After going back and forth for
months years between Sony and Fuji, being entirely happy of neither one, I ended up with…a Nikon system.
Why would I go back to my first love? Yes, I shot Nikon for ages, first on film and then on digital, before switching to Canon because of they were developing full frame bodies while Nikon was still fixated on DX only, but nowadays it’s all about going mirrorless right*? Well, at first mostly because I stumbled on a deal almost too good to be true: a Nikon D800, second hand and sold as cheap as a waterproof compact camera.
* wrong: it is all, as it alway has, about the images you take
I though I was going to keep it just to be able to use some of my film era Nikon lenses on a digital camera other than the Fuji XPro-2, even if thanks to the Zhonggi Lens Turbo II they work wonderfully on the Fuji. Or maybe just to have a body to take in really bad weather when I wasn’t too thrilled to put the XPro-2 at risk.
But everything than just clicked: the colors, the film like appearance of the tonal values (especially with the right preset or, better yet, in Photoshop instead of Lightroom), even the handling. I’ve finally found my near-perfect camera. Why “near-perfect” and not “perfect”? Fist of all because this is real life, so there always will be something that is not ok 😉
And because there are, should I nitpick a bit, a couple things that annoy me just a tiny tiny amount. First of all, the bit of lag when writing images to disk can be a bother if you want to just check focus or how the image has come up really fast. A super fast card helps, but doesn’t solve the problem. Anyway no big deal, you get used to it. Second, when you use the internal flash (and this might very well be because of some setting I haven’t checked, given I don’t generally use the internal flash) even if you push the shutter button it will wait until the flash is ready to fire. Again, annoying but not a big deal if you prefer, like me, people not looking flabbergasted like someone just blasted them with a cold white light straight in their face.
Now, keep in mind I had to think really hard in order to come up with some cons for this camera. And I didn’t notice not even the weight and size, that coming from an A7r I was sure they were going to bother me.
Bonus tip: slap a Nikon DK-17m magnifying eyepiece on it, and manual focus becomes a breeze, even in dimly lit environments and even without relying on the focus indicator arrows.
I use the camera with an array of old and new Nikon glass, and contrary to the Sony A7r, that I gather should use the same sensor, on the Nikon I am having zero problems with the performance, even at the borders, even with really old glass. With this I don’t mean to say that all my lenses have become fantastically sharp, only that they’ve kept the same behavior, or if you prefer “personality”, they exhibited on film. Again, I’m probably a weirdo, considering I like the look I get out of my 50/1.4 pre-Ai Nikkor more than the one of my Sigma Art 50/1.4…your mileage may vary.
If you’re curious, you can check the list of the lenses on the “Gear list” page. I am now an happy camper.