Another Way To Think About Z

I have a very different way of looking at Nikon's Z progression than most. 

I put everything Z that comes along into one of three basic categories:

  • Scratching my head: this category is where I find myself questioning Nikon decision making. The NOCT and the upcoming 50mm f/1.2 sort of fall into this category, as they use resources that are needed elsewhere early on. Moreover, given the size of the 70-200mm f/2.8 S, I don't see any reason why I want it more than the 70-200mm f/2.8E on the adapter. The lack of a vertical grip falls into this category, as it's a clear dumb move on Nikon's part. The emphasis on the WR-R10 when Nikon doesn't actually deliver them is another head scratcher. Also: where is the Z-system flash with appropriate AF Assist lighting? Why no 100-400mm (or 80-400mm or 70-300mm) lens in clear sight? How long do we have to wait for macro lenses? 
  • Yes, that's what I expected: here I find myself nodding my head in pretty much full agreement. The Z50 and Z6 certainly fall into this category. So does the full(ish) f/1.8 prime set (20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm), the eventual f/2.8 zoom trio (14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm), and the solid FTZ mount lens adapter. I'd also say that Nikon did what I expected with the original 24-70mm f/4 kit lens. 
  • Better than expected: and this is where I let out a little squeal of excited contentment. The Z7 mostly falls into this category. But the two things that really stand out so far in terms of my delightment are: (1) the optical quality of the Z lenses—even the implied US$150 16-50mm DX—has so far exceeded expectations; plus, we finally got a Lens Road Map from a company that's notoriously as secret as they come; and (2) Nikon finally showed that they're willing to supplement good cameras by creating even better firmware via updates. Meanwhile, the collapsing kit lenses (16-50mm DX, and 24-50mm FX) are also better than expected, while the 24-200mm starts to make me believe that superzooms might actually be usable. 

But I'm curious about your thoughts. Drop me an email telling me what has you scratching your head, what you thought Nikon got right so far, and what's turned out better than you expected in the Z system.

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