Friday, September 28, 2018

More Subway Photos


Once inside the subway station, there's no way to tell if it's day or night.



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Lucid: Chapter One


“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”                              
Henry David Thoreau
“And you’re certain that there’s no danger in any of this?” asked Connor again.   It was the second time he had put the question to the conservatively dressed middle aged man seated opposite him.  He wanted to be sure.  Better careful than sorry after all he had been through in the past few months.
As Connor waited for the professor’s response, he grew restless.  His hands clasped and unclasped as though with a will of their own.  To distract himself, he glanced through the open window beside him.   It was a weekday, and far below he could see students hurrying across campus to get to their classes on time.  The New York City skies overhead were a dazzling bright blue without a single cloud visible on the horizon. 
As Connor looked down, he wondered if he would die right away if he were to throw himself out a window from such a height.  “Why am I here?” he asked himself.
“Danger?”  Casper Elicott, the faculty member in charge of the project to which Connor was seeking admission, seemed genuinely puzzled.  He stroked his goatee thoughtfully as he looked about the room, hoping perhaps to find some answer in the files that lay everywhere strewn about.  “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about,” he said at last.  “It’s a simple study in which we monitor a subject’s ability to direct his dreams as he or she progresses toward a set goal. What danger do you imagine there could possibly be in so straightforward an experiment?  You’ll be in a carefully monitored environment the entire time you’re working with us.”  He explained all this in the same patient tone he might have used with a particularly slow student.
“You’re not going to be trying out any new wonder drugs on me or the others while you’re conducting this experiment, are you?” Connor persisted.  As soon as he had said the words, Connor knew that really wasn’t it and winced.  He wasn’t usually one for dissimulation, not even with himself.
“Drugs?”  Elicott appeared shocked at the very idea.  “I should hope not.  The use of pharmaceuticals would only complicate our procedures and cast doubt on the accuracy of our findings.  For that very reason, if accepted, you will have to agree to abstain from any intoxicants or stimulants, even coffee, for the entire length of the study.   We cannot allow you or the others to partake of any substance that might, however subtly, affect the proper functioning of your mind.”
The two men remained seated.  They stared silently at one another across the width of Elicott’s office, though that may have been too grand a term, Connor decided, for the tiny room in which he found himself.  It was really little more than a cubicle.  Were all the work areas assigned by the university to faculty members so small, he asked himself, or was Elicott’s position more junior than he had at first imagined?  The space, painted a drab battleship gray, was sparsely furnished and contained little more than the professor’s desk and chair and the imitation leather sofa on which Connor now sat.  On the wall in back of the desk was hung an impressive array of elaborately engraved diplomas, every one of them in Latin.  There were no personal items in evidence, only a poorly executed reproduction of a Braque cubist painting that hung forlornly on a far wall and that had probably been there long before Elicott had arrived on the scene.  As he studied it, Connor noticed that the glass in the picture frame was badly cracked; he wondered why the professor hadn’t taken the time to have it repaired.
 “Listen, I understand quite well what lucid dreaming is.  And I wasn’t really worried about any drugs.”  Connor had decided it would be best to be candid.  He paused as he struggled to express his real fear.  “To be honest, I was thinking more about the electricity.”
“The electricity?”  Elicott appeared more perplexed than ever.  He resumed stroking his goatee but more vigorously now.
“Yes, that’s what I said,” Connor insisted.  “I don’t want any shock treatments given me.  I want to make that clear right now.”
“Whatever are you talking about?  You’ve completely lost me, I’m afraid.”  The professor gazed intensely at his visitor as if suddenly uncertain if he were completely rational.
“Please don’t lie to me,” said Connor.  He directed a searching look toward the other.  “I recently read a description of experiments similar to yours that were conducted somewhere in East Europe, in Moldova I think.  The article I saw claimed that researchers there shot an electrical current through the subjects’ brains while they were still asleep in order to better induce the type of dream they wanted.  Is that really true?  If it is, it sounds more like a human rights violation than a medical experiment.”
Once Elicott saw what Connor was driving at, he finally relaxed, gave a short bark of amusement and then sat back in his chair.  “Oh, you’re thinking of the article that appeared last month in that silly parapsychology webzine Mind Over Matter.  I saw it also and had a good laugh over it with my colleagues.  Talk about shoddy reporting.  There were so many inaccuracies in that piece I couldn’t even begin to count them.”  His tone was so dismissive it bordered on contempt.
“So you’re saying there’s nothing in what was written there?”  Connor was still suspicious and not ready to let go.  “I can’t believe the writers there made the whole thing up.  There has to be something to it.”
“Not really.”  Elicott waved his hand airily and permitted himself a brief chuckle.   “While it’s true we do employ a mild electrical charge as a stimulant to a subject’s mental processes while in various sleep stages, the actual amount of voltage is so minimal as to be imperceptible.  In fact, it’s less than that of a flashlight battery.”
“So how safe can that be?” Connor demanded.  He grimaced.  “I’m not looking to become mentally impaired.  I’ve got enough problems as it is.”
