Are you staying with dSLR's? No mirrorless?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_stephan|2, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. I have a large collection of Nikon manual focus, auto focus and digital slr's and I'm tempted by the z6/z7 but I keep thinking that if I do that I'll take the plunge and buy Z lenses rather than using the lens adapter with my other lenses. The reason I state this is as I do my research I'm finding more and more compatibility issues with the premium 3rd party and AF Nikkor lenses I already own. I have a few AFS lenses that are fully compatible but feel I should just stay with what I have. I'm 63 and don't think I want to add another system although I like the smaller size, weight and ibis that the new Z bodies offer. What are your plans for mirrorless?
  2. I'm 49 not overearning and sitting on the fence.
    There is no clear answer, since we are dealing with way too many variables.
    • Shoot what you have, as good as you can.
    • Have fun
    • Don't be an ass*
    + the vague field of money / payload / realism...
    and: Your goals?

    My film and crop DSLR stuff is Pentax manual and screwdriver AF (worse than Nikon's). I also have Leica M and early Fujis, (which seem quite limited, compared to DSLRs). I recently grabbed a first Canon.

    There are shots "other stuff" will do well enough, hopefully even easy enough.

    If the hunt for bokeh with portraits shot wide open is high on your agenda mirrorless with eye AF might be nice to have. If you want to publish pictures from multiple cameras side by side you should either be very skilled with post processing or use at least Lightroom and X-Rite to blend them close together or even better stick to one camera brand.
    Before you spend money, try to figure out if stuff will be right for you.
    I believe when Jared Polin compared Sony Canon & Nikon MILCs' AF he talked about "eyebrow(!) AF" in Nikon's case? My (I don't have your stuff!) conclusion: "Nikon don't make cameras yet." At least I am sure: If they 'll release real or drastically improved eye AF, you'll want to upgrade.
    In my Canon case the 70-200/2.8 feels a tad heavy and I haven't managed to make it nail eye focus wide open in headshots. I assume shooting the kind of tempting 85/14 IS on SLR will become spray & pray (or a waste of funds & payload, stopped down). Bringing my manual 90/2 for such a job would be even worse and therefor "close to abusive" (<- summarizing focusing & file writing speed + shots needed as "demanding a huge amount of subject patience and cooperation at a very high failure risk"). So yes, I am halfheartedly saving up for modern(+x) mirrorless (according to rumors there might be an IBIS EOS R in the pipeline).

    But I might also blow my budged on reasonable SLR stuff. I am tempted by the Tamron 35-150mm, to make my EOS a walk around camera. I might also end scooping up elderly workhorse bodies, for suitable jobs.

    Right now I don't mind having no money to spend on CaNikon MILCs.

    Later? - My crystal ball is fuzzy.
    I think hitting a wall hard in an exciting fun assignment / shooting will help me getting determined to replace gear. But I am somewhat aware that FF mirrorless might not be what I'll be after.
    I'm obviously lazy. - Where are the light (and therefor slow) lenses for me?
    Albin''s images likes this.
  3. Right now I am using both digital and film Nikon bodies and use the same lenses for both. I probably will stay with DSLR and SLR bodies. Also at 73 I may not want another system.
    Fiddlefye, bgelfand and like this.
  4. I currently use a D7200 and D750, which work well for me, but from time to time I get tempted by the lighter weight of the Z bodies. I'm not going to switch out the D750 for some time. First, there are currently no adapters that permit autofocus on two of my favorite lenses, an 85mm f/1.4D and a DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D. (I shoot these two hand-held much of the time, so I wouldn't benefit much from the improved sharpness of newer glass.) Second, I have several AF-S lenses, and switching between them and Z lenses would mean either adding and removing the FTZ adapter frequently, which would take extra time, or keeping an adapter on each AF-S lens, which would be costly and negate the weight saving. Third, any recent body will require me to switch to the cloud version of Photoshop, and I want to hold off paying yearly or monthly for software for as long as I can.

    Obviously, these considerations may not apply to you, but I hope something I wrote here proves useful.
  5. I was tempted by the prospect of a smaller, lighter system that a MILC promises, plus more 'direct' handling..... however. Having dipped a toe in the mirrorless pool with a used Sony Alpha6000, I remain unconvinced that the promise is realistic. And as for the cost of 'upgrade', well that really isn't worthwhile in my now retired circumstances. Affordable, yes, but justifiable? Definitely not!

    And should I decide to jump against my parsimonious instincts, it certainly wouldn't be to the comparatively untested Nikon Z system, with its limited and exclusively expensive lens range.

    The Sony A7r (mk whatever) is still vaguely in my sights, but.....

    No. I'm having enough fun paddling in the shallow end of the mirrorless pool for now thanks. I have a set of adapters that let me play with Minolta/Sony A, M39, M42, Mamiya 645 & Nikon fit lenses. Some of which are surprisingly good on a 24 megapixel DX sensor, and some that are surprisingly awful - Super Takumars, I'm looking at you here!

    I still reach for either the D800 or D7200 for anything 'serious' though.

