Nikon Z7 II Review
Hello again! My name is Matte Hanna and I’m a full-time photographer living on the Oregon coast.
I’m happy to be back at Shotkit, giving you initial impressions of the camera I have used most in my kit this summer – the Nikon Z 7II.
I have been using the Z 7II mainly for my landscape photography, but it has found its way in my kit to both weddings and portrait sessions over the past several months.
In this Nikon Z7 II review, I’ll share all the things I liked and disliked so you can make an informed decision about whether this powerful mirrorless camera is right for you.
Table of Contents
Nikon Z7 II Specs
- Improved processing speed
- Improved AF
- Native ISO of 64Incredible Dynamic Range
- Beautiful design and ergonomics
- Rugged body and weather sealing
- Flagship lenses are amazing
- Dual card slots
- In-body stabilization
- Excellent image quality
- LCD screen has limited articulation
- Viewfinder lower resolution compared to similar price ranged competition
- Card slots are different formats
- EVF noise in low light
- 45.7MP BS-CMOS sensor with native ISO 64
- ISO 64-25,600 (expandable to ISO 32-102,400)
- 4K/60p video with 93% coverage of the sensor (a ~1.08x crop)
- 10 fps burst shooting with single-point AF
- 5-axis in-body stabilization (3-axis with adapted F-mount lenses)
- 3.69M-dot EVF, 3.2″ 2.1M-dot rear screen
- 1 CFExpress / XQD card slot, 1 UHS-II SD card slot
- Dual EXPEED 6 image processors
- 10fps continuous shooting (Single AF)
- Body Construction: Full magnesium alloy, fully weather-sealed
- Size:134 x 101 x 70 mm (5.28 x 3.98 x 2.76 in.)
- Weight : 705 g (1.55 lb / 24.87 oz)
The Nikon Z7 II is the second iteration of Nikon’s Z7 mirrorless model, with several noteworthy upgrades.
The Z 7 II is a full-frame 45.7-megapixel camera with dual processors (compared to the single processor in its predecessor the Nikon Z7), giving a boost in speed and processing power.
New upgrades also include the addition of a second memory card slot, giving professionals on the fence about making a switch a more attractive push towards Nikon’s mirrorless cameras.
For those working in the wedding or live event industry, there is much comfort knowing you have a backup copy of those special moments that cannot be reshot.
The Dynamic Range of the Z7 II is impressive, measured at 26.3 bits and 14. EV.
With a revamped focus system giving users a 493 point phase-detect autofocus system, Nikon made improvements to the low light performance and AF modes, including a much needed and improved eye detection AF for people and animals, giving wedding photographers and wildlife photographers consideration of Nikons AF system.
The no optical pass filter matched with the new Z mount S line series of Nikon lenses make for tack sharp imagery.
Build & Appearance
The Nikon Z7 II’s weather sealing is at the top of its class. If you are a landscape photographer shooting outside in the crud, it is crucial to have a camera that can withstand moisture, dust, and sand particles.
The Z7 II’s build has handled everything from the windy and dusty conditions on Oregon’s windy beaches to the heavily damp and moist atmospheres of the foggy Redwood forest without any incident.
I believe cameras do no good sitting safely at home in a box – our cameras need to function in the elements.
The Z7 II feels every bit as robust and sturdy as all the other best Nikon cameras, well known for their toughness. The Body is forged from Magnesium Alloy making the Z7 II light and strong.
The obvious change appearance of the Z7 II is in the size, but the look of the camera still says classic Nikon with its all-black body with red detailing.
Ergonomics & Handling
The ergonomics of the Nikon Z7 II are spot on, and the camera feels great in your hand. The feeling is very natural and comfortable to hold for extended periods. The build feels sturdy and not fragile or cheap in any way.
The layout and size of the Z7 II’s function buttons are well placed and do not feel too small.
Photographers familiar with Nikon’s other menu systems will have very little in the way of a learning curve to find where everything sits on the Z7 II body. Everything feels sturdy and solid.
Because it is light and small, this camera gives me options to put other valuable gear in my camera bags, such as my drone or small lighting kit, without the additional weight
The Focus Performance is some of the best I have used with any Nikon camera. The AF eye detection is better than ever.
