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Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 1 of 15

Class Introduction


Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 1 of 15

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome everybody to the Nikon Z7 and Z6 Fast Start. My name is John Greengo and in this class we're gonna be doing a complete look through and examination of the Z7 and Z6 cameras. We're gonna go through all the dials and buttons, we're gonna talk about what they do and how to set them for a variety of types of uses. We're gonna go through the entire menu system and talk about what all the features are, what they do and how you might want to set the camera up for what you want to do. Along with this class, the purchase of the class, you do get this recommended settings guide that I have put out. And what I've always tried to do in the past is to take the entire menu system, because I'm a very visual person, I like to see all the menu on a single page. And I didn't do that this time because there are so many things in the menu, I've had to move it on to two pages. And so there is the entire menu on one page and then continued on to a second page along with my recommended settings, at l...

east for anybody getting started with this camera, there are recommendations in there for more advanced users and basic users. And then as you get towards the back of this, there'll be some other information about setting up the camera for different types of photography. So this goes along with the presentation in the class, so you might want to have that with you as well. So I guess before we get too much into the class, I should just talk about this camera a little bit. I'm a long-time Nikon user, in fact Nikon was the first interchangeable lens camera that I had back in the late 80s. And I got it because I asked my teacher at the time, what do most professionals shoot, and that was Nikon. And so I says, Okay, I want to get something that works in that ecosystem. And they've continued to use that lens mount and this is the first camera of the next generation for Nikon. So obviously it's a big and important camera for them because it's groundbreaking, all-new territory and you can tell the engineers have done their homework, they've really thought about things and they put together a really, really well put together piece of equipment. I've taken this out shooting this a number of times and have very much enjoyed it. This is not a review of the camera, this class, this is how to work the camera, but my general thoughts are this is a fantastic camera. Right now it's new, so there's not a lot of lenses, so the ecosystem is kind of small, but there is the adapter, the mount adapter, so you can use all the older Nikon lenses. And my feeling is as people start shifting to mirrorless, you're gonna start seeing people move out of their DSLRs and their lenses and those DSLR lenses are gonna be a little bit more affordable in the future. So if you don't mind using the adapter, you can still get a lot of quality glass for this going forward as they introduce more and more lenses that are directly mountable onto this camera. So let's go ahead and get into a quick introduction about what we're going to be doing into this class. All right, so I've broken this class up into a few different sections. We're gonna start with a quick class overview to talk about what we're gonna talk about. A few minutes of photo basics for anyone who is kinda new to photography or just wants to brush up on a few minutes of the basics. Most of the class is gonna be in the camera controls and menu functions and this is where we go through in detail each of the individual parts of the camera and what it does and then finally, we'll end it off with camera operation. I'll give you a few tips on how to set the camera up for different types of photography. Now this class is not directly a substitute for the instruction manual. There's still some things in the instruction manual that are valuable, but I've tried to take everything that's important and critical for most users who are trying to get the highest quality images and trying to operate the camera in a manual manner. And I've included that in this class, but there are some other little deep stats and other things in that instruction manual that you may need around from time to time. Now this class is not a substitute for a basic photography class. If you've just gotten into photography and you are taking this class 'cause you want to learn how to use your camera, great, that's a good place to start. But there is the whole world shutter speeds and apertures and exposure and focusing and composition and lighting that we're not even really going to get into at all in this class because we're so focused on what this camera does and how to work this particular camera. So if you are looking for a photography class, there's lots of great classes out there. I have a couple of classes, one's a little bit shorter, ones a little bit longer, depending on how in-depth into the subject you want to get in and those are both available here at CreativeLive. If you are new to Nikon, well Nikon has been around for more than hundred years now. They started with rangefinder cameras, they wanted to make something small and portable, then the whole system kind of shifted towards single-lens reflex and so their first camera was a very professional level camera at the time, their Nikon F mount and that is the lens mount that they have carried forward and is still current today, albeit in some slightly modified forms. Next big change for them was in 'bout 1986, where they introduced their first autofocus camera and autofocus lenses and so lenses went through another change over at this point, changing them from manual to autofocus. And then the next big change came with digital, the D1, their first digital camera. I Remember this one it was highly sought after by the professionals because it had a whopping 2.7-megapixels and was less than $5,000 in price. In 2011 Nikon experimented with mirrorless cameras and so for about six or seven years, they had this Nikon one system that had interchangeable lenses, it was a mirrorless camera, had very fast autofocus, but it also had a very small sensor and so it was not real popular among the enthusiasts or serious or professional photographers. And I think it's where Nikon was kind of dipping their toes in the world of mirrorless to see what works, what doesn't work, what would they do if they wanted to design a full-on, full-frame professional system. And I'm sure that they used a lot of that information in the development of this camera. So it was introduced in 2018. It's the new Nikon Z mount system. So we have a whole new set of lenses and they've changed the size of the lens mount, they've changed the distance between the mount and the sensor and so the lenses are very different. And so we'll talk definitely more about that as we go through the class today. So the Nikon system as it stands today, the recording of this particular class, the Nikon SLR system is the majority of their business, They make full-frame cameras, they make crop-frame cameras that range from entry-level to top-of-the-line professional cameras and this is the system that they've been working with for quite some