Nikon Z6/Z7 Blog

As I’ve been doing with the DSLRs lately, I’m going to start a blog-style set of comments and updates for the new Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras. Eventually the useful information in these posts will be moved to my review and this blog removed.

The Z7 EVF

Nikon made a big deal about how good the EVF on the Z6/Z7 would be, and indeed, it is very good. But I continue to get a lot of questions about just how good is it really.

Well, first things first: if you don't get too out of control with the WYSIWYG nature of the EVF—in other words, aren't increasing saturation, contrast, or using a janky Picture Control—I find the EVF very natural in good outdoor light. I didn't particularly notice that the view wasn't optical other than the fact that there is a small amount of latency (lag), which I measure at a bit more than 20ms (that's 0.02 second). This implies that the EVF speed is about 60Hz, by the way. 

Where the EVF starts to show its electronic nature is in low light indoors (or night scenes outdoors). That's because the camera will apply what it needs to in terms of a temporary ISO boost to show you what the exposure might look like (assuming you're not in manual exposure mode). The exposure in my office at the moment (gray rainy day, only ambient light through semi-transparent blinds) is ISO 3200 at 1/16 and f/4. At those settings, two things start to happen. 

First, you'll see noise. It's generally very small and not at all obnoxious due to the high resolution of the EVF, but it's there and noticeable. 

Second, if you've set a good exposure, in low light that exposure is brighter in the viewfinder than your normal vision (using the defaults), and depending upon how you have Picture Controls and White Balance set, may be showing you color and linearity that's different than your eyes are producing when not looking through the camera.

Curiously, I find that a manual exposure of about two stops under almost matches the EVF (in Auto) to the scene in my office. But I can't set the EVF manually to match (e.g. -5 isn't two stops, apparently). When I do match the EVF exposure to the actual scene before my eyes, once again the EVF does a remarkably good job of keeping the linearity correct. 

Frankly, the Sony A7Rm3 EVF is way noisier (with larger noise patterns) and worse in natural linearity and color rendition than the Nikon Z7 in the exact same conditions. Moreover, it's been my experience outdoors in good daylight that the Sony EVFs look more like EVFs than what your eye normally sees optically, something I can't say about the Nikon.

My initial conclusion about the Z7 EVF, therefore, is that Nikon has done a very good job with their implementation. It's not perfect, but it's far easier to forget you're using an EVF on the Z7 than it is on the A7Rm3, in my experience. Someone was paying attention to the emotional/subjective experience at Nikon, and it shows. 

XQD Cards

Nikon Rumors just basically reposted what Camera Memory Speed published about XQD cards in the Z7. 

Having now tested a wide set of cards in my Z7—I intentionally bought one of each type of XQD card along the way since the D4 started using them, though not at all sizes—I can say that my results are very similar to Camera Memory Speed's: the Z7 appears to top out near 245MBs with cards that are labeled 400MBs. My D5 has hit ~300MBs on some of those same cards. Put another way: the camera's card slot is almost certainly the limiting factor in how fast the camera performs. 

There are many who are making an assumption that when CFExpress firmware is added to the Z7, it will get faster (ProGrade has a 1GBs card in prototype). I do not subscribe to that theory and expect that CFExpress won't have much impact on speed, if any. History has proven that card slot speed is pretty much hard coded at a maximum by the camera makers, and given that we have underperformance to what the cards can already do, I'd say that the Z7 slot is likely limited somewhere near 250MBs. CFExpress as Nikon is likely to implement with the Z7 is still going to be two lane PCIe, just like XQD, so will be limited by the electronics of the camera to similar speeds.

If you want best performance in the Z7, you need to use a Sony G Series, a Lexar 2933x series, or the new Nikon cards (I'm still waiting for a Delkin card to test, but given their 400MBs rating, I'd expect it to be similar to the Sony G). Simple as that. I was actually surprised at how poorly some of my older XQD cards did in the Z7. I actually stopped using my oldest Sony cards on a recent shoot because I was hitting full buffer and getting poor rollover rates (<1 shot a second once buffer was full; on the fast cards it was over 3 fps). 

Camera Memory Speed found something else I can confirm: while Lossless Compressed writes slightly slower than Uncompressed (<5%), the full buffer clearance speed is faster by almost 20% and produces about 3.5 fps when the buffer is full (the file sizes are smaller). 

So nothing is really going to change from my card recommendations with the D850, I think. 

