Nikon – My Digital Camera Choice

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The above shot is with my Nikon Z50 crop sensor camera and 50-250mm Z zoom lens.

and Shot with Nikon Z50 and 50-250mm Z lens
Nikon Z7 50mm ZS f1.8 lens

I spent a lot of time choosing my first DSLR back in about 2012. I had previously shoot film mostly with Olympus SLRs and compacts. Then my first three digitals were Sony’s. A Sony Mavica, and two Sony compacts. I mostly used them for work and took stills and video. I originally thought that I would get another Olympus larger camera system that was a digital. At the time Olympus had just introduced the OMD-EM5. We were headed out for a long summer vacation and I went to the camera store that carried Olympus cameras and said I was interested in one. So they put one on the counter and then I told them to put a Fuji XT2 (I think it was an XT2, but could have been an XT1 or 3) plus a Nikon D5500 up on the counter too so I could compare. Then I thought, what the heck lets see a Nikon D750 too.

So I picked up and handled all four and then was told the Olympus was back ordered and I would have to wait until they got one in stock. My initial impression was that if money was no object I would get the Nikon D750. And that the Olympus, Fuji, and D5500 were about equal but the Nikon was the least expensive. They had the Nikon D5500 in stock with two kits lenses so that was the choice. A couple of years later I added a Nikon D750 and a few lenses. I loved both of those cameras.

Nikon D5500
Nikon D5500
Nikon D750
Nikon D750

In 2017 and 2018 almost all camera journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, and so on said, “the camera industry is all going mirrorless”. And I was attracted by the idea that the mirrorless full frame systems were lighter and that you could get more accurate exposure using an EVF with a histogram. I went to the camera store to buy a Nikon Z7. They did not have one. So on a spur of the moment decision I bought a Sony A7iii with a 55mm f1.8 Zeiss lens and an adaptor so I could use my six AF Minolta lenses with the Sony. Oh, and sold my two Nikons the same day. It was a bad decision. I regretted the change after the first couple of days. The ergonomics, controls, and color mix of the files was very very different than the Nikons. Sony did fix the colors mostly with a software update, but they did not fix how uncomfortable the camera felt in my hands and to me the much less desirable control and menu system. But in fairness the Sony made very good files. You just had to play with them a lot more in Lightroom than the Nikon files.

Sony A7iii
Sony A7iii

One of the real advantages of the Sony Z7iii was for one the beautiful Zeiss 55mm f1.8 lens, the Sony 24-105mm f4 lens, and the excellent compatibility of the Minolta AF lens I already had.

Sony A7iii with Minolta 100mm 2.8 macro
Sony A7iii with Minolta 100mm f2.8 macro

Even though the Sony A7iii has been gone now for 2 1/2 years I have thought of buying a used one with a couple of the lenses I liked and the Minolta adapter because I got such great results from those lenses. But trying to go back and forth between the Sony A system and the Nikon Z system is just too much distraction from getting good shots and videos.

December 2019 I rented a Z7 from the camera store, took it to a park I regularly go to and got great shots without reading a manual, so the next few days I bought a Z50 and a Z7 plus some lenses. I still have these cameras and have added a few lenses. I still think the D5500 and D750 were easier to use for stills than either mirrorless Nikon. I still mostly prefer an OVF to an EVF. But the Z50 and Z7 are just better all around cameras than the older systems. The files come out of the newer mirrorless bodies with much less need for editing. And the mirrorless bodies have vastly better video capability than the old DSLRs. I still like an always on viewfinder with no lag and prefer all the buttons on the D750 that make it so easy and fast to use. And mechanical lenses. When you are manual focusing there is no comparison between mechanical lenses and electronic lenses. Mechanical are better. But if you have one system of DSLRs with mechanical lenses for manual focus on flowers. Then a Sony mirrorless because you like certain lenses. And throw in Nikon mirrorless for their overall ability. You end up with a giant pile of camera gear. Way way too much to travel with.

Z7 with 50mm f1.8 ZS
Z7 with 50 1.8
Z7 with 50mm 1.8

In addition to stills that come of of the camera that don’t need editing or little editing there is the complete ease of using the same cameras for video. Both the Z50 and Z7 effortlessly go from stills to video and do so keeping the settings separate so you don’t have to set them up every time you switch.

In conclusion in my opinion Nikon has progressed over the last ten years and the cameras they are selling now are better than the ones of a few years ago. They keep on getting better too even after you buy them. Nikon is now doing very significant updates to their cameras. My Z50 and Z7 have far better focus systems now compared to when I first got them. Plus the colors and files are also improved. I have been an avid amateur photographer for a long time. At this time I am very pro Nikon with regard to cameras and lenses. I don’t expect my opinion will be changing any time soon.

2 Replies to “Nikon – My Digital Camera Choice”

    1. Thank you very much. This last year has been difficult and I have not posted much but nice weather is breaking out where I live and I am trying to get back to using my cameras more.

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