Rodney Campbell's Blog

First Step on the Mirrorless Path

by on May.04, 2019, under Photography

Well I’ve finally succumbed to the lure of mirrorless… It has been a long long time in the making…

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm, 1/60 sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

I’ll be going on a ten week trip around half of Australia in a few months time. With oodles of opportunities to get back into my photography

My trusty Nikon D750 has been my main camera for over four years now. It’s still a fantastic camera – this is easily the longest I’ve used any one D-SLR – and even by todays standards it’s an epic machine

However with my daughter now very keen on photography she’s taken my D600 (my backup body) and even my FM2n film camera

So with this forthcoming trip into some very remote parts of Australia it would be remiss of me not to have a backup camera. At least that’s part of how I’m justifying it all in my mind 🙂

I started by looking very seriously at the D850 – it is my natural next progression… I tried it in store and it is lovely but it’s just sooo big and heavy

Part of why I havn’t been shooting much in the past 18 months is that I injured my shoulder. This made it quite difficult to carry my heavy camera bag and even lift and hold my reasonably heavy D750 and lenses up to shoot

I’m just not getting any younger and I think it’s just time for lighter and smaller. Especially for when we travel and go on holidays but also for general landscaping walks

In the past I havn’t been convinced of the mirrorless promise. Sure the camera body might be smaller and lighter but equivalent full frame lenses with decent IQ (either adapted or even native to the new mirrorless format) have been essentially the same size and weight as the normal full frame D-SLR lenses. Thus my overall kit would be almost the same size and weight combined

I had assumed the Nikon Z would be the same…

The two lenses I most use for my landscape photography (probably 90%+ of my shots) are the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Except for when I’m doing astro photography or architecture. These are the two lenses I always have in my camera bag with the camera. In the past they’d also be the two lenses (along with the 28-300) I’d take travelling and on holidays

That adds up to some significant size and weight:

D750 (840g) + 16-35/4 (680g) + 24-70/2.8 (900g) = 2420g

If I went the next gen D-SLR route – D850 (1005g) it would be 2585g total

However if I went the mirrorless route with the two new equivalent native Z lenses:

Z7 (675g) + Z 14-30/4 (485g) + Z 24-70/4 (500g) = 1660g

Significantly lighter and much smaller too (and actually better image quality than my existing lenses)

So with the recent release of the Nikon 14-30mm f/4 Z lens I was in a real position to consider the switch

So here we are…

I’ve grabbed the Z7 in a kit including the Z 24-70/4, a 64GB XQD card and the handy FTZ lens adaptor. The FTZ will at least allow me to use most of my existing dozen or so F mount lenses until more (smaller and lighter and higher IQ) Z native lenses come out to replace them. I’ve also picked up the Z 14-30/4 lens

You can see I’ve also grabbed the RRS arca L bracket for the Z series

And finally – you may note that

  • the 14-30mm Z lens is seriously ultra wide (down to 14mm) AND it has a flat rather than the usual bulbous front element (found on every other 14mm FX lens) AND thus it has a standard 82mm front filter thread
  • this means I can finally use “normal” filters – including my standard 100mm slot filter system with a lens this wide
  • however my existing Lee filter holder with the large 105mm polariser on front vignettes on the 16-35 from about 19mm
  • I’d heard that the NiSi filter holder (with the polariser) will definitely work down to 16mm and possibly even 14mm without vignetting
  • So I’ve also grabbed the new V6 NiSi holder and I’ll post more on this after I’ve tried it

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