Nikon Z FC review: fashion over focus

Taking pictures with my 1967 35mm Nikkormat FTN makes me really feel highly effective. Its all-metal physique with mechanical springs, gears, and levers create a loud, satisfying “clunk” with each shutter press and deep “zip” when advancing the movie. Its silver metallic physique with black faux-leather accents has confirmed to be not solely timeless and attention-grabbing however, extra importantly, extremely sturdy. And the aperture, shutter velocity, and ISO settings being positioned across the barrel of the lens make it extremely fast to regulate as soon as your muscle reminiscence has been established.

Outdoors of the good photos this digital camera can seize, utilizing the FTN is an extremely enjoyable and satisfying expertise. And the Nikon Z FC, Nikon’s newest entry-level mirrorless digital camera, led me to consider that I’d, in the end, have a near-exact digital reproduction of a digital camera I really like a lot. Sadly, the Z FC wasn’t meant to digitally replicate a traditional however, as a substitute, encourage a brand new technology to hold a digital camera outdoors of their telephones.

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The articulating display screen makes this digital camera vlog and selfie-ready.


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The faux-leather wrap-around design seems to be nice from afar.

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The Z FC is a plastic tackle Nikon’s 35mm F cameras.

Verge Rating

7.5 out of 10

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Good Stuff

  • Fairly priced
  • Seems to be nice from afar
  • Dials for days

Dangerous Stuff

  • Gradual package lens
  • Plasticky really feel
  • Extremely vibrant focus help gentle at night time

The Nikon Z FC is a compact APS-C, 20.9-megapixel digital camera. The physique prices $959.95; the $1,096.95 package I used to be in a position to check included a Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens that retracts when not in use for a slim silhouette.

It’s a retro rebrand of Nikon’s entry-level mirrorless digital camera, the Nikon Z50, with a number of added options, akin to full-time eye autofocus whereas taking pictures video, the power to simply accept firmware updates by way of an app, a quicker USB-C port for charging and information switch, and a completely articulating LCD display screen. Not like Nikon’s earlier Df, which took a DSLR and stripped out options within the identify of its retro rebuild, the FC isn’t hampered in any respect — it will probably shoot full-resolution stills as much as 11 frames per second and 4K 30fps video for as much as half-hour at a time.

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There’s a micro HDMI, USB-C, and mic port on the left facet.

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The battery compartment additionally homes the SD card slot.

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The Z FC makes use of the identical EN-EL25 battery because the Nikon Z50.

Pictures from the Z FC with the 16-50mm package lens are sharp with a really easy and pleasing focus fall-off. The RAW recordsdata present quite a lot of room for brightening shadows or bringing down the highlights. And I used to be very impressed with how the Z FC dealt with grain in low-light conditions. As an alternative of a multitude of coloration blotches and pixelation, the low-light grain has a film-esque, even texture to it that, when displayed on a small display screen, akin to a telephone, isn’t distracting.

Grid View

Pictures taken on the Nikon Z FC with the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 package lens.

The Achilles heel of the Z FC is its sluggish auto-focus system. Typically the digital camera can’t discover any explicit object to focus on and can do a good quantity of searching as soon as some extent is locked in. There may be focus monitoring, in each picture and video modes, that works effectively in excellent gentle, however in low gentle, the digital camera struggles to carry onto a single level. Additionally, the inexperienced focus help gentle is extremely vibrant and attracts quite a lot of consideration to itself. Pair that with an auto-focus system that always misses the mark, and also you would possibly as effectively be a flashing Christmas tree out trying to take pictures in the dead of night. The sluggish package lens doesn’t assist this example, both; you may need higher success with a brighter lens, however I used to be not in a position to check that.

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The Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens retracts when not in use. 

In video, the lens’ autofocus is audible when enjoying again footage and does quite a lot of searching, even on faces in vibrant gentle. I shot in 4K 24FPS whereas testing this digital camera, and whereas it can not shoot within the log, the MOV recordsdata are crisp and oddly steady in excellent gentle. I say oddly as a result of the Z FC has no inner stabilization, although the package lens can present optical vibration discount (VR) with a little bit of a crop to your body. The digital camera’s gentle weight is a big assist in preserving a shot regular, however I turned off the VR setting and was nonetheless shocked at how steady my photographs regarded. Under is a few pattern video that I filmed solely handheld with the VR setting off.

Pattern vlog footage from the Nikon Z FC. All footage shot at 4K 24FPS with the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 package lens.

However now to the elephant within the room and the largest distinction between the Z FC and the Z50: the look of the {hardware}.

The Z FC is a plastic tackle Nikon’s 35mm F cameras. It shares the identical retro look with the long-lasting silver physique, a faux-leather wrap-around design, and dials on high. Once I noticed it earlier this 12 months, I used to be immediately excited as a result of it has lengthy been a dream of mine to have a digital model of my Nikkormat FTN, which, though produced by the Japanese firm Nippon Kogaku Okay. Okay., shares the identical design as Nikon’s F cameras. However the second I held the FC, I knew this wasn’t for movie lovers in search of the identical handbook taking pictures expertise in a digital physique.

Light-weight cameras with plastic components really feel like toys regardless of how good the internals could be. The high-pitched click on of pulling out the articulating display screen or battery compartment and the slippery really feel of the plastic physique make me query the digital camera’s sturdiness as effectively. And though many people might be pleased with this digital camera’s output, the expertise of utilizing it leaves so much to be desired for an individual who has turn out to be so used to the sounds and really feel of extra premium techniques. I recorded each sound the Z FC makes within the video under.

All of that’s to say this digital camera will not be made for folk coming from all-metal, well-constructed 35mm cameras akin to myself. It’s designed to look good from afar and be gentle sufficient to take wherever, however utilizing it looks like enjoying skilled fairly than truly being skilled. And Nikon has performed into the fashion first method with six coloration choices.

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There are three dials on high of the digital camera: ISO, shutter velocity, and publicity compensation.

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The buttons being on the left hand facet makes it robust to function this digital camera with one hand.

The Nikon Z FC is a good entry-level digital camera for fashion-forward of us who might be motivated to hold this digital camera in all places due to its retro design. With most controls being set to dials on the highest of the digital camera, the system is straightforward to make use of, and the standard of the pictures and video is excellent.

Fujifilm and Leica cameras stay the closest expertise to taking pictures with all-metal classic digital camera our bodies due to their many handbook management wheels and stable building. As for the Z FC, it’s an important digital camera for $959.95, nevertheless it doesn’t present the identical expertise of the cameras Nikon designed it to appear like. Its seems to be are as a substitute supposed to draw an viewers that wishes to look the a part of a photographer with out having to hold the heavy gear that was as soon as wanted to be one.

Pictures by Becca Farsace / The Verge

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