Nikon Interview: Z Cameras and More (Photokina 2018)

Photokina 2018 ended last week and we are starting to release all of our videoes and interviews from the show. The first is our extensive talk with Mr. Dirk Jasper from Nikon Europe with whom we discussed the new Z-mount cameras, new technologies, lenses and more and got some interesting insights into what Nikon is thinking and doing.

This interview was one of the last that we recorded in Photokina (chronologically) but it is the first one that we are bringing to you and it definitely had some interesting bits (by the way you can watch our previous interview with Dirk Jasper in Photokina 2016 – here).

With the Z7 in Photokina

So here are some interesting points from the interview (it is, of course, recommended to watch the whole thing):

  • Nikon wasn’t willing to state exactly when the work on the Nikon Z started (a good guess would be at least 3 or so years ago) but it did mention that the now discontinued Nikon 1 cameras were indeed the basis for at least some of the technologies we are now seeing in the Z cameras.
  • The upcoming NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is more of a proof of concept for Nikon to show was this mount could do in terms of image quality and speed (Jasper actually mentioned the Zeiss Otus by name here and suggested that we might see a new fast prime king with this lens).
  • Nikon had endless discussions about changing the mount and although Jasper was not willing to openly state that the large mount was developed to support larger sensors in the future it certainly seems that way from his answer.
  • Nikon claims that the dynamic range on the Z7 is better than the D850.
  • Faster processing (and everything that goes along with it like managing heat and power consumption) is according to Nikon the main reason why several advanced video technologies are still not implemented in the Z7 such as 10bit 4:2:2 internally and full pixel readout of the entire FF sensor without binning.
  • Atomos will bring the N-Log to all its recent recorders (not just the Ninja V). Nikon will also release the LUTs for the N-LOG for developers.
  • Nikon actually believes that the Z7 performs better in continuous shooting than the D850 (yeah that sounds counter-intuitive – but listen to Jaspers answer around 11:30).
  • Nikon didn’t go with dual fast SD in the Z6/Z7 (such as UHS-II or UHS-III or even the upcoming UHS-express), this is in part due to the speed of existing XQD vs. existing SD cards (UHS-III am not yet available and SD express is probably a few years away). Dual XQD would mean a larger camera.
  • “Classic” glass is better in terms of image quality than phase fresnel glass (according to Jasper) and it is more difficult to make fast PF lenses (such as say 500mm f/4).
  • At least for the foreseeable future DSLR are here to stay and Nikon will continue to release F-mount lenses. But Nikon is aware and open to the idea that further down the line mirrorless cameras will become more dominant than DSLRs (even for professionals).
  • Whatever you do with a DSLR in terms of lenses (and converters) you can do with the Z-mount cameras (so, for example, Z7+Z-F adaptor + 1.4x teleconverter + 500mm PF lens should work just as well as an on a native F mount body with no limitations).
  • The Z6/Z7 started from the idea of making a very compact (and apparently fairly simple) FF mirrorless camera bodies. As the development progressed more and more features were added (that were not initially planned) which made the cameras (especially the Z7) much more advanced (the Z7 was never designed to be a D850 killer of any sorts). The target audience for these cameras was not pro users and so Nikon didn’t design a full grip but it did learn from internal testings that the CIPA of the cameras is rather low and so it did come up with a sort of battery pack that can extend the camera’s battery but not act as a real grip (for vertical shots). Nikon also belives CIPA tests for batteries are more in tune for DSLRs and less so for mirrorless cameras.
  • Jasper said that it might be possible to add (in firmware) an option to add markers during video recording (that will show up in video editing software; a feature that he mentions exist in some of Nikon’s advanced DSLRs).

After the interview, we discovered a few very interesting points which Nikon does not promote enough and we found to actually be very important and potentially huge selling points (at least for some users). The first is that the Z cameras have compensation for focus breathing on all (native?) lenses – this is amazing and it actually seems to work from our very short testing – we will test this more). The cameras also keep the focus when zooming in and out very well – both of these could be invaluable for some video shooters in our opinion.

The new 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 – Nikon claims extremely high IQ with its new S prime lenses

We will be testing the Z7 a bit later this year and try and look at some of these things as well as our normal battery of tests.

We will be testing the new Z7 here later this year

The get all of our videos and interviews from Photokina don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and you will be able to find all of the articles from Photokina 2018 on this link on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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