Nikon Z 50 Assessment: The Instagrammer’s mirrorless digital camera
“The Z 50 allows you to trim video in-camera and share it wirelessly to your telephone, making it good for the influencer on the go.”
- Climate-sealed, ergonomic design
- Wonderful picture high quality
- 11 fps burst velocity
- Wi-fi video transfers
- Autofocus struggles in low gentle
- Few native DX lenses at launch
There are cameras for photographers, after which there are cameras for pre-photographers. The Nikon Z 50, Nikon’s smallest DX digital camera but and first APS-C mirrorless digital camera, falls largely into the second class. Marketed in direction of Instagram customers able to improve from a smartphone, the Z 50 incorporates in-camera video enhancing and wi-fi video switch whereas maintaining to a design that channels an entry-level DSLR.
However the Z 50 additionally launches with a built-in viewers — informal Nikonographers with a stash of F-mount lenses that may be simply tailored to the mirrorless Z mount. Missing the in-body stabilization of the full-frame Z 6 and Z 7, the Z 50 makes up for its shorter function listing with a light-weight, 14-ounce physique and a tiny equipment lens.
After the failed Nikon 1 collection, it’s good to see Nikon placing some actual effort right into a mirrorless digital camera that targets informal photographers. It’s not good, however the Z 50 does quite a bit proper.
Design: A mixture of previous and new
The Z 50 ditches a number of the high-end options of the Z 6 and Z 7, like in-body picture stabilization, to be able to shave off a couple of millimeters. Sitting at simply 3.7 inches tall, the it’s unsurprisingly Nikon’s smallest crop-sensor interchangeable lens digital camera, beating out even the diminutive D3500 DSLR.
Nonetheless, Nikon can’t make the identical claims about weight. At 14 ounces, the Z 50 is about 6 ounces lighter than its full-frame counterparts. However due to the magnesium alloy, weather-sealed exterior, it’s heavier than the finances D3500, if solely by about an oz.. We’ll take that additional ounce in trade for the superior building, relatively than the plasticky really feel of an inexpensive DSLR.
The 16-50mm equipment lens is simply as impressively small, measuring 1.26 inches lengthy and weighing lower than 5 ounces. Whereas extremely simple carry with you, the small dimension makes it attainable to seize the fallacious management ring. It additionally leaves no room for a spotlight scale or a AF/MF swap. As an alternative, handbook focus have to be toggled from the digital camera’s fast menu. Given the Z 50’s goal demographic we don’t suspect many purchasers will thoughts this additional step as they’ll be glad to depart the digital camera in autofocus.
Whereas smaller cameras typically make extreme sacrifices to ergonomics, the Z 50 manages to hit a cheerful medium. The grip is a pleasant dimension, vast sufficient to understand comfortably for long-term use. Due to the shorter physique, one’s fingers don’t wrap across the controls fairly as completely as a DSLR, requiring the digital camera to take a seat just a little increased within the palm to be able to comfortably entry the highest controls. However, for such a small digital camera, it’s decently comfy to carry.
The controls are easy sufficient to not overwhelm new photographers, however nonetheless depart some room to develop into. There’s each a pop-up flash and a scorching shoe, in addition to microphone, USB, and HDMI ports — and, in fact, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
In contrast to the Z 6 and Z 7, there’s no secondary display on the highest plate, leaving extra room for the mode dial, twin management wheels, and shortcuts for ISO, publicity compensation, and video. Whereas the report button works to begin capturing video in any mode, a small swap swaps between a nonetheless and video mode — this permits photographers to make use of one set of settings for stills and one for video, simply switching between the 2.
On the entrance, two perform buttons provide customizable shortcuts. The again continues the minimalist scheme with a couple of menu controls and playback choices together with three buttons constructed into the LCD display. A autofocus joystick, sadly, is lacking from the design.
The three.2-inch LCD display makes use of a hinge-style tilt, which nonetheless permits the display to flip all the best way ahead, however on the backside of the digital camera relatively than out to the facet. Whereas the design is sturdy and works nicely for handheld selfies, this implies the display could be blocked when utilizing a tripod, a possible problem for vloggers and YouTubers. With the display ahead, the digital camera routinely enters a selfie mode and locks most of the digital camera’s controls to stop unintended bumps.
The Z 50 could be the first within the new DX mirrorless collection, however the digital camera appears like a real Nikon.
Just like the LCD, the two.36-million-dot viewfinder is evident and correct. Whereas not as distinctive because the higher-res viewfinder on the Z 6 and seven, it’s good for this class of digital camera. The draw back — like most, however not all digital viewfinders — is that it blacks out as a photograph is taken, making following motion a bit tougher.
The Z 50 could be the first in a brand new DX mirrorless collection, however the digital camera appears like a real Nikon. Whereas we miss the joystick and taller grip of the Z 6, Nikon managed to make use of the true property on the Z 50 properly, making a digital camera that’s each simple to make use of and versatile.
Snappy, however imperfect efficiency
The 1 collection — the mirrorless system that Nikon would relatively you overlook — had many points, but it surely was famous for its snappy efficiency. The Z 50 follows an analogous vein, though it’s definitely not as quick as skilled sports-oriented cameras just like the Sony A9.
The 11-frames-per-second burst velocity is fast and handles RAW recordsdata nicely. (That most velocity isn’t appropriate with flash, although.) The buffer fills up after Three seconds of RAW pictures and desires roughly 15 seconds to get well utterly. For JEPGs, the digital camera will shoot for eight seconds straight, and recovers in simply 4; the low-speed setting retains the Z 50 clipping alongside at a gradual tempo for for much longer.
