Reader Questions About the Nikon Z6/Z7

This page is also now permanently added to the Camera Database section for the Z cameras, and future updates will be done there. I will add to this page as I get new questions where public answers provide a benefit to site readers.

"Will I be able to record raw video with any HDMI recorder?"

No. At the moment, only the Atomos Ninja V will be able to do that when the new firmware is issued. 

In the Atomos lineup, only the Ninja V will have the full set of capabilities for the Z series video output, at least for the foreseeable future. 

Ninja: raw, 10-bit, N-log, and N-log viewing conversion

Flame and Inferno: 10-bit, N-log 

"Do F-mount autofocus lenses work in autofocus via the FTZ adapter when shooting video on the Z6/Z7 bodies?"

Yes. But AF-I and AF-S may make noises that could be audible. They weren't designed for silent continuous autofocus use.

"Can I use AI and AI-S lenses on the FTZ adapter?"

Yes, and you can set exposure with these lenses. Obviously, they don't autofocus since they're all manual focus lenses ;~). As I learn more, I keep updating my FTZ adapter article.

"Will we ever see a Z to F mount adapter to use the new Z lenses on DX and FX DSLR cameras?"

No. The Z lenses were designed to provide infinity focus when sitting 16mm forward of the sensor. The F-mount is over 46mm from the sensor. If you move a lens that far forward of where it was designed, it will lose infinity focus (and probably a lot of distance focus, too). If you wanted to use use a Z lens on an F-mount body as a macro lens, I suppose you could create an adapter that acts like an extension tube, but I don't see much demand for that.

"Is it possible to build a teleconverter into a Z adapter?"

I would think that answer to be yes. It might be a little tricky to optimize, but I don't see why it couldn't be done.

"Does the FTZ adapter work with third party F-mount lenses?"

Information is slowly getting better on this. Recent Sigma (Art) and Tamron (G2) lenses are fine. Both those companies have issued firmware updates for a few lenses, and have actively written about compatibility on their Web sites. But old Sigma and Tamron lenses are where the issues start to pop up, and both companies seem to have a break point at which they'll backdate firmware updates. Basically, I'd say that anything pre-dock from either company is a hit or miss situation.

"Will the FTZ adapter make F-mount lenses perform worse?"

No. The Z7, for instance, appears to use pretty much the same technologies and coatings that the D850 uses. An adapted lens will be at the same position to the sensor, so the light ways will hit that sensor the same. Thus, I expect no differences between the way a lens performs on a D850 natively and on a Z7 via adapter.

"What happens with DX lenses?"

They work as expected on the FTZ adapter. The camera automatically crops to the DX format (and can't be overridden). The EVF compensates (e.g. the DX crop fills the image area). 

"What about other crops?"

The missing crop (from the DSLRs) is 1.2x. The Z6/Z7 only support FX, DX, 5:4, 1:1, and 16:9 image areas (the Z6 doesn't support 5:4).

"Will Nikon now go medium format with the Z mount?"

No. A lot of this debate was set off by fan estimated sizes of the lens mount ring in the early Nikon teaser videos, which turned out to be misleading. The actual mount is 16mm flange (distance), 55mm throat (opening). The Fujifilm GFX is a 26.7mm flange, 65mm throat, for example. In general, the medium format cameras are all in the 60's, and while the short flange distance of the Z mount might let Nikon squeeze some sort of small medium format into a camera with that mount, it would end up having some extreme restrictions in lens designs.

"Why no 28-200mm or something similar on the lens road map?"

The Z system is currently about image quality, not convenience. Nikon has chosen to emphasize image quality at least out through 2020. Personally, I think that's the right move for a high-end system. I've never understood the notion that some have of putting a quality-limited lens on a sensor that's state-of-the-art. 

"Is the new mount really just a way of selling new lenses? What do the new mount dimensions really mean?"

Yeah, blame Nikon's marketing for people having to ask this question. Also their planning team. By making the flange distance so short and the throat opening so big, you can do two things in optical designs that you had restrictions on before: (1) using the same or similar optical designs you should be able to make a smaller lens; (2) using new optical designs you can push at the boundaries of a lot of different design parameters, including corner correction, light collection, where the entry pupil is, and how light goes from the rear element to the sensor. 