Well, okay, possibly one thing: I can't reliably track continuous focus on the Z7 as I can on the D850 (let alone the D5), so I'm actually pulling off the shutter release earlier most of the time. Thus, the most important aspect to me on a Z7 is actually buffer empty time. On the Sony G Series cards, that is running a little less than 5 seconds for me. On my slowest older cards, that is running about 10 seconds. Why is this important? Because you generally don't want to start a new sequence with a less than empty buffer.

One thing I note that isn't getting a lot of attention: the D5 with it's USB 3.0 connection is delivering images to your computer at almost twice the speed that the USB 3.0 Z7 provides (neither are particularly fast as a card reader, though). This is yet another example of the camera makers only giving lip service to current state-of-the-art computing standards. They just don't want to use the more expensive supporting parts necessary to provide full capability, and/or are introducing more overhead in the serial transfer chain. In theory, we should get close to 400MBs transfer speeds out of USB 3.0 (as we do from some card readers). Don't use your Z7 as a card reader other than last resort.

What are the Z7 Advantages?

Compared to a D850, here are things where the Z7 is arguably better:

  • Smaller and lighter (though once you start putting long and heavy telephoto lenses on, the body advantage isn't so important)
  • The first S lenses are indeed superior optically to equivalent F-mount lenses (e.g. 35mm f/1.8 S versus 35mm f/1.8G)
  • WSIWYG finder (great for black and white shooting)
  • Silent/No slap mode (and overall the camera is a bit quieter in mechanical modes, too)
  • Live histogram (though not at same time as some other things, like virtual horizon)
  • Focus peaking in viewfinder (but only in MF or in manual override of autofocus)
  • Easier to focus manual focus lenses, by far, due to peaking, rangefinder, and magnification abilities
  • New Diffraction Compensation control (not fully tested by me yet; working on it)
  • On sensor VR works (but buried in menu if no lens switch)
  • New focus peaking shot review for Focus Shift Photography
  • Timecode for video available
  • 10-bit 4K video with N-Log available on HDMI slot (though you'll overheat camera at some point)
  • Better video autofocus, by far
  • Ability to offload images via Wi-Fi in both AdHoc and Infrastructure modes (still testing)
  • New i-menu that's customizable (D850's is fixed and different format)
  • (Arguable) Use of U1, U2, and U3 to configure camera quickly
  • (Arguable) Strange and as yet unexplained application of different defaults in Adobe conversion programs

And some disadvantages, where the D850 would be arguably better:

  • No ability to override automatic DX crop mode (some DX lenses can cover full FX frame)
  • Smaller buffer
  • No second card slot (for Raw+JPEG, backup, or overflow)
  • Buried Metering Mode, Picture Control, Qual in the menus
  • Likewise, Focus control buried in menus (or needs to be promoted to a customizable control, using up one of the fewer ones available)
  • No two-button reset or format
  • Nikon does not recommend user sensor cleaning
  • Worse battery performance
  • Poor ability to control continuous autofocus options, particularly tracking
  • Slightly fewer Retouch options

Remember AF-S (the lens type)?

Here's a tip for Z shooters: turn on focus peaking, even if you're shooting in autofocus modes.

Why? Because if you're using an AF-S or Z lens on the camera and override the focus manually, focus peaking pops up to help you nail the new focus point you want. The usual thing that annoys me in nature shooting is near stick-ups: grass and other vegetation that can pop up in front of a subject. My response to the camera focusing on that has almost always been to roll focus manually to where I want it. On a DSLR, I have to do this by eye on a screen not really intended for focus confirmation. On the Z series, focus peaking pops up and helps me narrow where I want the focus quickly. 

And yes, this works with lenses in the FTZ adapter, as long as they're AF-S or AF-I type lenses, which is where we got the manual focus override ability in the first place. 

The Band Played On

The number one question in my In Box seems to be: does the Z7 have banding in its images?

This is a result of a report on Bill Claff's Web site, where he does sensor heat maps (here's the the Z7/D850 comparison).

bythom heatmap

Visually, you should see that the Z7 example (left) has some clear horizontally-oriented information in it, and is not the much more random noise that the D850 example (right) has. This was picked up by dpreview and articulated in their first impressions

The most likely cause of this very low-level artifact is almost certainly due to data offload from the sensor. 

But you want to know if it's a problem or not with images. 

My answer would be not.

