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I Upgraded My Camera and I Think I Regret It

Published: 19/08/2019
By: Brandon

Kris in California writes.

I've been shooting with a D750 for the past few years but I've recently switched over to the Z7 mirrorless system with a 14-30mm lens and although the image quality is excellent, I find the lens distortion borderline unbearable, especially at the longer focal lengths. I can't seem to find a lens correction profile for it in Lightroom, so it's adding a lot of time to my workflow as I am forced to fix each image manually. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how are they managing? I'm starting to think the switch to mirrorless was a mistake.

Kris, your question comes at a great time. I've been using a D750 for my still work and a Sony A6500 for my videos. I like to travel as light as possible, so I've been wanting to consolidate down to one camera for a while now. After seeing how good the video is on the Z7, I decided to make the switch. While the image and video quality is excellent, I have to agree, the distortion on the 14-30mm lens is brutal. I'm sure there will be a lens correction profile available at some point, but I haven't been able to find one either. While it's annoying and time-consuming when editing stills, it's not the end of the world. That being said, dealing with the distortion while filming is an entirely different story, and I'm almost out of patience. So, I too, am starting to second-guess my decision and am seriously considering going back to the trusty old D750 with the 14-24mm. I'm hopeful that there is an reasonable solution out there that I just haven't found yet, so I'll put a few questions out to the community and see what comes back.

If you are thinking about upgrading your camera, here are a few things to consider first:

  • Newer cameras may not have lens correction profiles available in Lightroom or other editing programs.
  • File management programs such as Finder on a Mac, may not be able to preview images taken on newer cameras. This can make it more time consuming to manage your images if you shoot multiple projects per day.
  • Newer cameras that require lens adapters in order to use your existing lenses can affect the position that your camera sits on the tripod, and can impede your ability to see the bubble that so many of us use to level our shots.

My questions to the community are:

  1. Has anyone else experienced similar issues with the Nikon Z6/Z7? If so, how are you managing these issues?
  2. Do those of you who shoot with Canon/Sony mirrorless bodies and wider zoom lenses have the same problems?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

21 comments on “I Upgraded My Camera and I Think I Regret It”

  1. I shoot real estate with a Sony A7Rii full frame. I use a Canon TS-E 17mm tilt shift which has very little distortion. Also, I use a Canon 24mm tilt shift which is better than the 17mm because it doesn't get that wide angle distortion. But the 17mm is great for extra wide requirements. Both of the Canons are super sharp. If you get one and don't like it, they are easy to sell on eBay. I use a Sony 16-35mm zoom for general purpose. As good as it is, it does have some distortion, so I don't use it on much on architectural shoots. I use a Sigma adapter to convert Canon to Sony. It works great and costs about $200.

    If you're on a budget, just get a Canon 24mm Tilt Shift Mark 1, for about $600 used on eBay, and an adapter for your Nikon. The Mark 1 is not as good as the Mark II, but it's half the price when used, and it is still excellent. If you have extra cash, go for the Mark II 24mm. After that, get the 17mm. You'll wonder how you got along without Canon tilt shift. It's virtually distortion-free, and it keeps your walls straight and true.

    I predict you will like the Canon lenses and they will make you like your Nikon better too. I have no experience with the Nikon, but I am sure the Z7 is worthy, so try it with the Canon before you start selling!

  2. Here is a link to the Adobe page for their lens profile creator.
    https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/digital-negative.html#Adobe_Lens_Profile_Creator

    Using it you should be able to create a profile for the 14-30 that will mitigate your frustration about not having a profile load when importing files into Lightroom.

    Once the profile is created its probably can be shared with others having the same problem.

    It might be preferable to use a Nikon adapter with your existing 12-24.

    I use the Canon 15-35 F2.8 L II on Canon EOS R and RP cameras with the Canon adaptor that includes the circular polarizer and the Lens profile for the lens is applied in Lightroom.

  3. Am I missing something here? Why not try using the “trusty” 14-24 with an adapter instead? Sounds like the 14-30 is a dud. The camera has little to do with the distortion here.

  4. My first suggestion would be to select different Nikon bodies, see if they have the len profile and try that. It is doesn't work, try different Nikon bodies. If that didn't work, I would find the sensor size, and then try other models with similar sensors.

