Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks

Why the Nikon Mirrorless Already Sucks

We all know that Nikon and Canon are fueling up for a big battle for the mirrorless wars, with Nikon firing the first salvo in the form of the Z6 and Z7. But it just does not interest me.

After using every camera system and switching back and forth from Canon to Nikon several times and even shooting Phase One digital medium format, I’ve settled with the Sony a7R III as my favorite camera.

It took me longer than most to jump on board the mirrorless train, with a few things scaring me such as being so small that it might look and feel like a toy. Then I had concerns about the electronic viewfinder in general and if I’d like it; after all I hated the live view on Nikon.

Once I used the Sony, I knew instantly this was it and I was done switching for a very long time. The Sony has already offered everything a Canon or Nikon can do in terms of great focus, image quality, and dynamic range. But then the Sony offers something that is not so easy on the Canon or Nikon. The EVF allows me to use my old vintage lenses like my Helios or vintage Jupiter lenses with perfect focus easily and consistently. Also gone are the days of dealing with the microfocus adjustments since the focusing is done via the sensor.

Bottom line is, Sony has already given us everything that Nikon or Canon are trying to produce.

Critics of the Sony system had once complained about adapters to use Nikon or Canon glass, stating they didn't trust adapters, but now those same folks embrace the idea of adapters if it’s a Nikon mirrorless to use their existing F-mount lenses. Most humans are resistant to change, hence the comfort factor of the name Nikon or Canon. However, since the mirrorless is a new platform even for these brands, it is in fact a change and Sony is already established.

Nikon and Canon are trying to reinvent the wheel since they are so late to the party, and who loses in this scenario? The consumer. Think about it, there’s going to be a mad rush of brand fanboys all clamoring to get the first Nikon or Canon mirrorless when it’s released, and the price will be high and availability will be difficult. Then there’s the obvious growing pains that come with any new system. Sony had it early on, and now we are past those hiccups and I can’t see a reason to start over and go through those growing pains with the others. Had they realized how big the mirrorless technology was, perhaps they could have been in on the ground floor and enjoyed the success.

At this point, I think Nikon and Canon have already lost. Sony already has the market. Now they are just embarrassingly trying to play catch-up much in the same way GoPro tried to do after they realized (again, too late) that DJI had beaten them.

The specs from Nikon seem to be a pretty obvious straight copy of the Sony, except for one huge blunder in only including one card slot. Will it work? Likely yes, but we don't know how many bugs it will have being a new system. Are you getting anything new for your effort and money? Seems like that answer is no.

Time will tell if Canon can make a better attempt at entry into this market than this sad effort that Nikon has made.

What do you think? If adapters are required to use your existing lenses with Nikon or Canon mirrorless, then what advantage does it have over Sony? Just the name you are comfortable with.

Is that really worth the expense, wait, and growing pains of working through the inevitable bugs?

Lead image by Irina Kostenich via Pexels.

Bill Larkin's picture

Bill is an automotive and fashion inspired photographer in Reno, NV. Bill specializes in photography workflow and website optimization, with an extensive background in design and programming.

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I would guess that there's enough offered with the 6 and 7 that will keep some of the Nikon users, mostly enthusiasts, that have held off switching to mirrorless to stay with Nikon with one caveat; that the system does, indeed, work well with Nikon lenses.

However, there's not enough there for pros that have been waiting to see what the 7 offers. If they were waiting for a pro mirroless body from Nikon, they're either going to wait for the Z8 or switch to Sony. The fact that there's one card slot (what happened here?), the battery life is like Sony batteries of the past and the price dooms the 7 as a pro body.

There's little reason for a D850 owner to move to the 7...or the D750 owner, for that matter. Perhaps they were trying to protect the 850. If that's the reason, they've done a very good job.

right, I agree but with a mount adapter, I don't really see how it could work any better than the Sony with a mount adapter. It's being adapted either way.

And my understanding is that the in body stabilization is only 3 axis if not being used with certain lenses... combined with the single card slot and terrible battery as you mentioned, Sony kills it from my perspective.