“We’re certainly not attempting to electrocute anyone if that’s what you’re worried about.”  Elicott adopted a reassuring tone so natural that Connor suspected at once that it must be an act.  “What we’re actually trying to do is to build on the recent findings of that group of scientists you were reading about.  Those researchers in Moldova were indeed conducting a series of experiments similar to our own.  Unfortunately, they lacked our resources and were not able to continue far enough to bring the experiment to a successful conclusion.  They also encountered unanticipated… technical problems.”  Here Elicott grew visibly uncomfortable and faltered in his explanation.  “In the end, they were able to accomplish little more than to chart the electrical impulses – the brain waves – that accompany the REM stage of sleep.”
“I’ve heard that term, but I’m not exactly sure what it means.”
“REM stands for ‘rapid eye movement.’  It’s one portion, about 25%, of a total night’s sleep and usually occurs near morning when an individual is close to waking.”  Elicott had regained his composure as he warmed to his subject.  “What’s fascinating is that, although the phenomenon was discovered back in the 1950’s, no one is sure even today what its purpose is.”
Connor thought it over.  “So what you’re really saying is that it’s some sort of scientific mystery?  Is that it?”
Elicott was clearly in his element now.  “Pretty much, and that’s why scientists keep studying it.  In this case, the Moldovans attached electrified metal discs to the subjects’ heads while they slept and then ran a simple electro-encephalogram that provided a printout of whatever variations occurred in the brain waves during REM.  It was all pretty cut and dried, nothing more than a gathering of statistics for further research.  No one expected any big surprises to turn up along the way.”
Connor picked up on that.  “But from your tone I take it they did come across something unusual.  What exactly was it they found?  I’d really like to know.”
“When interviewing the subjects afterwards, the researchers discovered quite by accident that several had actually experienced lucid dreams while in the REM stage.  They then went back to the EEG charts and found that at the time those dreams had occurred they had been accompanied by an electrical activity we term ‘gamma waves.’”
Connor shook his head.  “I’m not even going to ask what those are.”
“Good idea.  You could say they’re another scientific mystery.”
“So, let me guess.  Your idea is that if you can fire up these gamma waves, whatever they are, in someone’s head while he’s asleep then you can get him to have lucid dreams of his own.”
“Precisely.”  The professor beamed as brightly as if Connor had solved some abstruse mathematical problem.  “That’s the whole project in a nutshell.”
Connor was not yet convinced.  He had the distinct feeling Elicott was deliberately holding back something from him.  He definitely hadn’t told everything he knew about the Moldovan experiment.  “And could you tell me how you intend going about doing that?”
“We will indeed wire the metal discs placed on the subject’s skull with a slight electric charge, but one so mild it would be almost unnoticeable to him even if he were fully awake.  It’s nothing at all like what you’ve read about online.  Believe me, the university would never allow this project to go forward if there were even the slightest risk involved to any of the participants.”  Elicott smiled reassuringly.  “For one thing, the trustees have no intention of discovering the limits of their liability insurance in the event a lawsuit were to be brought against the school.”
Connor made up his mind.  “Well, if there’s no danger, then I’m in.”  He looked inquiringly at Elicott.  “If you want me to join that is.”
“Oh, yes,” said the professor.  “I’ve been all through your records and was very pleased by what I saw.  You graduated from this very university with honors and scored well enough on the Wechsler and the Stanford-Binet intelligence scales to qualify for MENSA.  Though you’re now unemployed, you have a steady work record and no drug or alcohol dependency.  On the personality profiles, you showed a tendency to depression and proved something of an introvert, but there’s nothing that would rise to the level of neurosis.  In other words, you’re a normal human being.”  He once again smiled.  “That’s what we look for in choosing our subjects.”
Connor had another question.  “What about my age?  Is that going to be a factor?  I’m probably a lot older than most of the college kids you’ve signed up.”
“You’re 42, which is still a relatively young age in our society.  While it’s true that the amount of REM sleep an individual experiences during his lifetime decreases with age, I don’t believe that will be any problem for a healthy individual still only at the threshold  of middle age.  Besides, we want some variety in our test subjects precisely so we can determine if age does in fact play a part in our findings.”
“Good enough then.  What happens next?”
“It’s simplicity itself.  All you have to do is spend your nights here at our facilities while we monitor your sleep patterns.  As I’ve already told you, no drugs will be administered.  That’s because sleeping pills actually inhibit REM sleep.  Their use would be counterproductive.”
“I assume you’ll have me hooked up the whole time to that EEG machine you were telling me about.”
“We’ll actually be using a more sophisticated form of measurement.  A polysomnogram records not only brain wave patterns but also eye movements, muscle activity and respiratory functions.  It’s much more comprehensive than a simple EEG.”
 “That’s it with the questions then.”  Connor was eager to move on.  “I’m ready to start whenever you want me to be here.”
“You can report to our laboratory downstairs in this building on Monday at 7 p.m.”
“Sure.  I’ll be on time.”  Connor rose from his seat and reached for the backpack he had placed on the floor beside him.  “If there’s nothing else, I guess I’ll be on my way then.”
Elicott coughed discreetly.  “There is one question I have that wasn’t covered in our initial screening interviews.”
Connor returned reluctantly to his seat.  He seemed to retreat inside himself as he tapped his fingers nervously on the arm of his chair.  “And what’s that?” he asked warily.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to better understand your reasons for wanting to participate in the experiment in the first place.  The compensation we offer is only $15 per hour; that’s not a great deal for someone of your ability, especially considering the inconvenience of sleeping in a laboratory setting night after night.  I’ve tried it myself and found it can be rather uncomfortable at times.”