time. And so we now have a new mirrorless system in the full-frame, the Z7 and the Z6. And there is somewhat limited compatibility between various pieces here and so I'll talk more about that when we get more into the lens section, but you can use the older F mount lenses on these new Z cameras with the right adapter. At this time, they do not make a 1.5 crop mirrorless camera. As far as the rumors go, some people think they might, some people think maybe they're not going to and they'll just stay full frame, nobody knows. Not really an issue at this point. And so they're concentrating on full-frame mirrorless with these cameras. As far as the care and handling of this camera, there's a lot of things you're obviously not supposed to do and I'm not going to bother with them 'cause I've got pages of that in the instruction manual, but the camera is weather sealed. It is considered to be dust and drip resistant and that really doesn't have an exact definition. Can it handle a rain? Yeah, how much rain, how long? I don't know. It'll depend a little bit on the weather sealing of the particular lens you have on there. It's not something that I would stick underwater for sure. It's not something that I would want to go out and shoot in a heavy rainstorm for a long period of time. It's probably fine for a moderate amount of time. And so it is the same weather ceiling as the D850, which is a very professional level camera. Not actually their top-of-the-line professional camera, but it is a professional-level camera. So it is quite good, but you do want to be careful if you're gonna get around excessive amounts of water. All right, let's make sure that your camera and lens is ready for today's class. You'll need a battery, it takes about two and a half hours to charge it, you'll need one of the XQD memory cards, you'll need to put on a lens, make sure the lens is in autofocus, there's a switch on the side of the lens and then turn the zoom ring to the shooting position if that applies to you. So let me show you on my camera right here because I do have this 24 to 70 F/ and this is part of their S-line of lenses, which is their entire lineup of lenses. And this has a retracted non-shooting position when it's set to this white dot, which is a little off from the 24. So if you want to shoot pictures here, if you turn it on, on the back of the camera, you're going to get this little warning that you need to extend the lens to its shooting position. Now some people might find this a little bit frustrating, that you have to turn it over here, it's not that big a deal, but it helps make the lens a little bit smaller when you are not using the camera so that you can put it in a slightly smaller bag. I think in my opinion, Nikon missed an opportunity here and they could have labeled this a T lens as a travel lens, that's very good for travel photography and this is something that a traveling photographer would like, as you know, a good nice zoom range. And then when it's not being used, it's a little bit smaller when it's put away in the camera bag. But in any case, Nikon calls all of their lenses S-line lenses right now and so you do need to have it out into that shooting position before you start shooting. Next up, go ahead and turn the camera on which is right around the shutter release, you can move the mode dial to the auto section. That kind of hurts me personally, but for simplicity it's perfectly fine. And then go ahead and press down on the shutter release to take a photo and I'm going to do all of that right now myself put it over here on my test scene, just to make sure, yes, camera is working and it is ready to go in this class. All right, let's talk about the Z7 versus Z6 for the moment. I was kind of torn into bits as to whether to create two classes when these cameras came out, do one for the Z6, and another one for the Z because I like to have a class that's really dedicated and hones in on one specific product. And I says, Well, let me just dig into the details and see how much of a difference between these two cameras there is. And the difference between the two really just comes down to the sensor. There's like two small things other than the sensor, but it's the resolution of the sensor and everything else that's kinda related to that. So with the sensor, we have a 45 and a 24-megapixel sensor, different resolution between the two. And what that means is that the camera's ISO range is gonna be slightly different between the two. And so the Z7's native resolution, the best quality images, the best quality information is going to come at ISO 64, for the Z6, it's going to be at 100. The camera I have in front of me is the Z7. It doesn't really matter for this class, it could have been the Z6, but that's just what I have in front of me here. The number of focusing points, and I don't know if this is directly due to the sensor and where the focusing points are or if they just decided to give the Z7 more focusing points, I think it's just related to the pixels and how the sensor is designed. We do have more focusing points on the Z7. How this actually affects focusing out in the real world, I haven't done a direct comparison, but from all the information I've been able to gather, it's virtually non-existent. You can be a little bit more precise about where the focusing point is with the Z7, but it's insignificant and I wouldn't be buying one camera over the other because of that. The maximum frames per second is going to have to deal with how much information the cameras recording at any one point in time and so if you're shooting less resolution, you are going to be able to shoot at faster frames per second, which means the buffer, how many images you can shoot at one time, is also going to be higher and so that's a bit of an advantage with the Z6. The 4K video is gonna be a little bit higher quality with the Z6 because of the way that information is being oversampled and recorded into that video file. And so people who have done the video comparisons have noticed a little bit better image quality with the Z6 than the Z7. Z7 for people doing landscapes is probably the best or travel photography, portrait product photography for shooting video, for shooting action, maybe the Z six is a slightly better version of the two cameras. I did an extensive search through both cameras side by side in the menu system looking for differences and there was only one difference that I could find other than resolution rates and size of files and so forth. And that was there is a four by five cropping option in the Z7 that is not there in the Z6. Now, of course, if you have a z6, you can just crop your image into four by five after the fact, you just can't do it in-camera. So that's the only menu item difference between the two cameras, they all have, both cameras have exactly the same button layout, the shell of the camera is the same, the only exterior difference that you're going to see is on the label and title of the camera where it says Z and Z7 and when you go through the menu system, the four by five crop is the only additional feature that you're going to see in the Z7. The battery life is got a slight difference between the two. I have no idea why the Z7 is a little bit longer, but it's only a very small amount at that. So that's your class overview for the Z7 and Z6.