Nikon is sort of trumpeting #2 with the S-line series, though not doing a great job of explaining it and showing off the difference that is achieved. Those first lenses look exceptionally good on paper (and in practice now that I've used them), plus we have some very fast (light gathering) lenses coming down the pike. On #1, Nikon punted for the time being. The brochures do point to "Other Lenses" coming at some time in the future (according to the Road Map, that wouldn't be before the end of 2020, though). I'll bet we see small pancake type lenses that perform well downstream, and that's because of #1.

As for "selling new lenses," that's what all camera companies want to do ;~). It's a given, and Nikon's mirrorless system is no different. But what I'm trying to say here that Nikon is struggling to say is that yes, that new mount opens up a whole new world for Nikon's top optical designers to explore. Word I have from one is that he's excited about this new world in ways he was starting to get a bit apathetic about with the F mount. I like the idea of excited, top-level lens designers, and am looking forward to seeing what that creates.

Here's my former answer on a similar question:

"I was reading the comparison between Sony and Nikon and noticed that you count the larger mount opening of Nikon as an advantage for that system. As of now, the only reason Nikon gave for it is that it would allow for higher quality and brighter optics. But so far, there is no proof that this will actually be the case. We only have the 58mm f0.95 lens in development, but there already exists a f0.95 lens for Sony FE."

Nikon marketing has not done this point justice, for sure.

Sure, we have a third-party f/0.95 lens for FE, but have you actually used it? Huge vignetting and corner issues.

The larger mount allows optical engineers to have to bend the light less in many cases, and to shape the light differently than they can in a narrow mount. Think of it this way: can you stuff a V8 engine into a Kia Soul? Technically, yes, it is possible. But not without issues. Far easier to put that V8 into a large truck and get everything a V8 can deliver.

The published MTFs for the first three Z lenses are jaw-dropping, and in practice they've turned out to be the best Nikkors at those focal lengths we've seen. These are near Otus-type results, and that's wide open. We have a new class of lenses now.

"Does the Z6/Z7 have a low pass (AA) filter?"

The Z6 does have a low pass filter, the Z7 does not.

"Can I clean the sensor on my Z6/Z7?"

Probably, but it's an "at your own risk thing." Nikon did one right thing here: when the camera is off, the sensor VR is put into a lock position. Many other IBIS type solutions I've seen to date don't lock the sensor position, which led Olympus to disclaim user sensor cleaning, while early Sony A7 models tended to have IBIS failures until Sony beefed up the mechanism.

Nikon, unfortunately, is staying tight-lipped about user sensor cleaning and recommending that a dirty sensor be returned to them for cleaning. 

"What is really different between the Z6 and Z7?"

Subject to change as we get Z6 final product in hand:

  • Sensor: 45mp (Z7) versus 24mp (Z6)
  • Low Pass Filter: No (Z7), Yes (Z6)
  • Base ISO: 64 (Z7) versus 100 (Z6)
  • Max Image Size: 8256 x 5504 (Z7) versus 6048 x 4024 (Z6)
  • 5:4 crop available: Yes (Z7), No (Z6)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 9 fps (Z7) versus 12 fps (Z6) with no exposure change (both are 5.5 fps with full functionality)
  • Buffer: 23 shots (Z7) versus 36 (Z6) (at 12-bit raw)
  • AF low-level: Z6 has a 1EV advantage over the Z7 in low light
  • 4K video: subsampled (Z7) versus overscanned (Z6)
  • Selectable focus points: 493 (Z7) versus 273 (Z6) (some implication on low light focus ability)
  • Stated battery life: 310 shots (Z7) versus 330 shots (Z6)
  • Price: US$3400 (Z7) versus US$2000 (Z6)
  • First shipped: September 27th (Z7), November 30th (Z6)

"Will we now see sales on Sony A7 products?"

Yes. We're already seeing them. Sony made some sales adjustments just prior to the Z7 shipping, then again just prior to the Z6 shipping. If Sony executives are reading this, there are three basic responses they should have made: (1) welcome Nikon for proving that Sony was right about the full frame mirrorless market for years, pointing out that Sony is on generation three, Nikon generation one; (2) emphasize the Sony and third-party lens support available today; and (3) use price as a lever (e.g. sales) wherever possible to put immediate pricing pressure on Nikon. There's obviously more they can do, but those should be their most important three responses.

