Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head-to-head Comparison

October 14, 2020 | Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera | Comment |

The Nikon Z7 II is a not a completely new camera, instead building on the strong foundations of the original Z7 model from 2018.

The Z7 II is predominantly aimed at DSLR upgraders or users moving from another brand, rather than people upgrading from the original Z7.

It's only been 2 years since the original Z7 model was launched, so you may be wondering what has changed in that time.

We're bringing you this handy Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 comparison to help enlighten you.

Sensor

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

The Nikon Z7 II has exactly the same image sensor as the original Nikon Z7.

This is a 45.7 megapixel full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with a pixel pitch of 4.34 µm.

Processor

Or more correctly, processors, as the Z7 II uses not one but two Expeed 6 processors, one of the biggest upgrades compared to the Z7.

Dual Expeed 6 processors provide double the processing power of the original Z7, enabling the new Mark II version to offer improved AF, higher burst shooting frame rates, a deeper buffer and faster write speeds.

Video

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

The big improvement to the Z7 II on the video side is the jump to 4K/60p recording, up from 4K/30p on the original model.

Sadly, it's still only 8-bit internal, with 10-bit only available to an external recorder over HDMI, and also a slight 1.08x crop is applied.

The other main addition is Eye-Detection and Animal-Detection AF (for dogs and cats) for both stills and also now video, the first time this feature has been implemented on any Nikon camera.

Finally, the Z7 II now supports Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) for immediate playback on HDR displays, something that the Z7 doesn't offer.

Raw video can be enabled via a firmware update, but it will only be available as a paid service.

Autofocus

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

The new Z7 II has exactly the same 493-point Phase-detect AF system as the Z7, so both cameras offer the same snappy performance, being able to focus on a wide variety of subjects with the minimum of fuss.

The Z7 II can focus all the way down to -4EV when paired with an f/2 lens in the special Low Light AF mode , which is rated as a quarter-moonlight, exactly the same rating as the original Z7.

ISO Speed

The native ISO range of the Nikon Z7 was impressively wide, from ISO 64 to ISO 25600 (32-102,400 expanded), and the Z7 II follows suit by offering exactly the same range.

Burst Shooting

The continuous shooting capability is one area where the Nikon Z7 has an advantage over its older sibling.

While the Z7 can only shoot at 9fps, the Z7 II achieves 10fps at its fastest setting in the Continuous H (extended) burst shooting mode (continuous AF but with exposure locked at the first frame).

This is perhaps only a modest increase that's nothing to write home about given that the Mark II model has an extra Expeed processor.

What's more impressive is the buffer depth for continuous bursts, now at 77 12-bit uncompressed Raw files and 200 Large JPEGs on the Z7 II, which is a massive improvement on the rather restrictive 19 Raw files and especially the meager 25 JPEGs offered by the original Z7.

The other benefit of the dual processors that we've already mentioned are the improved write speeds from camera to memory card, which Nikon are claiming to be "lightning-fast".

Finally, the Continuous high extended flash mode (CH+) is now supported by the Z7 II, something that the Z7 didn't offer, which means that you use an external flashgun with the Z7 II even when shooting at 10fps.

Body

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

The new Z7 II is slightly heavier than the Z7 - 615g versus 585g - and ever so slightly larger - 134 x 100.5 x 69.5mm versus 134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm - presumably to accommodate the extra processing unit and second memory card slot.

Otherwise the two cameras are nigh-on identical in terms of their design and control layout.

Viewfinder

The Z7 II and Z7 share exactly the same 3.6m-dot electronic viewfinder, which offers 100% horizontal and vertical coverage, 0.80x magnification and 21mm eyepoint). So looking through the viewfinder of both cameras will offer the same experience.

LCD Screen

Both cameras have a 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD on the rear that can be usefully tilted through 170 degrees, with 2.1-million dot resolution.

They also both have a second top-plate LCD panel, which is very useful for quickly checking the camera's key settings, even when it's turned off.

Memory Cards

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

The older Nikon Z7 came under some serious fire for only having one memory card slot, something that the new Z7 II has unsurprisingly rectified by including two card slots.

The Z7 II still uses either an CF Express / XQD card, which Nikon claim is less prone to failure than the SD format, but now adds an SD UHS-II card slot too.

So you can now seperate movies from stills, or RAW from JPEG, copy files between cards, and configure slots for overflow and backup.

Battery Life

Both the older Z7 (via a firmware update) and the new Z7 II can use the latest Nikon battery, called the EN-EL 15C.

This allows either camera to be powered by USB whilst you are using it, which is especially handy for timelapse photography or video and for travel photography when carrying a powerful powerbank.

It provides a CIPA-approved lifespan of 360 stills or 100 mins of video when using the EVF.

Note that the Z7 II and Z7 can also use the older EN-EL 15B variant, but as you'd expect, you won't get USB charging then.

MB-N11 Vertical Grip

Nikon Z7 II vs Z7 - Head to Head Comparison

Thankfully Nikon have finally seen the light and released a new "professional" battery grip called the MB-N11, complete with vertical controls and the ability to hot-swap batteries without losing power.

This should compare favourably to the MB-N10, which was much more of a simple battery holder than a vertical grip.

Note that the is MB-N11 is not fully backwards compatible with the original Z7.

Firmware Updates

Future firmware updates on the Z7 II can now be done using the Snapbridge app via your smart device.

Price

The previous Z7 was priced at £3,399 / $3,399 (body only) when it was launched two years ago.

The new Z7 II has an official RRP of £2,999 / $2699 when it launches later this year, £$400 less than its predecessor!

This make the Z7 II the cheapest high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera on the market, despite being the newest, costing much less than the Canon EOS R5 and Panasonic Lumix S1R and also the Sony A7R IV without any kind of rebate.

Also somewhat surprisingly, the previous Nikon Z7 will continue to be sold alongside its newer sibling for the forseeable future.

Conclusion

The Nikon Z7 II is much more of an evolution rather than a revolution, addressing some of the key user complaints about the original model and updating it for 2020.

Subsequently, if you've already got a Z7, then you'll probably be less interested in investing in the new Z7 II than either a DSLR upgrader or a system switcher will.

Having said that, if your main photographic passion is high-speed action shooting, the new Z7 II has more than enough improvements to warrant the upgrade.

Likewise, videographers may be tempted by the new 4K/60p mode and Eye and Animal AF during recording, although the lack of 10-bit internally may still prove to be a turn-off.

And last but not least, not forgetting one of the issues that people shouted about most loudly at the launch of the Z7, namely dual card slots, which Nikon has now addressed by adding an SD UHS-II slot to the CF Express / XQD slot of the original model. Hurrah!



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