Bob Nuttmann

Nikon Z7 & Z50. iPhone 11 Pro. 2020 Summer Travel Photos

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We have been on the road in our motorhome a little over 5 weeks now and we have gone from Jamul CA to Cleveland Ohio and are now headed back slowly. For photography I have used my Nikon Z7, Z50, iPhone digitals, and then the Minolta 600si film cameras. So far I have not had any film developed so cannot say how good the results are. The featured image was taken with my Nikon Z7 and 50mm f1.8 lens.

The above image was taken with my Nikon Z50 and 50-250mm ZDX lens.

The above image with with the ultra wide iPhone 11 Pro

So far I have taken hundreds of photos and one or two videos. It is not that I don’t like taking videos, but this trip we have not had subjects that seemed to favor that medium. Of the three cameras including the iPhone I have used the Z7 the most. I am getting really good results from all three. This trip is the first time I have used these three cameras a lot. I have used Adobe Lightroom Classic and Apple Photos for editing. Both of those work well even if you do not always have fast internet on an RV trip.

One of the above plane photos was taken with the Z7 and one with the iPhone. Which has better color? In my opinion the color on both is excellent. Which of those cameras works better in low light? They both have f1.8 lenses. Overall in my opinion both are about equal in low light in my usage yesterday. You have to be careful with the Nikon to not let the ISO get above 4-5000. You will get grain if you do and you need to use noise reduction to keep it under control. But of course when you use noise reduction software the image quality can deteriorate. I found that with just the camera body IBIS I could hold shots of 1/10 of a second well. I kept the ISO at 400 and F stop at 1.8 to 2. Remarkably the iPhone automatically got similar results with 1/25 second exposures 800 ISO. For post on the iPhone I used the enhance feature and then did a little fiddling in LR Classic. The top photo is the Nikon.

The Z50 in normal light gives results very similar to the full frame Z7. If you go inside I recommend a lens with a lower F setting. I use the ZS lenses that work perfectly with it but are heavier than the ZDX lenses. I used to do the same thing when I had F mount Nikons. In low light I would put on an FX f 1.4 lens.

Color. With the Nikons to get good mid day full sun color you need to keep the exposure down to the point where the highlights are not blown. If I just use matrix exposure many times even if you use raw you cannot turn the highlights down enough or lower the exposure enough to compensate. Both the Z7 and Z50 have an exposure setting to protect highlights. I use it and check results in the viewfinder before taking the shot. When shooting subjects where a few spots are a lot brighter than the overall brightness I will use spot exposure. This works really well with flowers. Polarizing filters also help with bright or shinny flowers. I find all digital cameras are sensitive to bright reds in full sun. Electronic viewfinders help substantially with getting this right.

The above shot is a good example of using the setting to expose for highlights and holding the deep reds without blowing them. The Z7 was used on this.

So is a smartphone good enough to replace a regular camera? In my opinion no. The above shot is a good example. This was done with the Z50 and it’s 50-250 lens. The above shot is at 210mm. I have never owned a smartphone that could get this shot. I know there are some that have 5-10 times zoom, but suspect this shot would be very hard to get with one. Plus I much prefer the way a camera fits into my hands compared to a phone. But I learned to take videos using a cell phone, and find that I prefer using the cell phone screen or the back of the camera when taking videos. I guess it is what you are used to.

Film. I have only taken a couple of rolls of film on this trip. I brought all three of my Minolta 600si bodies and four lenses. But my major goal for this long trip was to get fully used to the Z cameras. I still have a bunch of film to shoot, but may not get to it all on this outing.

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