait and aof course a flip screen… like every camera now should have these days. Shooting above head level or from the hip in portrait is a real struggle, not to mention the benefits for videographers.
It would be really nice if at least one of the big manufacturers would finally listen to what the users want, not the developers or probably stakeholders. With such a tactic Nikon could finally step out of the shadows and convince not only the professionals but also a whole bunch of amateurs willing to invest in their new mirrorles system.
I think your outlook is inherently biased.
At the end of the day, Nikon currently has a better value camera than Sony and Canon.
Sony A7iii ergonomics are terrible, the body still overheats, and they have yet to update the terrible LCD screen. Canon EOS R has cropped 4k, no 1080 120fps option, one card slot (SD), and is still more expensive than the Nikon Z6.
I’d also venture to say that you haven’t actually tried one of the Nikon mirrorless bodies yet because if you had you’d realize that the autofocus is really a nonissue now and the XQD card is totally fine as a single card slot solution.
Also, the flip out screen can also be a major negative for video. I short sports and for work we use Sonys. There have been many times where I have been super close to athletes that weren’t necessarily aware of me being as close as I would (locker room celebrations and pregame warmups specifically) and in those instances the tilt screen actually is safer because I keep the camera close to me and there’s no chance that an athlete can snap the flip out screen by pushing into it or moving past it.
I think Canon, Nikon and Sony are very careful not to give you too much all at once and to only give you finally what you want right before new tech is just about to come out, or when the competition forces them too. This helps increase margins but also keeps consumers excited about new tech. The EOSR is actually a pretty great example of this. Super fast, great performance, fun to use but single UHS-II slot, no IBIS. It’s such a tease.
Sony does the same thing. Now that tech like UHS-III is just around the corner, Sony is finally adding dual UHS-II to their cameras instead of UHS-II / UHS-I. So in a year or two the A7rV or A9III could have UHS-III as a new big feature along with a better screen that was held back in the A7rIV and A9II. But of course it will be UHS-III / UHS-II, until the next generation. It all seems very tactical. I imagine they’ll launch with some new Sony video codec for the A7sIII as well and trickle down those features in next gen cameras.
It’s frustrating for us consumers but it keeps them in business.
The good news is, Nikon will usually have one or two PRO camera bodies that have everything, the D850, the D6, the D500 for APS-C, maybe future Z8. But then all their prosumer cameras they kind of fiddle with the specs leaving somethings out with each iteration while testing other tech. We saw that with the D780. Great camera, but they got rid of the popup flash and the focus joystick and it has no IBIS. Then of course the Z6 / Z7 are missing a few things.
I’m assuming this allows the developers to focus on core features for firmware. Make the cameras less complicated, until they can flesh out the tech, fixing any problems like IBIS before releasing them in the more expensive Pro bodies. We saw this also with the Sigma fp. A barebone camera but a development platform for firmware, now firmware v2 is pretty cool so the Sigma FP II can come out ready to go and at probably a higher price.
Nikon will likely make a flagship mirrorless body that has everything for the pros. I imagine they’ll work it around some form of that 61MP sensor Sony has developed with some Nikon customizations. I hope they also do one that’s more video focused, internal 10-bit etc.
It’s looking like the Panasonic / Sony approach where you make three cameras with three specialties is the way to go. I think Nikon and Canon just wanted to put out some confusing products so that their next generation could be a little more focused at particular niches which is changing rapidly.
Aside from the Panasonic cameras that don’t have phase detect autofocus, The Fujifilm X-T4 is really the first camera I’ve seen to give you everything, but their still trying to build out their sports lenses before updating the older lenses.
And now things are getting even more tricky with 4k video and 8k video with the ProRes RAW. You want full sensor readout for RAW video, but you need something like 40MP for 8k but only like 8MP for 4k, 24MP for 6k, any more or less and you have to introduce line skipping or pixel binning. Sony will likely produce some Quad Bayer sensor for this, but it might produce limitations for when shooting stills. So these cameras will all have to be segmented out and it makes things very complicated. Suddenly the video cameras are high megapixel cameras, but a lot of photographers are just happy with 24MP.
I think it’s safe to say that the next 5 years, the cameras released are going to be a bit crazy. That’s also why I think the Z6 and Z7 are still cool. I don’t think they’ll be replaced for a long time. We’ll see all these other cameras released around them like a Z5, but that are not actual replacements like a Z6 II. At least not for a few years.
