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Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?

  
 
Jman13
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p.7 #1 · p.7 #1 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


1bwana1 wrote:
I think the point of the Z mount is that may make it easier to design high quality lenses. Nikon originally claimed that it would also make them smaller. This has not proved out in practice.


Well, it depends on the lens. A lot of the Z mount lenses are considerably smaller than their equivalent F mount lenses, even if they aren't smaller than some competing glass. The 14-24mm f/2.8, for instance, is significantly smaller and much lighter than its F-mount counterpart...it's also a lot better optically. There are also very compact lenses for their focal length like the 14-30/4, 24-70/4, 70-180/2.8 (Yes, this is a re-badged Tamron lens, but it's still a compact Nikon branded Z lens), 400/4.5, 600/6.3 and 800/6.3, though the supertelephotos are mostly due to PF optics and just good design rather than because of the mount itself. The 40/2, 28/2.8 and 26/2.8 are all quite compact (with the 26/2.8 being downright tiny). Also, while not 'small', even the 24-70/2.8 is a significantly smaller lens than the F mount version (over a full inch shorter and 200g lighter).

While the f/1.8 S primes and the honkin' big fast portrait primes are big for their speed, it's not an across the board 'Nikon glass is big' sort of thing.



May 20, 2024 at 08:13 AM
1bwana1
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p.7 #2 · p.7 #2 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


scalanc2 wrote:
Unfortunately nor Leica nor Voigtlander produces many zoom lenses.
When they do (not referring to Sigma re-branded) they are for sure not top performers.
90% of people is zoom oriented.
Good examples are Leica 24-90 vs Nikon Z 20-120 and 16-35 vs 14-30.
Isnít it be possible because of larger mount?


My comments are orientated to prime lenses. The zoom lenses are so full of compromises that it is hard to evaluate them on the basis of lens mount systems. Who knows what decisions regarding compromises were made in the design meetings, and why.



May 20, 2024 at 09:42 AM
1bwana1
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p.7 #3 · p.7 #3 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


Jman13 wrote:
Well, it depends on the lens. A lot of the Z mount lenses are considerably smaller than their equivalent F mount lenses, even if they aren't smaller than some competing glass. The 14-24mm f/2.8, for instance, is significantly smaller and much lighter than its F-mount counterpart...it's also a lot better optically. There are also very compact lenses for their focal length like the 14-30/4, 24-70/4, 70-180/2.8 (Yes, this is a re-badged Tamron lens, but it's still a compact Nikon branded Z lens), 400/4.5, 600/6.3 and 800/6.3, though the supertelephotos are mostly due to PF optics and just good design rather
...Show more

Yes, it is true that some of the Z lenses are smaller that their F mount equivalents. This is an industry trend overall. But in relation to other manufactures Nikon's versions are very often larger. Nothing is absolute so we can always pick and choose. My main point is that so far the S lenses performance is able to be matched or exceeded by much smaller lenses. The big differences is between MF/AF, electronics in the lenses, and image stabilization. These are the primary drivers of size these days.

But, if you look at some specialty lenses like the Plena, size of optics is the key in order to generate the oversized image circle.

The Nikon S lenses are overall excellent lenses. Optically I would be very happy with the results they produce. My only objection was the boring repetition of market B.S. in an attempt to claim optical superiority based on size, and rooted in immutable physics. This has proven to be the case in the World of lenses produced.

Anyway, back to the salient question of this thread. Although not perfect, and not everyone's first choice, the Zf is an excellent platform for street shooting. I believe it is destined to get even better when a full line of lenses that more closely fit the street shooting workflow inevitably get released.



May 20, 2024 at 09:52 AM
KLaban
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p.7 #4 · p.7 #4 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


As to the original question "Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?" Personally I'd have to say nowhere near. It is a hotchpotch that in no way replicates the simplicity of my beloved FM2 and FE2 analogue cameras or my Leica M series digital cameras. In fact, IMO, it is confused and over-complicated.