This is a little different than the problem with the D7100's sensor. On the D7100 you could fairly easily trigger visibility to banding in out-of-camera JPEGs by simply shooting at a high ISO value with Active D-Lighting enabled on Extra High. The combination of Active D-Lighting's underexposure (to preserve highlights) and shadow boost (to reveal shadow detail) often triggered some visibility to the underlying sensor issue on the D7100. 

Not so with the Z7. I've done a number of experiments trying to promote any underlying banding into visibility for anything approaching "normal" photography, and I'll just say this: if you manage to do it, you've probably done something else very wrong. I even ran post processing D-Lighting on an Active D-Lighting image to see if I could force visibility. Nope. 

The one case I and others can trigger banding is with the electronic shutter when there's a huge exposure differential—generally blown out highlights—in the frame and you perform a huge push of the image. Jim McKasson has an excellent description of that test.

One thing that keeps getting mentioned is that because of this "banding" the Z7 has less dynamic range than the D850.

Dynamic range should be defined as the range between the acceptable noise floor and highlight saturation. And actually, it should even be refined from that, as there is a noticeable shoulder to highlight information in recent sensors. But my definition, and the one I promote in my books, is the usable data set (range) the sensor can provide from which will result in black to white in my image output. 

Take a look at both heat sensor maps you see above. Those noise patterns are deep in black. By "deep in black" I mean they are not generally visible because they're recorded as black (a DN with a center of ~1000 for output off the Z7 sensor). You'd have to be promoting black to a middle gray or higher to see those patterns (and then, what would your blacks be in your image? You'd probably have none). dpreview used a six stop push (not sure how they did that with ACR; and note that their examples aren't correctly matched in output). 

They also write "if you're trying to brighten the foreground of a sunset image" as one of their examples. Again, if you're pushing the few of the lower bits recording data as far as they suggest, you're going to have problems with most cameras, as you don't have enough bit differentiation to truly hold detail. Even if you don't get banding, you get what I call a muddy presentation of "detail": mush (though today's mush is far better than early DSLR mush, as the linearity of the data is better). Your exposure needed to be different in the first place, or you needed to use HDR techniques if your scene truly is that much broader than the camera's abilities. 

Thus, can I trigger visibility of banding? Sure. By doing something I normally wouldn't do to an image. Or by missing exposure by so much that all my image data would be in only four or five bits to start with. Moreover, this seems to be a silent shutter issue—all electronic shutter—so there's a clear workaround.

How Much of a D850 is the Z7?

This is the tricky part about the transition from DSLRs to mirrorless: things you expect cameras to do suddenly may not work quite as well as they used to. 

I've written that the D850 is the best all-around interchangeable lens camera you can buy. Nothing in the recent mirrorless cameras, including the Z7, suggests to me that this is no longer true. The D850 is still the best all-around interchangeable lens camera you can buy. So that brings up the question: where does the Z7 fall short of a D850? And does the Z7 excel at anything?

So let's try tackling that question by type of photography:

  • Landscape — Both are excellent. The D850 particularly so via Live View, the Z7 better by viewfinder (has to do with things like manually focusing with focus peaking active). For front country work, I don't see the size/weight difference being meaningful. The lighter weight and on-sensor VR on the Z7 would be more useful to backcountry shooters. Where the Z7 is let down a bit at the moment is in lens selection: you're going to be using lenses on adapters in all likelihood. 
  • Macro — Both are excellent. Virtually the same things apply as I just mentioned for Landscape. The Z7 does have a very slight advantage with focus stacking, as that feature has been improved slightly.
  • Portrait — Both are excellent. The Z7 has a small advantage in focus reliability for single servo use (AF-S), the D850 a slight advantage in focus reliability for continuous focus use (AF-C). Size/weight doesn't enter into the picture, and again the Z7 is likely to be used mostly with adapted lenses at the moment, negating some of its size/weight advantage.
  • Event — Here the Z7 may be the better choice, particularly if you like the 35mm f/1.8 lens and are shooting in AF-S mode. Plus the silent mode shooting and on-sensor VR helps. But it's still a close race, and I particularly like the ability to switch AF Area Modes fast on the D850 when doing this type of shooting via AF-ON+Area Mode, something you can't set with the Z7. That said, I think most event shooters would gravitate towards the Z7. 
  • Sports — The D850 is the better choice. You're in AF-C for focus, and that's the Z7's Achilles Heel. The "slide show" viewfinder at 9 fps on the Z7 may put some people off, too. No blackout, but it's definitely not something that feels "live." And then there's the buffer difference, which is almost an order of magnitude better on the D850 side.
  • Wildlife — The D850 is the better choice. Virtually the same things apply as I just mentioned for Sports, and particularly for birds in flight. 

