With the release of the Nikon Z6, an all-around camera that now holds the number one spot on our list of the best cameras, Nikon made a sensational entrance into the world of mirrorless full-frame cameras. And now it’s aiming to pull the same trick with APS-C cameras with the Nikon Z50, which is a smaller and more user-friendly DSLR camera for amateur photographers.
What exactly are these “APS-C” cameras? This sensor format was the industry standard in the early days of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), and it is used in cameras that are less expensive than full-frame versions. These sensors are smaller than full-frame and are referred to as DX format by Nikon. They are available in bodies that are more compact, more affordably priced, and perfect for traveling.
It’s not that the Nikon Z50 is a small camera for the APS-C format. Handling has been stressed by Nikon in the form of a substantial grip, at the sacrifice of a very tiny body, which is the hallmark of cameras like as the Fujifilm X-T30. This may be due to the fact that Nikon may have been thinking about individuals who may be migrating away from its DSLRs.
The Z50 makes use of the same Z-mount that was first introduced in the Z7 and Z6. This is one of the most important aspects of the Z50. Because of this, you will be able to utilize all of the lenses that have previously been announced for the Z series, in addition to current F-mount (DSLR) lenses by way of an extra adapter. On the other hand, there have already been two lenses developed specifically for the DX format, and it is anticipated that many more will join them in the coming years.
These lenses are a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ‘pancake’ lens, which is the standard lens included in the kit, and a 50-250mm telephoto lens, which can be purchased separately or as part of an excellent-value twin lens kit with the Z50. The standard lens included in the kit is the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake lens.
Body & Design
When you put the Z50 in the same room as its full-frame brothers and sisters, the Z6 and Z7, you can plainly tell that they come from the same family. The layout, position of the viewfinder, and button arrangement are all the same; the only difference is that the body of the camera is smaller.
It is not exactly pocket-friendly, but it definitely slips much more neatly into smaller bags than a full-frame counterpart when used in conjunction with the camera and the new Nikkor 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ‘pancake’ lens. The combination of these two makes for a really compact overall package.
However, in order to preserve space, certain controls have been eliminated. The camera does not come with a top-plate LCD, nor does the rear of the device have a joystick of any kind. The former was something that we didn’t miss all that much, but having a joystick to adjust where the AF point was would have been quite helpful.
This can considerably slow down the process of picking the optimal AF point, as you have to work with the much slower directional buttons; nonetheless, this is not the end of the world. Unlike with other competing cameras, you cannot continue to utilize the touchscreen while working with the viewfinder.
In a more upbeat note, while being packed in a more compact form factor, the buttons that are there do not give the impression of being overly crammed together. Additionally, the grip is very defined, which makes it easy to use for extended periods of time without becoming uncomfortable. Some of the capabilities that were lost due to the absence of buttons have been “virtually” recreated on the touchscreen in the form of other alternatives, such as the magnify option and the display button.
On the very top of the camera is a mode dial with a switch that lets you go from taking still images to shooting video in an instant. You can also switch back to taking still images at any time. A button that is specifically designated for recording video is also included on the top of the camera, along with an ISO button and an exposure compensation button.
Same autofocus mechanism as the Z6, with 209 points covering 90% of the frame and a battery life of 300 shots Nikon Z50 with eye tracking autofocus
The autofocus mechanism of the Nikon Z50 is identical to the one found in the Z6. It features an outstanding array of 209 points that provide coverage of 90% of the frame.
When left in the Auto-area AF mode, the camera can rapidly and easily lock onto targets in most scenarios, and it does so very infrequently when it chooses the incorrect subject to lock onto.
When you switch to Single-point AF, you’ll have the ability to choose your own AF point. It is only when the lighting is especially dim that there is some searching before the system locks on to the target, although it is quite uncommon for a false confirmation of focus to be presented.
You may change your autofocus mode to AF-C and allow a continuous frame rate to photograph moving subjects. As we’ve seen with the Z6 and Z7, while the camera is a good performer when the subject is fairly predictable, being able to follow something which isn’t moving too erratically, it’s not on the same level as what Sony has achieved with cameras like the A9 and even the Sony A6500 from its APS-C range. This is something that we’ve seen with both of those models.
This camera is probably not the best choice for you if you are passionate about taking pictures of sporting events and other types of activity. However, it does a respectable job when confronted with the rare moving topic, such as youngsters and dogs.