"How viable is Wi-Fi directly to a computer as a means of providing backup in case the XQD card fails?"

Not at all, I'd say. I'd actually say that the likelihood that your Wi-Fi connection fails during a shoot is way, way higher than an XQD card failing. Nikon didn't make that single slot decision without doing research. I find hardly anyone that's had a true, documented XQD card failure. They do happen, but seemingly rarely. The more common failures with cards in the past came because of design issues in both Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) card design, none of which are repeated in XQD (that was one of the original goals ;~). Also, some people are using cards long past their expiry date (e.g. past their write/read limits). That's not to say you could never have a failure with only a single slot, just that I don't believe it likely to be card related unless you've worn out the NAND gates through overuse. One of the most common "failures" I see isn't actually a card failure, it's a write mechanism failure (inability to keep up with the stream). That, too, is lower with XQD because has a very high bandwidth and sustained performance. 

But as for Wi-Fi being the savior here, no, Nikon's connecting to a PC addition is not very high performance. It's slower than your Wi-Fi connection, for sure. It works fine once you get it configured, but it's slower than most serious users would want.

"I saw the line somewhere that the Z6/Z7 cannot be operated via the USB-C socket. No more tethering? That sucks."

Unfortunately, grammar and context police don't reside on all Internet sites. That line refers to powering the camera from a USB-C connector during operation, not doing things like shooting tethered. When it comes to power, the USB-C connector can be used to charge a battery inside the Z6/Z7, but not provide power while shooting. Moreover, you need the right USB-C power source to charge the EN-EL15b inside the camera (and it has to be an EN-EL15b, not earlier versions of the battery). 

I've shot tethered with a USB-C cable between my MacBook Pro and the Z7 just fine. I don't get full USB 3.1 level speeds out of it—probably because of overhead in the camera—but it works well and reliably.

"When will we get a raw converter that understands the Z images?"

A better question than you think. According to my friend Iliah Borg, the Z series uses a completely new structure for the tags/data in its NEF images. The compressed data is in the same form, but in a different place, for instance. Moreover, Nikon has added XMP data within the NEF file to inform converters of the camera settings. On top of that, Nikon embeds the lens correction information, as well. That meant that it took awhile before converter makers were able to deal with the NEF changes. 

As of this latest update to this page, virtually all of the mainstream raw converters now support the Z6 and Z7, at least for basic raw conversion. Adobe converters support the XMP and lens correction information.

"I’ve read a lot about what can now be done in the PHOTO SHOOTING menu options.  Are the new abilities dependent on Nikon Capture NX-D or something new to actually take advantage of them? Would hate to see tying camera function to proprietary software Nikon has never done well at and which handcuffs for users."

The new EXPEED6 capabilities are mostly tied to in-camera JPEGs. I suppose if you want your raw files to come out exactly as an in-camera JPEG you'd be mostly restricted to Nikon's software. But that's always been the case.

"Is the autofocus as poor as Tony Northrup [and a few others] suggest?"

Having not been provided a pre-production model by Nikon, nor was I invited to the NikonUSA launch event in New York (which was local to me), I simply couldn't comment in any useful way when the camera was first released. I don't comment about image quality and focus performance of a camera until I've had a chance to learn its nuances well and then used that product in a production situation, anyway. 

NikonUSA took risks by providing pre-production units to some and then setting up what looks to have been an sub-optimal test environment for the launch event. That's a little out of character for Nikon.

But the real answer to your question can be found in my review of the Z7. Short answer: no.

"Does the Z6/Z7 viewfinder black out at high continuous speeds as some suggest?"

Yes, it can. But you can turn on a setting where you get what we call a "slide show" of images just taken and there's no blackout. However, this isn't the same as in the A9 where we have a gen-locked EVF to the sensor and are seeing a real-time stream. The Z6/Z7 continuous stream is lagged to reality a bit, so it makes keeping composition with moving subjects tough.

"Do you think that Nikon can upgrade their focus via firmware?"