  5. If you must use the new Z lenses, then I would just make a lens profile, save it and just use it as a preset for the lens.

    Otherwise, get the F-mount adaptor and use the lenses you were using before or even better, get the zero distortion Liowa 12mm super wide angle lens.

    Changing to the new Nikon mirrorless will take some time to become mainstream, so the lenses will take a while to release to the same robustness as the F-mount which have been around for decades. If you truly cannot live with the mirrorless, I am sure many people would be willing to swap their Nikon D850 (myself included), which is the same sensor and technology as the Z7, but in a SLR body.

  6. DxO PhotoLab2 has lens correction profiles for the Z7 with the 14-30 lens for both raw and JPEG.

    Also, the distortion has nothing to do with the camera. It is the lens that is causing the issue. And as previously mentioned, why not use your 12-24 with the FTZ adapter.

  7. I have the z6 system with 14-30 and 24-70. I have no distortion on my video or images. Is yours not upgraded? The reason why I completely switched is because of how well it handles the distortion and I spend 0 time correcting it.
    I’m assuming you mean barrel distortion?

  8. Try upgrading the camera, updating Lightroom and check again. I love the z system because if it’s zero distortion. Do this and come give us and update

  9. Well not exactly but I can see how and why that can happen. I have been using my Canon 80D very happily for stills and started using it for video as well a few years ago. But switching from stills to video with the same camera started causing me problems since the settings kept changing between the two and screwed me up on more than one occasion. So a year ago last May I bought a Mirrorless Sony A-6500 on the advice of a fellow shooter who was having great results with it and it has worked well for me despite the fact I hate and loath the user interface. While I could save the stills settings I wanted on C1 then the starting video settings on C2, I just did not feel comfortable with the still shooting. Perhaps a situation of old dog, new tricks. Also the Sony 10-18mm lens while great for video, absolutely silent on focus, did have an un correctable distortion at the bottom. A wavy horizontal at the bottom just cannot be fixed in Photoshop, or at least I could not figure out how. But at 12mm instead of 10mm, it was reduced enough so that for video its fine.

    But I am branching out with my video now and what works great for RE is lacking for interviews for example where I want to be able to do a slow push button zoom rather than the less reliable hand zoom which you can't do unless you are locked down on a tripod. Stabilzers don't take kindly to shooting while moving and trying to hand zoom. You need 4 arms with hands attached.

    So now I am looking for an affordable upmarket camcorder to fill in the gap. But to answer your question, I have not regretted expanding my photo equipment by the addition of the Sony products. Also I see no reason to go full frame since the crop sensor provides more than enough resolution for all my photo publishing from Print to Internet use. Plus the file storage is much larger as well which only adds to the processing time as well as the storage investment.

    I am a believer in buying equipment with an eye to a bit further down the pike than today's needs, but don't feel the need to buy equipment for its own sake. Its just a tool after all. Some people like to get involved with the latest thing, I am not one of them unless it noticeably will increase my bottom line.

  10. When considering a change like moving from a DSLR to a mirrorless and new lenses, rent first. I didn't see that a reason was stated for replacing the D750 with the Z7. Any big change in a product is going to take a revision or two before most of the bugs are ironed out so it's a gamble to jump in with both feet. I am also not seeing that the D750 was sold or given away. When I replace my camera bodies, I move out my oldest one and move the one I had been using to backup status. When I make the jump to mirrorless (probably staying with Canon) I may have to be in a position to buy two of most everything so kicking over a tripod doesn't mean having to reschedule days worth of jobs while a replacement gets sent for crazy amounts of overnight shipping money.

    As pointed out, waiting for Adobe to publish an update with the lens correction files is important for the type of work we do. Yes, it can be done manually but the time to do it for every image is expensive. When those profiles are out is the time to start considering a purchase.

    @Peter Daprix, have you looked at the Black Magic video cameras? A real video camera that can be ordered with a Canon EF mount. If you decide to buy a lens with a focal length more suited for your video work, you can also use it for stills if you want. While most newer still cameras can shoot video, a camera that is made to shoot video is going to have a control layout optimized for it. I hate having to dig through endless menus.