It is a bit of a letdown that the Z50 is only compatible with the slower UHS-I SD cards in terms of storage capacity. Even though shooting at up to 11 frames per second is possible, using these cards means that the buffer typically fills up very rapidly. On the other hand, if you’re just going to be shooting for a few seconds here and there, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Eye AF performs an excellent job at recognizing a subject’s eye in a scene and tracking it even while the face is moving in different directions, which is a challenge for certain autofocus systems. Again, this is definitely not a camera that will be used widely by professional portrait photographers, but for people who take photographs of their families, this type of function can prove to be really helpful.
The new EN-EL25 battery that comes with the Z50 is supposed to have a life span of up to 300 shots. Although this isn’t the most generous rating available, the 300 shots is a cautious estimate, and in practice, you should find that it lasts at the very least for an entire day of shooting at a normal pace. The purchase of an additional battery can be worthwhile, though, if you are someone who records a significant amount of 4K video.
In spite of the fact that it has a less capacious sensor and a lower resolution than both the Z6 and the Z7, the Nikon Z50 is capable of producing photographs that have a fantastic overall sense of detail. You might notice that the detail isn’t quite as fine as it is on the 45.7-megapixel Nikon Z7 when pixel-peeping at 100%, but for the price and level, you wouldn’t expect that to be the case. Additionally, not many enthusiasts and hobbyists are likely to be examining their images that closely.
The all-purpose metering setting does a very good job of judging exposures in order to produce balanced results in a variety of shooting conditions, which contributes to the sensor’s ability to produce excellent colors that have a realistic appearance while also having a good amount of vibrancy and saturation.
In a similar vein, the automated white balance option performs admirably in a variety of lighting environments. Still, it tends to produce images with somewhat more yellowish tones when exposed to artificial light sources.
Nikon Z50 Review Specs
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||5568 x 3712|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||21 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||22 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 204,800)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal, basic|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (NEF, 12/14-bit)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||209|
|Lens mount||Nikon Z|
|Focal length multiplier||1.5×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder magnification||1.02× (0.68× 35mm equiv.)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual|
|Scene modes||“Autumn ColorsBeach / SnowBlossomCandlelightChildClose-upDusk/DawnFoodLandscapeNight LandscapeNight PortraitParty/IndoorPet PortraitPortraitSportsSunsetSpecial Effect Modes|
|Flash range||7.00 m (at ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleLow-speed continuousHigh-speed continuousSelf-timer|
|Continuous drive||11.0 fps|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11ac + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||EN-EL25 lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||450 g (0.99 lb / 15.87 oz)|
|Dimensions||127 x 94 x 60 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.36″)|
There is a great deal to like about the Nikon Z50, just like there is a great deal to like about its older brothers, the Z6 and Z7. Although it is by no means a flawless camera, its arrival on the market, which is, to be fair, already somewhat saturated, is very much appreciated.
If you are already a lover of the Nikon brand – perhaps you already own one of its DSLRs – and have been thinking about making the switch to mirrorless, it is an extremely enticing prospect for you to consider. The Z50 is an excellent choice for individuals who are searching for their first “real” camera because it provides many of the advantages of the Z6 and Z7 models without the prohibitively high price tag.
The construction and handling are two aspects that stand out as particularly appealing on the Z50, which is effectively a scaled-down version of some of the best full-frame models. Although it is comfortable to use and has a good spread of buttons, it does not have a joystick, which makes selecting the AF point through the viewfinder a slower process. The deep grip and good spread of buttons make it ideal for most situations.
Speaking of which, the viewfinder, despite being smaller and having a lower resolution than those found on the Z6 and Z7, is still very usable and comfortable to use. If you’ve never used a full-frame Z Series model, you’re not likely to feel as though you’re missing out on anything important because of this.
It is also on par with cameras from competing brands that are in direct competition with the Z50, such as the Fujifilm X-T30, which utilizes a device with a similar resolution and dimensions (0.39 inches and 2360 thousand dots).
The screen’s ability to tilt is a convenient feature, but because it tilts from the bottom of the camera, you can’t use it with a tripod even though it has this feature. It works well for taking selfies, but those who want to use the camera for vlogging will find it to be of much less value.
Nikon Z50 Review Pros & Cons
- SD cards are more widely used than XQD cards.
- Excellent maneuverability
- Good value
- Stunning visuals both in the viewfinder and on the screen
- Excellent for transport
- There is no joystick for choosing the AF points.
- The tilt screen cannot be used in conjunction with the tripod.
- Only one UHS-I card slot is available.