Nikon Z7 Testing - IBIS, Peaking, High ISO - Red cap mushroom : 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 3200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

Nikon Z7 : High ISO, IBIS, Focus Peaking

I took a walk around my neighborhood with my kids to look for fall mushrooms and flowers. I wanted to test a few aspects of the Nikon Z7 including high ISO shots, ability of the in body image stabilization (IBIS) to steady shots at slower shutter speeds, and the focus peaking (which none of my previous cameras have offered).  To test, I mounted my 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Nikkor lens on the FTZ adapter and headed out. It was late afternoon light with some heavy tree cover at times, I first tested focus tracking by trying to get some shots of my kids. I was quite disappointed with the performance of the Z7/105 combo, the tracking was terrible. The camera missed almost every shot, even with the kids just walking. The 105 was never a good performer in this regard and it continues it's poor performance on the Z7.

Regardless, I tested on some static subjects and the results were quite good.  Fairly clean output at ISO 3200.

Nikon Z7 Testing - IBIS, Peaking, High ISO - Red cap mushroom : 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 3200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 3200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

 

Test of manual focus with peaking, worked very well.

Nikon Z7 macro manual focus with focus peaking test : 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 160 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 160 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
Nikon Z7 macro manual focus with focus peaking test : 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

 

This squirrel was running around and I managed a shot.  It's acceptably sharp for web use but not ideal.

Nikon Z7 testing : 1/160s, f/3.2, ISO 200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/160s, f/3.2, ISO 200 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

 

This girl was moving on the web and the web was also moving in the breeze.  Of 30 or so shots only two yielded results worth sharing.

Nikon Z7 testing of IBIS, peaking, and high ISO: 1/320s, f/6.5, ISO 1600 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/320s, f/6.5, ISO 1600 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

 

This shot was at 1/80s hand held but I tested as slow as 1/5s and could get reasonably sharp photos.  I don't think that would have been possible with my D810, even with a VR lens.

Nikon Z7 testing of IBIS, peaking, and high ISO: 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 400 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter
1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 400 : Nikon Z7 w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and FTZ adapter

 


Nikon Z7 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera - Full

Nikon Z7 Setup and Configuration

 

Nikon Z7 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera - Full

As I did for the Nikon D800 and D810 DSLR cameras, I'm posting the settings I'm using for the Nikon Z7 along with a file you can download to use as a starting point for your own settings.  Doing this forces me to go through every setting available on the camera and to understand what it does.  I'm using the official Nikon Z7 Reference Manual (English version, others available) to gain an understanding of the features.  Some will be familiar if you are coming from other Nikon bodies, others are brand new found only in the Z7.

Unlike the D800/D810 that used four memory banks that were selectable in the software, the Z7 has three user configurable settings (U1, U2, U3) not unlike a D750 or D7500.  I find this option far superior, personally.  Also, in the D800/D810 I devoted one of the memory banks to a "point & shoot" type setup where the camera did as much of the work as possible.  This was useful for my wife, who doesn't want to mess with settings.  The Z7 has a fully automatic mode (Auto) selectable via the mode dial which is idea for this type of use.

I have set the three modes on my Z7 to preconfigure the camera into landscape, action, or portrait settings.  Often, I make minor adjustments from the standard settings depending on what is required.  If you want to use my custom settings in your camera, feel free to download my settings file here:

Firmware C: 1.00, LF: 1.00 : Download Nikon Z7 custom settings file 1.00

I suggest you back up your own settings first (SETUP MENU -> Save/load settings -> save settings, copy the settings file from the media card to your computer). To use my custom settings file, copy it to the root folder of your media card using your computer, insert the media card into your camera and navigate to SETUP MENU -> Save/load settings -> Load settings. This will copy the settings over to your camera.  Once complete, update the copyright and image comment settings to your own.  If you have questions, or a suggestion feel free to leave them in the comments at the bottom of the page, I'll maintain a change log of any significant changes in my change log and post updated files as new firmware is released.

The settings are all shown below.  Use the search feature at the top of the table if you are looking for a specific setting.

