Some Random Z Questions Answered

"Does U1 remember the extended shutter speeds on the Z6 II?"

Yes, I can verify that there's a bug in Nikon's implementation of Custom Setting #D6 (Extended Shutter Speeds). If you set a long exposure in Manual exposure mode, it is remembered correctly both when the camera goes to standby and when the camera is turned off. So, for instance, setting 60" stays 60" under all cases in Manual exposure mode. But if you save that setup to U1/U2/U3, though, something different happens: if the camera goes to standby, the long exposure time is forgotten and 30" will appear when the camera is re-activated. However, if you shut the camera's power switch to Off, then turn it back On, 60" will be remembered. Bug. Nikon needs to fix it in firmware.

"Is the old 35mm f/1.8 DX lens a good choice for the Z50 and Zfc?"

I'd say no. First, coupled with the FTZ it becomes a bit "big." Second, focus is noisy. But more importantly, the 40mm f/2 is generally an optically better lens, at least so far in my testing (vignetting is its biggest fault). You get that small size and silence back, too, with the 40mm f/2. Still playing with the Viltrox AF lenses for the Z mount, but I'm thinking that the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 might be a better choice, too.  

"Where's the promised fall Z6 II/Z7 II firmware update?"

Well, only Nikon Rumors made that "promise" (and it was a rumor, not a promise). I do expect that as the Z9 undergoes its final testing that Nikon may roll a few things they've been working on into a firmware update for the Z6 II and Z7 II, but that's just speculation on my part. It would be prudent business practice on Nikon's part, though, because it would extend the life span of the II models. Technically, we wouldn't expect replacements for those models until late 2022 at the earliest, but since Sony is overdue for an A7 III update and coming near due on an A7R IV update, Nikon has to keep their two best sellers "current" as much as they can. Knowing Nikon's tendencies, I don't think they'll update firmware on the II models with things that are new on the Z9 until the Z9 has launched (or perhaps coincident). 

"What do you think of the Z9 teaser campaign?" 

Well, it's not revealing anything that we didn't already know, so in terms of "meat" there isn't any so far. Maybe that will change with one of the later teasers. But in terms of generating lots of discussion (and emails in my In Box), the teaser campaign is doing what a teaser campaign should: it's generating plenty of commentary and anticipation on the Interwebs. However, at least for the professional photographers that talk to me directly, it seems that the only thing they want to know is when and how much (though a few want to know more about the focus system). 

"Are you going to change your mind on the Zfc?"

Uh, no? What exactly do I need to change my mind about? The Zfc is a Z50 II with a different UX, a UX that isn't optimal as far as I'm concerned. I keep asking people who rave about the Zfc to me about what exactly it is they find so great, or in Nikon's words, "fun." So far, none have been able to describe anything other than the design makes them feel good. About what, well, they're not particularly specific. 

The Zfc is a nice camera, and if the Z50 didn't exist, we wouldn't have the awkward comparison that Nikon has created for themselves. Thing is, I have both the Zfc and the Z50. The Z50 is the one that keeps getting stuffed into my laptop case as my every day camera. Your mileage may vary. I have no problems if you pick the Zfc over the Z50 (or vice versa, like me). Just make sure that you're making your choice for photographic reasons, not because dials remind you of your childhood. 

"Why don't people talk more about the Z5?"

I don't know. It's a solid choice for still work, with its primary drawback being that it's not great at focusing in really low light. I don't mean low light. I mean really low light. I've even come around to having more respect for the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 kit lens, which is the appropriate walk-around lens for most people, as it makes for a darned compact and competent pair that doesn't call attention to itself (the 24-200mm f/4-6.3 would be the other lens that seems most appropriate on the Z5).  

For awhile there you could pick up a Z5 at a steal of a price for what it is (US$999). Unfortunately, the parts shortage has pushed it back up to around the US$1300 mark, at which point it's just a more modest bargain (particularly in today's low/no discount environment). 

"Which 50mm lens should I get?"

Let's see, we have three full frame Nikkor lenses at 50mm now (plus a "near 50" lens in the 40mm f/2). The answer is relatively easy for most of you: do you want slightly smaller/lighter and macro (50mm f/2.8MC), or slightly larger/heavier and dramatically sharp (50mm f/1.8 S)? Given that those two lenses are within US$50 of each other, that should be the choice most of you are making. Yeah, there's the stop-and-a-third faster aperture on the f/1.8 lens, but I'd still say that the primary decision point is macro and size for most of you.

If size/weight is more important to you than macro or absolute optical performance, then the 40mm f/2 enters into the picture. It's a good lens, but not up to the optics of the f/1.8 S, so you're buying it on price and small size and low weight. 

Yes, the 50mm f/1.2 S is about as good of a 50mm optic as we've ever gotten from anyone—it's nearly as sharp at f/1.2 as the f/1.8 lens is at f/1.8, which is truly remarkable for such a fast-aperture lens—but the price and size really make the 50mm f/1.2 S a specialty lens. If you need a speciality lens, you already know what it is. 

DX users get a different choice with the Viltrox 56mm f/1.4. Given how you'd typically use 50mm on DX, the appropriate choice to be making is the Nikkor 50mm f/2.8MC for macro, or the Viltrox 56mm f/1.4 for portraits. Pick which you need to do more often on your Z50 or Zfc. 


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