Plus, I've always felt that the Nikon lenses are absurdly overpriced for what they are, such as the 105 1.4 - great lens, but the Art 105 beats it in every way according to every review and is significantly less money.

Nikon is big on charging you a lot of money for their name and I don' t like that. :)

The Art 105 beats it in every way? Are you kidding? Given some of the photos in your portfolio (not a fan of the porn, though) I would think you'd appreciate the colors and, well, art of the Nikon compared to the clinical, sterile output from the Sigma. I can't argue your point about the price. :-(

Deleted User Yes! every review I've read of a side-by-side comparison says the Art is sharper and better. I personally do not see anything clinical about it, I have heard Sigma critics say that, but nobody can furnish any proof. - The color from the lens is negligible, as everything I shoot is pretty heavily color graded so the starting point means nothing to me. However, I don't see a color problem with the Art either.

Porn? did someone hack my portfolio? There wasn't any porn last time I checked :)

The Art is sharper but negligibly, in my opinion. Well, if you're doing a lot of editing, I understand your point.
I guess the definition of porn vs. nudity in art is subjective and more than a little generational. :-)

Yes, the sharper isn't by leaps and bounds, it's a small margin, but as I meant it, "as good or sharper" with the price being what it is, adding the tripod collar - I feel the Nikon 105 is grossly overpriced.

And yes, I'd say I do a significant amount of color grading, even on the more natural looking stuff... I have modified the colors quite a lot.

Ahh yes, the nudity is subjective for sure... I get that... I don't actually shoot much of it one out of every 250 sessions probably has nudity. :D


Your color-grading is awesome! I honestly won't mind if you could point me in the direction of some color-grading materials or help. It's been a struggle for me with it.

Bill, stop shooting porn dude!

We all feel offended by level of porn in your porn.

geez, why do you have to insult the man's work?

I wasn't. At all! I think his photos are really good. My point was that he's obviously going for an artistic look so I would think he'd be more attracted to lenses that emphasize that, rather than just being sharp. I've never heard anyone say, of the greatest art (photos or otherwise), "It's so sharp!" Colors, transitions between objects, light and shadows? Yes.

Sam, that's a really fair point. I've seen incredible, images that move me that aren't even quite in focus. I can agree on that, there's more to it for sure.

No Sam, you were, have balls enough not to back pedal when outed. I think your porn comment was cheap, classless and unnecessary when discussing the performance of lenses. It was just a juvenile, poke with a stick that you knew would get a reaction. Unnecessary is the keyword. Disrespectful without the need to be is the charge.

What?? I was joking, sorta, and didn't make a big deal about it. But trust me, I don't back pedal ever! Having looked you up, I remember you now. Personally, I have no respect for you, your photography, or anything you write but that's okay, the feeling is obviously mutual.

Thanks Sam!

They are saying the S line lenses will perform best wide open. Again, wait and see, but if that's true, then it will deserve a premium.

Given the existing ecosystem of F mount lenses (Nikon and third party), not offering an adaptor would have resulted in commercial failure of the product.

Actually there is a difference in adaptors. The Nikon lens mount is much wider and the sensor is closer to the flange, give it an advantage in using adapted lenses, especially wide angles. My experience with Sony adaptors is that the center quality is fine but the edges are not up to native lenses. Potentially Nikon won't have that problem. Also, Nikon's adaptor is designed by Nikon for Nikon lenses. Sony's adaptor works best with Sony lenses, but since Nikon has so many more that puts the advantage in Nikon's court.

if I'm going to adapt a canon/Nikon lens, I'll adapt it using an adapter made by those companies. Nikon and Canon will never make adapters for sony, so the adapter strategy will always be worse with sony: nobody cares to adapt their lenses, and everybody wants canikon lenses.

Nikon/Canon at least, may stand alone with their lens lineups with very little cross-envy so that's why the adapter story ONLY works with the two kings of lens lineups, and I'd argue every canon shooter adapting their system to sony today, will ditch sony in a heartbeat once canon enters the market. It is inevitable.

Sony lenses ain't cheap! Keep in mind, the adapter for the Nikon is built by Nikon and made for Nikon lenses. The adapters for Sony are third party.

