Some Quick PhotoPlus Expo Updates

From Sigma: four of their current lenses have significant issues with the FTZ adapter: 24-35mm f/2 Art, 50mm f/1.4 Art, 85mm f/1.4 Art, and 800mm f/5.6. All but the latter lens will likely get firmware updates to address the problem that lens has. And additional five lenses cannot turn off in-camera stabilization and don't let the camera automatically power down: 17-50mm f/2.8, 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3, 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3, 24-105mm f/4 Art.

There's a lot more detail, which Sigma should post to their Web site soon.

Nikon, meanwhile, not only released a 1.01 firmware update for the Z7, but bodies that came into this country this week already had it installed. Unfortunately, if you were wishing for a major update, this wasn't it, as it fixed only two clear bugs in the product (one of which I had found). 

On the show floor I had a couple of longish talks with NikonUSA product folk, mostly centered around the biggest weakness of the Z7 (AF-C focus consistency). From what I gather, Japan says that CSP is used in the Auto mode, but it clearly isn't. Not only do I have plenty of examples to disprove that, but readers have been sending me in many other examples that show the same thing. My comment to NikonUSA was essentially this: give us a fully predictable AF mode (e.g. Group, which is essentially a real CSP). Also give us back the way of switching AF-ON with AF Area Mode via customizable buttons. Together would solve a ton of problems and make for a far better camera, and both those things can be done in firmware. 

Update: I note several people on the Internet interpreting the above paragraph wrongly. For example: "I didn't get the impression that the Nikon reps were too interested in hearing what he had to say." That's incorrect. Nikon seemed to be genuinely interested in my comments. Moreover—I want to be careful to not put words in their mouths here—they seemed to indicate that they're well aware that continuous autofocus is the biggest weakness of the camera. The real question is whether my detailed comments and those of others are getting back to the right folk in Japan and whether there's an action plan to improve continuous autofocus. That I don't know, and at the moment there's no way to find that out. Hopefully, Japan will read my review when it appears, as I'll have a long discussion of this, and what's missing.

Curiously, Nikon's Ambassadors were stating some numbers that will probably look strange to you. They looked strange to me at first (disclosure: I haven't gotten to my video testing yet). Specifically, for Z7 video Nikon seems to be saying that there's a 2-stop on-sensor VR improvement, which can be coupled with a 3-stop electronic VR improvement. (The Nikon brochure mentions 5-stops on-sensor VR improvement in stills.) It took me a bit to wrap my head around this, as Nikon is also claiming "full frame" 4K and 1080P capture. 

Well, not really, apparently. The capture appears to be a binned 3840 x 2160 (on the Z7), which implies a 7680 x 4320 capture area (the sensor is 8256 x 5504). Aha, that gives us the ability to do the electronic VR (which moves the capture area with the camera movement). 

bythom photoplus zbar rx100

The bar is set...

NikonUSA also held an invite-only party at Tao Uptown on Thursday night. It was, to say the least, a strange event. I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish other than having a party. If I were sponsoring a trade show party I'd have a real agenda and a clear way of understanding whether we met that agenda. 

bythom photoplus rx100

Three of the Nikon Ambassadors were there with lights and models shooting with Z7's (all in single servo mode I noted). But I'm not sure what the point of the model shoots was. Any camera that couldn't do what was being accomplished at the party really wouldn't be much of a camera, IMHO. Other than that, the NikonUSA staff tended to stick together (or with the Ambassadors), leaving the rest of us to mingle among ourselves (or not). 

Plenty more I'm still digesting, saving for other articles, or is just too far in advance to be saying anything about (e.g. Laowa's 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 being adapted directly for the Z mount sometime in the future).  

text and images © 2020 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2019 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #sansmirror