Since changed job to be a freelancer, I have spent most of my time on that and haven’t done much on this site. I still took photos here or there on vacations, but didn’t have energy on writing about them. I feel bad about it. In the back of my mind, I am still itching to do more in photography.
Last year, I chipped the top LCD display on my D7000 on a trip to Grand Canyon; last month, I broke the 7-year old Sigma lens. It’s disheartening. Since then I’ve been pondering on a new lens for my D7000, trying to get the most usefulness against budget. Didn’t want to get a second Sigma 17-50mm as it’s getting heavier and heavier for vacation trips. Prime lenses (35mm, 50mm) are light, inexpensive, have good aperture (f/1.4, f/1.8) but they can’t zoom — not ideal for vacations while you constantly need to change field of view for each particular scene.
While I was in dismay and searching for a replacement lens, Nikon announced new mirrorless cameras and new lens with them. I’ve been reading reviews, checking on specs and doing comparisons. Then, I bit my lips and put in a pre-order. It’s gonna be my new baby when it’s released in November this year, just a few months away. No more head-scratching on getting a lens for the D7000.
I’ve wanted a full frame camera for a long time, for their sensor and low light performance. The reasons I didn’t get one: heavy weight and expensive lenses. Before the announcement, I even had a look at the Nikon V1 & J1, only surprisingly found them discontinued. The new mirrorless Z6 fits my bill:
- full frame
- 24MP (actually 16MP is more than enough for me)
- 24-70mm f/4 lens
- lots of controls on the body for immediate settings (I don’t like spending time on changing things through menus which is a slow process.)
The Sigma 17-50mm has aperture f/2.8. I mostly stop down (1-stop) to f/4 to get sharper images, only occasionally use f/2.8 in low light scene. Why? From reading forums on Internet and also from my own experience. When I saw the new M mount 24-70mm only has f/4, I was a bit concerned. Then I realized stopping down is likely not necessary with the new Z6: larger sensor and larger lens mount, the image will be sharp from edge to edge. So maybe I don’t need a f/2.8 for what I need.
The one thing the Z6/Z7 doesn’t have, comparing to my 6-years old D7000 (or any other DSLR), is the built-in flash. Not that I would use the built-in flash as a useful light source. It’s that the pop-up flash in D7000 can be used in commander mode, to trigger a remote flash mounted on a tripod. I use this set up to take casual corporate portraits for my business clients.
So it’s almost a complete upgrade from the old system. I can still use the speed light SB700 (probably need to buy the flash remote for off-camera lighting). I could still use the 200mm DX lens if I have to (in DX crop mode) for telephoto scenes. And most likely I will buy new Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density filters as the new lens have different filter size. Financial consideration aside, the image quality with this will be amazing and I can do more with its ability, and it’s easier for my back.