I'm quite sure that Nikon is banking on that adapter working flawlessly to keep their base customers from leaving. If the adapter is a flop, Nikon is going to lose on this gamble.

Totally unrelated but your photos are superb Bill

thanks so much

I'd love to try a Sony but I'm invested heavily in Nikon lenses including the 105/1.4 and 2 pces. At this point I don't consider selling them or buying any Sony lenses. Canon users have a usable Metabones and Sigma adapters. What's there for Nikon users?

Exact, and the price matches Nikon other pro-bodies. I'm disappointed by Nikon's Z cameras, but I know it is a whole new segment they are going. If I would change my D500 at this point, it would be for a D850 no doubt.
The only real good reason to go Z is the mount.

the camera first edition disappoints. but in future the mount is promising. if they fix the issues in second or third edition i think the difference between Nikon and sony would not be great. right now im not sure if i should buy a D850 or a A7(R)-3. video, photography for print.

Sure, Nikon could fix the issues by the time the second or third edition comes out, but do you think Sony would just be waiting for their competitors to catch up.

Sony is already ahead in the mirrorless market. By the time Nikon fixes their issues, Sony might have come up with something new and bigger, i.e. the difference would actually be not that small.

bigger lens mount is a thing, sony cant make a 0.95 ap lens. and then there is the video thing, 10 bit. and a couple of other things. but sony is ahead. being in the lead doesnt mean you will be in front all the time, doesnt even mean you are able to finish the race. it just means you are in it and in a comfortable position. right now, if i had to choose a camera, i dont know what i would pick. i need a capable photo camera, eye auto focus would be great (e.g sony). it should do great video work with minimum 1080p/120fps and 4k at 30fps. low light performance is important too. so i guess im saying that my first pick would be a sony A7-3.

right now i have no clear idea what would be the choice for travel (small body) mirorrless camera that performs well in low light and does before mentioned things.

Single card slot is a non-issue for some of us.

But you’re not who they are competing against... and the competitor has two slots... exactly what the other brand loyalist were saying was such a tragedy with the Sony cameras.

Oh and bad battery life, lacking AF features, blackout during Silent shutter, the list continues...

But go ahead, pay more for the camera that was made for the ones who just want the name Nikon on a camera.

310 shots is not D850... not even close

Latest on hands quick review had 1500 shots and some 4k video before hitting 10% warning

It was on their site but there have also been some strange things happening on their site with numbers switching.
The ratings for batteries are done in specific ways and the ones saying “1500” are neglecting the fact there is a silent shutter and if you burst for a few minutes of course you can rattle off 1500+ shots.
Real time is the concerning point and when it’s half the life (in ratings) than the Sony battery (after Canon and Nikon users cried about battery life in older Sonys)

we buy Nikon because of IMAGE QUALITY. You go ahead and find "issues" on some pre production units....2 slots..... the amount of stupidity this has unleashed on the internet....wtf Sony trolls seem to be of less intelligence than other ppl

It’s both sides. Sony guys are taking advantage of the upper hand on the downfalls/faults/missing features of the new cameras - and the Nikon users are harping on them being preproduction and to wait for a real review.

When they said there was no verticals grip and only a battery pack coming for the Z cameras, I literally smacked my head...

I am hoping that Canon does something to push the industry. Disbelief/fed up is where I am with it all.

I know that not all need the insurance of a second slot. However, those that do can buy a camera for the same price as the 7 and get two slots and there in lies the rub; you're paying a pro body price for an enthusiast camera.

XQD are extremely reliable fault tolerant devices; though appreciate a 2nd card slot would mitigate any risk , however in 10 + years of using Nikon I have not had one card failure either CF or SD card, though I make sure I keep to the top rated cards . I'm sure when the mirrorless version of the D5 appears in 2 years time that will have a 2nd card slot .

I've invested quite heavily in pro grade Nikon/Sigma/Tamron glass that if as I am led to believe works flawlessly with the adaptor; waiting for confirmation on 3rd party glass, then I do believe the z6 would suit me fine. I've jumped between fuji x series and Nikon over the past 5 years and loved a lot about the fuji but at the time no long fast glass and the cropped sensor was a limitation for my diverse needs.