May 20, 2024 at 12:17 PM
scalanc2
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p.7 #5 · p.7 #5 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


KLaban wrote:
As to the original question "Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?" Personally I'd have to say nowhere near. It is a hotchpotch that in no way replicates the simplicity of my beloved FM2 and FE2 analogue cameras or my Leica M series digital cameras. In fact, IMO, it is confused and over-complicated.


You can make it easy as you need.



May 20, 2024 at 01:22 PM
Jepser
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p.7 #6 · p.7 #6 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


KLaban wrote:
As to the original question "Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?" Personally I'd have to say nowhere near. It is a hotchpotch that in no way replicates the simplicity of my beloved FM2 and FE2 analogue cameras or my Leica M series digital cameras. In fact, IMO, it is confused and over-complicated.


There isnt one camera thats perfect for everyone, and will never be. For digital street photography the Leica M10 has a lot of good things, but it's more pricy for one. The M11 seems moore dependent on the screen, which in my view is bad. But maybe Im just jelous For analog street-photo the Leica IIIC/G are my top picks. Smaller and less timidating.

I think the Zf is much more easy than the Fujis I've tested (they make me confused).

Also comming from FM2 & FE2 I shoot the Zfc & Zf in exactly the same way I use them except the manual focus assist. I dedicated one button to zoom in and one to change which non-cpu lens I use...it took aboput 10 minutes with help from the manual.



May 20, 2024 at 02:30 PM
1bwana1
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p.7 #7 · p.7 #7 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?




Jepser wrote:
The M11 seems moore dependent on the screen, which in my view is bad.



In what way is the M11 more dependent on the screen? That has not been my experience



May 20, 2024 at 02:54 PM
Jepser
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p.7 #8 · p.7 #8 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


1bwana1 wrote:
In what way is the M11 more dependent on the screen? That has not been my experience


Maybe a clumsy expresion from me, I've close friend whos says he's using the screen more on the M11 than the M10. Rather than retract my previous comment, I'll add that it's propably not well founded.




May 20, 2024 at 03:19 PM
Alistair1
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p.7 #9 · p.7 #9 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


1bwana1 wrote:
Exactly the point I believe Phillip and I were making. The claim that the larger size and weight of the Z mount lenses are required to achieve their optical performance is just marketing B.S.. Yet we see it repeated in forums every day. Many of the Nikon Z mount lenses are excellent, but they are matched by other mounts, and often exceeded. Currently Nikon designs large cameras, and large lenses. If that is your preference, or at least not a detriment for you then the Nikon Z system is a great choice.


Even the claim that Nikon products are larger and heavier is dependent upon the examples chosen to make your point. In selecting a system to travel with weighing less than 7kg, fitted under a regional airline seat (Nova 5 AW reporter bag), went from 14-600mm and shot great 8k video Nikon was my clear choice. And like Sony, I expect that Nikon will at some point introduce Mk2 versions of it's main lenses which are smaller and lighter.

We must also not forget that modern lenses cannot be viewed in isolation of sensor micro lens array and in-camera processing. Leica lenses are known to depend on micro lens arrays for corner performance. This is mandated by the smaller mount diameter. We know some Sony lenses do not perform as well on non-Sony cameras indicating probable reliance on micro lenses. We know that Canon's raw files contain some processing to compensate for loss of sensor real estate to dual pixel focusing. This is almost certainly true too of the A9iii to compensate for loss of sensor real estate to global shutter buffering. We know that Nikon and ALL other makers rely on profiles to correct lens artifacts etc.



May 20, 2024 at 03:41 PM
philip_pj
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p.7 #10 · p.7 #10 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


KL, it's made to *look* good, like a starlet on a rich man's arm. While still working the same way as the other gear in the line.

Many people are as concerned with how they look with CIH (camera in hand) and how their camera looks as an item of bling, what it brings to their appearance, than with what the camera does or what its images look like.

So, not much of a stealth camera, which is fine as there is room for both. Any street shooter will tell you which type works in real life. Me, I want near-invisible cameras and small lenses that are almost swallowed by a large hand, just like the FE2 and SRT101 were with a 50mm onboard. My experience is that subjects are less bothered by small cameras.

People today will point at the Zf because it is so different from the regular cameras they see and use. So your potential subjects will see you and think you are a film codger like dear old dad. Two strikes against the Zf - the irony. Unless your schtick includes chit-chat, of course, where it may actually help.