Connor let out a long breath.  He’d been anticipating a different line of questioning.  “Does it really make any difference?” he asked.
“I don’t want to be inquisitive,” Elicott apologized, “but you must understand that for the good of the project I need to know as much as I can about those who have chosen to participate in it.  A given subject’s motivation can be vital to his success… or failure.”
Connor shrugged.  “For someone who’s been out of work in this economy as long as I have, $15 an hour is nothing to sneeze at.  It may not be much, but it will at least allow me to keep going.  That’s important.”
Elicott frowned.  “So your only incentive then is the money you’ll earn?  That’s not a very idealistic cause.”
“I’m sorry, but I’d be lying to you if I told you that wasn’t the main reason I’m here.  I have to eat and pay my rent.  At the same time, though, there is one aspect of my dreams I’d like to explore more fully during the course of the experiment if it’s at all possible.”
Elicott regarded him curiously.  “And what might that be?”
“It goes back to my love of books.  I was an English lit major when I was a student here, you know, and reading has always been one of my great passions.”
“Yes, I saw that on your record.”  Elicott pointed to a manila folder in front of him.  “You excelled in that one subject above all others.” 
“Yes, I guess that’s where my talent lay all right.”  Connor gave a wry smile.  “The problem is that I could never figure a way to make a living at it.  I certainly was never cut out to be a teacher myself.”
“And what connection does your love of literature have with this project?”  The professor showed no sign of impatience as he asked the question.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve had one particular dream about books that’s always bothered me and left me feeling frustrated when I woke up.”
“What’s the dream about?” asked Elicott.  Now that the conversation had turned to dream content, he appeared much more involved.  “You said it left you feeling frustrated.  Did it have to do with a specific book?”
 “No, that’s not it.”  Connor shook his head.  “It’s actually a very simple scenario.  In my dream, I’ll be alone in a library or bookstore where I’m surrounded by shelves and shelves of books.  Usually the books are all expensive looking leather-bound or cloth-bound volumes.   Sometimes they’re covered in layers of dust, as though they haven’t been opened in years, and they’re so old that they might belong to another century.  The problem is that while even in my dream I’m intensely curious which books they are, try as I might I’m never able to open a single one of them or even make out a title.  Or at least none that I can remember when I eventually wake up.”
“And so what you want to do in a lucid dream is to will yourself to examine the books more closely so that you’re able to see their titles and the names of their authors and maybe even read a bit of what’s inside them?”
“Yes, exactly.”  Connor was grateful to be so well understood.
 Elicott clapped his hands.  “That’s fascinating.  I’ve often heard of such dreams but have never before met anyone who’d actually experienced them.”
“I worked in the university library when I was in college here and had part time jobs at bookstores afterwards.  Maybe that’s where the idea comes from.”
“Possibly.  To be honest, though, I don’t believe the source is all that important.  It’s the concept that I find intriguing.”
“Is it something you’ll allow me to work on in this project then?”
“Oh, most definitely.  My colleagues and I have been scratching our heads for months as we’ve attempted to come up with a list of logical tasks which we can instruct our subjects to perform in their dreams.  It’s not as easy as you would think.  What you’ve arrived at on your own is perfect for our purposes.”
“I’ve always wondered why I’ve had this dream so often.  Is it just my love of books that’s involved here, or does the dream have some deeper meaning?  I even went through Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams at one point, but it really wasn’t that much help.”
“I’m no psychologist, of course – though we do have an excellent psychiatrist, Dr. Reicha, on staff – but it might be that you are indeed aware on some level of the content of these books and that they have some relevance to your present life situation.  Perhaps your unconscious is trying to bring something to your attention that it feels you need to know.”
Connor laughed.  “My unconscious is doing a terrible job then.  If I don’t know what’s in the books they can’t be of very much use to me.”
Elicott held up one hand.  “Don’t take my remarks too literally.  They were just conjecture.  For that matter, it’s not very scientific of me to be taking guesses at matters outside my sphere of competence.”
“I don’t know about that.  Your idea makes as much sense as any I’ve thought of myself.  You might be on to something.”
“It’s a point you and Dr. Reicha can discuss when you eventually meet.  He’s much better qualified to perform such analyses than I am.  The man is a specialist on the subject.  He’s already written one volume on dreams that’s considered so authoritative it’s used as a textbook in many universities, including our own.”
Once again Connor appeared ill at ease.  “Psychoanalysis is part of the program then?  I’ve never been that comfortable with the idea of anyone probing inside my head.  It’s always seemed to me a terrible invasion of privacy.”
“You have nothing to worry about on that score,” Elicott assured him.  “This is a research project we’re pursuing, and there’s no room in it for any form of therapy.   No one has any desire to tinker with your psyche.  On the other hand, it would be foolish to neglect the vast literature that psychiatrists, and not only Freud, have amassed regarding dream interpretation.  A trained analyst is very likely to find significance in a dream, lucid or otherwise, that might completely escape the rest of us.  For that reason, Dr. Reicha will interview each subject whenever that individual has had a dream and will attempt to analyze its content so that all involved will be better able to understand it scope and appreciate its full meaning.”
Connor relaxed.  “I have no problem with that.”
“Good.”  This time it was the professor who rose from his seat.  “I think that covers just about everything then.  I’ll look forward to seeing you on Monday.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