Sure. While the hardware aspects (on sensor PD and the data pipeline/CPU) would be locked, it's easy to imagine that there are algorithmic things that could be done to change/improve/expand focus abilities. We've seen this before out of Nikon (e.g. the D9 and Group HL and VL modes on the D5). As I note below, there's a bit of feeling of rush to the Z system, so there were some weaker points that needed addressing. Nikon has announced a future firmware update that adds focus capabilities and performance, so the answer to your question is basically yes.

"The three lenses at launch don't appeal to me."

I heard this a lot. Yet Nikon is making some claims for these lenses that might change your mind, if true. I was really intrigued by the published (but theoretical) MTF charts when they were first published. They implied lenses that should be sharp edge to edge and have very little coma/astigmatism in the corners, which was exactly Nikon's claim. What if the 35mm f/1.8Z turns out to be the best 35mm Nikon has produced? (It is.) I'm also sure the 50mm f/1.8Z is the best 50mm Nikon has produced, but that bar is far lower. And having shot with the Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 from the beginning of the A7 history, I can tell you that Nikon didn't have to go very far to surpass that lens, but instead Nikon created a lens at least as good as the 24-70mm f/2.8E. 

After listening to the detailed talks and sorting through all the Nikon printed materials, I actually had high expectations for these three lenses (and the ones that follow). In my early shooting and testing with them all, they all turned out to be remarkably good optics. My Z mount lens reviews are already published.

Granted, the prime focal lengths aren't the ones I'd be most interested in for my shooting, but they produce great images, so I've made a place for them.

"I’m sure many people will want the 58mm f/0.95 NOCT lens (I didn’t say buy). Will they?"

People want McLaren's and Lamborgini's, too. The 58mm f/0.95 NOCT is what we call a "halo product." One that establishes the potential and credibility of a brand, but isn't necessarily something that we'll all opt for. I don't know that I have a use for this lens (and I already have the two previous 58mm's, which get rare use). But I'm glad that Nikon's pushing the boundaries of what's possible. For a while, they weren't, they were producing consumer convenience lens after consumer convenience lens.

"Is there really a diffraction correction function in the camera?"

Yes, and it can be turned on or off as you desire. It's right next to the Distortion Control and Vignetting menu items. 

Of course, what this function actually does and how well it works has not been determined. Nikon seems strangely silent on what the function actually does. It appears from close analysis that Nikon is using some simple form of deconvolution. That would indeed tend to recover some resolution. We've had deconvolution available for awhile now for post processing raw files, most notably in Piccure+ and FocusMagic, but even in Adobe Lightroom imitates a form of it if you know how the sharpening controls actually work (use Detail greater than the midpoint). Photoshop also uses some form of deconvolution in Smart Sharpen and Shake Reduction. But not all deconvolution filtering works the same. The best of the bunch for me has long been Piccure+ (unfortunately no longer available for sale). Adobe's implementations have been the weakest. It remains to be seen where Nikon's fit.

"Does the Z6/Z7 have User Banks?"

No. We the more prosumer U1, U2, U3 settings on the Mode dial instead.

"Can I power the camera from USB? Can I charge my EN-EL15?"

USB as a power source to the camera only works for one thing: charging the new EN-EL15b battery in the camera. You can't charge an older EN-EL15a or EN-EL15 battery, and you can't power the camera from USB.

You could, however, use the E-P5B in the camera and work a plug to its cable from your USB power source. As it turns out, there are several such solutions available, including one to D-Tap batteries by GyroVu, and the Case Relay system by Tether Tools.

"Will the CFExpress firmware update make the camera's buffer better?"

We first need to understand the question. XQD is two-lane PCIe with a max potential of 1GBs writes. CFExpress in its first iteration is two-lane PCIe with a max potential of about 2GBs while writing. The problem here is that the actual speed achieved by a camera during writes is gated by the electronics in the camera. The current XQD-equipped Nikons seem to max out near 300MBs for writes. Thus, implicit in this question is another question: has the XQD slot changed in the Z systems from that used in the D850? I'd be a little surprised if it did, but it's certainly possible. 

