Funny How Opinions Don't Always Match Specs

I'll just stick to the Z6 II today. Technically, that camera goes up against the Canon R6, the Panasonic S5, and the Sony A7 Mark III. Headlines and statements across much of the Internet say that "Nikon is playing catch-up." But many go further and say that Nikon still hasn't caught the competition and suggest that Nikon is woefully behind.

Let's mostly ignore the subjective experience, because there's simply no way we're all going to agree on that. Still, it's worth a passing comment. Having now shot with all four (briefly with one, admittedly), my own personal opinion is that the Nikon has the best ergonomics/UI, the Canon second, the Panasonic a close third, and Sony the worst. But a Canon DSLR user is going to find the R6 ergonomics/UI more to their liking than the Nikon Z6 II, and a Nikon DSLR user vice versa. That's because both companies are now producing mirrorless products that operate like their DSLRs. Panasonic's ergonomics/UI are fine, but because there's no real "muscle memory" you'd probably need to grow into them. Sony's ergonomics/UI are still evolving, as the A7S Mark III shows, but I consistently have the most trouble with the A7 Mark III. 

But let's talk about published specs instead. 

  • Price — Canon loses
  • Pixel count — Canon loses
  • Pixel shift — Nikon, Canon, Sony loses; Panasonic wins
  • AF system — Panasonic loses
  • Image stabilization — Nikon and Sony lose; Canon wins
  • Viewfinder — Panasonic and Sony lose
  • Rear LCD — Sony loses; Nikon wins
  • Frame rate — Panasonic loses; Canon and Nikon win
  • Storage — Panasonic and Sony lose
  • Flash sync — Nikon loses, Canon close behind
  • 4K video — Sony loses; Canon wins, Panasonic close behind

We could dice up some more bits and pieces to rate specs on, but that's enough for a simple comparison to see if the statements on the Internet about Nikon lagging behind might be right:

  • Canon — 5 wins, 3+ losses
  • Nikon — 3 wins, 3 losses
  • Panasonic — 1+ win, 4 losses
  • Sony —  0 wins, 6 losses

Lo and behold, the newer cameras have the better specs. The oldest camera is now lagging, despite the fact it's already been iterated twice. Moreover, we've got a lot of "ties."

Personally, I wouldn't declare any of these cameras a "winner." All four are strongly competent cameras with deep feature sets and solid performance. All four are cameras that should last you many years of happy shooting. 

My point today, though, is that the notion that "Nikon is seriously behind" is a false narrative that many seem to want to play up, even in the press. The Internet, particularly the Twitter/Facebook side, is getting dinged for the promotion of a lot of disinformation and tainted intent these days, and somehow that's all now showing up in in camera coverage on the Internet, too.

I'm happy with what the real narrative should probably be: Nikon took a very good camera and addressed users' most frequent complaints, making it an even good-er camera. Is that not one of the things we want camera companies to do? Or do we just want more "brag numbers" to flaunt and we need to feed our egos using confirmation bias?

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