I could go on with a much longer list—and may with my upcoming review—but here's the bottom line: both cameras can pretty much do any kind of shooting. Where the Z7 excels over the D850—primarily because of EVF tools, silent shooting, on-sensor VR, or the contrast detect step in AF-S focus—it's by a small margin. Where the D850 excels over the Z7—primarily when you need AF-C focus or large buffer—it's typically by a bigger margin. Couple that with an "always on" viewfinder, better battery life, additional controls, and dual card slots, and the D850 is still the more versatile camera, in my opinion.

The tough choice for me is that I also have a D5, which is still the best of the "fast shooter" cameras available (I'd put the current order: Nikon D5, Sony A9, Canon 1DxII based on my experiences with each). Thus, I'm more likely to shoot the things that the Z7 isn't great at with the D5 and not the D850. 

Either way I don't think there's a terrible choice of camera pairs for a professional: Z7 and D5, or D850 and D5. I can keep battery (via the MB grip) and cable equivalence with the latter combination, though. For an amateur who only wants one camera, that's where the D850 sits in the sweet spot for the moment. 

Thus, I'd write this: Nikon is beginning to open up a new world with the Z series. That world is not yet as versatile as the world we've been exposed to with the Nikon DSLRs. I suspect that new world will be more versatile in several years and a few iterations/additions. But not today. Today the D850 is still the all-around best ILC, and the D850/D5 combo is about as maximized to anything you might want to do as I can imagine. 

Some More Comments About Z7 Focus

I’ve reached a tentative hypothesis about continuous autofocus with the Z7 after shooting over thousands of images of fast moving subjects (animals) for over a week. 

Nikon’s not going to want to hear this, but it appears we have two clear deficiencies of the camera for continuous autofocus:

  1. Getting the focus cursor/box/indicator where you want it fast enough. 
  2. The focus sensors all are line sensors and oriented in one direction.

The first can be improved, and maybe even just in new firmware. The second is hard coded into the sensor design, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have to put up with that for what it is. Fortunately, the second issue is really the least problematic of the two. It is what it is, and we’ve had that issue with DSLRs for some focus positions, too. (Hint: learn to recognize when you only have detail in the wrong direction and tilt the camera slightly when obtaining focus.)

If there’s good news, it’s that I didn’t mention “speed” of autofocus as an issue. I’m still a bit on the fence about that one, but I see enough indicators so that I’m leaning more and more towards actual focus speed not being a real issue. I’m still evaluating subject tracking speeds, but that gets us back to the first problem I mention above.

With the D5 Nikon took two steps forward and one step backwards. Unfortunately, with the Z7 they’ve taken another step backwards. 

What do I mean by that? 

Well, the D5 was the first camera with a thumbstick where you could program the press of the thumbstick to be AF-ON while still moving the focus position. Prior to this, all of us back-button focus folk had to keep moving our thumb from AF-ON to the Direction pad (and then the thumbstick starting with the D4) and back. 

Unfortunately, a firmware update took away the simultaneous press+move capability from the D5 thumbstick. You can press, but now you can only move when you’re not pressing. (I’m pretty sure Nikon was responding to some big name sports photographer constantly mashing the thumbstick uncontrollably and complaining that they kept losing their focus point; whoever that was should probably work on developing some finesse rather than complaining). 

So now the best case we have on the D5 generation DSLRs is that we can keep our thumb on the same control and—with finesse, thus my comment above—use that control to both position the focus sensors and start/stop focus, but not both simultaneously. 

Now add in another thing: on the D5 generation cameras Nikon allowed multiple buttons to be changed into AF-ON buttons that also switch to a different AF Area Mode when pressed. Thus, I could use the thumbstick as my main AF-ON when I need to move the focus point a lot, but have my regular AF-ON button programmed to a mode where I don’t move the focus position a lot (too bad we can’t set 3D Tracking on the DSLRs that way, but that’s another Nikon taketh away story for another day; really, does Nikon actually talk to sophisticated and thoughtful photographers about what might actually make their systems shine well beyond the competitors instead of just rising a bit above them?). 

