What Nikon’s Gotta Do to Beat the a7 III

Okay, now for a few quibbles with the a7 III for those who are on the same page when it comes to Sony’s state-of-the-art FF mirrorless (that is, not some pie-in-the-sky $2,000 Canon mirrorless in 2020 with no crop, functioning DPAF in 4K, no crippled HDMI out, blah, blah) being the one to beat in 2019.

Screen and EVF resolution. Sony had to cut corners somewhere to keep costs down. Can Nikon give us a 3 million dot LCD in their 24/5 mpx camera? And will peaking, zebras, histogram and PDAF all work properly in 4K as they do in 1080p?

File structure. Sony’s file structure is nuts, as is the numbering system. I’d expect Nikon’s to be saner.

IBIS. Sony’s stabilization is mediocre. Fuji managed to mess this one up on their smaller APS-C sensor cameras. Will Nikon be able to do any better? I know everyone is saying ‘of course they will!’, but like everything else, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Dual card slots. Sony’s implementation is wonky. Will Nikon’s be better?


Touch screen. I for one don’t use the touch screen, but can Nikon please give us a fully functioning touchscreen that allows skimming through menu items? Can they make one that’s not laggy and time-consuming like the X-H1?

Function buttons. Will we at last be able to assign menu items to function buttons by depressing them for a second or two as with Panasonic’s GH5?

Codecs, etc. I must be the only person in the entire world to actually like Sony’s colors. But just try lifting a midtone here or a highlight there, and the image falls completely apart – something I never experienced with the GH5. Everyone expects Nikon’s colors to trounce Sony’s (myself included), but will their files hold up any better to grading? And will they offer Log profiles? HDR? After all, Nikon boasts that their camera is for the next century. Another opportunity for Nikon would be to enable 10-bit with an external recorder, something not currently possible with the a7 III.

Disclaimer – I haven’t shot Log on the Sony yet!

HFR. Many are clamoring for 4K 60p. Can Nikon offer it in a $2,000 FF mirrorless?

Remote app?

Lenses. My last and final comment about this topic 😂: It’s anticipated that Nikon will announce a couple of universal zooms and a prime on the 23rd. And let’s imagine that third party manufacturers cooperate and gift us with two dozen zooms and primes, AF and manual – within months! I would still be shelling out a small fortune, because I would most likely be trading up to Nikon’s own fast native primes (16, 35, 50, 85mm f/1.4) when they’re available down the road. And for sure selling off all my third party Rokinon et al manual lenses once Voigtlander designs their own vastly superior Z mount lenses.

Doubts. I’m not confident Nikon can offer anything as brilliant as Sony’s eye detect AF in stills mode. Will video AF-C transition (relatively) smoothly as it does with Sony, or will it be jarring, like it was on my X-T2? Will Nikon’s sensor perform as well in low light as Sony’s?

My guess is, there will be no clear-cut winner as so many seem to think.

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