Hey Alik, these questions are unrelated to the article, but does the desktop version of your site have a search bar? It’s in the upper right of the page for mobile, but I can’t find a search filed on desktop. Also, do you have a post that summarizes lenses with best tonality/microcontrast? If you don’t will you make one in the future? 😉
Oh yeah I guess I don’t have a search function on Desktop. I can add one, shouldn’t be a problem.
I haven’t done a micro-contrast roundup yet. It’s a tough metric to really measure because sometimes some of the better micro-contrast lenses aren’t as sharp or have crazy field curvature. Like the Pergear 25mm f1.8 has great micro-contrast but has issues with sharpness falloff from the center, so it doesn’t always feel as punchy as the 7artisans. I also need to check out some of those Lensbaby 3 element lenses too.
Most of the cheap Chinese lenses have great micro-contrast, better than any of the brand name lenses, but the trick with those is finding ones that are balanced well in other attributes.
My favorite two so far are the Meike 35mm f1.7 and the Pergear 50mm f1.8. I need to compare a few more 25mm lenses. Those are APS-C lenses.
For full frame lenses, I really like the Kipon 35mm f2.4 and the Kipon 75mm f2.4. Their 50mm is nice too but I really think 50mm needs to be a little faster than f2.4 for what it is. You get great DOF with a 75mm at 2.4 and you don’t really need shallow dof on a 35mm. There are better Micro-contrast lenses than those but not as balanced overall. The Kipon 75mm is a gem.
The best 50mm Micro contrast lens I have is the Industar 50-2. But it’s performance varies depending on what system you use. Lot of Vignetting on the Sony with bad corners and edges. Looks best on the Nikon Z6. You get hit and miss with the EOS R when adapting lenses.
A lot of the new lenses by Voigtlander or Zeiss are leaning more into overall performance at the cost of some micro-contrast, so you have to find those classical designs.
Poke around on Yannicks website, he writes a lot about this more than I do, but I think he’s mostly Nikon. Some of those F lenses are legendary. https://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2/8/micro-contrast-the-biggest-optical-luxury-of-the-world
Thanks for the recs! I’ll look into those lenses. I discovered Yannick’s blog a little while back. He’s got some great stuff on there.
Question for you Alik. I’m interested in the Z system but would need to sell off my Fuji gear. I know that the IQ is better overall in the Z system but I’m more interested in some of the intangibles of how the cameras produce color/character. Am I reading into your posts correctly that the Nikon is your preferred system but that it’s a little more clinical in its rendering of color/character? For what it’s worth, I’d be moving from Fuji’s 16-55 f2.8 and 35mm f2 to Nikon’s 24-70 f4 and 50mm f1.8. I run a really simple kit with a few manual “art” lenses.
What you’re using with the Fujifilm system isn’t their best character lenses, so it might not be a huge difference. You’ll just miss the film simulators if you use them. Also, Fujifilm cameras tend to render a bit crunchier which I like sometimes, Nikons is a bit more pastel with smoother tonal and color transitions. Both have advantages and disadvantages, it just kinda of depends on the situation. But that will probably take you a little bit to get use to, especially if you’ve built presets, you’ll have to tweak them.
You can also adapt older Nikkor lenses and get some of that magic back as well. Some of them aren’t too expensive either. I’m fairly new to Nikon though so I don’t really know what would be good with the F mount glass. Supposedly the 105mm is legendary. You’ll also have access to lenses like the new Tamron 35mm f1.4 F. It adapts well to the Z6, friend of mine just got it. It’s on sale right now.
Thanks. I come here for descriptions like “crunchier.” I haven’t heard this on any other site and yet I think I know what you mean (high contrast, saturation, less subtle tonal transitions). I had lots of 1.4 lenses but became frustrated with AF/no sealing, and I still think the f2 lenses have a nice pop to them until Fuji makes some mark IIs.
One concern I have with Nikon is their strategy moving forward. On their rumor site tonight is the 50mm 1.2. It’s huge and presumably expensive. Nikon seems to be playing the ultimate IQ game and I’d like to see some pancakes. In any case I’ll use your links for the next purchase and appreciate your feedback.
