Nikon has released a follow-up to the Z50, but with a classic twist: the Nikon Zfc. Last year we got a good feel for the Z50 and found it to be a worthy camera for any entry level or enthusiast photographer or videographer. It’s small, lightweight, fast, and does what we expect from a modern mirrorless camera. So, if it aint broke, why did Nikon go back to the drawing board for the new ZFC?
Well here’s the thing, in a way, they haven’t actually changed all that much. We like the Z50, and Nikon agree with us. The updated FC model keeps the same 21MP sensor, has no AA Filter, Has the same viewfinder, same 4K setting, the same eye-autofocus modes, and does the same 11 frames per second. They both have focus stacking built in and they are also both compatible with Nikon’s new webcam software.
So there are many similarities, but let’s talk about some of the differences, starting with the screen. A lot of people like the fully articulating screen as it allows you to easily frame yourself for vlogging, or for showing clients work on the job. It’s a handy feature, and we’re glad to see Nikon implementing it for the first time on a Z camera here. So if you liked the Z50 but were holding out for an articulation screen, then this could be a good option.
It also uses USB C, instead of the micro usb found in the Z50, and, while both shoot 4K30, the Zfc can use eye-detect in video modes. Unfortunately, the Zfc ditches the built-in flash so you’ll have to rely on external flashes to brighten dark scenarios. They have also changed the slowest shutter speed from 30 seconds to 900 seconds in camera
Really the big takeaway here is the retro style. Nikon has eschewed the monochromatic black leather effect that most camera companies go for in these tools and have instead pulled out designs from the eighties with this camera being based on the FM2. This is definitely a vintage inspired look that, it has to be said, is really appealing for anyone who enjoys a good aesthetic, or even if you are into camera history.
A camera like this with all the knobs and dials, is a great way to get back to the filmic experience without the hassle of actually using film. It’s tactile, it feel great in the hand, and you’ll be sure to build up a strong muscle memory when using it. Personally I’m a fan of camera companies taking a gamble when it comes to design, and I’m glad to see Nikon trying something new out with the fc. However, it does mean the camera is slightly heavier, though not by a huge amount, so I wouldn’t let that be the major deciding factor for you.
The only downside I can really see, if you can call it that, is the lack of a grip on the Zfc. If you like your cameras to have a bit of chunk to grab onto then the Z50 would be the obvious choice. Though you can buy an additional grip for the Zfc. It is worth popping in your hand to see how it feels.
Ultimately, unless you really need that articulating screen or the weather sealing, I don’t think you’re making a bad decision with either camera, but if you are into the finer things in life and need a funky camera to pair with your beard, then the Nikon Fc is definitely one to try out for size.