The Z7 is a pro-level camera – and, in many ways, a mirrorless version of the D850 – while the Z 6 is a lower-priced version with a different sensor and some small variations in specifications. Three Nikkor Z ‘S Line’ lenses are available virtually straightaway – a 24-70mm f4.0 S zoom, a 50mm f1.8 S standard prime and a 35mm f1.8 S wide-angle prime. A further nine Nikkor Z lenses are promised between now and 2020, starting with a mouth-watering Z-Noct Nikkor 58mm f0.95 which is described as “The Pinnacle Of S-Line”, but also on the way are a 70-200mm f2.8 S, 14-30mm f4.0 S ultra-wide zoom and a 85mm f1.8 S short telephoto.

Nikon Z 7. Photo: Nikon

There’s a Z-to-F mount adaptor – called the FTZ – which maintains full functionality with the camera bodies, including three-axis IBIS which is provided in both bodies and claimed to give up to five stops of correction for camera shake. However, five-axis IS correction is provided with the Z mount lenses.

The Z mount has a flange back distance of 16 mm and an inner diameter of 55 mm. It’s a four-bayonet claw fitting with a total of 11 electronic contacts. Both bodies are SLR-style with a main mode dial and a large top-panel LCD read-out. There’s a single memory card slot for the XQD format and Nikon will offer its own branded devices.

Nikon Z 7. Photo: Nikon

The key specs of the Z 7 include a 46.89 megapixels (total) BSI-type CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 64 to 25,600 and extendable to ISO 32 and 102,400. There’s no low-pass optical filter and, as on the D850, the effective resolution is 45.7 megapixels. Maximum image size is 8256x5504 pixels, but images can also be captured in the ‘APS-C’ format (Nikon’s ‘DX’) at 5408x3600 pixels. As with Nikon’s higher-end D-SLRs, NEF RAW files can captured with either 12-bit or 14-bit RGB colour, with or without compression.

The sensor is matched to Nikon’s latest-generation ‘Expeed 6’ image processor. Autofocusing is via a hybrid contrast/phase-difference detect system which employs a total of 493 measuring points to give 90 percent frame coverage both horizontally and vertically. Continuous shooting is available at up to 9.0 fps with the AF and AE locked to the first frame (5.5 fps with continuous adjustment). The Z 7 also records 4K video at 25/30 fps (with a full pixel read-out) in the Ultra HD resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and can capture time-lapse sequences in 8K. Full HD video can be recorded at 100/120 fps for slow-mo effects. Significantly, the ‘raw’ video output to the camera’s HDMI connection is in 10-bit 4:2:2 colour – similar to Panasonic’s GH5 and GH5S models – and which will undoubted put the Z7 in the frame as far as video-makers are concerned. It also has zebra patterns, N-Log colour profile, a focus-peaking display, time coding and built-in stereo microphones supplemented with both a stereo audio input and an output.

Nikon Z 7. Photo: Nikon

Obviously there’s an electronic viewfinder which is an OLED-type panel with a resolution of 3.69 megadots and a magnification of 0.8x. The tilt-adjustable 8.1 cm TFT LCD monitor screen has a resolution of 2.1 megadots and touch controls. The magnesium alloy bodyshell is weather-sealed to the same level as the D850. There’s no built-in flash.

Nikon Z 6. Photo: Nikon

The Z 6 shares the Z 7’s weather-sealed bodyshell, high-res EVF and tiltable monitor screen, but has a 24.5 megapixels BSI-type CMOS sensor with the lower resolution enabling a faster continuous shooting speed of 12 fps (with AF/AE locked to the first frame). The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 100 to 52,000 with extensions to ISO 50 and 204,800. The Z6 also has a hybrid contrast/phase detect AF system, but with a total of 273 measuring points, although frame coverage still extends to 90 percent. Both Z bodies have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Availability will be from late September for the Z 7 and the Nikkor Z 24-70mm zoom lens, late October for the 50mm f1.8 prime and late November for the Z 6 model. Kit options will include one with the FTZ mount adaptor for users who have a number of F mount lenses they still want to use. Local pricing isn’t available, but as a guide, the announced US price for the Z 7 body is US$3399 or US$3999 with the 24-70mm f4.0 zoom while the Z 6 is priced at US$1995 for the body only or US$2599 with the 24-70mm zoom. For more information visit http://www.mynikonlife.com.au