NIKON Z7 SETTINGS

P/S/A/M

U1 : Landscape

U2 : Action

U3 : Portrait

Dale Chihuly Glass Art : 2013-01-05 : Display 7

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Trees

CFL Football : BC Lions vs Montreal Alouettes : Sept 8 2012 : Felions

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Well dressed tour guide

EXTERNAL CONTROLS

Release mode Note 1

As needed

Continuous L (3)

Continuous H (extended)

Continuous L (3)

Monitor Mode ButtonPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinder
Exposure ModeAs selected by mode dialAperture PriorityShutter PriorityAperture Priority

PLAYBACK MENU

DeleteSelectedSelectedSelectedSelected
Playback folderAllAllAllAll
Playback display options"Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview"
Image reviewOffOffOffOff
After deleteContinue as beforeContinue as beforeContinue as beforeContinue as before
After burst, showLast image in burstLast image in burstLast image in burstLast image in burst
Rotate tallOffOffOffOff
Slide showAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
RatingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed

PHOTO SHOOTING MENU

Storage folderDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
File namingI set to my initials: MKHMKHMKHMKH
Choose image areaFXFXFXFX
Image qualityRAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)
Image sizeLargeLargeLargeLarge
NEF (RAW) recording

> NEF (RAW) compression

On - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressed

> NEF (RAW) bit depth

14-bit14-bit14-bit14-bit
ISO sensitivity settingsManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on scene

> ISO sensitivity

64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)

> Auto ISO sensitivity control

As neededAs neededAs neededAs needed

>> Maximum sensitivity

12,800 (higher than this and the files are unusable)

12,800

12,800

12,800

>> Maximum sensitivity with flash

12,800

12,800

12,800

12,800

>> Minimum shutter speed

Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)
White balanceAuto1 (irrelevant if shooting raw but useful to preview photos on the LCD)

Auto1

Auto1

Auto1

Set Picture Control

Auto (Irrelevant if shooting RAW.  The only time I ever change this is to set it to Monochrome to preview in-camera what a B&W image would look like)

AutoAutoAuto
Manage Picture ControlI don't use it
Color SpaceAdobeAdobeAdobeAdobe
Active D-LightingOffOffOffOff
Long exposure NROff (turning it on doubles your exposure times as the camera takes a second dark frame exposure to subtract noise)OffOffOff
High ISO NROffOffOffOff
Vignette controlOffOffOffOff
Diffraction compensationOn (I suspect this doesn?t apply to RAW files but until I can confirm I will leave it on)OnOnOn
Auto distortion controlOn (can't turn off with Z-mount lens)OnOnOn
Flicker reduction shootingOffOffOffOn
MeteringMatrixMatrixCenter-weightedSpot
Flash controlTTLTTLTTLTTL
Flash modeFill flashFill flashFill flashFill flash
Flash compensation0000

Focus mode Note 2

AF-CAF-CAF-CAF-C

AF-area mode Note3

Wide-area AF (S)Single-point AF or pinpoint - often manual focus override using 100% zoom on the LCDDynamic-area AFAuto-area AF
Vibration reduction

On (Normal)

On (Normal).  Off when on tripod.

SPT (Sport)

On (Normal)

Auto bracketingOffIf needed (AE bracketing, 3-5 shots, increment 2)OffOff
Multiple exposureOffOffOffOff
HDROffOffOffOff
Interval timer shootingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Time-lapse movieAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Focus shift shootingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Silent photographyAs needed (note that turning this feature on disables some other features such as flicker reduction, EFC and changes frame ratesAs needed

Off

As needed

MOVIE SHOOTING MENU

File naming Note5

I set to my initials: MKHMKHMKHMKH
Choose image areaFXFXFXFX
Frame size/frame rate2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)
Movie qualityHighHighHighHigh
Movie file typeMOVMOVMOVMOV
ISO sensitivity settingsDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
White balanceAuto1Auto1Auto1Auto1
Set Picture ControlAutoAutoAutoAuto
Manage Picture ControlUnused
Active D-LightingNormalNormalNormalNormal
High ISO NRNormalNormalNormalNormal
Vignette controlNormalNormalNormalNormal
Diffraction compensationOnOnOnOn
Auto distortion controlOnOnOnOn
Flicker reductionAutoAutoAutoAuto
MeteringMatrixMatrixMatrixMatrix
Focus modeFull-time AFFull-time AFFull-time AFFull-time AF
AF-area modeAuto-area AFAuto-area AFAuto-area AFAuto-area AF
Vibration reductionOnOnOnOn
Electronic VROffOffOffOff
Microphone sensitivityAutoAutoAutoAuto
AttenuatorOffOffOffOff
Frequency responseWideWideWideWide
Wind noise reductionOffOffOffOff
Headphone volume15151515
TimecodeDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault

CUSTOM SETTING MENU

a Autofocus
a1 AF-C priority selectionFocusFocusReleaseFocus
a2 AF-S priority selectionFocusFocusFocusFocus
a3 Focus tracking with lock-on1252
a4 Auto-area AF face detectionOnOnOnOn
a5 Focus points usedAllAll1/2 Every other pointAll
a6 Store points by orientationOffOffOffOff
a7 AF activationAF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Enable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)
a8 Limit AF-area mode selectionAll checkedAll checkedAll checkedAll checked
a9 Focus point wrap-aroundWrapWrapWrapWrap
a10 Focus point options

