Nikon’s Z6 and Z7 cameras are hot new products and many of us are waiting in anticipation for the official announcement later tonight. In the meantime, I wanted to share the images of the upcoming Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras with you and get your feedback on what you think about the ergonomics of these cameras. It looks like Nikon will be making both cameras physically identical (aside from the Z6 / Z7 Logo on the front), mainly making them different on the sensor side, similar to what Sony has been doing with its A7 / A7S and A7R cameras. Let’s take a look at how these cameras look!
Nikon Z6 and Z7 Front View
Let’s take a look at how both Z6 and Z7 look like from the front. Here is the 24 MP Nikon Z6:
And here is the 45 MP Nikon Z7:
As you can see, both are identical. Note the much larger throat diameter than the Nikon F (as discussed in my Nikon Z vs Nikon F mount article), along with a slightly different style lens release button on the right side of the mount. On the left, we can see two programmable function buttons, which is in-line with what we typically see on DSLR cameras (Preview and Function buttons). Note the absence of built-in flash – Nikon has been omitting built-in flash in the most recent versions of pro-grade DSLRs and it looks like Nikon mirrorless won’t have it either.
Nikon Z6 and Z7 Top View
The top of the two cameras reveals a lot of useful information, particularly when it comes to how these cameras will behave ergonomically. Let’s take a look:
First of all, we can see that Nikon decided to go with a PASM dial that looks similar to what we typically see on cameras like the Nikon D750 (all high-end Nikon DSLRs have a mode button). There is a button right in the center of the dial, which allows one to lock / unlock a camera mode. Aside from the “Auto” mode, the camera also features three U1 / U2 / U3 user-customizable modes. Personally, I am very happy to see this, as it means that Nikon is not going to proceed with its menu banks system we see on cameras like Nikon D850, and will stick with properly functional user modes instead. What does this mean? It means that you will be able to save up to three different modes on this camera and switching between them will be as easy as switching the dial.
For example, you will be able to create three different modes such as “Landscape”, “Action” and “Portrait”, which will have different settings. For “Landscape”, you can set the camera to full Manual Mode, set it to base ISO, turn off Auto ISO, turn on Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter and set Exposure Delay to 1+ seconds, turn off In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) and set other options such as Focus Peaking, etc. For “Action”, you can set the camera to Aperture or Shutter Priority Mode, turn on Auto ISO and set other relevant variables for action photography. For “Portrait”, you can set different face-tracking options. Once everything is saved, it is just a matter of switching between different modes to get to the mode you need, which is pretty sweet!
To the right of the mode dial is another exciting feature – a configurable LCD screen, which is something I really love on the Fuji X-H1 and GFX 50S cameras. It is exciting to see that Nikon is implementing this on the mirrorless system, as it will allow Nikon to be able to provide different information depending on what you are doing and also potentially disable things you do not want to see. I am not exactly sure how customizable the screen will be and what it will display in different modes, but now that there is a separate LCD screen, there is a lot of potential for Nikon to take advantage of it.
To the right of the LCD screen, we can see an unlabeled rotary dial. I suspect that Nikon went with this design choice in order to make the dial perform different tasks depending on what mode you are in, similar to what we see on other mirrorless cameras on the market.
If you look at the grip area, you can see that there is a dedicated video recording, ISO and Exposure Compensation buttons, similar to what we see on the latest-generation Nikon DSLRs. Interestingly, there is no metering button here, which I suspect is going to be accessible via a programmable button or quick menu selection. The grip looks like and comfortable, which is great!
Nikon Z6 and Z7 Back View
Nikon knows that it is important to properly design the back of the camera, because that’s what photographers use and look at the most. Here is how the back of the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras look like:
First, we can see that Nikon went with a tilting LCD screen, which is great to see. Unfortunately, it looks like Nikon went with a simple tilting LCD screen that does not allow one to tilt it vertically when shooting in portrait orientation, which is a bummer. From the teaser videos we know for sure that the LCD screen is a touchscreen and it looks like Nikon did a phenomenal job with making it usable for viewing images, zooming in, etc.
Just like most Nikon DSLRs, there is a playback and a trash button to the left of the viewfinder, but you can see that Nikon decided to move the traditional menu and zoom in/out buttons to the bottom right of the camera. Not sure how well this will work in practice, but I don’t think it will be too big of a problem ergonomically, since that’s where the right hand is when viewing menu or images anyway.
The switch to move from still shooting to video shooting has been relocated to the right side, which is now sitting next to the EVF, whereas the AF-ON button sits where it typically does on Nikon DSLRs. Since there is no “Live View” anymore, the button in the middle now says “DISP”, which is what Nikon will probably use for toggling different information on the back of the LCD and the viewfinder.
One of the most important ergonomic features that every modern camera should have is a joystick. Thankfully, Nikon has included a joystick on both Z6 and Z7 cameras and it looks very similar to what we see on Nikon DSLRs like D500 and D850. The “i” information button sits right below that, while the multi-selector is where it typically is on all Nikon DSLRs.
From there, there are four buttons. As I have already pointed out earlier, the Zoom in / Zoom out buttons, as well as the Menu button have been moved to the bottom right. Lastly, the camera shooting mode button has now been relocated too – it sits on the bottom back as well.
Personally, I really like the way Nikon designed the Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras. It looks like transitioning to these cameras from DSLRs will be quite easy for Nikon shooters. Personally, I am happy to see a camera with well-thought ergonomics and I am also happy to see that Nikon does not have too many programmable unlabeled buttons. I very much hope that Nikon will keep its menu system organized and similar to what we see on Nikon DSLRs. Poor menu system is one of the main reasons why many photographers, including myself, stay away from Sony’s mirrorless cameras…
What do you think about the Nikon Z6 and Z7 camera design and ergonomics? Please let us know in the comments section below!