    So. What advice can I give you Mark?
    Follow your instincts, read all the reviews with a big pinch of salt, question your motives, examine your wallet, but most of all; aim to have fun!
    Landrum Kelly likes this.
  6. 64 here, with a large collection of manual AiS lenses and no money. I really need to upgrade to something like the D750, but no idea when that can happen. Mirrorless has no appeal to me. In a perfect world I could retire, buy a D750 or D850 for the digital stuff, and shoot more MF and LF film, if I had time to process it.
  7. I'm quite solidly sitting on the fence. DX and FX Nikon DSLRs and all AF-S lenses (plus three very rarely used manual focus ones). FX with Sony A7RIII now.

    My "dipping a toe" into the mirrorless water started with a NEX-6 - exclusively to adapt some M-mount lenses. Stepped up to the A7 when it came out - Leica-M glass didn't work out well; got some Voigtlander M-mount but got tired of manual focusing after a while (though it definitely works better with a mirrorless than with a DSLR). Traded for some E-mount glass and upgraded to A7II and A7RII; then dumped nearly everything to upgrade to A7RIII with currently two lenses (12-24/4 and 24-105/4). Makes for a nice compact and quite light-weight (compared to mirrorless) travel kit. I could almost dump my Nikon FX kit now - almost.

    Test-drove the Z7 but poor and limited lens choice (14-30/4 and 24-70 don't quite match what I can get for Sony) made me stay in the Sony camp. Handling of the Nikon Z bodies is better than of the Sonys - but I rather not buy a first series body again (got burned with the A7).

    My experience with adapting manual focus to mirrorless makes me shy away from ever using adapted lenses again - another strike against going with Nikon at this time; it'll take time for Nikon to come out with native Z-mount lenses and hence for quite some time I would have to resort to adapting F-mount ones - thanks but no thanks (see Hector's post above for one reason).

    I find the EVF to be quite useful in low-light situations but not up to the OVF in a DSLR in almost any other scenario. IBIS, wider AF area coverage and no AF fine-tune issues are definite plusses on the mirrorless side - nonetheless I think I will be using my D810 and D500 for some time - and probably upgrade to a D850 before I step fully into mirrorless (either Sony or Nikon).

    From my own experience - forget the MkI and MkII versions; if you decide to jump, start with the MkIII.
    Landrum Kelly likes this.
  8. I don't plan on "switching" or "moving" to mirrorless as such, but I will probably acquire a Z camera and a few lenses to shoot in situations where quietness is a priority. Such as in classical concerts or in the church during ceremonies and funerals and similar events. I have been thinking that the 35/1.8 and 85/1.8 S line lenses would service these applications along with a Z6. I prefer the directness of contact with the subject and the lack of delay (yes, I know there is a shutter delay) and artifacts in the optical viewfinder vs. the EVF and I'm fine with the optical quality of my F mount lenses for the most part. I don't like to use adapters and suspect that many things that are readily available in F mount might not appear for Z mount in my lifetime, so I have little interest in such a system switch. I would prefer to consider the two systems as complementary rather than one or the other.
    yardkat and Landrum Kelly like this.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have and use both, but have increased my Nikon equipment while Ricoh GXR system is complete with nothing new to be had, and Leica D Lux (a gift) is free standing. Key point to me is when I have taken both types on photo excursions or travel, the DSLR gets the major portion of usage, which is the case generally. My Nikons in use daily. All very capable, high quality cameras which I enjoy using, and which produce excellent results. The weakness in my particular mirrorless kits is lack of reach for wildlife. The equipment I have now meets all my anticipated photographic needs - no further purchases anticipated.
  10. I've been using mainly mirrorless cameras for about 5 years. I still have my DSLRs and find them slightly better for a few events. For most applications there's little to choose between them, but I shoot quite a bit of infra red & love adapting lenses which are both places where mirrorless systems are very much better.

    FWIW my bodies are typically 5 years old before I buy them - most of my current bodies were released in 2012, and I still occasionally use a couple of DSLRs released in 2006. The best of todays mirrorless systems undoubtedly beat my DSLRs across the board.
  11. SCL


    I'm 75, and having collected and used almost everything I could lay my hands on for many years, really NEED another system like a cat needs pockets. However, several years ago I tried a m4/3 mirrorless so I could use some of my vintage lenses in the digital world without remortgaging my house for a new Leica. After the initial learning frustration I grew to like it, and today actually use it much more than my DSLR, SLR, TLR and rangefinder bodies. I test any newly acquired lenses on it, use it for digitizing slides and negatives, and routine stuff around my home, as well as much that goes onto the internet. I switch back to the big stuff for really important shots which I think I might have sizeable enlargements made. But that's just me. I enjoy experimenting, and these days I'm really (older generation) mirrorless works well as an adjunct to everything else.
  12. I'm making this decision pretty much the same way that I have made it with changes in the past. When I need something because I can't do the job that I want anymore (either the job changes or equipment wears out) I make the best business/financial decision that I can at the time.