Nikon have a 28mm and 40mm coming out this year or next for the Z system. There’s been posts where Nikon have said pancakes are a priority as a lot of customers are asking for them.
I suspect they will come next year, especially with the pandemic.
I made the switch from Fuji to the system and in particular I’ve really enjoyed working with the primes. I still miss having smaller lenses though.
I really like the ergonomics of the body, especially the joystick and back button focus.
I ended up buying an X100 as well though. There’s just something I love about using Fuji even though I love the Z lenses
I still love the X100 cams. I’ll probably forever keep some gear in the Fuji system just for those smaller lighter cameras and bodies. It’s really nice.
I’ve been messing around with a lot of the different JPG recipes with the X100V lately from https://fujixweekly.com/2020/05/27/my-fujifilm-x100v-kodachrome-64-film-simulation-recipe/ and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ll do a post on it probably this weekend.
I look forward to seeing that post. Do you shoot SOOC when you use the recipes?
Yes. Sometimes I”ll do a little adjusting in LR but for the most part they are SOOC.
Why did I discover this place so late. Great blog Alik. It’s like a fresh air after watching all those YT “reviews”. I thought I was crazy when reviewing hundreds of Sony photos and then saying to myself that something is wrong with them, they seemed harsh many times to my eyes. I always thought that Fuji, Canon and Nikon had this more earthly feeling to the image but couldn’t explain why. You describe it all in a very understandable manner and kudos to You for doing this fantastic job.
I wanted to ask you for opinion as I am currently using Fuji X-E3 with 35 f1.4 and it’s a great setup with magical results but I also lust for this FF look as I had Nikon D600 and Sony A7 in the past. I am shooting mostly my family, landscape and some closeups. I am really torn if I should go with Nikon Z or Eos R (R6) now. I think I will pass on Fuji X-T4 as video autofocus has some serious problems and they really need to update their lens lineup. When they will do this, probably magic from lenses like 56 f1.2 and 35 f1.4 will be gone. I reviewed and edited tons of raw files that I could find on the web and it seems that Canon is closer to that Fuji look than Nikon ? Nikon sounds like a fantastic proposition and their ergos are the best but somehow when I look at images from Z6 + 50 f1.8 S i find them “flat” and “clinical” in comparison to XF 35 f1.4. Would you say that Canon RF 35 f1.8 and future RF 50 f1.8 would be closer to Fujis rendering ? I also think that Canon has better color science than Nikon.
On the other hand Nikon is probably better to adapt lenses like Voigtlander 40 f1.2 or Iberit 75 f2.4 and those have beautiful rendering in my opinion.. Would love to hear your opinion on this.
So here is the rundown. And you’re mostly right about everything you’re saying.
Adapting lenses Nikon performs the best. Although the Iberit performs great on all the cameras since longer lenses tend to do well. Don’t adapt their 50mm though it will have vignetting issues.
Voigtlander I think will tune the designs a little for each camera system if you buy it in the native mount, or you can buy it in the Leica M mount as I do and adapt it. You just lose some minimum focus distance.
Kipon doesn’t tune their lenses for each mount, and many of those third-party companies don’t, unless you get like Sigma or Tamron. They’ll just design them for a test bench and ignore the different sensor stack configurations on each camera.
Sometimes with some wider lenses you get softer corners with a bit more Vignetting on Sony. With Canon you sometimes get this purple vignetting with 35mm lenses, My voigtlander 35mm does this, my Anthy 35mm does this. It’s possible a 40mm Voigtlander could do this as well, but i’m not sure. Nikon performs the best overall. My old lenses like the Industar 50-2 have a new life on the Nikon, overall it’s just slightly better. But most of the time they are great on Canon as well.
In terms of color science, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm are all radically different. I think Nikon still handles the highlight tonal transitions the best. I would say that a Fuji RAW is more similar to a Sony RAW than to Canon or Nikon.
Also Sony has been working pretty hard at improving their color handling. They updated some firmware in the A9 and the A7rIV should have those updates. The big flaw with Sony is those harsh highlight rolloff but they’ve been working on that. So if you see samples from an A9II it should be better than an A7III. But I would say their update isn’t game changing yet. It’s good to see Sony addressing the problem though.
