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Lesson 8 from: Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

8. Lenses

The Z series is compatible with F-mount lenses (and DX lenses cropped) using the FTZ adapter -- but the cameras also launched with its own new Z-mount lenses. Learn the controls that are located on the Nikkor Z lenses themselves instead of the camera and the new Z lenses available so far, like the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S and Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8.

Lesson Info


So, as far as lenses, let's talk about some of the lenses that you can hook on and the implications of using those lenses. So once again, Nikon has different categories for their different types of products. This product is a full-frame mirrorless camera with a Z mount, using the Z lenses. And so if you want all of the features to work, you want the maximum capability, you wanna get a Nikon Z lens, and that way you're gonna be 100% compatible on everything that happens with the camera. Their main collection of cameras, at least at this time, is with their SLR system. They have a full-frame system, that has an F mount, and uses FX lenses. They do also have a crop frame sensor camera, which also uses the same F mount, but can use the FX lenses or the DX lenses, which have a smaller image circle, designed for that smaller size sensor. You can use those FX lenses and DX lenses on this camera with the correct adaptor. Now, the FX lenses will cover the full sensor. The DX lenses will be crop...

ped into a smaller size sensor, about a 1.5 crop. So you're not gonna be using the full sensor, so you're gonna have reduced resolution on whatever camera you use. Looking more closely at the lenses themselves. Pretty much all their lenses are gonna have manual focus rings, I would imagine. Zoom lenses will have zoom rings on them. They'll have a mounting mark, so you know how to line it up with the camera. This particular lens has an info panel. And what information you see in there can be changed by pressing the display button, and you can show your focus, depth-of-field, or aperture information, whatever you want, by cycling through that display button. Every lens will have its own dedicated lens hood, and have its own unique filter size. There are many different standard lens filter sizes, but they usually come in different set increments. But each lens has its own specific lens hood that is specifically designed to block out just the right amount of light for that hood. And you should use those as much as possible. Some lenses will feature a lens function button as well as a control ring. And these are things that you can customize to do whatever it is that you want them to do. You could have it control the aperture, or do exposure compensation, or something else. And so you can dive in to the custom control assignment, and customize that, if you have that feature on your particular lens. The lens we're looking at here is the 24-70 2.8, which is a little bit higher end model than the one that I'm using here as an example, which is the 24-70 f/4. This is more their basic zoom. Although they're still all part of the S line of lenses. And so, remember on this one, in order to shoot with it, you have to have it in the shooting position between 24 and 70. The other is just a retracted, compacted position for storage and traveling. It has a manual focus ring, which also doubles as a control ring. If you would prefer this to control another feature, for instance, your aperture, you could have it control your aperture, by going in into the f2 custom assignment control, and reassign the function of that particular lens. So this is the basic lens that was sold when it was introduced. It's nice, good, general purpose lens. I like the f/4 constant aperture on it. They brought out the 35 and 50 at introduction. We're not gonna take too deep a dive into a Nikon lens terminology, but here's a quick key as to what the different lines of lenses are. Nikon, right now, has announced S-line. And this is where all of their lenses are, and at some point, it sounds like they're gonna have a different line of lenses that, I don't know if they're higher, or lower, or if they do something different. I think they missed the mark because they have certain lenses that are higher-end. The 24-70 2.8 is a notably higher end lens than the 24-70 f/4. And it feels like it should have been put in a separate category. The 14-30 is very much like the 24-70. It's got that retracted lens position, it looks similar, it feels similar, same type of layout, but great for shooting a wider angle. As this is a new system and Nikon wants to tell you that they are behind this, they have brought out a road map of all the lenses that they're gonna be bringing out. Now, the big lens that they introduced at the time they brought the camera out is their Noct lens, their 50 0.95 lens. Now, this is gonna be an interesting lens 'cause it's faster than 1.0. The only other major manufacturer that has their own lens out like this is Leica, and their lens sells for somewhere