    So, I'm not running out and buying a Z body because I don't need it do my work and it will not make my work any easier or better for the time being. Will I have one eventually? It seems likely but I expect that it will be a while.
    mag_miksch likes this.
  13. I was shocked by how loud the shutter in my a6000 proved to be. Actually no quieter, or maybe even louder than a DSLR in Live View mode.

    Worth asking Z6/7 users what their subjective evaluation of its loudness/quietness is?

    Unfortunately there's no silent mode on the a6000. Using the electronic front shutter approximately halves the noise, but it's still a very audible and potentially disturbing 'click'. If I want whisper quietness I have to opt for one of my bridge or compact digitals with a tiny leaf shutter. I don't think it's possible to make a noiseless FP shutter. Not even by Leica.

    "...and a few lenses..."
    That's easy. Nikon have made that decision for you; there are only a few lenses available!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  14. I maintain that the A7 was(is) louder (EFCS on) than the D810 (in normal mode).
    mag_miksch and Nick D. like this.
  15. No. I wouldn't do it for paid work, or for anything time-critical or that demanded the highest quality, but where's the harm in taking a nostalgic trip back to the steam days of manual focus? Manual everything for that matter.

    Plus it's interesting to see what old, and not-so-old, lenses can do on a hi-res modern sensor. It certainly shows how many lens - and technique - flaws using film covered up!:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  16. A long trip with much travelling and walking and no automobile to keep a big bag in pushed me over the edge to get a Z6 and lightweight setup. Like the OP, I have a lot of lenses of various generations including many manual focus lenses.

    IMO, the Z series is much better with manual focusing lenses than any DSLR that I have or have had, so the OP should enjoy manual focus lenses more than with DSLRs. My Z6 works quite well with my 20/2.8&3.5, 24/2.8OC, 28/2 AI wides, lenses I rarely used with DSLRs due to difficulty achieving consistent focus.. I use rangefinder short teles mostly with the Z, but the Z6 works well with manual focus SLR lenses, also. And, the Z has at least some VR function with most lenses.

    I did buy the 14-30Z since it is much smaller and lighter than the 17-35/2.8 AFS I have. I am not very tempted by other lenses currently available in the Z system, the 70-200 and 85/1.8 G AFS lenses I have are good enough for me and work with both Z and DSLR systems.

    I do wish there were some way to get AF with my 105/2DC and 180/2.8 AF-D lenses, but those are the only Nikon AF lenses I have that don't focus on the Z. There should be a firmware update for Z coming for the very good Tamron 35/1.8VC I have.

    As of today, I am much more likely to pick up my Z6 than my D810 to go out taking photos. Currently, I have a Z6, D810, D3s and D3x. Typically, I like to have two similar bodies available in case I am shooting an event. I did sell my 2nd D810 since I have not been shooting many events in the last year, though. It is tempting to sell the D810 and get a Z7. I would keep the D3s&x for the rare occasions that I would be shooting action. Actually, I have not tried the Z6 for action, but I read that it is not the best for that purpose. I might try it tonight at the first kickball game of the season.

    Why do I like the Z6 better than my D810? I think it delivers more consistent AF accuracy for static or slow moving objects and is compatible with a much greater variety of lens types than Nikon DSLRs which allows me to put together a significantly smaller and lighter system. I have been happy with the Z6 images, also. In fairness, I have not tried a D850 or very many Sigma/Tamron/other AF lenses.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  17. The Z6/Z7 makes a quieter and softer sound than my DSLRs (the D810 very nice in this respect, but I was foolish enough to sell it). The Z also have a silent mode but if that is used, there may be artifacts when using it if the subject is moving quickly or if the lighting is flickering.

    While it is technically true they only make a few native lenses for Z, Nikon seem to have thought about the same applications (event photography at close distances to the subject) I have in mind in deciding which lenses to offer among the first.
  18. I do not like the EVF period so I wouldn't want a mirrorless. Besides from that I don't mind buying all new lenses. The Z lenses are very nice.
    mag_miksch likes this.
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have a Z6 and a couple of lenses. It is great for video, and since it is small, it is easy to carry around. The EVF is wonderful under low light. For a lot of things, especially when AF speed is important, I use DSLRs.

    Last month I shot a baby shower, not for pay, just as a favor to a friend. However it was a "must deliver" situation such that I treated it as if it were a paid wedding job. I used DSLRs only because they have dual memory card slots. Didn't even want to take any tiny risk on memory card issues.
    Landrum Kelly likes this.
  20. I use both.
    Each has its place in the toolbox.
    • At present, dSLR is my the choice for FAST action. The EVF of the Olympus just does not work, for me and my style of shooting.
    • For difficult lighting, the EVF is really really nice. I can adjust the exposure and see what it will approximately look like, real time. Rather than, shoot chimp adjust, repeat until I get the desired exposure.
    • The EVF is great when working in bright sun, where the glare off the rear screen makes the rear screen on the dSLR almost unusable/useless.
    • If you shoot concerts or similar where SILENCE is important, the mirrorless in silent mode wins.
    • Continuous autofocus on the Olympus mirrorless is not yet up to dSLR reliability.
    • My Olympus travel kit is about half the weight of my equivalent dSLR kit. And for an old man, that makes a big difference.

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