Learn & Explore - Z Series

Nikon Z 7 × Still Life

Reproducing Colours and Minute Details Faithfully

Still life photography is a genre where one can really let your creativity flow. The Nikon Z 7 is your trusty companion for portraying food items in various types, combinations, and shades of colour and lighting. Find out how its exceptional resolving power enables me to reproduce tonal gradients, smooth transitions in colour, and minute details of all sorts of subjects faithfully. (Photo and report by Ro-Hsuan Chen)

Nikon Z 7/ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S/ FL: 60mm/ Manual exposure (f/10, 1/100 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

As I was turning the plate to find the most interesting reflection on every tiny slice of tomato, I was amazed by the Z 7’s dynamic range, which preserves not only the details in the shadow areas but even the details in the reflections. Sometimes the world just looks so much better through your camera, especially with the Z 7 which provides you with Picture Control, allowing for versatile adjustment of contrast, saturation, clarity, etcetera to your liking. The effects of which can be viewed in real-time on its high resolution 3.2” touchscreen LCD monitor, as well as through its electronic viewfinder.

Nikon Z 7/ AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 60mm/ Manual exposure (f/10, 0.8 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto/ Mount Adapter FTZ used

A pastry tart made of sweet peas and mint, depicted in a dark, warm environment under a golden setting sun for that fresh summer look in the winter period. The more I practice low key photography, the more I realize that the key is not about how and where to add light, it is about how to block light, and use a little light as possible while keeping the image interesting. The ability of the Z 7 to reproduce tonal gradients and smooth transitions in colour is exceptionally remarkable.

Nikon Z 7/ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S/ FL: 45mm/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 1/20 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto

Capturing this image showing a collection of pastry tarts made with vegetables is when I could really test the powerful in-camera 5-axis VR image stabilization of the Z 7. With its light body I was able to shoot hand-held and straight down, without my wrist shaking. As a result, even the tiny scratches on those aged forks can be seen distinctively! The clear and vibrant 2.1-million dot tilting touchscreen LCD makes this camera very easy to compose and work with.

Nikon Z 7/ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S/ FL: 44mm/ Manual exposure (f/5, 1/80 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

For this image I wanted to create a slight sense of the theatrical, and portray the ‘rebirth’ of the bananas, by using strong lighting to create dramatic shadows. Though it is a simple still life image of a dish, the strong performance of the Nikon Z 7 and NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens was able to reproduce the minute details: the surface of this hearty pound cake, with the thick syrup slowly running down, walnuts baked dark. The image reflects how crispy the crumble still is and how golden the rebirth of bananas shines.

Reliable companion for building your personal brand

Only in recent years have I started to show interest in still life photography. I guess it comes with age, as I spent most of my early years as a photographer outside, exploring the world and capturing the stories of people. As life created its path and unfolded itself in front of my eyes, I gradually learned how to gain appreciation of every object, every being, and all of their interrelationships.

For me, it seems that underneath its compact body, the Z 7 hides a trusty old friend—the Nikon D850, and even the other FX-format DSLRs of Nikon. With its excellent dynamic range and low-light performance, this mirrorless camera reproduces details in dark shadows, even when only a small amount of reflective light is used.

I discovered that the Z 7 provides high resolving power through its full-frame backside illumination CMOS sensor featuring 45.7 effective megapixels, allowing minute details, which are essential for my still photography, to be reproduced faithfully. Its high resolution NEF (RAW) file gives me the creative freedom to produce images suitable for a variety of commercial purposes.

With its Picture Control System, which introduces a mid-range sharpening parameter and Creative Picture Control options, I can create unique photographs and videos, and eye-catching visual content.

Whether you are starting to build your career as a creative professional, or capturing personal stories and preserving moments, the Z 7 is your reliable, trusty companion, providing you with exceptional resolving power to reproduce colours and minute details faithfully.

Favourite feature on the Nikon Z series:

Lightweight and compact form

When shooting scenes with depth using deep focus, you would want to use the narrowest possible aperture to make the most of the depth of field. However, diffraction can be problematic. The higher the resolution, the more the fuzzy areas of an image stand out. Using diffraction compensation improves the sharpness of the image.

Ro-Hsuan Chen

Based in Taiwan, Ro-Hsuan is a freelance photographer since 2009, and co-founder of the culinary studio TwoMONTHSperYEAR since 2017. Projects include documentary, commercial and art photography, and her works are about collecting and documenting fragments of life through a foreign eye, consciously selecting the anomalies from the routine and framing those instants into a personal fiction and yet a public true story. Winner of the Silver award in the Advertising / Food category of the 2018 Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA).