Thoughts on the IIs

In the discussions set off about the upcoming Z6 II and Z7 II cameras, I saw one comment that "summed up" the primary criticisms of the Z6 and Z7: (1) continuous focus performance; (2) no vertical grip; (3) single card slot. Yeah, that's about right. Those three things have triggered the most negative comments about the Z6 and Z7, whether true or not.

So before moving on, let me address those criticisms:

  1. I've never had issues with the continuous focus performance after learning how it really worked. I would say that the three biggest liabilities of the current Z6/Z7 focusing are (a) no viewfinder focus confirmation for AF-C; (b) no guaranteed closest focus distance; and (c) not enough button customization as regards mode setting on the fly.
  2. I've never been a big fan of add-on grips, but yes, this was a silly mistake on Nikon's part. The eventual hunk-a-junk MB-N10 just aggravated the mistake.
  3. I see plenty of people asking for dual slot options and very few people actually using them. Even fewer relying upon them.

Since everyone's asking me the same questions, I'll say this: yes, I expect Nikon to address all three of those things directly. I know Nikon heard the complaints. As far as I can tell, they were listening. More so than usual, actually. Just listening quietly.

What else does Nikon need to do?

Well, both updated models will support USB Power Delivery and use EN-EL15C batteries. That ticks a few more boxes off for people who think the current cameras aren't good enough. The new cameras will use the same MC-DC type remote/control connection and have 802.11ac Wi-Fi. What's left?

Here are the other things I'll be looking to see if they've been done:

  • Improvements/changes to the EVF
  • Improvements/changes to the Rear LCD
  • 4K 60P (particularly on the Z6 II), internal 10-bit recording
  • Pixel-shift shooting
  • Any improvement in frame rates and buffer
  • Advancement of more focus control into immediate button presses
  • Updates to the Lens Road Map

The intriguing aspect to the rumors floating around is the possibility of the Z6 II and Z7 II having dual EXPEED processors. Having more horsepower under the hood impacts focus, video, and buffer performance the most. But I'm wondering whether Nikon had something else up their sleeve that required the extra computational abilities of a second SoC.

What's missing in most of the rumors and speculation about the upcoming updates is what I'd call the "excitement factor." That would be something new that wasn't expected, and that will get talked about to the point of going viral. It's possible that Nikon will just go for making their updates more targeted and focused solely on dealing with and fixing all the perceived drawbacks to the first generation. That's fine with me. The Z6 and Z7 are already very good cameras. Polishing them up is more than enough for me. I suspect that Nikon may be holding back their next big excitement factor for release in 2021, just before the Tokyo Olympics. 

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