To swap to another system is an expensive hit the money lost on selling equipment is massive compared to a small difference in price between a sony and a Nikon so that's no way an argument.

I've only had one failure, an SD card, but I was using a 5DIII, so the CF card was on the job. :-)

It comes down to price vs what is offered by the 7. Again, we know these initial tests are with pre-production cameras and things may be different when the production models are in the hands of testers. Still, a lot of pros require 2 cards. They cannot chance loosing images from one off events.

The latest scuttlebutt is that the focusing system does not track well at all in low light. Not good for something that costs $3400.

I was hoping that Nikon would have knocked it out of the park with the 7 (my interest is in the pro level bodies). I've said it many times, the D850 is the best all around FF camera on the market. I was hoping that they would follow the lead of that terrific piece of hardware. That didn't happen.

"XQD are extremely reliable fault tolerant devices"

I keep hearing how bulletproof XQD is. I bought a couple of new Lexar XQD cards on Nov 6, 2016. On Nov 8, 2016 I was test firing my cameras that morning at Javits Center in NYC for election night when I got a card failure error with the XQD on the Nikon D5. I could not format the card or do anything but return it as defective. I will never trust any historic assignment to XQD alone again.

I heard Jerry Ghionis on Nikon Z facebook interview yesterday make the argument that he shot all these weddings without a second slot for film on his camera. Bad argument. That's like saying that one doesn't need modern automotive safety glass or seatbelts because one has never been in an accident. I do not want the equivalent of a "glass necklace" during a once in a lifetime assignment.

I had a CF card fail once. Any card can fail. That's why I won't consider making the jump to Nikon mirrorless until they have redundancy. Sounds like you feel the same way about it.

They are reliable and durable meaning like if you sit on them. The process of saving the image onto a card is the same as with SD and just as much prone to failure.


Any solid state device can fail. I've had SSD's die! Thanks to Chronosync and multiple backups I didn't lose data. No way I'm sticking with one slot on the big job. I've been burnt before.

People also forget that the camera slot can fail or have issues as well.

I had my second card failure last February during a shoot and i went from happy to “wtf is happening, what do you mean you can’t read or write to the card?!” while shooting a family portrait session. Thankfully I keep SD cards in all my jacket pockets, wallet, and my car lol.

the cameras are good. really good. people are just mad mostly because they don't have two card slots >.> If i had the cash i'd buy one.

The potential customers are upset at Nikon because they are asking $3400 US for a camera that is NOT a pro body. Other things I've heard as reviewers get their hands on the 7, and I'll qualify this by stating that the tests have been done on pre-production versions, don't give Nikon any high marks.

This will get sorted when production models get out for some real world tests, but so far, it hasn't been very flattering.

People who thought Nikon would release a mirror less camera that would kill sales of their 6,000 USD (8,000 AUD) D5 camera , or the D850 are in Disney land.

As a point of reference, this one is much more useful and honest in it's opinion. https://fstoppers.com/gear/initial-reviews-nikon-mirrorless-are-not-good...

The tone and lousy "private jokes" spilled here and there should just put Tony and Chelsea to shame instead of being proud of anything.
Even if some of their remarks have real ground, the way they talk about them and laugh at them is just lame and lousy.

I can't believe I'm defending a mirrorless camera by anyone but two things:

This is going to sound stupid but, it's a Nikon. I wouldn't buy anything made by Sony. Now, that's completely subjective but then, so is your post. Oh, you have some objective facts but they're couched in, and viewed through, your subjective opinion. That's fine but then, so is my subjective opinion.

Secondly, see #1. ;-)

Deleted User Well considering Sony has manufactured sensors for Nikon cameras, I'd be careful about that not wanting anything from Sony statement.

I actually think quite the opposite, Nikon's such a small company relatively, I want something more trustworthy. (I do believe they are making their own sensor now, but don't have hard data on that so I can't really say) - But the backing and R&D from such a large company like Sony actually is more reassuring than Nikon.

Yes you're right... the post is mostly subjective, except for the part about the single slot and terrible battery, Nikon blew it there by anyone's standards.

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