> Manual focus mode

OffOffOffOff

> Dynamic-area AF assist

OnOnOnOn
a11 Low-light AFOnOnOnOn
a12 Built-in AF-assist illuminatorOffOffOffOff
b Metering/exposure
b1 EV steps for exposure cntrl1/3 step1/3 step1/3 step1/3 step
b2 Easy exposure compensationOffOffOffOff
b3 Center-weighted area12mm12mm12mm12mm
b4 Fine-tune optimal exposureDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
c1 Shutter-release button AE-LOffOffOffOff
c2 Self-timerAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
c3 Power off delay

> Playback

10s10s10s10s

> Menus

1m1m1m1m

> Image review

10s10s10s10s

> Standby timer

30s30s30s30s
d Shooting/display
d1 CL mode shooting speed3333
d2 Max. continuous release200200200200
d3 Sync. Release mode optionsSyncSyncSyncSync
d4 Exposure delay modeOff

3s

OffOff
d5 Electronic front-curtain shutterOffOnOffOff
d6 Limit selectable image areaAll checkedAll checkedAll checkedAll checked
d7 File number sequenceOnOnOnOn
d8 Apply settings to live viewAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
d9 Framing grid displayOffOnOffOff
d10 Peaking highlightsAs neededOnOffOn

> Peaking level

As needed2 (standard)Off3 (high sensitivity)

> Peaking highlight color

Red

Red

Red

Red

d11 View all in continuous modeOnOnOnOn
e Bracketing/flash
e1 Flash sync speed1/200s1/200s1/200s1/200s
e2 Flash shutter speed1/60s1/60s1/60s1/60s
e3 Exposure comp. for flashEntire frameEntire frameEntire frameEntire frame
e4 Auto flash ISO sensitivity controlSubject and backgroundSubject and backgroundSubject and backgroundSubject and background
e6 Auto bracketing (mode M)Flash/speedFlash/speedFlash/speedFlash/speed
e5 Modelling flashOnOnOnOn
e7 Bracketing orderUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > over
f Controls
f1 Customize i menu

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

f2 Custom control assignment Note 4

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

f3 OK button

> Shooting mode

ResetResetResetReset

> Playback mode

Zoom on/offZoom on/offZoom on/offZoom on/off
f4 Shutter spd & aperture lock

> Shutter speed lock

OffOffOffOff

> Aperture lock

OffOffOffOff
f5 Customize command dials

> Reverse rotation

DefaultDefaultDefaultDefault

> Change main/sub

DefaultDefaultDefaultDefault

> Menus and playback

On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)

> Sub-dial frame advance

10101010
f6 Release button to use dialOffOffOffOff
f7 Reverse indicators- 0 +- 0 +- 0 +- 0 +
g Movie
g1 Customize i menu

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

g2 Custom control assignmentPersonal preferencePersonal preferencePersonal preferencePersonal preference
g3 OK buttonResetResetResetReset
g4 AF speed2 (Always)2 (Always)2 (Always)2 (Always)
g5 AF tracking sensitivity3333
g6 Hightlight displayOffOffOffOff

SETUP MENU *3

Format memory cardAs needed
Save user settingsAs needed
LanguageAs needed
Time zone and dateAs needed
Monitor brightness0
Monitor color balanceDefault
Viewfinder brightnessAuto
Viewfinder color balanceDefault
Control panel brightnessAuto
Limit monitor mode selectionAll checked
Information displayB (dark on light)
AF fine-tuneAs needed
Non-CPU lens dataAs needed
Clean image sensorClean at shutdown
Image Dust Off ref photoAs needed
Image CommentOff
Copyright informationSet your name/site here
Beep optionsOff
Touch controlsOn (default)
HDMIDefault
Location dataBoth on
Wireless remote (WR) optionsDefault
Assign remote (WR) Fn buttonOff
Airplane modeAs needed
Connect to smart deviceAs needed
Connect to PCAs needed
Wireless transmitter (WT-7)As needed
Conformity markingAs needed
Battery infoAs needed
Slot emptry release lockLock
Save/load settingsAs needed
Reset all settingsAs needed
Firmware versionAs needed

RETOUCH MENU (I don't use it)

MY MENU

> d4 Exposure delay mode
> d5 Electronic front curtain shutter
> Vibration reduction
> Silent photography
> Apply settings to live view
> Format memory card

Note 1: Release mode

The User Settings (U1/U2/U3) do not retain the release mode settings.  If you switch user modes you need to remember to switch the release mode (single, continuous, etc.)