So, let's assume for a moment that the Z's slot is faster than the D850 slot. Would that help the buffer, if we get faster cards (e.g. CFExpress)? Yes, a little. It's not going to be double the speed, double the buffer territory, but there could be an incremental buffer improvement. What would be more noticeable is how fast the buffer is clearing. I'd expect the continuous frame rate after the buffer is full to improve from what it is. 

Still, this is an open and unanswered question. Too many unknown variables exist to answer the question with any authority.

"The Z launch seemed rushed."

Can't disagree there. Moreover, a rushed introduction piles onto the usual Nikon problem that they just don't get the down-in-the-weeds technical details down to the subsidiaries fast enough, and they can't get their marketing messages dialed in right. (I will say that after a week, Nikon's marketing finally seemed to catch up with details and answers and did a better job. Still, that's an indication that the launch was rushed.)

I also noticed that Nikon seemed to initially show cameras with firmware 0.5 (or 0.53) at announcement. Typically a month before shipment I'm used to seeing 0.9x versions with Nikon. A week later we got version 1.0 showing up everywhere. I don't know if that's meaningful here, but Nikon is a pretty anal and engineering nerd culture. They have a long-established step process they use. I just get the feeling we saw these cameras a little earlier in that firmware process than usual (which also implies the process was getting time-compressed). 

"Do I buy a D850 or a Z7?"

A question that requires a lot more information on your part. I've long advocated the right tool for the right job. If I needed to take silent images of pro golfers on tour, well, that's a Z6 or Z7. If I need a deep buffer for fast, erratic action, that's a D850. 

But for a real assessment, I'd need both your usage information and your specific needs/desires.

"Do I buy a Nikon Z6 or a Sony A7m3?"

Similar question, but there's more to this answer. Nikon F-mount shooters with AF-S lenses already have a predisposition towards the Nikon. Those without Nikon lenses would probably have a predisposition towards the Sony, as the available lens choice for the A7/A9 series is much larger at the moment.

"When did the cameras ship?"

September 27th for the Z7, FTZ adapter, and 24-70mm and 35mm lens, November 30th for the Z6. Slightly after that for the 50mm lens. The next batch of new lenses drops in mid-April 2019.

"Can you get the Z products under NPS Priority Purchase?"

Yes. Sign into your NPS account and you should see that option under Benefits on the main page. Click on Submit a Request.

This of course means that pros cut in line ahead of consumers again, as they did with the D800, D500, and D850 launches, which can cause initial shortages (the D4 and D5 launches also had NPS PP in place, but the quantities were such that it didn't really cause a consumer backlog). 

Fortunately, it doesn't appear that the Z6 or Z7 is production constrained. Both models tended to be readily available through most of the world shortly after they first shipped, and have stayed that way. Z lenses, on the other hand, can be in shorter supply, and seem to come and go in and out of inventory faster.

"Most people seem to be comparing the Nikon Z7 to Sony A7Rm3, but isn't another comparison to the Fujifilm GFX50s?"

Yes, true. Actually very true if the lens capabilities are as good as Nikon is promoting for the new Z lenses. I've held off reviewing the GFX50s, but I think I'll now need to do a fairly direct comparison against the 42/45mp DSLRs/mirrorless options.

"Why only a single slot?"

That's a good question that Nikon didn't answer (and should). I'm shocked that they didn't anticipate needing to answer the question. I'm also actually pretty sure that somewhere in their organization they have the answer to this question, but it just shows you how problematic their marketing is that they couldn't supply a clear answer to anyone at the launch or in the followups post launch.

As I've noted elsewhere, I—and many others I've encountered—use my D500 and D850 as a single slot camera. Why? Because SD slot use slows down the camera in a variety of ways. I've never had an XQD card failure in tens of thousands of images shot. Actually, it probably is into the hundreds of thousands now. Note: all cards eventually fail. That's why you should regularly refresh your card stock.

Which leads me to what I believe the answer from Nikon would actually be if the engineers were  asked: the measured field reliability of XQD cards is extremely high; SD as a second slot (or both slots) would slow the camera down; and two XQD cards would have been problematic to fit into the space available. QED: one XQD slot. 

"Okay, then, how big of an XQD card should I buy?"