Psychedelic Leaf


The leaf was very large and thick, but the sunlight filtered through it beautifully.  Photographed in Central Park's Shakespeare Garden.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Lonely Figure on the Subway


If there's one place to feel a sense of esixtential alienation in New York City, it's on a deserted subway platform late at night.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lucid: Prologue

The dream images were twisted memories come back to haunt him.
Connor was in the apartment he had once shared with his wife Jocelyn on West 21st Street near Eighth Avenue.  The building was located around the corner from an art school; most of the other tenants were students.  The sounds of their raucous laughter and of the hip hop music they played so loudly came drifting up the shaftway outside his bedroom window.  In his dream, Connor lay listening without paying attention, his thoughts on the problem that had been worrying him for weeks and that he still had not been able to resolve.  He had asked the I Ching what was to happen.  The book lay open on the bed beside him.
Jocelyn entered the room.  She was wearing her best black dress, the one he had bought as a present for her thirtieth birthday.  It had cost him almost a week’s pay.  Seeing he was awake, Jocelyn bent over him and kissed him lightly on the cheek.  “Why are you just lying here when it’s such a beautiful day outside?” she asked.  “Aren’t you feeling well?”
Connor regarded her warily.  “No, I’m fine.  I was just lying here thinking.”
“Thinking about what?”  Her voice was unconcerned.  “Anything in particular?”
He watched her out of the corner of his eye.  “About that job you keep bothering me about, the one you’re after me to pull.  It’s too dangerous.”
“Then don’t do it,” said Jocelyn coldly.  “If you want to stay poor all your life, that’s your business.  But if you had any feeling at all you’d see how hard it is on me getting up at six every morning and then having to ride the C train to a shit job.  I can’t take much more.”
“You’re not the only one in this city who has to work for a living,” Connor reminded her.  “A lot of people are unemployed and would be happy as hell to have something steady.”
“They’re welcome to it.”  Jocelyn sighed.  “I want the good life.”  She picked up the I Ching from the bed and glanced at it scornfully.  “I suppose your Chinese fortune cookie told you to stick to the straight and narrow.”  She began to read aloud at the page the book lay open to.  “‘One should not marry such a woman.’”  She tossed it down in disgust.
“That’s the judgment on the 44th hexagram,” Connor told her.  He knew how pretentious he must sound.  “That was what came up when I asked the oracle what I should do.”
“A little late for that advice, don’t you think?  You should have looked at it a few years ago before you proposed to me.”
“I did as a matter of fact.  And the exact same hexagram came up then too.  I was just too much in love to believe it could be true.  I should have had more sense.”
“Oh, please.  How much of this shit do I have to listen to?”
Connor tried to pull his wife down onto the bed beside him.  “Why don’t we ever make love anymore?  Whenever we’re alone, you always find an excuse not to.”
“No, no way.”  Jocelyn extricated herself from Connor’s grasp and moved deliberately to the door.  “There are too many things to get done before your friend Gallagher gets here for dinner.  You invited him.  Remember?  I’ve got to get the roast in the oven or there won’t be any food to put on the table.”
“Gallagher?”
“Yes, Gallagher.”  Jocelyn’s voice trailed off behind her as she left the room.  “You’ve known him all your life.”
The scene changed abruptly and Connor was back in his cell on Rikers.  The flat glare from the searchlights raked the wall opposite him.  He could hear shouting and the sounds of gunfire in the yard outside.
“There’s been a break,” said his cellmate, a pimply faced youth whose name Connor had never been able to remember.  “They’ll be locking us down soon,” the kid continued.  “You just wait and see.”  He sat nervously on the edge of his cot while smoking a cigarette.   Though the night air was hot and humid, he was shivering. 
