Nikon Z7 vs Z7 II

Nikon has updated its high-resolution Z7 mirrorless camera with a second-generation body, and it looks like there are quite a few changes under the hood. If you are wondering about these differences and you are trying to decide which one to get, this article is for you. In the below comparison, we will be taking a closer look at the specifications of both cameras and see what improvements Nikon has delivered with the Z7 II.

Nikon Z7 vs Z7 II

Nikon Z7 and Z7 II Specifications Comparison

Compared to the general-purpose and video-centric Nikon Z6 II, the Z7 II is primarily aimed at landscape, architecture, and studio stills photographers who need a high-resolution camera with high dynamic range. Thanks to its 45.7 MP sensor, no low-pass filter and superb Z-mount lenses, it is able to deliver sharp, high-quality images with extreme detail. Nikon has delivered many exciting changes with the Z7 II, so let’s see how it compares with its predecessor side-by-side in terms of its speficiations:

Camera Feature Nikon Z7 Nikon Z7 II
Sensor Resolution 45.7 MP 45.7 MP
Low-Pass Filter No No
Sensor Type BSI CMOS BSI CMOS
Native ISO Sensitivity ISO 64-25,600 ISO 64-25,600
In-Body Image Stabilization Yes, 5-axis Yes, 5-axis
Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9mm 35.9 x 23.9mm
Image Size 8256 x 5504 8256 x 5504
Image Processor EXPEED 6 Dual EXPEED 6
EVF Type / Resolution QVGA / 3.6 Million Dots QVGA / 3.6 Million Dots
EVF Coverage 100% 100%
EVF Improved Refresh Rate No Yes
EVF Improved Viewfinder Blackout No Yes
Viewfinder Magnification 0.8x 0.8x
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Sync Speed 1/200s 1/200s
Storage Media 1x CFe / XQD 1x CFe / XQD + 1x SD UHS II
Continuous Shooting Speed 9 FPS 10 FPS
Camera Buffer (12-bit Lossless) 23 77
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 1/8000
Min Shutter Speed 30 sec Up to 900 sec
Autofocus System Hybrid PDAF, 493 points Hybrid PDAF, 493 points
Low-Light Sensitivity -2 to +19 EV -3 to +17 EV
Eye AF in Wide Area AF No Yes
Eye AF in Video No Yes
Video Maximum Resolution 4K @ up to 30p, 1080p @ up to 120p 4K @ up to 60p, 1080p @ up to 120p
4K Video Crop 1.08x 1.08x
HDMI Out / N-LOG 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes
HLG / HDR Out No Yes
Articulating, Touch LCD Yes, Tilting Yes, Tilting
LCD Size / Resolution 3.2″ / 2.1 Million Dots 3.2″ / 2.1 Million Dots
Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
Intervalometer + Timelapse Movie No Yes
Firmware Update via Snapbridge No Yes
Battery EN-EL15b EN-EL15c
Battery Life (CIPA) 330 shots 360 shots
Battery Life (Video) 85 min 105 min
Battery Grip MB-N10 MB-N11
Battery Grip Controls No Yes
Continuous External Power No Yes
USB Power + Transfer No Yes
Weather Sealed Body Yes Yes
USB Version Type-C 3.1 Type-C 3.1
Weight (Camera Body Only) 585g (20.7oz) 615g (21.7oz)
Dimensions 134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7″) 134 x 100.5 x 69.5mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8″)
MSRP (As Announced) $3,399 (check price) $2,999 (check price)

While the two cameras have an almost identical appearance, most of the improvements on the Z7 II are delivered via hardware and firmware updates. First, the new Nikon Z7 II comes with two EXPEED 6 processors, which improves many aspects of the camera, including its buffer, autofocus, and continuous shooting speed. The Z7 II is able to continuously shoot 1 FPS more than its predecessor, but this is a small change when we compare it to the 3.3x larger buffer. When shooting in 12-bit lossless compressed RAW, the Z7 II is able to capture up to 77 images – compare that to the 23 RAW image limit on the Z7. This means that with a continuous shooting rate of 10 FPS, you should be able to shoot for almost 8 seconds before the buffer fills up. The original Nikon Z7 would slow down after a few seconds…