  11. Ken, you may be a life saver! I quickly checked out the Black Magic video camera. There seem to be two at first glance. One that is the "Pocket" that looks like a DSLR sort of and another one at twice the price that looks like a video camera. I'm in the middle of processing some rather touchy shots of a house surrounded by a forest of oaks and everything is all dappled sunlight on a hill side. Driving me nuts! Thank God for HDR to open up the shadows yet preserve the highlights. Now I have to see how the Cannon 80D managed with the video version. So when done, and I am sitting down with a glass of white, I will check this out further. It would be nice to be able to use my Cannon EF lenses but that does not address the need to be able to electric zoom them. Appreciate the suggestion. And I am absolutely with you on wading through endless menu items, most of which are not only not needed for my work but boggle my limited brain. And it is always when I am in the most difficult shooting situations, like loosing the twilight fast, that also happened on that shoot, that the camera decides it wants more attention. On this shoot it was my P4Pro asking for its delicate compass to be re-configured right as I started on the 5 minute window of light at its perfect balance. Very frustrating. Its why I don't carry a hammer in my SUV. Thanks again.

  12. I've been using the Z6 with the 14-30mm f/4 for several months and do not have the issue. In fact, it has an embedded profile in LR that you can't turn off. So I'm not sure why you would want or need to create a separate profile. It's already applied upon import into LR. I upgraded from the D750 with 14-24 f/2.8 to my current Z6 with native glass. I haven't touched the D750 or old 14-24mm glass since.

  13. As Ken said, not that this will help the original poster, but I'd suggest to rent before you buy. When I'm ready to purchase my next camera, I'm contemplating a switch to Sony for the video capabilities (which I hope to offer soon in my business) and its low light capabilities (I sometimes shoot astrophotography and my 6D Mark II is pretty brutal). I plan on renting the body and lenses I want to use. It may cost me a couple hundred, but it is worth it for peace of mind.

  14. @LeeMiller, its interesting that the first reply on this thread was about Canon TSE lenses on Sony bodies. I'm currently going through the "why are my edges so soft?" madness when using both a 17mm TSE and 24mm TSE on A7iii and A7Riii bodies via a Sigma MC11 adapter. With the 24mm, I have to stop ALL the way down to F16 when shifted up only 3mm to get the soft upper left corner usable, and the 17mm is just a mess. I'm starting to lose faith that these lenses adapt well to the Sony system, even though there are plenty of shooters out there who report they do. I have even read about some guys shimming the adapters to supposedly correct the soft edges/corners.

  15. Sony A7rIII + Sigma MC-11 + Canon lenses

    I almost purchased the Sony A7rIII, but was sort of forced to go with the Canon 5D Mark IV instead.

    We were looking to upgrade one of our two Canon 6D bodies and were comparing the Sony A7rIII and the Canon 5D MkIV. We use primarily Canon lenses (including my tilt-shifts) and did a lot of research that told us the Canon lenses work great on the Sony body (not perfectly, but still great).

    Since we also shoot a lot of portraiture in addition to our real estate and architecture, we needed fast and accurate autofocus. Nothing fancy, just fast and accurate. It was recommended by the rental company that we get the Sigma adapter over the Metabones, so we took the plunge, rented our gear and we went about some unofficial, real world testing of the Sony A7rIII, the Sigma MC-11 and our Canon EF lenses.

    It didn't go well. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErfdbwYfJwQ

    I didn't test this gear so I could do a real video review. I tested it to see if I should purchase it. But what happened seemed like important information to share, so the video is an afterthought. It's just me telling the story on a webcam. So if you don't want to listen to me talk for 6 minutes and prefer to read it, the transcript is below.

    If I could afford it, I'd get the Sony A7rIV and use it exclusively for my architecture (and maybe my real estate) since I don't need the autofocus. But, I'm not that successful yet. 😉

    @BrianRoberts, thak you for sharing the information on the soft edges of the Sony when using Canon's TSE lenses. I didn't have a chance to look at that, but when it comes time to look at the Sony as a purchase again, that will be something I test out. 🙂

    ------------------------
    TRANSCRIPT of video
    ------------------------

    Canon lenses may not autofocus with the Sony A7r3 and the Sigma MC-11 adapter.