“That’s pretty funny,” said Connor.  He pointed to the barred door of the cell.  “Locked down?  How the hell are we going to be any more locked down than we already are?”  He began to laugh shrilly at his own joke and then realized he couldn’t stop.  As the sound grew louder and more terrifying, the young guy jumped up and began to nervously pace the length of the tiny cage they were trapped in.  The sight only made Connor laugh more wildly.  The sound of it grew deafening and reverberated off the walls.
“Shut the fuck up, man,” the kid shouted as he tried to cover his ears.  “What’s wrong with you anyway?  You nuts, or what?”
Connor shook his head to show he wasn’t able to stop.  The hysteria welled up from too deep within him.
The cellmate raced to his bunk and pulled from beneath the mattress a long shard of glass wrapped in a filthy piece of cloth.  He turned toward Connor while still gripping the makeshift weapon in his hand.  “Stop it, man, or I’ll slit your throat.  So help me I will.”
Connor looked up at the frightened figure standing over him.  He wanted to explain, to tell the other that it wasn’t possible to control himself.  No words came from his mouth, though, only the laughter that had by now become a scream.  He was paralyzed by terror, waiting powerlessly for what must occur next.
The young man had begun to cry.  “Stop it, stop it,” he moaned over and over.  He brandished the piece of glass whose edge, Connor could see, was razor sharp.  It glittered as the light from outside fell upon it.
Connor frantically tried to raise himself from the bed.
The other bent lower.  His eyes gleamed crazily.
The scene changed again and Connor found himself back in the library in the small Ohio town where he had spent his childhood.   Wood paneled and with flowers set in glass vases on the tabletops, it was a slice of Americana from a Norman Rockwell painting.
Bright sunlight shone through the white-curtained windows and onto the oak bookcases where freshly dusted volumes were lined up in even rows.  Newspapers and periodicals lay neatly arranged on the topmost shelves.
Connor was a thirteen year old again, dressed in a white shirt and plaid shorts.  He had come to the library to finish his homework and prepare for his final exams. 
“Are you excited to be graduating from eighth grade?” asked the librarian as she passed close to Connor’s table.  She was a plain woman in her mid-thirties who favored tortoiseshell glasses and shapeless cotton dresses.  Her limp brown hair was held back by pink plastic clips.
“Oh, yes, Mrs. Jackson,” Connor replied.  “I can’t wait.  Once I’m in high school I’ll be able to borrow the same books as adults take out.  I’ve already read just about everything you have for children.”
The librarian ruffled his hair fondly.  “It’s wonderful to meet a youngster with such a love of reading.  It will take you far in life.”  She smiled mischievously.  “There really isn’t any reason you should have to wait another month to start reading the classics, is there?  Not when there’s so much in them for you to learn.  If you want to begin browsing through them now, that’s fine.  No one’s going to stop you.”
Connor was thrilled.  “Do you mean it?  Is it really all right if I start looking at those books?”
“Help yourself,” said Mrs. Jackson as she walked away.  She gave him a glance over her shoulder.  “I certainly hope you find something in them you like.”
Connor couldn’t believe his luck.  He stood up from the table where he’d been seated and ran to the nearest bookcase.  All the volumes in it were the same size and, he thought, probably formed a set of some sort.  He tried to read the titles but the words that had been printed on the spines had faded with time and were now indecipherable.  Connor moved hurriedly to the next case but encountered the same problem there.  Everywhere he looked were books, but all their titles and the names of their authors were obscured.  Try as he might, there was no way he could read what was written on their covers.  He picked one up at random and opened it.  Inside, on the title page, were only strange hieroglyphic symbols where characters of the alphabet should have appeared.  Connor slammed the book down.  It gave a sharp crack as its leather cover hit the table.
With that, Connor awoke. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Serializing My Novel Lucid