around $10 to $12 thousand. And so, everybody expects this to be expensive, but we still don't know what the price is as of yet. However, the big caveat on this lens, I guess there's a bunch of caveats, the big one is is that it's manual focus and it's very shallow depth-of-field, so you're gonna have to be very careful about how you manually focus this thing. It's gonna be pretty big, as you see, and we all know it's gonna be very expensive. We just don't know how much. All right, so if you want to adapt lenses onto this camera from your older SLR Nikons, you can do that with the adapter. If you buy it right, sometimes they'll throw in the adapter for free or for a discounted price. And so, the FTZ mount adapter will allow you to use all the old lenses and they will work, I'm not gonna say 100% compatible, but quite fully with the camera in most every feature. I found just a couple of small little things where maybe they're not quite as good. And so I wanted to show you what that is like, so I'm gonna go over and grab my little mount adapter and a different lens. And so, I wanted to test this camera with telephoto lenses, and since they don't have any native Z mount lenses, got myself a 70-200 f/4, and I got a little mount adapter here. So, let's talk about changing lenses and using the mount adapter. So, I'm gonna leave this thing just a little bit angled so you can see here. So I'm gonna press down on the lens release, turn the lens, and Nikon is the only camera that defies the righty-tighty, lefty-loosey concept on mounting things. We go the other direction. One of the problems with this camera, in my mind, is that where the tripod mount is is very close to the front of the camera. And so, if I want to mount something onto it, we've got the mount adapter here, and I'm going to mount the mount adapter here. And one of the problems is that it's got its kind of own little tripod mount, and where this tripod mount is and this is very close, and so, when you have these two adapters, I've had to find some very small ones so that I could use these. And in this regard, lemme go ahead and mount this lens on and I wanna show you a little bit about using this on a tripod. Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey is wrong. I gotta keep remembering that. Okay, so, I got our lens mounted on here. Take our lens cap off. Now, if it was just a small lens on here, I would mount this like this, but it's not gonna fit because it's got too much stuff in the way. Now, if I loosen this up, I can, can I get this? I can't get it in here. And so what I do is I have a very small mount on here, and you'll see how close it is. I had to get one that was mounted very close. If you're wondering what this is, I do not know the name of it. It came from Really Right Stuff, and it was a quick-release plate that is designed for point-and-shoot small cameras that allows you to mount it way off to the side. And so now, I can mount it in here. And it's now very well balanced on there. And so now I can use this camera, and I can use this lens, and I can autofocus. The exposure is fine. It's very, very compatible. There's only just one little feature that I'll talk about later on in this class that didn't work out. But it's a very good system, and it's a way to make that slow transition over to the mirrorless system. Now, to unmount this from a tripod, take it off the tripod, take off the lens, take off the adapter, and then mount my lens back on. And then now I can mount this back on my tripod like so. And so I think they, I don't know what they were thinking when they designed this adapter because that tripod plate really does get in the way, and if you have the wrong type of adapters, it is just a pain because you have to take, you literally have to take off one tripod adapter, and then move it from the body to the lens adapter for it to work right. And so it could be a bit of a hassle, but if you get the small adapters, that's the workaround that I found. So, the big benefit of this is that you get to use all of the different lenses that Nikon has been making for the last several decades, in reality, and so there's a lot of great lenses out there. And as I say, I think as people start shifting to the mirrorless system, I think the price of these lenses will come down a bit. They're not gonna go rock bottom, no, because there's gonna be a ton of people still using the SLRs and there's gonna be a lot of other people adapting them to the mirrorless cameras. But I think they are gonna go down in price a little bit as we shift to the mirrorless. Now, the compatibility is gonna depend on which lens you have because Nikon lenses have been going through an evolution, and they've been changing. So, AF-S, P, and I, which are basically lenses from 2000 to the current, are gonna be very compatible with focus and exposure. The older series, the original series of autofocus lenses, roughly from 1986 to 2000, you will be able to do metering, but no AF. You'll be able to tell by looking at the back of those lenses to see if they have the little driveshaft. This adapter does not have the