Dear Nikon, your mirrorless lens swap is a joke

I’ve had a Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera for a while now, and I’m less than impressed. We photographers are a funny breed. We obsess over detail. It goes without saying that dust removal is not something like to retouch. We have enough work as it is. Back in the day (and by “the day” I mean ‘last year’) we had cameras with mirrors. Those mirrors, along with a shutter curtain, protected our delicate sensors from all manner of dust and grime. In the transition to mirrorless, it appears Nikon have overlooked this. Take a look.

This is one of my images from Godafoss in Iceland. I was using my Nikkor 12-24mm f/2.8 and switched to my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 to crop in on some details, then back again. That change of lenses caused an inordinate amount of dust to enter my camera and land squarely on the sensor. The dust is insane and although it’s easy to remove, it takes time. Time is something I don’t want to waste on such a task. This got me thinking: I must be doing something wrong, this is unreal. No, nothing is wrong, this is how Nikon made it!

I searched online to find a solution and there is one, but it’s just awkward. Take a look.

Essentially I have to trick the camera to get the shutter curtain to close before I change lenses, otherwise I’m plagued with dust. It’s a simple feature to implement and one that Canon had on mirrorless cameras from the outset. This is causing me genuine stress and having been a Nikon fanboy for years I think it’s time to jump ship.

Heres the ‘trick’ to changing a lens on the Nikon Z6 and Z7:

  1. Turn the camera off
  2. Remove the XQD card in case you accidentally corrupt it with this dodgy procedure
  3. Turn the camera on
  4. Remove the battery, fooling the camera into closing the shutter curtain
  5. Change the lens
  6. Turn the camera off
  7. Reinsert the battery
  8. Turn the camera on
  9. Note the error message displayed and press the shutter button
  10. Insert the XQD card

Sounds like grief to me! By comparison, here’s the process for the Canon EOS R:

  1. change the lens

So what else can we do? Nikon has included a sensor cleaning feature, along with the option to activate it automatically on camera shutdown. This is a feature on many cameras and it uses a piezo crystal ultrasonic vibration of the IR filter, in front of the sensor, to shake free any dust it can. To remove and larger or more stubborn pieces of dust we need to get stuck in and clean it ourselves. I know full well that this is a ‘first world problem,’ but it’s a problem nonetheless and it’s one I don’t want to have to endure.

Nikon, I’m calling on you for a fix to this. I don’t want to have to constantly clean my sensor – prevention is better than cure.



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