Now that summer's almost over it's time to start posting here again.  One of my first projects will be to serialize my novel Lucid.  This was my second (self) published novel and my favorite among them because it turned out to be exactly the type of story I'd wanted to write when I was majoring in English lit in college so many years ago.  Lucid may not be a masterpiece, but writing it was a learning experience for me, one that gave me a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction.

As for the plot, here's the blurb I put up on Amazon.  The wording may be a little over the top, but it does provide a fairly concise summary.
An amazing account of one man's journey into the depths of his unconscious mind. Connor, an unemployed ex-con, eagerly agrees to take part in a university experiment that employs advanced technology to investigate the phenomenon of "lucid dreaming" - the ability to control one's dreams and give them direction. At first, all proceeds as planned in a carefully monitored academic environment. Soon, however, strange events occur that suggest the project may have crossed beyond the bounds of the purely scientific into that of the paranormal. The first hint that all is not as it seems comes when Connor finds himself reading in his dream a play that in the physical world has long been considered a lost work. Then a mysterious young woman appears and inexplicably offers to become Connor's guide in mapping the shadowy terrain of his dream life. As he gains ever greater mastery of his new found talents, Connor discovers that he possesses psychic powers that enable him to revisit past lives. Together with his beautiful guide Deirdre, he travels through time to scenes as diverse as New York's East Village rock scene in 1970 and a serene temple in ancient Japan in the year 1004. Meanwhile, in real time, a bitter enemy plots to put Connor back in prison. Who'll be able to stop him?
I'll be posting one chapter each Wednesday for the next several months.  I hope you'll read the installments and enjoy the book.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Nikon Announces New Mirrorless Cameras

After having released teases all through the month of August, Nikon recently announced its entry into the mirrorless camera market with two full frame models, available in stores September 27th, that are aimed at both professional and advanced amateur photographers - the top-end Z7 and the more reasonably priced Z6.

Both cameras feature a new lens mount, and Nikon has accordingly released three new lenses to be used with them - a 24-70mm f4, a 35mm f1.8, and a 50mm f1.8 (the last not available until late October).  Those, like myself, who already own a large selection of Nikon glass, however, need not worry since the manufacturer has also made available a converter that will enable the new cameras to accept F mount lenses.

DPreview has already published a "first impressions" review of the Z7 that is generally favorable.  The review also contains a helpful chart that compares the Z7 specs not only to those of the Nikon D850 but also, and perhaps more usefully, to those of the Sony a7R III.  Not surprisingly, the specs of all three are fairly similar, most noticeably in price and pixel count.  The Z7, though, does boast a newly designed sensor that features 493 focus points.  It is also the first Nikon camera to move image stabilization from the lens to the body.

It was only a matter of time until Nikon entered the mirrorless camera market after the spectacular success of Sony's line, and now it has to play catch up with a competitor whose highly regarded mirrorless cameras have already lured away a good number of former DSLR users.  In doing so, it will rely heavily on the prestige of the Nikon name but that might actually prove a liability since that same name is in many shooters' minds irretrievably linked with bulkier DSLR's such as the D850.

I plan on attending the Photo Expo here in New York City in late October and should then have an opprortunity for a close up look at the two cameras.

In the meantime, Nikon has announced that it has been so flooded with pre-orders for the Z7 that not some who have pre-ordered will have to wait past September 27 to receive their cameras.