    I didn’t set out to do a review of this gear, so I apologize for the webcam and built in mic. If this is useful and people want more, maybe I’ll put more effort into the next one. But for now, this is just a quick bit of advice for those looking to use their Canon autofocus lenses on a Sony A7r3 with a Sigma MC-11 adapter.

    This is merely MY experience. Yours may differ. I’m just offering my experience so you can add it to the rest of your research and so you don’t make the same mistake I did.

    Backstory: We’re upgrading from the Canon 6D. After tons of research, we settled on either the Sony A7r3 or the Canon 5D Mk4 and decided to rent the Sony and try it out.

    We were going to use the Metabones adapter for our Canon lenses but were talked out of it by a technician who swore by the new Sigma MC-11. So, that’s what we went with. And, long story short, it sucked. Less than half of our images were useable and less than half of those were truly sharp (regardless of which Canon lens we used).

    Because the resolution of the LCD is so high, I relied on it to check my focus. It was when I looked at the images on the computer that I realized how soft they were.

    Without getting into the details of our limited testing, (we tried different ISO settings, aperature settings, shutter speeds and focusing methods and we even reset the camera to it’s default), the camera couldn’t consistently produce a sharp image.

    Now, it was focusing very quickly, which was great, and I could see the focus point as it locked on to an eye or face… and that was great, too. I felt confident that these were going to be some great images. But as I said, I only reviewed them on the LCD. We didn’t have the option to view them on a computer at the time. And I regret that.

    We reviewed the images and it was tough to find where the actual focus was. Usually, you can tell if an image is front or back focused. These? I couldn’t tell.

    So, what happened?

    Story: Well, the rental company told me that I was misinformed and they do NOT recommend using this combo with Canon lenses. Sigma adapter and Sigma lenses? Great. Sigma adapter and Canon lenses? Not at all. In fact, there's an indicator LED on the side of the adapter that lights solid green when a compatible, fully updated lens is attached, flashing green when the lens needs an update, orange when the adapter needs an update, and no light when an incompatible lens is attached. That light stays off when any Canon brand lens is attached.

    I can’t speak for the accuracy of focus on any other combination than the Sony A7r3, the Sigma MC-11 adapter and Canon EF lenses. I have no idea how the Metabones adapter (or any other adapter) would fare on the A7r3 or even the A7r4, but if you want to send the gear over for me to test it out, I’m happy to do so. I’ll even make a useful video out of it instead of just a webcam clip with me yapping. Someone’s going to have to send me a Sony A7r3 or A7r4 also, because we don’t have one. We purchased the Mark 4 instead.

    Hey Metabones? Sony? Do you think your combination will work? Prove it to me and I WILL use your gear. Believe me, I want it. I want that huge resolution. I want Pixel Shift. And I like the size. Send me your stuff, I’ll test it out and if it works as you say it does (in other words, if it does it’s job), I’ll convert.

    That’s it.
    Trust the A7r3 Sigma combination if you want. Some people may have success. But I don’t recommend it. And neither does Sony, Sigma or Canon (of course). In my experience it was a complete and utter failure. So, do your research and take this as just one more bit of advice.

    Good Luck.
    http://www.holtwebb.photography

  16. Hi first time on here, only discovered the website by accident today....

    I had been using a Nikon D800E and then D850 with an IRIX 15mm /2.5 and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 for the past couple of years and then added the Z6 to my bag in January this year for my RE work. I have been using the Z6 with the adaptor and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. I am super chuffed with this combo for interiors. The 14-24mm has more distortion than the IRIX but I like having the versatility of the zoom. Maybe I'm just lazy and don't like swapping lenses (I live in an area going through the worst drought in 50 plus years so it IS a bit dusty...). However I love the usability of the flip screen and live view through the Z6. I used my D850 a couple of weeks ago for a more architectural shoot and I realised how amazingly easy my shoots had become with the Z6/FTZ/14-24mm. It is brilliant on a tripod for interior stills. There is some distortion but it is easily sorted out in Adobe RAW with your own pre-set and even an action in PS itself.

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