I've long played conservative with this. I don't like putting all my images in one basket. My suggestion has generally been along the lines that 500 or so images on a card is about the most you should really target. That's near a 64GB card for the Z7, even shooting NEF+JPEG, as a lot of folk probably will do early on with the camera. I'd rather have two 64GB cards than one 128GB card, all else equal, too. 

That said, I'll bet that an awful lot of folk opt for 128GB cards on the Z7, as they'll feel that's closer to what they'll get out of the battery in a day's worth of shooting.

For the Z6, divide by 2 (e.g. 32GB would be what I use, and 64GB should be a full battery's use). 

One thing that plays into this, though, is the transition from XQD to CFExpress. If you're thinking you want to pick up CFExpress cards when the Z series supports them, I'd tend to suggest you just start with the most affordable XQD cards, which may change your card buying dynamics a bit. I certainly wouldn't be stocking up on expensive 240/256GB XQD cards now if I thought I'd be using CFExpress in a year or two.

"Does the Z6 have focus stacking?"

Yes.

"Isn't there a vertical grip for the Z series?"

At the moment, apparently not. The Z6 and Z7 don't have any electrical contacts under rubber on the bottom, either, which would be an indicator that we won't get a vertical grip, at least not one with controls. 

Mostly overlooked in Nikon's announcement, however, was the mention of a to-be-released-later MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack. That external unit will take two EN-EL15b batteries and appears as if it might connect into a dummy battery in the camera (ala how the EH-5 works). But it doesn't seem to have a vertical shutter release or any controls in the prototypes that are being shown.

Stranger still, while the MB-N10 was mentioned at launch, it simply hasn't shown up six months later, nor has there been a beep out of Nikon about it. 

Folk who want the grip because their little finger falls off the bottom of the camera's grip should look into getting an Arca-style base plate for the Z6 or Z7. The SmallRig baseplate, for instance, is just deep enough where most people will find their pinky now supported.

"How do I power the Z6 and Z7 from AC?"

A surprisingly difficult question to answer for the new user. Why? Because for some reason Nikon's EH-5 AC adapter is missing in action. The old versions are no longer available, the newer version also not available anywhere. You need the EH-5 and an EP-5B coupler to use AC on the EN-EL15 battery cameras. 

Third party AC power options do exist [affiliate link]. How well they work I haven't tested yet (fortunately, I still have my older EH-5 and EP-5). 

"I have a WR-R10 receiver/transmitter. I thought this was a round 10-pin but looking at it the round-pin is actually an adaptor and the receiver pulls out to reveal a rectangular connector. Do you think this would this work with a Z7 series?"

That's exactly correct. The round 10-pin bit is an adapter that pulls off the base; the Z6/Z7 only need that small base.

"Why no flash? Which small flash should I get?"

Nikon chose to keep the body small, and frankly, the mirrorless camera companies tend to avoid built-in flash because it depresses the CIPA battery statistic numbers considerably. Nikon's current Speedlights (SB-300, SB-500, SB-700, SB-5000) should work with the Z cameras, but frankly I'm surprised we didn't get a Z-specific flash (and that there isn't a power connector at the hot shoe, ala Nikon 1). The good news is that you can use the small WR-R10 base unit plugged into the left side of the camera and an SB-5000 as a wireless remote flash. Not having the circular 10-pin connector is actually a step forward, believe it or not (for the DSLRs you have to seat the WR-R10 base unit in a bigger right-angle adapter/extension, and that is highly prone to breaking).

"SnapBridge? Again?!?!"

Look a little closer. Nikon did something I and others asked for: they now support both ad hoc and infrastructure mode with the Wi-Fi. That means that we can now transfer images directly to our computers (through our router or directly to our computer using Nikon Wireless Transmitter Utility). 

SnapBridge was miserable when it first came out, as I documented many times. It got better over time to the point where what it does is reliable for what it is doing (2.0 and later versions of it). It appears that Nikon took another step in the right direction with the Z models, and I applaud that. Now if they'd only implement the other things I asked for when I met with Nikon executives in Tokyo back in 2010. Baby steps.

"Nikon has not told me why I need the [Z6/Z7] camera. They have not given the press people a message that they can all relay. So what happened? The Northrups say the AF is terrible, Jared Polin says it’s great. Nikon mentions the superior optics of the S-line. Jared Polin calls it slime (slime line) because it’s low end consumer lenses. Even went so far as to ask Nikon when the pro line of lenses is coming.