The Z7 can’t do what I just wrote. Any of it. You can assign AF-ON to buttons like the thumbstick press, but you can’t also make the camera switch AF Area Focus Mode when doing so. 

We’re getting to the punch line: the good news is that the AF-ON button and thumbstick control are close together and I don’t have to change hand position when I move back and forth. The bad news is that the movements of the focus sensor triggered by the thumbstick feel slow. (I write "feel slow" because technically I seem to get about the same sensor move speed across the same area as with the D850, but I can move the Z7's focus sensor further, so going from one extreme to another is slower.) In some AF Area Modes where you're trying to position the cursor precisely, it can be painfully slow for a big move. Indeed, I kind of want my thumbstick press on the Z7 to be Select Center Focus Point, as that can move the focus cursor halfway across the frame fast when I start getting out to the edges with the focus cursor and now need to change what I’m doing. 

What that all tends to mean is I either miss focus or I miss shots when my subject is moving all over the place in the frame. And forget using the Direction pad: it doesn’t move things faster and it’s going to change your hand position and thumb position to reach it. You can use the OK button in the center of the Direction pad to move the focus position snappily back to center, but again, you’re shifting your thumb considerably off where it normally would be and that OK button is actually a bit difficult to find by touch, particularly with light gloves on.

The temptation is to give up back button focus entirely. But even that doesn’t help all that much with the current implementation. I could imagine using shutter release focus with my thumb dragging on the rear LCD to establish focus point solving the move-the-focus-position-quick issue, but we don’t have that option. 

Which brings us to Tracking autofocus (Auto). OMG. What was Nikon thinking? It’s unusable in most practical situations you’d want to use it for. One person wrote that it worked for them to track the goaltender in a soccer match, and I did some testing to see if I agree. Yes, there are a few situations where the tracking focus works adequately, but is still a big pain when you want to shift to shooting something else. 

And again, we have the moving-the-focus-cursor-further issue intersecting with trying to use Tracking for changing subjects that are constantly moving. Too many button presses and control moves to get things set, and by the time you complete those, the moment is gone. Hey Nikon: still cameras are about capturing moments. Remember? 

So here’s my hypothesis: focus speed on the Z7 is perfectly fine. The speed at which you get the focus system set properly to the thing that’s moving is the problem. 

Nikon, if you’re reading this, this is an issue that makes the Z7 seem worse than an A7Rm3 when it might actually might not be. The AF-C autofocus area mode choices and how they’re controlled feel incomplete and untested in the more extreme shooting situations. 

All that said, I’ve been shooting fast moving animals and sports for about 45 years, which takes me all the way back to the era where I had to do everything because there was no automation ;~). So yes, I managed to get plenty of keepers in my most recent shoot—particularly as I started to understand what the camera can and can’t do—but it's not the number of keepers I’d have gotten from a D7500, D500, D850, or D5 in the same situation. 

Note that I wrote hypothesis. That means I’m still testing. When my review eventually appears, it will be because I’ve completed my studies. 

Some Initial Z7 Impressions

I’ve been shooting extensively with the Z7 this week as I work on reviewing the camera. I know many of you are waiting for the specific information that usually appears in the performance sections of my reviews, so I thought I’d give you some initial impressions and data points. I’m continuing to shoot with the camera and work through learning its ins and outs, so what I write next is subject to change as I develop more experience.

Battery: The first full set of shooting to exhaustion was 1375 shots (6% battery life left). There appears to be a problem, though. If you really shoot all the way until you get the message that the camera can’t continue shooting, when you replace the battery with a new one the top display will show ERR. You have to press the shutter release and take a dummy shot to release that error message. This is one of those things I need to check with other copies of the camera, as it could be a quality issue with my unit.

Buffer: I’ve noticed some oddities about the buffer performance when you’re pushing the camera constantly, as I am on the animal shoots I’m doing. Very similar to the Sony A7 models, if you start reviewing images while the buffer is clearing, there can be delays and the write-to-card-light stays lit for a long time. The camera appears to give preference to write over read, but I need to do some measurements of actual write performance, as it seems slightly sluggish to what I’d expect with fast XQD cards.

