Nikon Z7 II Review

December 23, 2020 | Amy Davies |

Image Quality

The Nikon Z7 II uses the same sensor as its predecessor, so we therefore had no reason to doubt that image quality would be similarly excellent, being capable of producing good results in a wide range of different scenarios.

In fact, you could argue that it’s better because the number of native lenses now available for the Z series has grown significantly since the introduction of the original Z6/Z7 cameras. We’ve been using the Z7 II with a wide ranging set of different optics, but find that the 24-70mm f/4 remains a good choice for “everyday” shooting.

The Z7 II’s 45.7 megapixel sensor, as we’d expect, is capable of resolving some extremely fine detail which looks stunning on screen, even when zooming in at 100%. Having such a high resolution to play with also means you can crop into the scene after the fact and still keep a good high resolution file.

Colours directly from the camera are very good, being realistic while also containing a good degree of vibrancy. If you shoot in raw format, you’ll find that the files are very malleable, allowing you to extract lots of detail and make changes as you wish.

Using the all-purpose metering mode generally results in well-balanced exposures without the need to switch to spot-metering for most subjects. Similarly, the automatic white balance settings (of which there are two) do a good job of keeping colours looking realistic.

With a very high resolution sensor, the Nikon Z7 II has the potential to suffer in low light, however it still produces very usable images at high ISOs. For sharing at small(ish) sizes, the highest we’d probably recommend is ISO 25600, with ISO 51200 being just that bit too smudgy to recommend unless desperate.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon Z7 II is ISO 64 but you can go down to ISO 32 (L1.0) if you wish. At the other end of the scale, the highest native sensitivity of the Z7 II is ISO 25600, but two boosted settings, ISO 51200 and ISO 102400, are also available.

JPEG RAW
LO 1EV (ISO 32) LO 1EV (ISO 32)
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ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

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ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

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ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

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ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

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HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

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HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

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Low Light

The Nikon Z7 II lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. There is an optional long-exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when extremely slow shutter speeds are used.

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Active D-lighting (ADL)

D-lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. Active D-lighting works “on the fly”, before the in-camera processing engine converts the raw image data into JPEGs. The available settings are Off, Low, Normal, High and Extra High, plus an Auto mode.

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Off

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Auto

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Low

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Normal

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High

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Extra High

Picture Controls

Nikon's Picture Controls are preset combinations of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. All 28 different Picture Controls can be tweaked to your liking, then saved and transferred to other cameras.

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Auto

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Standard

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Neutral

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Vivid

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Monochrome

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Portrait

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Landscape

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Flat

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Dream

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Morning

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Pop

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Sunday

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Somber

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Drama

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Silence

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Bleach

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Melancholic

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Pure

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Denim

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Toy

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Sepia

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Blue

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Red

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Pink

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Charcoal

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Graphite

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Binary

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Carbon

Crop Modes

The Nikon Z7 II is an FX camera but it can also shoot in one of four crop modes, including a 19.5-megapixel DX crop mode, a 37.9-megapixel 5:4 mode that uses the full height of the sensor but trims the sides, a 38.3 megapixel 16:9 mode, and a 30.3-megapixel 1:1 square mode.

The boundaries of the cropped areas are denoted with thin black lines in the viewfinder, which otherwise continues to show the full FX view, allowing you to see what's happening outside the cropped frame - perfect for sports and action shooting.

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FX

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DX

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16x9

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1x1