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From NX1 to Z6...


M Carter

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Well, I did it, NX gear will be up for sale before long.

I've shot Nikon since the mid-90's (man, I still have film bodies with forscher Polaroid backs on 'em)... so felt like a good choice, and I'll likely dump the DSLRs when I get some time. But the NX1 as a video cam has been a fantastic camera for my work, commercial & nonprofit marketing stuff. Looks amazing with all my old and new Nikkors. I even shot it with 1960's Canon FL glass which was really pretty.

Did a green screen shoot about 2 days after I got it - just enough time to figure out the menus and customize things up. I ordered a Ninja V but it's just arriving today. So some thoughts for those on the fence...

For the same $$ as a Z6 with adapter, there are deals with a 32GB QXD card, adapter and a decent little bag you'll end up using for something... Adorama's deal has the nicer bag, a rectangular Lowepro 160 (seems like a nice one for storing the Ninja, drives, batteries and cables actually) vs. BH's consumer-ey oddball bag with weird flaps and shapes. Basically you get a $130 card and a (quite nice for the size) $50 bag in the deal.

I may return this Z6 - the card is VERY hard to get out, it takes several pops in-and-out to free it up. if I do, I'll probably get the kit with the 24-70 F4, it knocks $500 off the lens price.

Overall it's quick to make the change, and doing a for-realz gig is a good way to make yourself adjust to a new setup.

IQ right off the card, tweaked FLAT profile  - I'd say it beats the NX when you get the sharpening dialed in. A more "organic" look, but the NX1 had a really nice look as well.

Flat-card footage converted to ProRes HQ keys like a mofo - really nice. I've been keying 6K RED footage for the last few weeks and man, the Z MOVs are keying quite well. Psyched to see what the Ninja will do. The jump from 1080 to 4K with the NX1 upped my keying considerably, but the sharpening/compression made it difficult, always a funky border to deal with. I'm really impressed with the Nikon for very clean keys at ISO 800.

Basically no video AF with the adapter and a huge 28-70 2.8 "S" lens; photo AF is good with it. Don't need AF except for gimbal work, but thinking a Z50 and the little zoom will be a better choice for that. Next purchase for me.

I've never liked Nikon's custom white balance setup - too many steps to remember, you have to activate a saved WB, etc. The NX got this smashingly fast and right. Hell, I have shoulder-mount Panasonics where you just press a dedicated button and you're done. No idea why Nikon still makes this more hassle than it should be.

If the HDMI is setup for the Ninja, a non-recording external monitor works but you can't record to camera. So stick the HDMI setup in your custom menu if you shoot to card with a monitor often. It's probably the 10-bit setting doing that, but if you record to card with an external, MAKE SURE YOU SEE THE RED DOT!!!

Why can't I delete all those bullshit color setting like "pastel" and "fantasy" and, I dunno, "German Schiester Porn Brown"??? I have to scroll through all that crap to get to my settings.

For stills, I love the mirrorless - shoot and see the pic in the VF without looking down at the screen. Loved that on the NX - on the Nikon, there's a delay before the still is displayed. Pretty sucky, the NX was instantaneous and it was easy to get in the rhythm of half-press to dismiss or shoot fast enough where it's not an issue. The Nikon is a big step down there.

The video image on the LCD is kind of soft compared to the NX1. Two shots in and I had to run the card to the computer and verify it was tight. I'll get used to it I suppose. And I like shooting MOV for quick viewing on the desktop, but I miss the big bit rates of the NX's H265. Well, the Ninja will help...

Nikon has ditched the "trigger video with shutter button" menu item, which was a huge help for cranes and rigs; simple wired remote vs. messing with devices and bluetooth or whatever, easy to solder up a long remote for ceiling rigs and long cranes. Another big suck.

For video, it's either peaking or zebras - can't have both. And while I like that the i-menu has video and stills versions, there's some glitches - editing the menu doesn't always take.

The Z rejects my aftermarket batteries that worked on DSLRs; looks like the Asians have caught up with that though. I guess I'll be selling a pile of batteries with my DSLR...

Other than that, IQ is that very nice Nikon look with lots of control in the camera when you want it, and the flat profile is really fine for most corporate-style grading you'll do in post - the Ninja doesn't seem really 100% necessary other than you'll come home with ProRes (unless it's the corner-office shoot with the windows blowing out... bring the Ninja and some HMIs...) I'm happy with it, and the introduction of the Z50 really makes sense for a 2nd camera, too.

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Oh man, Congrats!

I remember buying the nx1 around the same time as you and I've been heavily considering the z6 as I have a lot of Nikon glass.

I think I may try and pick up a second nx1 and ride that out for another year or so before snagging a FF mirrorless.

Thanks for the report and I'm glad the z6 is looking good.

Definitely let me know when you put the nx1 up for sale, I may snag it from you.

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Yeah, overall I'm pleased, but man, the simplicity of working with the NX1 will be MISSED. I'd go on about what the NX2 coulda been, but I'd just sound like a grumpy old man. And for 80% of what I do, it kicks ass, but I need to streamline my stuff and I worry about a 3 year old body (though it's functionally and aesthetically like-new at least). I did find how to set the shutter for video, so I'll get a wired remote for rigs.

For me, the most kickass thing about the NX1? Stick it on a gimbal with that $150 kit zoom (16-50 OIS), turn on the AF, and just run around a factory or shoot a music video - the AF really rocked. But then, shooting NX1 in an industrial setting at 1600 ISO could be a tad rough, but I used to drag an 8' Kessler crane to those shoots and, no more. I could get 5 to 10 shots in with the time I'd do one with the Kessler, just an astounding combo. It's the only NX native lens I got. F me but I hope the 50 can compare.

This is one of the last "cool" things I shot with the NX1; no budget, no time, just show up and throw something together... got a couple hours, did takes with the gimbal and then shoulder mount with a big Nikkor 28-70. Had no "concept" ideas so I did takes with shitty magnifying glasses taped to the lenses, hung a big velvet drape and 2 lights, and a lot of just running up to the subjects - like running - with the gimbal. I grabbed a couple props when I was running out the door (a chair and a big book). Effin' nuts, and you can see the issues with 8-bit and blown highs, but looks kinda harsh and cool. Yeah, I'll miss ya, kickass little camera!
 

 

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