Death of the DSLR
For me, the timing of the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 release could not have been better. The manuscript for my new book, Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras: Getting the most from your MILC, was in the early stages of production when I learned of the release planned for August 23, 2018.
The premise of my book, stated in the introduction, is that the MILC as a style of camera will obsolesce the DSLR. There is virtually nothing the DSLR can do that the MILC can’t do, and do better.
In my extensive research and testing for the book I did not find a single MILC that was not worthy - from Fujifilm to Panasonic Lumix, each has its virtues. Nonetheless, as the top-of-the-line full-frame MILC, the Sony a7R III has until now been King of the Hill.
While I have not had hands-on experience with the Z 7 I know enough about cameras, and MILC in particular, to be able to interpret the specs. On the assumption that the camera works as stated, in other words, the AF is fast and accurate, the buffer writes as fast as claimed, and the camera doesn’t catch on fire easily, then the Z 7 is the new King. Which is not to say that the a7R III isn’t still a great camera, it is. What Nikon has done is raise the bar ever so slightly on almost every specification. For all practical purposes, the Z 7 could almost be a Sony a7R IV.
One example would be raising the effective pixels from 42 mpx (a7R III) to 46 mpx. This is not enough to make any substantial difference, but just enough to claim the Z 7 is the better camera.
A second example is adding two additional white balance presets. Who cares and who needs two more? Somebody, maybe. But still, Nikon has added two more so the Z 7 is the better camera.
A third is an increase in focusing points from 399 to 493, just shy of 100 more points. So the Nikon is ... the better camera.
A fourth is increasing the size of the LCD from 3-inches (a7R III) to 3.2-inches along with an increase in screen dots from 1.4 million to 2.1 million. More important than the LCD screen is the electronic viewfinder. Nikon has increased the EVF resolution from 3,686,400 to 3,690,000. A mere 3,600 dots. Neither you or I will see a discernible difference, but hey ... which is the better camera?
Along with the minor upgrade in specs, Nikon has included several features not found on any other MILC currently in production. These include:
Wi-Fi that can communicate with a computer
Stack Shot exposure mode for infinite depth-of-field (the final image can be previewed in-camera but must be combined using third-party software)
Timelapse recording (available only as a download option on the a7R III)