Class Description


  • Easily navigate the controls, menus, modes, and settings on the Z6 and Z7
  • Shoot with confidence in full manual mode
  • Utilize advanced features like focus stacking
  • Use the 4k film options for incredible video performance
  • Adjust camera settings to shoot in challenging situations, such as low light
  • Master the autofocus system and different autofocus modes
  • Understand the camera's strengths and limitations
  • Choose the right lenses and accessories for the Z series cameras


The Nikon Z6 and Z7 wrap several advanced features in a compact mirrorless system -- but as first generation full-frame cameras, there's no precedent to get a jump start on exactly where all those features are. Covering both the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 with nearly identical control schemes, this Fast Start class quickly brings you up to speed on using Nikon's new full frame mirrorless cameras. These mirrorless digital cameras offer 4K UHD video recording, superb in-body image stabilization, and excellent low light capabilities. But the Nikon’s long list of features is just money wasted if you don’t actually know how to find them and put them to use.

Skip the floundering through menus and join photographer John Greengo exploring the camera’s many features, from customizing the camera to understanding subject-tracking focus. Locate the controls, find hidden features, and put the camera's advanced features to use, whether you are new to interchangeable lens cameras or have shot Nikon DSLRs for years.

This class is designed for photographers using either the Nikon Z7 or Nikon Z6, from those just pulling it out of the box to photographers that just haven’t found all the camera’s features yet. The class can also serve as an in-depth look if you’re not yet sure if the Nikon Z6 or Z7 is the best camera for you. The Nikon camera class covers the camera from the exterior controls to the menu.

What's packed in this Nikon camera Fast Start? Learn the vital information in less time than it takes to analyze the menu -- and have more fun doing it too.


  • New Nikon Z6 or Z7 camera owners
  • Nikon DSLR shooters moving to the mirrorless system
  • Photographers considering buying the Z6 or Z7
  • Photographers, from beginners to advanced
  • Videographers and vloggers


With more than 50 classes exploring the features of interchangeable lens cameras across half a dozen brands, John Greengo is one of CreativeLive's top instructors. His class list includes Fast Starts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic, as well as classes covering photography basics and beyond. Shooting his first Nikon in the 1980s, the award-winning photographer is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of different cameras and different camera brands. When he's not teaching, he's building on his three decades of experience as a travel and landscape photographer.


  1. Class Introduction

    Get acquainted with Nikon's new full-frame mirrorless cameras. In the first lesson, see what's so different about the Z series, look at lenses and the FTZ adapter, and gain an overview of the class.

  2. Photo Basics

    In this lesson, John explains several basics for photographers picking up an interchangeable lens camera for the first time before diving into the controls on the Z6 and Z7. Quickly learn basics -- or gain a refresher -- on aperture, shutter speed, and image sensors. Then, get acquainted with the physical controls on the camera body.