driveshaft to drive those original AF lenses. And then as far as limited metering and definitely no autofocus are the older AI and AI-S lenses, which are roughly between 1977 and 1986. And so you'll need to get your reference charts out to see which camera's lenses, which lenses you have, to see where they fit on this scale. And the original lenses from the original Nikon F, known as the non-AI or the pre-AI lenses, they're generally not gonna work. There's a few other oddball incompatible lenses that you'll have to check in the instruction manual. One of the advantages of this camera with adapted lenses is that the camera's stabilization system does work. It's not gonna use five axes, but it will use three axes of stabilization. Now, if the lens does already have stabilization in it, it's gonna kinda share duties with the lens as to which aspect of that stabilization it's gonna take care of. And it will do up to five stops of stabilization, so that's five stops slower with shutter speeds that you'll be able to handhold with it. If you are using some of the older manual lenses, you can also go into the menu, setup menu, and you can enter the focal length and some of the other characteristics of that lens so that information is passed forward onto the metadata in your files once you have recorded your images, which can be really nice. And so that's a little bit about the lenses and the adaptability of this particular camera. If you are interested in learning more about lenses, I have two different classes that you might be interested. "Choosing the Right Camera Lens" is a relatively short, very easy to digest section on looking at the different lenses, and what all they do, and what you might wanna choose for different types of photography. If you're really into Nikon lenses and you wanna know about all the specialty lenses, fisheye and tilt-shift, and what all the different technology means that they talk about, the nano-coatings and the different types of focusing motors, that's gonna be in the Nikon class, and so that's an in-depth class just on Nikon lenses. All right, John, let me go back to the chat rooms. We do have a kind of grab bag of questions from the last segment. So do you mind taking a few? Sure. Okay, great. So, first of all, recent question from Jerry Ines who says, "I've seen different information regarding VR. "For the in-camera VR system to fully work, "must the vibration reduction on the lens be turned off?" I'm sorry, be turned on. Turned on, and so if... I'm trying to think 'cause I have not done a full testing of this, so I'm going off of my knowledge of this. And so if you are using an adapted... So first off, if you're using a Z lens, right now, I don't think any of the Z lenses have stabilization built into them. They may in the future. So, the camera will take care of everything. So what you're talking about is adapted lenses onto the camera. And so in that case, I believe the camera wants to use the stabilization in the lens. In fact, it's probably better in your lens. Let's just say you have a 70-200 2.8 lens that has VR in the lens. That stabilization is better than what's built into the camera, so you wanna use that in conjunction with the camera. And so, what the lens is gonna do, that 70-200, is it's gonna take care of your up-down and left-right movements. And then, as far as the camera, it's gonna take care of this roll movement, tilting it from side to side. And so, if you have a adapted lens that has VR, leave the VR turned on to get the best effect from it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon Z7/Z6 Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

Edward Luczak

I love all of John Greengo's classes. Now he is a Canon man but he gives the Nikons a fair review and his lessons on them are excellent. I have the Z6 and I picked up a several pointers I had not run across yet, so this course has paid for itself already. The only negative I have, and hopefully this is because the course was streaming, but the camera focus was off when the video was zoomed into the Z camera. John may need to give the creative live camera operators a lesson on focusing. Great informative course at an excellent price.


Thank you very much, John! I've been using Z 6 for 18 months, so far, and now I've got Z 6 II as well and your training about these cameras is just an excellent job. Of course I've been following you in other trainings as well, like "Photography Fundamentals" (or something like that) and I've got some of your books too, all excellent, but with this Z 6/7 training have been useful to learn some new things and to remember others already forgotten. Thanks a lot!.

Lynn Fisher

Loved the class. Just bought the Z6ii (waiting for it to ship) , so this is a great introduction. Would greatly appreciate it if John could add one more chapter to this class - Tell us about the Z6ii and Z7ii updates. It seems Nikon has addressed a lot of the concerns (particularly 2 card slots), so it might be very helpful for folks trying to decide on which camera to buy. Thanks!!!

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