Second, the autofocus system has been improved quite a bit. The low-light sensitivity of the Nikon Z7 II goes down to -3 EV, whereas the Z7 is limited to -2 EV – that’s a full stop of difference. This should make the Z7 II more accurate to focus with, especially in fairly dark conditions. In addition, the Z7 II gains two new AF features – the ability to perform Eye autofocus in Wide Area AF mode, as well as when shooting videos.

The dual processors make it possible for the Z7 II to shoot 4K up to 60 FPS, which it does by pixel-binning and line-skipping at a fairly decent crop of 1.08x (the Z7 is limited to 4K @ 30 FPS, same crop). It is also capable of outputting HLG and HDR via its HDMI port, which the first-generation Z7 cannot.

Those who heavily criticized the original Nikon mirrorless cameras for their single memory card slots can now relax – the new Nikon Z7 II comes with dual memory card slots. The first slot is able to take both CFexpress and XQD memory cards, while the second slot can take both UHS-I and UHS-II compatible SD memory cards. As with all other high-end Nikon cameras, you can use the two types of media for different purposes – you can set the cards to overflow, back up, or save RAW files in one, while saving JPEG to the second card slot.

When it comes to firmware features, the Nikon Z7 II is able to shoot timelapses while being able to simultaneously create videos from the timelapse files, which the Z7 cannot. Another firmware tweak is the ability to shoot up to 900 seconds without a remote (previously limited to 30 seconds). Speaking of firmware, the update process has also been greatly simplified. You can now load firmware directly into the camera from the Snapbridge app on your smartphone without having to download a file to a memory card first, then loading it into the camera.

The new EN-EL15c battery delivers better capacity compared to EN-EL15b, and with the more efficient processing power of the camera, you are able to get more juice out of it. Although the number of still images when using the EVF has only gone up from 330 to 360 shots (per CIPA), shooting video continuously adds 15 minutes of extra power, which is great.

The new MB-N11 battery grip is nothing like the MB-N10 battery pack – it has real buttons and dials, as well as an extra USB Type-C port. Since the Z7 II has proper connections on the bottom of the camera, it is now capable of managing a real battery grip with controls! If you are wondering why a second USB Type-C port is needed, that’s because the camera can now be continuously powered via its USB port. This means that you can power up the camera through the USB Type-C port on the grip, while using the camera’s other port for things like file transfers. Even the USB Type-C port on the camera by itself is dual-purpose now according to Nikon, so you can simultaneously charge the camera while also running the camera as a webcam.

All these upgrades normally come with a price premium. Considering that the original Z7 was released at $3,399 MSRP, I expected the new Z7 II to be priced at a similar price range, if not higher. However, when I saw that Nikon actually drove the price of the Z7 II down by $400, I was blown away – that’s a pretty unexpected move on behalf of Nikon, and something many of us Nikon shooters really appreciate. With Canon selling its high-resolution EOS R5 at $3900, and Panasonic’s S1R going for $3700, the only other camera on the market that can match Nikon’s price is the Sony A7R IV, and only because of its current $500 rebate. This makes the Nikon Z7 II the cheapest full-frame camera on the market among its 45+ MP peers – and it has just been introduced!

At the time of declining camera sales and an ongoing global pandemic, one would expect prices to only go up. In this case, Nikon has delivered “a lot more of a camera, for a lot less”. Great job Nikon! Now if you could focus on more Z-mount lenses in the next year or two and give us more options, it would be terrific! The upcoming 400mm f/2.8 S and 600mm f/4 S primes are a good start, but we really need more everyday / practical lenses like a Z 70-200mm f/4 S, and the sooner, the better.