Autofocus: In the continuous autofocus modes the Z7 isn’t a D850. Or even a D7500. This is particularly true with lenses on the FTZ adapter, which forces the camera to always use phase detect. In my initial opinion, the Z7 is substantively behind where the Sony A7Rm3 is for continuous autofocus sequences of objects moving towards you (even at a diagonal). The faster and closer the movement is, the more likely the camera is to get a low hit rate on continuous focus. I’m still exploring the variables here, though. There may be techniques or settings that can improve that. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the camera can’t focus on fast-moving subjects in continuous autofocus. Witness:

bythom US MT Kalispell TripleD Z7 57607

Z7 with 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P lens in continuous autofocus (in this case, Dynamic 9 point). And yes, that cat's quite close to me.

But the entire sequence of the tiger running across the water to me was not as good as I’d have gotten if I had used my D850. Ditto other subjects I’ve tried, and I’ve got plenty of subjects that are moving at speed and erratically this week; it’s a solid test of the system. My initial assessment is that the Z7 isn’t as bad as some suggest, but it isn’t as good as others suggest, either. Moreover, given the choice of the Sony A7Rm3 and the Z7 on these subjects, I’d likely pick the Sony. (Actually, I’d pick my D5, which has no trouble at all keeping focus.)

That said, I need to do more testing with many other lenses and many other types of moving subjects to form a full opinion.

Image Quality: I think those that think they are trying to squeeze the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube probably should be ignored at this point. Is there evidence of non-random noise in the FPN? Yes. Can you promote that to visible banding? Sure, but I can do that easier on my Sony cameras, despite the fact that they measure slightly better. Have I ever encountered an image where I’ve done that? No. 

Generally, I want blacks to stay black, and that’s where the fixed pattern noise lives. I’d have to have missed exposure so badly that I’d have to blame myself before the camera to see any evidence of “the problem” that’s getting written about so much. 

Does this type of noise reduce dynamic range? Well, it might if you used some statistical method of measuring dynamic range—the so-called engineering dynamic range, for example—but no it doesn’t if you’re leaving the blacks down near black. As many of you know from my other writing and books, I use a different methodology for determining dynamic range based upon visibility of unwanted blowouts or noise in fairly large print sizes. I don’t currently see any difference between the D850 and the Z7 that’s meaningful.

You may remember that I mentioned that there was some interesting new tags in the NEF files for the new Nikon mirrorless cameras. Indeed, they’re there. If you pull a Z7 NEF into even the current non-optimized version of ACR, you’re going to see that a number of settings are not where Adobe usually sets them. The easiest one to see is the sharpening settings: Nikon clearly is putting values into the NEF that ACR is picking up. What this all means and whether there’s been any real optimization of this remains to be seen (I still see the classic Nikon/Adobe overabundance of “orange” luminance, among other things; in other words, a Z7 NEF is very much like a D850 NEF in terms of the underlying data. I haven’t yet found a nuance that’s meaningfully different there, but this could just be that Adobe is processing Z7 images as if they were D850 images).

Overall: The Z7 arguably shoots and handles like a recent Nikon. That’s a good thing, as Nikon has a really good UI and ergonomic set at this point. And yes, handling the Z7 is better than handling a Sony A7Rm3 in my opinion. Clearly so. One morning with the temps in the low 30’s and me using gloves just put that ship to sailing. But I had that impression even before that. 

That said, nothing’s really changed in my base opinion: the D850 is still the best all-around ILC you can buy at this moment. The Z7 is somewhere below that. Exactly where I don’t know yet. It’s far too early in my use of the camera to make any call on that other than it’s not going to best the D850. 

Sigma Confident About Compatibility

Sigma issued a statement about compatibility of their lenses with the FTZ Adapter: "SIGMA’s interchangeable lenses for Nikon mount in the current lineup do not have any issues with general operation when they are used on the 'Z7', released by Nikon Corporation, via their 'Mount Adapter FTZ’."

Note that’s a very specific statement and not quite as general as some people have been interpreting it. Further down you’ll note the caveats about non-HSM lenses (manual focus only on the Z7), and a more important one: "Some interchangeable lenses shipped out before November 2013 that are not compatible with the latest DSLR cameras will not operate.” 

As you may remember, when I did the D500 blog after it came out, there were a number of Sigma lenses that didn’t operate correctly and either (1) required a firmware or other update by Sigma, or (2) remained with some incompatibility that couldn’t be addressed.

So older Sigma lenses really need to be tested before assuming that they’ll work on the Z6 and Z7. The way I look at it is this: Sigma’s current lens lineup should work, and older lenses that didn’t have problems with the D7100, D7200, and D7500 (or D500 or D850) should work, too.

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