  3. Exposure Control

    Dive into the different exposure modes on the Z6 and Z7. Locate where the essential exposure details are inside the electronic viewfinder or EVF. Learn to shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual mode, as well as digging into unique options like bulb.

  4. Camera Controls: Top Deck

    Continue the tour of the camera at the top. Find the ISO controls, including understanding the high ISO limits and turning auto ISO on and off. Dive into ISO performance and how the image quality stacks up between the Z6 and Z7 from the base ISOs and ISO 100 to high ISOs. Learn to adjust exposure compensation, record a video, and understand the top control panel.

  5. Camera Controls: Back Side Control

    At the back of the camera, explore the electronic viewfinder and tilting LCD screen with Live View, learn to read the different symbols, and customize the settings displayed on the EVF. Then, work with the physical controls at the rear of the camera.

  6. Camera Controls: Back Side Control Continued

    Continue exploring the back of the camera. Dive into the different options in the quick menu or "i" menu. Adjust colors and contrast with camera picture controls for JPEG images. Set the compression for shooting in RAW, link with Wi-Fi and SnapBridge, turn on continuous shooting with burst mode and more using the quick menu.

  7. Left Side & Right Side, Bottom and Front

    Move to the sides, front and bottom of the camera. Locate the different ports, XQD memory card slot, and other features. Dig into the different accessories for the camera, from microphones to battery grips, and learn the limitations of the EN-EL15b battery life and the differences between XQD cards and CFexpress. Finally, take a look at the full-frame sensors and the difference between the higher-resolution Z7 and the faster Z6.

  8. Lenses

    The Z series is compatible with F-mount lenses (and DX lenses cropped) using the FTZ adapter -- but the cameras also launched with its own new Z-mount lenses. Learn the controls that are located on the Nikkor Z lenses themselves instead of the camera and the new Z lenses available so far, like the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S and Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8.

  9. Menu Functions: Image Quality

    Decipher the menu on the Z6 and Z7, starting with the playback and photo shooting menus. Customize your camera's playback displays, organize files, and choose the image quality such as 12-bit or 14-bit RAW. See real-world examples of what the different image quality settings look like.

  10. Menu Functions: Shooting Settings

    After setting the image quality, work through the different available shooting settings located in the menu system like white balance, flicker reduction, metering, flash controls, and other advanced controls.

  11. Menu Functions: Focus Settings

    Tackle focus stacking using the built-in focus shift shooting feature on the Z6 and Z7. Then, choose between the mechanical and silent shutter and learn the pros and cons of each.

  12. Menu Functions: Movie Settings

    Ready to capture video with the Z6 or Z7? Learn the ins and outs of the different video settings, from video quality to slow motion frame rates and white balance. Master the difference between AF-C and Full-Time Autofocus.

  13. Menu Functions: Set Up

    Inside the custom setting menu, the Z6 and Z7 allow you to customize the camera for your shooting style. Work through the different available options, beginning with the phase detection autofocus options.

  14. Menu Functions: Playback Menu

    Fine-tune the way the camera works with the setup menu. Pick up advanced tools like AF fine tune, recording N-Log with HDMI output external recording equipment and more, along with basics like setting the time stamp.

  15. Camera Operations

    Finish navigating the camera menu with a quick overview of the retouch menu with in-camera RAW processing. Then, make the most frequently used settings easy to find by building a custom My Menu. Finally, go through a pre-shoot checklist for prepping the camera and note suggested settings for different scenarios.


Edward Luczak

I love all of John Greengo's classes. Now he is a Canon man but he gives the Nikons a fair review and his lessons on them are excellent. I have the Z6 and I picked up a several pointers I had not run across yet, so this course has paid for itself already. The only negative I have, and hopefully this is because the course was streaming, but the camera focus was off when the video was zoomed into the Z camera. John may need to give the creative live camera operators a lesson on focusing. Great informative course at an excellent price.


Thank you very much, John! I've been using Z 6 for 18 months, so far, and now I've got Z 6 II as well and your training about these cameras is just an excellent job. Of course I've been following you in other trainings as well, like "Photography Fundamentals" (or something like that) and I've got some of your books too, all excellent, but with this Z 6/7 training have been useful to learn some new things and to remember others already forgotten. Thanks a lot!.

Lynn Fisher

Loved the class. Just bought the Z6ii (waiting for it to ship) , so this is a great introduction. Would greatly appreciate it if John could add one more chapter to this class - Tell us about the Z6ii and Z7ii updates. It seems Nikon has addressed a lot of the concerns (particularly 2 card slots), so it might be very helpful for folks trying to decide on which camera to buy. Thanks!!!