May 20, 2024 at 03:49 PM
 


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Jepser
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p.7 #11 · p.7 #11 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


philip_pj wrote:
People today will point at the Zf because it is so different from the regular cameras they see and use. So your potential subjects will see you and think you are a film codger like dear old dad. Two strikes against the Zf - the irony. Unless your schtick includes chit-chat, of course, where it may actually help.


Is this based on your experinces with the Zf? I've had mine since the release and I havent encountered much attention and very few comments. Maybe one or two curious senior citizens. Maybe just a little bit more attention than I got with my Zfc or FM2...




May 20, 2024 at 04:09 PM
genjy
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p.7 #12 · p.7 #12 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


Jepser wrote:
Is this based on your experinces with the Zf? I've had mine since the release and I havent encountered much attention and very few comments. Maybe one or two curious senior citizens. Maybe just a little bit more attention than I got with my Zfc or FM2...



I shoot professionally, usually with a Sony FF and a Fuji X-T4 (when my partner borrows my second Sony FF body). I am guessing I have shot over 2500 people with this Sony and Fuji combination in the past couple years... literally no one has ever mentioned anything about my X-T4 being retro or special. Really young guys and older seniors ask questions about my Sony bodies and lenses if anything.



May 20, 2024 at 04:43 PM
1bwana1
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p.7 #13 · p.7 #13 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


Alistair1 wrote:
Even the claim that Nikon products are larger and heavier is dependent upon the examples chosen to make your point. In selecting a system to travel with weighing less than 7kg, fitted under a regional airline seat (Nova 5 AW reporter bag), went from 14-600mm and shot great 8k video Nikon was my clear choice. And like Sony, I expect that Nikon will at some point introduce Mk2 versions of it's main lenses which are smaller and lighter.

We must also not forget that modern lenses cannot be viewed in isolation of sensor micro lens array and in-camera processing. Leica
...Show more


Yes of course everything must be viewed in the context of the system they have been engineered to perform in.



May 20, 2024 at 06:08 PM
tzhang4284
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p.7 #14 · p.7 #14 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


philip_pj wrote:
KL, it's made to *look* good, like a starlet on a rich man's arm. While still working the same way as the other gear in the line.

Many people are as concerned with how they look with CIH (camera in hand) and how their camera looks as an item of bling, what it brings to their appearance, than with what the camera does or what its images look like.

So, not much of a stealth camera, which is fine as there is room for both. Any street shooter will tell you which type works in real life. Me, I want
...Show more

I think the real stealth cameras these days are the Sony A7C series with the small G lenses since they look like any other cheap entry level Sony camera made or the Fuji X100V/VI since it's so popular beyond photo gear head circles. Everything else is rather large and/or flashy.

The Nikon ZF has great industrial design and looks nice but it's not stealthy by any means - it's rather flashy - you're probably better off with a Z5/Z6/Z7 series body if you want to be low key.



May 20, 2024 at 06:32 PM
scalanc2
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p.7 #15 · p.7 #15 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


tzhang4284 wrote:
I think the real stealth cameras these days are the Sony A7C series with the small G lenses since they look like any other cheap entry level Sony camera made or the Fuji X100V/VI since it's so popular beyond photo gear head circles. Everything else is rather large and/or flashy.

The Nikon ZF has great industrial design and looks nice but it's not stealthy by any means - it's rather flashy - you're probably better off with a Z5/Z6/Z7 series body if you want to be low key.


Do you really believe people is looking at your one inch larger camera when you do street?



May 21, 2024 at 12:57 AM
tzhang4284
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p.7 #16 · p.7 #16 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


scalanc2 wrote:
Do you really believe people is looking at your one inch larger camera when you do street?


Iím taking the perspective of someone living in a big city and i see plenty of people walk around with their cameras. The ones that clearly stand out the most are the ones with the flashy or big cameras - no one is invisible - it then becomes about how people react to the person with the camera.

From that perspective, yeah I would notice more someone pointing a Nikon ZF at me than a X100VI.