Canon colors are a bit more earthy, Nikon colors are a bit more pastel. For me, I’ve always been a Sony, Canon, Fuji shooter, then taking on a Nikon, the transition to the Nikon colors was the hardest to adjust to because it’s so different, but I love the look for Landscapes and I’ve now gotten a pretty good handle on their Raw files.
The current generation of Nikon Z lenses are made for perfection but they do lose a lot of pop. You’ll for sure get more pop out of the Canon 35mm f1.8 than the Nikon 35mm f1.8. But the Nikon lenses from a technical point are better. (Weather sealed, no focus breathing, no astigmatism etc)
Canon will also release a 50mm f1.8 and an 50mm f1.8 and they will probably also have a lot more character than the Nikon lenses at the cost of some technical scores.
Canon will probably get you closest to those f1.4 Fuji lenses with their f1.8 lenses in terms of the character.
It’s a tough call, if you’re happy with cheaper f1.8 lenses that have more character at the cost of bad astigmatism and other minor technical issues, the Canon system might be the way to go. Nikon right now is trying to make every lens the best it can be at the cost of some added flatness. They have some pancakes and micro lenses coming next year though.
I’m holding on to my EOS R just for those f1.8 lenses, but my main system still is going to be Nikon I’ve decided since the lenses offer more versatility for me. I just shoot so much at night and in the rain, or in the Ocean, I just need the weather sealing and internal focus systems. I can’t get that wth Canon currently unless I go with their ridiculous f1.2 lenses. But the 35mm f1.8 Canon is super fun, tons of character. Same problem with Fuji, f1.4 lenses aren’t good enough for harsh environments but they have tons of character.
One way you can judge how much character a lens will have is to pay attention to how many elements it has.
Typically 7-9 elements have some nice character, it’s kind of the sweet spot. It’s where Fujifilm lives with most of their primes. When you start seeing lenses up in the 11-13 range, they typically lose some of the magic.
Focal length and everything matters too though. From my experience, it kind of looks like longer lenses lose their pop more from using a lot of elements compared to wider lenses.
I will also skip the X-T4 because the X-T4 with the 15-55mm f2.8 lens is actually heavier than the Nikon Z6 and the equivalent 24-70mm f4 lens. Making their APS-C bodies as big and heavy and as expensive as FF bodies makes it hard to justify APS-C. I hope they bring back the X-T3 style bodies in the future, that are smaller and lighter. The X-T3 was perfect.
Thanks, that is really helpful. Yes Fuji is getting bigger and more expensive and that’s a bummer. I think that Canon might be my best bet as you say. I care the most about skin tones and it seems that Canon gives little bit more magic in that area than Nikon right ? Fuji is unbeatable in skin tones in my opinion and that’s why I have a hard time searching through competition. I will probably start with the R6 + 50 f1.8 when those two come out and their zoom 24-105 f4 seems to be better than Nikon 24-70 f4 although it will be little to big for travel.
Yes, I like Canon skin tones more than Nikon out of the can. But that’s a big topic for debate.
The 24-105 f4 lens is phenomenal. It’s just a little big compared to the Nikkor 24-105mm. But it has IS which is cool. It also even has a little pop too it which is rare for a zoom.
Alik, you have a fabulous site. I can’t believe I didn’t find this sooner! The articles and reviews are well written, balanced, are accompanied with a solid set of nice photographs! Your Nikon articles have really piqued my interest.
I shot with Nikon SLRs and DSLRs for decades before I moved to Fuji about 4 years ago. There are many things I love about the Fuji X-series but I have been wanting to try the new Nikon Z cameras and your reviews have only made that desire even stronger. Nikon cameras have always felt good in hand to me. Menus can be a little wonky. And some of my favorite photographs were made with a D300s.
I finally decided to order a Z6 and a couple of lenses to try it and see what all the fuss is about. I do have some reservations about the jpg output. I’ve reached a point where I don’t like to edit most of my personal photos. The Fuji jpgs and in-camera adjustments (and film simulations) make it so easy to use jpgs SOOC. I am hopeful that I can get the Nikon’s output close enough to be happy.
I even considered just adding the GFX (It’s not THAT much more than a Z7), but the wide and tele lens selection is still lacking. I’d love to see you put a post together directly comparing your personal and working experiences with those two systems. Keep up the good work!
Edit for clarification…I’d love to see you compare the Z6 and X-T3 directly.