Note 2: Focus Mode

I use the 'AF-ON' or 'back button autofocus' technique (for lack of a better term) to focus my camera. You will see that in my settings, I primarily use AF-C as the default focus mode when I use the camera. With the AF-ON technique, you decouple the focusing of the camera from the shutter press. The nice thing is that you can have both continuous, static autofocus, and manual focus modes all at the same time. Focus and recompose is also easier as you don’t have to keep the shutter half-pressed, just release the AF-ON button and the camera stops focusing. It works very well, but takes a bit of getting used to. This technique works on both Nikon and Canon cameras (likely other brands as well but I haven’t checked into it).

Note 3: AF-area Mode

This will be subject to change after more testing. I'm not yet sure how well the Z7 tracks faces in the Auto-area AF mode.

Note 4: Custom control assignment (f2)

  • Fn1 button : Preview - I like to have DoF preview available, especially for macro work.  The Z7 only stops the lens down to f/5.6 so you do not have an accurate preview of DoF in the viewfinder or monitor unless you use the Preview function.
  • Fn2 button : My Menu - quick access to my most commonly used settings (see above for what I keep in the menu).
  • AF-On : AF-On
  • Sub-selector : Focus point selection
  • Sub-selector center : Spot metering (useful for a quick metering override if I'm in matrix and it's not exposing the scene properly.
  • Movie record button : Auto bracketing.  Unlike the D800/D810 I'm used to, the Z7 does not have a dedicated bracket button so I reassigned the movie record button which is otherwise useless in photo mode.
  • Lens Fn button : none of my lenses have this.
  • Lens control ring : Focus (M/A).  Manual focus override, same as most lenses.

Note 5: Movie Shooting Menu/Settings

Despite having the option to shoot video with my cameras, I very rarely do. Please don't consider my video settings optimal, I almost never need them.

Nikon Z7 Setup - Change Log

DateChanges
2018-10-10Initial publication


Vancouver Aquarium - Blue Poison Dart Frog : 2018-10-05

Nikon Z7 First Shots

One of my favorite places to visit is the Vancouver Aquarium, and that is exactly where I went to test out the new Nikon Z7. I only had a short amount of time so only two test shots but more to come soon.

Vancouver Aquarium - Blue Poison Dart Frog : 2018-10-05
Vancouver Aquarium - Blue Poison Dart Frog
Vancouver Aquarium - Horned Frog : 2018-10-05
Vancouver Aquarium - Horned Frog

Downtown Toronto Panorama at Night

Visit to Toronto

I had very little time to take photos in Toronto, just one night after work.  Ventured to the islands off of downtown and managed to get a few nice shots.  I'll try to update this post once I edit a few more.

Downtown Toronto Panorama at Night
Toronto, Canada

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - 0EV 1.60s f4 ISO64

Nikon Z7 Banding Test

Update: ISO 3200 test follows below.

I just picked up a new Nikon Z7 and there have been multiple reports of banding in recovered shadow areas.  I decided to test this for myself to see when the problem might crop up.  I shot a desk in my office with a monitor (seems to show up more on flat black surfaces).  There was a lot of back light so the monitor is underexposed even in the 0EV frame.  Settings:

  • RAW (NEF)
  • Processed by Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 7.5 (Camera Raw 10.5)
  • No processing except:
    • Profile: Adobe Color
    • White Balance: Daylight
  • Exposure settings for each photo noted below.

TL;DR:

  • Banding is an issue for files pushed +4EV or greater.
  • Banding is not visible at normal viewing sizes.
  • Noise reduction can smooth out the banding effect.
Nikon Z7 Banding Test - 0EV 1.60s f4 ISO64
0EV 1/60s f/4 ISO64

100% crop from the above image in the top right corner of the monitor.  No visible banding (as expected)

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - 0EV 1.60s f4 ISO64 crop
0EV 1/60s f/4 ISO64 - 100% crop

 

I then took another shot, this time with exposure compensation at -3EV, resulting shot is definitely underexposed.

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV 1.500s f4 ISO64
-3EV 1/500s f/4 ISO64

The underexposed file then pushed in Lightroom to +3EV (exposure was the only adjustment).  Resulting image:

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +3EV 1.500s f4 ISO64
Underexposed image pushed+3EV 1.500s f4 ISO64

100% crop from the +3 push.  No visible banding.

