Nikon Z FC evaluate: style 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 pace, and ISO settings being positioned across the barrel of the lens make it extremely fast to manage as soon as your muscle reminiscence has been established.

Outdoors of the good pictures 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 imagine that I would, in the end, have a near-exact digital duplicate 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.

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

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

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

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 capable of 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 couple of added options, comparable to full-time eye autofocus whereas taking pictures video, the flexibility to simply accept firmware updates through an app, a sooner USB-C port for charging and knowledge switch, and a completely articulating LCD display screen. In contrast to Nikon’s earlier Df, which took a DSLR and stripped out options within the title of its retro rebuild, the FC isn’t hampered in any respect — it could shoot full-resolution stills as much as 11 frames per second and 4K 30fps video for as much as half-hour at a time.

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

The battery compartment additionally homes the SD card slot.

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

Photographs from the Z FC with the 16-50mm package lens are sharp with a really clean and pleasing focus fall-off. The RAW information present a whole 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 large number of colour blotches and pixelation, the low-light grain has a film-esque, even texture to it that, when displayed on a small display screen, comparable to a cellphone, isn’t distracting.

Photographs 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. Usually the digital camera can’t discover any specific object to deal with and can do a good quantity of looking as soon as some extent is locked in. There may be focus monitoring, in each photograph and video modes, that works properly in excellent mild, however in low mild, the digital camera struggles to carry onto a single level. Additionally, the inexperienced focus help mild is extremely vivid and attracts a whole lot of consideration to itself. Pair that with an auto-focus system that usually misses the mark, and also you would possibly as properly be a flashing Christmas tree out making an attempt to take pictures at the hours of darkness. The sluggish package lens doesn’t assist this case, both; you might need higher success with a brighter lens, however I used to be not capable of check that.

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 taking part in again footage and does a whole lot of looking, even on faces in vivid mild. I shot in 4K 24FPS whereas testing this digital camera, and whereas it can not shoot within the log, the MOV information are crisp and oddly secure in excellent mild. I say oddly as a result of the Z FC has no inside 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 mild weight is a big assist in protecting a shot regular, however I turned off the VR setting and was nonetheless stunned at how secure my photographs seemed. Under is a few pattern video that I filmed fully 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 most important 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. After I noticed it earlier this yr, 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 Ok. Ok., shares the identical design as Nikon’s F cameras. However the second I held the FC, I knew this wasn’t for movie fans in search of the identical handbook taking pictures expertise in a digital physique.

Light-weight cameras with plastic elements really feel like toys irrespective of how good the internals may 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 properly. And though many of us will probably be pleased with this digital camera’s output, the expertise of utilizing it leaves rather a lot to be desired for an individual who has change into so used to the sounds and really feel of extra premium programs. I recorded each sound the Z FC makes within the video under.

All of that’s to say this digital camera just isn’t made for folk coming from all-metal, well-constructed 35mm cameras comparable to myself. It’s designed to look good from afar and be mild sufficient to take anyplace, however utilizing it appears like taking part in skilled relatively than truly being skilled. And Nikon has performed into the style first strategy with six colour choices.

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

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 people who will probably be motivated to hold this digital camera in every single place due to its retro design. With most controls being set to dials on the highest of the digital camera, the system is simple to make use of, and the standard of the pictures and video is superb.

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 strong development. As for the Z FC, it’s an important digital camera for $959.95, but it surely doesn’t present the identical expertise of the cameras Nikon designed it to appear like. Its appears to be like are as a substitute supposed to draw an viewers that desires 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.

Images by Becca Farsace / The Verge


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