YouTube [now pronounces] the Z's a “not quite Sony previous generation AF” with toy overpriced lenses out of it. It’s all right to buy though. Comments sections on fora continue down the spiral and declare the Z's useless because of the single card slot, the low rated battery life, and various other complaints.

Nikon is in trouble."

And people wonder why I say that Nikon marketing sucks ;~). If I were in charge of the Z launch marketing, I'd expect to be fired.

Let's try to break this down a bit.

"Nikon hasn't told you why you need the new cameras." Yes, absolutely correct. Nikon's messaging is all over the place, yet nowhere. "Mirrorless Reinvented." How? Why? What? Just throwing slogans out isn't marketing. Slogans without any connection to user problem solutions are even worse than no marketing at all. Nikon would have been far better to just stick to tried and true feature/benefit tandems, as in "Detailed and fast EVF shows you how your photo will look before you take it." "High eyepoint means that those with glasses can see the full viewfinder at once." And so on. You do find a fair amount this feature/benefit tandem on the NikonUSA page for the Z's, but strangely, that events page that Nikon managed to get everyone in the world going to for the teasers, nope, it only ever had teasers. Wasted opportunity.

"Haven't given the press a message to relay." Yep, still correct six months later. The one message they keep sending is "the mount is bigger." They fail to do much to tell anyone why you'd want to trumpet that. Buried on NikonUSA's Web site is a curious video, which attempts to get a message across, but ultimately fails. Right idea, wrong execution. And as far as I can tell, the press hasn't been given even what little message there is in that video other than as an anecdote. 

"The YouTubers are hot and cold." Well, that's a risk you take by making them the primary folk you cater to in your launch. I can tell you that I didn't hear a peep from Nikon since NAB 2018, despite having asked them several times directly to keep me in the loop (and they agreed; which they then failed at doing). Ironically, I'm not the type to make a snap judgment based upon one pre-release event like the YouTubers were. So if they were afraid of what I might write had I been invited to the press confab in New York, they made a serious miscalculation there. 

"Not quite Sony previous generation AF." It was too soon to make any judgments about that at launch, though at this point I'd say that it is more than equal to the previous Sony AF plus a bit more, but not exactly equal to current top-level Sony AF (e.g. A9). I have some complaints about current generation Sony AF, too, which I don't have about the current Z AF ;~).

"Toy overpriced lenses." Nikon seriously goofed up here. As I've written several times now, we got the best 35mm, 50mm, and f/4 mid-range zoom lens we've ever seen out of Nikon, and maybe anyone at launch. Too many people are judging these new lenses solely on their aperture specification. Here's a line for Nikon marketing to use: "We're going to set a new standard for what people should expect out of an f/1.8 lens [and f/4 zoom]." That might get people's attention. Seriously folks, Nikon couldn't market their way out of a Sam's Club store. Even if we lit up the exit with fireworks and had large arrows pointing to it.

"Failure. Nikon is in trouble." No to both. These aren't high volume, true consumer products. They just need to pull in a reasonable number of those Nikon faithful that have been sitting waiting, and I believe they will (and anecdotal evidence appears to say that they have). If Nikon is smart, they'll have their ear to the ground and will be fast to address any shortcomings that are found. Overall, Nikon should have a good Q1 2019 financially in terms of sales, so shareholders will be happy. 

Where Nikon is open to failure is in the feeder system. Basically everything from the lowest Coolpix to the D5600 is sending off warning signals and needs to be addressed. And there the marketing messages are going to be even more important to get right. 

Other marketing errors Nikon is making: the Coolpix P1000 and the 500mm f/5.6E PF lens needed more separation from the Z launch. I've long said that Nikon's marketing and sales "team" has trouble launching one camera at a time. Launching a full new system of two cameras and three lenses, a replacement camera, and a unique lens all in different markets and in such a short period is beyond their capability to keep the messages out there and clear. There, I said it. 

I've gotten a number of emails similar to yours, but I picked yours because it allowed me to step through all the marketing problems Nikon is struggling with. But again, these are marketing problems, not product problems. It's always important to understand that difference. 

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