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Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.

One of world's best wedding photographers reveals secrets

News Corp Australia

MARCUS Bell has been named Australia's Wedding Photographer of the Year three times in a row, so he knows a thing or two about capturing that special moment.

Whether it be the special smile of a close relative in the audience as the bride and groom say I do, or the look of the best man as the rings are exchanged, there's an art form to capturing that instant.

One of the secrets, according to Bell, is not getting in the way.

He talks quietly during shoots, hides his camera often while walking around, and pops in and out of special occasions quickly to remain discreet.

But when you're wielding a big camera, it can be hard to remain unseen.

That's why he has fallen in love with Nikon's new Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera.

Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.
Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test. Marcus Bell



According to the Nikon Ambassador, the Z7 does much of what the multi-award winning D850 does, but in a smaller, more compact body.

The AIPP Grand Master and international photography judge and speaker has photographed seven weddings using the new camera, as well as doing a series of portraits and even a cake smash shoot.

Given his emphasis on intimate photography, most often with no flash, he loves the fact that the mechanical shutter on the camera is so quiet.

Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.
Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test. Marcus Bell



As for the photos, he says the 45 megapixel shooting power is exceptional, bringing out both beautiful colour and shadow details.

  Bell, who was named as one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world by American Photo, says the fact that you can use all of legacy glass lenses Nikon has produced is a big bonus.

At a recent roadshow in Brisbane, he showed off images taken with a Noct f1.2 lens that was 45 years old.

Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.
Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test. Marcus Bell



The Z7, he says, has a very comfortable grip with easy access to 3 to 4 buttons while shooting.

He says two of the keys to using such a camera is setting it up very well to start with - and then spending the time to get to know the camera really well before using it.

That way, he can get in, capture the moment and move out of the way very quickly.

He says the electronic viewfinder (EVF) experience in the camera is very impressive, allowing you to better see what you are shooting and make adjustments in real time.

Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.
Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test. Marcus Bell



For example, you can be looking at the histogram at the same time, and adding or subtracting exposure.

Bell particularly likes using the 24mm to 70mm lens, while his favourite lens is the 58 f1.4 followed by the f1.2

He believes part of the big appeal of the Z7 was that it was a camera you would use on a family holiday or even on a day off, while the bigger 850 'feels like work' when he takes it out.

Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera put to the test by a young Bell.
Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera put to the test by a young Bell. Marcus Bell


His son took it for a spin during a day at the beach and managed to capture some nice shots of breaking waves.

"It's got full time portrait mode,'' his son said of the EVF experience.

Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test.
Award-winning photographer Marcus Bell puts Nikon's Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera to the test. Marcus Bell



While Bell says there has been some criticism of the battery life, he often managed to get about 1300 shots from one charge and as many as 1945.

The Nikon Z7 is a high end camera with a high end price of about $6000 with a 24-70 lens.

The Z6 which is more suited to video enthusiasts can be bought for under $4000 with a 24-70mm lens.


MORE ABOUT THE NIKON Z7

• Hybrid auto focus system with 493 points and 90% coverage and 5-axis in-body image stabilisation.
• Body is fully sealed against dust and moisture.
•  It has a 3.68M-dot electronic viewfinder and tilting 3.2", 2.1M-dot touchscreen LCD.
• An OLED panel on the top plate displays current shooting settings.
• Photos are stored on an XQD card
• Can shoot continuously at 9fps with AE locked.
• Can capture 4K video
• Connectivity options include Wi-Fi (802.11ac) with Bluetooth as well as the ability to connect directly to a PC.