Judging from your comments Iím sure you disagree, but thatís my take. Youíre welcome to continue rocking your Nikon ZF around town, Iíll see it a mile away!



May 21, 2024 at 02:06 AM
Clivem2
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p.7 #17 · p.7 #17 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


Iíve not found anyone noticing my Zf any more than my Z7ii. If someone does notice my camera Iíd say this is driven by whether Iím using my 26mm lens or 24-120, this is a far more significant factor than the body.


May 21, 2024 at 03:03 AM
thenoilif
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p.7 #18 · p.7 #18 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


tzhang4284 wrote:

Iím taking the perspective of someone living in a big city and i see plenty of people walk around with their cameras. The ones that clearly stand out the most are the ones with the flashy or big cameras - no one is invisible - it then becomes about how people react to the person with the camera.

From that perspective, yeah I would notice more someone pointing a Nikon ZF at me than a X100VI.

Judging from your comments Iím sure you disagree, but thatís my take. Youíre welcome to continue rocking your Nikon ZF around town, Iíll see
...Show more

The most popular version of the Fuji 100VI is the silver and black. You think that's less flashy or discreet than the Nikon ZF?

C'mon man.

The Zf is obviously not a compact camera but it has a few things up its sleeve that makes it a better all around street camera than Fuji's offerings. First off, it's AF is noticeably faster and more accurate than Fuji's especially once you start running out of light. It's also full frame so these allow for more flexibility when shooting from the hip and in more demanding situations.

It also has a fully articulating screen which gives you more options for shooting low, especially in portrait mode and getting low to the ground or shooting from odd angles.

The weight and size is also such an overstated issue with this camera. It's 710 grams or 880g with the 40 F2 SE. It's still an easy camera to carry around in your hand for hours and even shoot one handed.

I've had no issues with walking around and getting shots discreetly with this camera and I haven't noticed any difference between the Zf and the Nikon X-T4 as far as people noticing it.

Are there small cameras that are less noticable? Yes but you lose a lot of functionality when you strip them down to fit into those tiny bodies.





May 21, 2024 at 04:55 AM
johnvanr
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p.7 #19 · p.7 #19 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


The stealth cameras are the phones. People freak out when they see a Ďrealí camera, while all around dozens are blatantly filming the same scenes with their phones and nobody cares.


May 21, 2024 at 07:57 AM
tzhang4284
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p.7 #20 · p.7 #20 · Nikon Zf, the perfect street photography camera?


thenoilif wrote:
The most popular version of the Fuji 100VI is the silver and black. You think that's less flashy or discreet than the Nikon ZF?

C'mon man.

The Zf is obviously not a compact camera but it has a few things up its sleeve that makes it a better all around street camera than Fuji's offerings. First off, it's AF is noticeably faster and more accurate than Fuji's especially once you start running out of light. It's also full frame so these allow for more flexibility when shooting from the hip and in more demanding situations.

It also has a fully articulating screen
...Show more

Like I said, I think the Fuji X100VI is part camera, part popular fashion accessory these days. That makes it much more invisible than someone carrying another camera. It's a lot closer to an iPhone than a ZF is.

As for the Nikon ZF, I had it and recently decided to return it after two weeks. I really wanted to keep it - there was a lot I liked - the industrial design, AF, and the MF experience. However, I thought the weight, size and ergonomics were pretty bad from my own experiences - it's not a camera designed for one handed use.

Nikon deleted the grip but did not think about the layout or ergonomics - they could've made it taller to make it easier to grip or added a thumb ident to help with holding it. Weight and size wise, it's noticeably bigger than the X-T5 or A7C.

I'm sure it works for many people but it did not work well for my hands compared to other options I've tried.

As for alternatives, I don't think you lose much by going to the Fuji X-T5 or Sony A7C - both are smaller and gives you pretty much the same capabilities except for the AF enabled MF experience on the ZF, which like I said earlier is best in class. For AF, I'd probably go with the Sony or Fuji. For MF though, I think I'd tolerate the ZF's ergonomics but I already have a Leica M11, which I enjoy using much more, although I fully acknowledge its at a considerably different price point.



May 21, 2024 at 11:13 AM
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