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +3EV 1.500s f4 ISO64 crop
100% crop from +3 EV push in Lightroom

 

The underexposed file then pushed in Lightroom to +4EV (exposure was the only adjustment).  Resulting image:

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +4EV 1.500s f4 ISO64
+4EV push in Lightroom - 1.500s f4 ISO64

100% crop from +4 EV push.  No visible banding in the deep shadows.

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +4EV 1.500s f4 ISO64 crop
Crop from +4EV push

However, I did see some banding crop up in some of the transition areas (light to dark) at the bottom of the monitor.  It's slight but visible at 100%.

Nikon Banding Z7

 

Finally, I did a +5EV push of the underexposed image.  This is now very over exposed and not usable but useful for testing.

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +5EV 1.500s f4 ISO64
-3EV image pushed +5EV in Lightroom  1.500s f4 ISO64

100% crop from the +5EV image.  It's slightly visible when I check at 100% in Lightroom but might not come across in the exported jpg very well.

Nikon Z7 Banding Test - -3EV +5EV 1.500s f4 ISO64 crop
100% crop from image pushed +5EV in Lightoom.

As before, most visible in the light to dark transition areas.  100% below.

 

Looking in other areas of the image (not just the black monitor), I can see slight banding in the +4EV and +5EV pushed images.  Typically when you bump up shadows you introduce noise and in many cases some noise reduction is warranted.  I observed that adding noise reduction smoothed out the effect of the banding, though it was still present.  Further, the banding isn't visible at normal viewing sizes and only becomes visible as you zoom in (50% or larger viewing sizes).  For print, this would translate to 14 inches on the long edge assuming no crop and 300dpi.  Anything smaller and I suspect it wouldn't be visible.

For me, I can't remember ever pushing files to +4EV or greater.  If I see a very high contrast scene I will often do some exposure bracketing so that I can capture detail in the shadows without pushing the file in post.  I'll then blend the images for best results, and that type of workflow should avoid banding (I'll test this in the future).  If I have to push files that far, they are likely just casual shots I'll post on facebook and none of my friends would know the difference.  For me, this banding is a non issue.

Banding Test at ISO 3200

After posting some examples at base ISO (64) , a comment was made that the banding would become visible with less drastic editing if a higher ISO was used.  I decided to test this by shooting the same scene at ISO3200.  Results are below.

TL;DR:

  • My testing show that banding is NOT visible at ISO3200 regardless of how much the file is pushed in Lightroom.  I think the noise at higher ISO will mask any banding present.

First, normal exposure (exposure comp at 0EV).  The scene has fairly extreme contrast between light (bright sunlight outside) and dark (no interior lights on, black monitor).

0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600) - Nikon Z7 high contrast scene, sensor banding issue
0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600)

 

Now the same scene but camera has exposure compensation set to -3EV

-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600)
-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600)

Pushing the underexposed file by +3EV in Lightroom

-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600) +3EV push : High ISO banding in the Nikon Z 7 mirrorless camera
-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600) with +3EV push in post

 

100% crop from the +3EV push.  I'm unable to find any visible banding in the image.

-3EV Underexposed (1.8000 f8 ISO1600) +3EV push, 100% crop - Nikon Z7 banding at high ISO
-3EV Underexposed (1.8000 f8 ISO1600) +3EV push, 100% crop

 

Now a +5EV push of the underexposed file.  I find the file far too noisy to be useful so this is just an academic exercise to understand the behaviour of the sensor.

-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600) +5EV push - Nikon Z7
-3EV Underexposed (1/8000s f/8 ISO1600) +5EV push

 

100% crop from the +5EV push.  It's ugly but I don't see banding, just a lot of noise.

-3EV Underexposed (1/8000 f/8 ISO1600) +5EV push, 100% crop
-3EV Underexposed (1/8000 f/8 ISO1600) +5EV push, 100% crop

 

Finally, I tried some editing the 'properly' exposed file (0EV) using highlight and shadow recovery.  Here the exposure is adjusted to +1EV, shadows at +100, hightlights at -100.

0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600) +1EV push, shadow +100, highlights -100
0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600) +1EV push, shadow +100, highlights -100

100% crop from the edited file, no visible banding.  I checked the whole image and could not detect banding anywhere.

0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600) +1EV push, shadow +100, highlights -100, 100% crop
0EV (1/1000s f/8 ISO1600) +1EV push, shadow +100, highlights -100, 100% crop

 

My conclusion is that high ISO noise masks banding and, at least for ISO 3200, banding will not be an issue in editing (noise will be, as it is with any other sensor).  I might do more testing in the future to get an idea at which ISO the banding starts to become less noticeable.