After the success of the Nikon Z50, Nikon has released the Z fc, which is the company’s second mirrorless camera with an APS-C crop sensor. Even though the two cameras are almost exactly the same on the inside, it is abundantly evident that the experience of taking pictures with each one is completely unique. The new look of the Nikon Z fc is the primary topic of discussion during the majority of this review.
There are currently two APS-C cameras, two second-generation full-frame versions, the Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon Z7 II, as well as the Nikon Z5, which are all part of the current Nikon Z portfolio. The native lens lineup for full-frame is far more developed than that for APS-C, with 17 lenses instead of just two specialized zoom kit lenses. The new Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens, which was released alongside the Nikon Z fc and which we used for this test, is a compelling 42mm f/2.8 equivalent lens in addition to being an attractive combination with the Nikon Z fc.
The design of the Nikon Z fc is something that can be appreciated by everybody, regardless of whether or not they are fans of the Nikon FM2. The camera has a really elegant appearance. We have fond memories of the Nikon FM2, which was an aspirational camera for photography aficionados. The careful attention to detail that was put into redesigning the Nikon FM2 for today is impressive.
There is not a single feature about the Nikon Z fc that is not appealing. When viewed from the front, the camera has almost the same proportions as the FM2, which indicates that it is a very small and lightweight device. Everything about it, from its physical factor to its design elements, screams FM2. Even the typeface is a direct reflection of that.
The vista that you get from the summit is just as breathtaking. Even though it is slimmer than the FM2, it still has exposure settings for ISO, shutter speed, and an exposure compensation dial. The little window that has an LCD readout of the current aperture setting is one of our favorite features. Nikon has accomplished a significant portion of its goal, but they still need to work on its lenses.
Alongside the release of the Z fc, Nikkor also introduced a new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens, which, much like the camera, has a decidedly vintage appearance. However, this limited edition full-frame lens does not come with an aperture adjustment ring. Why is this the case? Even while there is a complete set of exposure controls on the top plate of the camera, there is not an aperture control ring on the lens, and you won’t find one on any other Nikon Z lens either. We found this to be a major oversight.
Features and Performance
Even with all of the classic appeal and a focus on manual control, the Nikon Z fc is no slacker and comes packed with a feature set that can compete with other similar cameras.
The camera has a quick start-up time and may begin taking pictures less than a second after it has been powered on. No dawdling here. When used in everyday situations, Z-series lenses focus swiftly and softly, and they also provide the option to focus manually. There is an on-screen touch tracking auto-focus that remains fixed on your target, and the Z fc recognizes faces and eyes with speed, precision, and dependability that is decent, to say the least.
While the viewfinder is active, you can press the OK button to bring up a manual AF selection area; but, you will not be able to use the open touchscreen to swipe through the available areas to choose an autofocus region.
In the “extended” mode, it is possible to capture high-speed action scenes at up to 11 frames per second while maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure. However, the camera is only compatible with the older and more slowly operating UHS-I SD card. This means that those sequences are sustained for approximately 22 frames, which is equivalent to two seconds, and you will need to wait sometime for those frames to be processed before you can resume normal full-speed operation.
The continuous high setting has a considerably lower frame rate of only 5 fps, but the burst length is greater because you will receive roughly 35 frames. To reiterate, it takes some time to delete such files in order to recover the capacity to capture everything. In a nutshell, the Z fc is excellent for brief bursts of action, but it does not really support longer-running action situations.
Because the Nikon Z fc has the same 20.9-million-pixel APS-C sensor as the Nikon Z50, we may anticipate that it will produce images of the same high quality. And aside from a few handling modifications that may have an effect on the images you are obtaining – like the at-hand exposure compensation dial – things are indeed the same, which is not a negative thing at all.
The 20.9-megapixel sensor has an excellent ability to control noise, as all settings up to ISO 6400 appear clean, particularly those with an ISO lower than 800. If you want to prevent the negative effects that noise might have, a good rule of thumb is to avoid using the highest two ISO values, which in this case are ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200. The dynamic range is rather impressive, and the incorporation of an HDR option is both straightforward and efficient.
One of the several available automatic white balance (AWB) settings is the ability to keep the warm tones that were captured in the photo. The dominant colors in a scene can have an effect on the temperature and hue of other colors. For instance, a dominant blue can make skin tones look a little yellow, or a green vista results in overly magenta elsewhere, and so on. Colors, in general, look great right off the bat; however, dominant colors in a scene can impact the temperature and hue of other colors. It is still considered a routine problem by AWB.
The default color profile offers a revivingly modest degree of saturation, which is more analogous to what one would get in a neutral color profile in other color management systems. In-camera raw editing enables modifications to be made to a variety of settings, including exposure (up to 2EV), white balance, color profile, and image mode.
Nikon Zfc 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 100-204800)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||100|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|White balance presets||8|
|Custom white balance||Yes (6 slots)|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal, basic|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (12 or 14-bit NEF)|
|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|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|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|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, off|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Drive modes||Single frameContinuous LContinuous HContinuous H (extended)Self-timer|
|Continuous drive||11.0 fps|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 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 (UHS-I supported)|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/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)||300|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||445 g (0.98 lb / 15.70 oz)|
|Dimensions||135 x 94 x 44 mm (5.31 x 3.7 x 1.73″)|
The Nikon Z fc is a design achievement that differentiates itself from the Nikon Z50 by providing a unique shooting experience at an affordable price. The adjustable screen is another brilliant feature that perfectly exemplifies Nikon’s ‘fusion’ of traditional and modern elements. More experienced photographers may be disappointed by the absence of weather sealing and a bigger full-frame sensor, especially when taking into account the variety of native lenses now on the market. But for everyone else, the Z fc is a wonderful combination of classic styling and the powerful shooting capabilities of a mirrorless camera.
- Screen that can be touched from a variety of angles.
- Beautiful design
- Excellent harmony between the present and the past.
- Great value
- Grip less suitable for big lenses
- Needs more native lenses
- No UHS-II support