However, like Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z 50 autofocus stumbles a bit. In good lighting, the digital camera performs as anticipated, focusing rapidly and lacking solely a handful of photographs in steady mode.
In dim circumstances, similar to indoors or exterior at night time, the 209-point autofocus struggles. It hunts for longer than traditional, making a delay within the shot, or generally by no means discovering focus in any respect. That’s to not say all of the low-light photographs from the Z 50 are out-of-focus, however the digital camera has a decrease hit charge than a Nikon DSLR — and a few competing mirrorless cameras — within the hardest circumstances.
The autofocus can’t sustain with motion and had laughable bloopers, like selecting to concentrate on an inflatable snowman’s face.
The Z 50’s eye AF follows an analogous good-but-not-great sample. As long as the topic is comparatively nonetheless and near the digital camera, it really works wonderful (farther away, the digital camera locks on to faces). However the eye AF can’t sustain with quite a lot of motion and had some laughable bloopers — like selecting to concentrate on an inflatable snowman’s face as a substitute of the particular person barely farther away.
Equally, monitoring autofocus labored nice in some conditions, however in others, the main target indicator field would drift away from the chosen topic.
Whereas the autofocus will not be as sturdy as a Nikon DSLR, the Z 50 manages to do what a DSLR can’t — shoot silently. The silent mode lives as much as its identify — there could also be some slight noise from the autofocus motor, however that’s it. Nonetheless, with out seeing viewfinder blackout, you possibly can’t inform if a photograph was taken.
Whereas most cameras have a handful of in-camera enhancing choices, the Z 50 additionally provides the choice to trim and resave a video. That helps preserve time and battery when utilizing the brand new Snapbridge functionality that permits for wi-fi switch for movies. Like different latest Nikons, organising a wi-fi connection is easy and grants entry to distant images instruments and distant transfers for present pictures, a giant enchancment from the clunky connections from only a few years in the past.
Picture high quality
At first look, Nikon seems to have stepped backwards for the Z 50. In any case, it’s solely 20.9 megapixels, 4 lower than even the $400 D3500. Most corporations appear to favor 24 megapixels for fanatic fashions, whereas the brand new Canon EOS M6 Mark II boasts 32.
However megapixel depend is a superficial and inaccurate solution to measure picture high quality. Photographs from the Z 50 sensor are 5,568 pixels vast, whereas photographs from a 24-megapixel digital camera are 6,000 pixels vast. That distinction is nice for shifting up one other 1.eight inches in print dimension, however few will really discover the distinction — particularly the Z 50’s goal buyer of Instagram customers.
Most will, nevertheless, discover the distinction in picture high quality in terms of noise. Usually, the extra pixels you cram onto a sensor, the extra inclined that sensor is to noise. With fewer megapixels and a the brand new EXPEED 6 processor, the Z 50 handles excessive ISOs superbly. With some changes to the RAW file, ISO 3,200 doesn’t even appear to be a excessive ISO. Even with out enhancing, noise at remains to be unobtrusive. Photographers can shoot confidently even at ISO 6,400, and pushing past that high quality solely steps down from wonderful to good.
At and below ISO 6,400, sharpness is superb from the Z 50, a pattern that we’ve been seeing with all Nikon’s Z cameras, thanks partly to the brand new lens mount. Swapping out the Z 50’s cheap equipment lens for the pricier 24-70mm f/Four Z lens eked out a bit extra sharpness, however at a degree that’s probably not noticeable in real-world capturing.
Video high quality follows a lot of the identical sample, with wonderful sharpness and colour. The autofocus appears clean, although it didn’t all the time alter as quick as we’d like. 4K provides wonderful element, whereas Full HD provides a wider vary of body charges.
Whereas the physique will not be stabilized, the 16-50mm equipment lens is. We had been in a position to shoot sharp stills all the way down to 1/25 second, and handheld video wasn’t nausea-enducing. Right now, solely two Z DX lenses can be found, the second being a 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3, which can be stabilized. For some other focal lengths, you’ll both have to spring for full-frame Z glass or adapt Nikon DSLR lenses, neither of which is able to preserve the slim profile of the Z 50.
The Nikon Z 50 is a powerful begin for the primary APS-C mannequin within the Z collection. It’s a stable design, shoots wonderful photographs, and provides typically quick efficiency. Easy connectivity and in-camera video trimming assist make it best for influencers that need to shoot and share with out plugging into a pc. Autofocus lags behind some DSLRs and competing mirrorless cameras, nevertheless, significantly when working with restricted gentle.
Beginning at round $850, the Z 50 can be moderately priced and compares favorably to different cameras on this class.
Is there a greater different?
Whereas the Z 50 is a powerful little digital camera, the autofocus efficiency retains it from dethroning favorites just like the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony A6100. We want the design of the Nikon over the A6100, however Sony’s autofocus system is a transparent winner. The X-T30 additionally will get excessive marks for the autofocus system, although the Z 50 could also be extra ergonomic. The Z 50 can be the one one on this grouping to be weather-sealed.
How lengthy will it final?
This digital camera is well-built and feels sturdy within the palms. Wanting any catastrophes, it ought to preserve capturing for a number of years. The Z 50 additionally shares lenses with the full-frame Z 6 and Z 7, resulting in a transparent improve path.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure, particularly if in case you have a stash of Nikon lenses. Maintain off, nevertheless, in the event you take quite a lot of pictures indoors or in low gentle — whereas the Z 50’s excessive ISO efficiency is admirable, its autofocus can fail in these conditions.