While the addition of Eye detection with both people and animals is greatly improved, Nikon’s future Firmware upgrades will also improve an already great system.
The latest firmware upgrade made a noticeable change in the number of keepers when shooting quick-moving, lit subjects.
I was completely surprised and blown away with shooting sessions at weddings over the summer. Almost all my images were greatly helped by the addition of the new AF system. When in Manual focus modes, focus peaking works excellently.
Most of my shots taken with the Z7 II were sharp and in focus with the camera never missing a beat. The focus performance really is excellent.
Low Light Performance
The Nikon Z7 II uses a low native ISO of 64. This makes for a great dynamic range shooting high contrast Landscapes in bright and low light.
AF detection range starts at -3.0 EV, giving users better control over keeping their subject in focus in low light.
That being said, while a complete improvement over its predecessors, I feel the Z 7II could use a bit of work with faster moving objects in low light, and hopefully, with further firmware updates, there will be improvements.
For those shooting on a tripod with the current Nikkor S line lenses, low-light performance is amazing and tack sharp.
Astro and low-light shooters will love the clarity in the higher range ISO’s.
The Camera VR also allows makes handheld shooting easier, keeping images crisp at slower shutter speeds. Low light portraits composed using live view were accurate and looked beautiful.
This 45.7-megapixel dual-processor mirrorless has quickly become my favorite landscape camera. The image quality is on par or better than any of its competition in this price range.
Sure you can spend twice the money for more megapixels, but here Nikon hit the mark with subjects that are crisp and clean when shot correctly and loads of creativity where Bokeh has never looked better.
Images are amazing right out of the camera with Nikon’s near-legendary rendition of colors.
Competition for the Nikon Z7 II includes Canon EOS R5, Sony a7R IV, Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R among others.
The Z7 II can’t quite match all of the competition’s specs, but this second iteration improves or corrects most gripes about the original Z7.
DSLR owners looking to make a switch to mirrorless may give the Z7 II compelling consideration, especially with the ability to use a number of F mount lenses on the Z.
Value for Money
For around $2,000 – $3,000, all mirrorless cameras on the market are capable of producing incredible imagery, and the Nikon Z7 II is no exception.
With its incredible 45.7MP full-frame BSI sensor powered by dual processors, the Z7 II is one of the only cameras in 2021 that provides a low native ISO of 64.
A starting ISO of 64 helps the Z7 II maximise dynamic range typical of high-contrast scenes (sunsets, midday wedding ceremonies, etc.), making it great for wedding and landscape photographers.
The latest firmware updates bring its AF performance up to its rivals, and no doubt future updates will allow it to keep up with the competition.
All in all, the Nikon Z7 II is excellent value for money.
Nikon Z7 II Review | Conclusion
In an already crowded mirrorless camera market, the Z7 II checks off enough boxes to make a compelling offering for both Landscape and Wedding photographers in particular.
Previous Nikon F lens owners will appreciate the FTZ adapter, giving them the freedom to still use older lenses without having to start over completely.
The logistical and financial burden of starting over from the ground up with lenses to match a new camera body, is an expensive decision. Fortunately, with Nikon’s FTZ Mount Adapter, Nikon gives you the choice of using most F mount lenses on the Z 7II.
However, after using some of the new Nikkor Z S lenses over the last few months, I am honestly using my older Nikon lineup a lot less. The Nikon S lenses are simply incredible.
For photographers questioning why switch to the Nikon Z mount mirrorless systems, here’s your answer – the native Nikon Z lenses.
I have found the Nikkor Z S-line lenses to be outstanding in their sharpness and accuracy. Images are tack sharp when needed or bokeh at its finest.
It’s what you would expect from Nikon who arguably make some of the best lenses, especially for landscape photography.
Flagship lenses matched with the light and rugged Nikon Z7 II, make for an excellent shooting experience. Coming from hiking with a huge pack of DSLR gear, the Z7 II is a welcome addition to my camera kit.
The Z7 II is a step in the right direction with an intuitive menu layout, a revamped AF system, stellar image quality and powerful dual processors, all wrapped up in a robust, ergonomically-pleasing body.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.