Definitely, this isn't the first time that Nikon has played the nostalgic and old-school design card. But at a starting price of $959.95, the brand-new Z fc deserves some attention indeed. And that's exactly what we are going to do today, we'll take a deep dive into this classic and beautiful design.
With relatively small size for its big image quality, the new Nikon Z fc is not also capable of capturing gorgeous stills but 4K videos with full-time Eye-Detection Auto Focus. And if you are looking for something that stands out from the crowd, then this might just be the perfect camera for you.
Classic, Tactile & Modern
When was the last time you took a slow-paced photograph? And by that we mean being immersed with the scene, concentrated in it, being oneself within it by observing, framing, and feeling it. All these are just some of the various thrilling emotions one gets just before pressing the shutter button. If this sounds familiar or just an odd curiosity to you, then you should allow the Nikon Z fc to give you that experience back or not.
This compact, lightweight, mirrorless camera comes in a body that has been inspired by the iconic and legendary Nikon FM2. The tactile dial operation allows us to slow down and enjoy each step of making a photograph. Take a step back from your busy life and start turning simple moments into special images right away.
Mirrorless Meets the Iconic Nikon Design
Despite the aforementioned DSLR, this is Nikon's first mirrorless camera to use a full vintage and retro design. With the same APS-C sensor and many other components as in the Nikon Z50, this camera performs in a quite familiar way. 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, EXPEED 6 processor, 209-point hybrid AF system with intelligent eye detection and focus. up to –4 EV, ISO 100–51,200 sensitivity, up to 11 fps burst with AF, and 4K / UHD movie recording at 30p.
Therefore, the strategy here is to take all those goodies and crunch them inside a stunning-looking body that is designed to deliver a meaningful and aesthetic experience with the camera as an object. All this in a compact and light body that aims to be very portable, but at the same time, offer an exceptional performance and playability, making it easy to operate for both existing and first-time mirrorless users.
Photography is not just about the resulting images that we produce with our photographic devices but also all the smaller steps in between. From the walk to the publishing, many steps are there waiting for us to crave them. The Nikon Z fc enriches each of those steps with the joy of photography that is now getting more and more cherished by fellow users and photography enthusiasts. Following the steps left behind the FM-2, the Z fc employs an exterior design with details carefully crafted to evoke that iconic camera. But beyond the body, one can also find a complimentary design style in the two kit lenses provided by Nikon:
- NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR: Well-suited to everyday shooting situations., this is compact and versatile, this is a friendly wide-angle to portrait-length zoom range lens. Its optical design incorporates aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements, which help the lens to reduce several optical aberrations, resulting in sharper and clearer image quality throughout the whole zoom range. A Super Integrated Coating has also been applied to minimize ghosting and flare for increased contrast and color accuracy in bright and backlit conditions.
- NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE): An ultra-compact and lightweight FX-format prime lens with a nice-looking design. This lens inherits its design from the classic NIKKOR lenses released around the same time as the aforementioned Nikon FM2 film SLR camera. This updated lens is designed to be a versatile wide-angle lens well-suited to a range of subjects, including landscape, architecture, and reportage. With a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8, this versatile and fast lens offers beautiful details at a standard focal length. Complementing the optical design, the lens employs two stepping motors and a multi-focus system, which allows us to realize impressively fast, accurate, and quiet shots.
Digging Deeper into the Nikon Z fc
Nikon has embedded this camera with passion for sure. Within the design highlights in this camera, we also find three dials and a small window that will allow us to see the aperture value in the attached lens. Also, the dials control shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO sensitivity; making it extremely intuitive to change our exposure settings on the go. Last but not least, the "i" button and the "i" menu allow us to quickly scroll through a broad variety of settings, and of course it can be customized based on individual shooting preferences among us. So let us see what we can find when taking a closer look at the iconic look and feel that lives in the Z fc’s overall body size.
- Well balance and arranged, the back of the camera monitor features leather-like grain to recreate the feel of a film camera
- Each dial features carved-out aluminum knurling and engraved numbers on top
- The positioning of dials and the design of the shutter-release button have been carefully determined to resemble the FM2
- The camera body is engraved with the Nikon logo used on the camera bodies of the 1970-the 80s; Nice!
- The EVF eyepiece recreates the FM series' circular design
For beginners, this is the first camera in the family that offers us the ability to adjust exposure compensation in auto mode. Additionally, it also has 20 Creative Picture Control options that allow you to select subjects with different parameters, such as hue, hue, and saturation allowing users to express a wide variety of moods, as well as adjust the effects to their taste.
Oh, and if you like expressing yourself through color, then you might find it interesting that the Z fc is currently available in several colors and not just boring black. Amber Brown, Green, Mint, Pink, Sand Beige, and White they are. But these six more conspicuous versions will cost $100 above the regular model.
Enough with the Design, It's Time for Some Specs!
Alright alright, enough with the design, let's see what this good-looking camera is capable of.
Let's start with the imaging power, a 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor paired with an EXPEED 6 Image Processor is what gives this camera the needed punch for delivering the beautiful images that it promises to us. At native values, the ISO sensitivity ranges from ISO 100-51200, allowing the camera to operate in a broad array of lighting conditions.
The sweet blend of imaging resolution and sensor size contributes to clean image quality and smooth color transitions with reduced noise throughout the sensitivity range. Additionally, the EXPEED 6 processor also brings some speed throughout the camera system, including a top full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 11 frames per second.
And for those looking for something nice to record with, the Z fc also delivers UHD 4K Video Recording at up to 30 fps and Full HD recording at up to 120 fps, for slow-motion effects, along with the ability to save movie files to the in-camera memory card. Also, in-camera time-lapse shooting is possible with it.
- Compatible lenses: Z mount NIKKOR lenses and F mount NIKKOR lenses (mount adapter required; restrictions may apply).
- Effective pixels: 20.9 million.
- File formats: NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8) or basic (approx. 1:16) compression, NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats.
- Focus points: 209 focus points.
- Frame coverage: Approximate 100% horizontal and 100% vertical.
- Image sensor 23.5 × 15.7 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon DX format).
- Lens mount: Nikon Z mount.
- Magnification: Approximate 1.02× (50 mm lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1).
- Monitor 75-mm/3.0-in., approx. 1040k-dot vari-angle TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and color balance and 11-level manual brightness controls.
- Picture Modes: Auto, Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat, Creative Picture Controls (Dream, Morning, Pop, Sunday, Somber, Dramatic, Silence, Bleached, Melancholic, Pure, Denim, Toy, Sepia, Blue, Red, Pink, Charcoal, Graphite, Binary, Carbon); selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls.
- Shutter speeds: Using the shutter-speed dial: 1/4000 to 4 s (1 step), bulb, time, X (Flash sync), and using the main command dial: 1/4000 to 30 s (1/3 step, can be extended up to 900 s in mode M), bulb, time X (Flash sync).
- Shutter type: Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane mechanical shutter; electronic front-curtain shutter; an electronic shutter.
- Storage media: SD and UHS-I compliant SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
- Viewfinder: 10-mm/0.39-in. approx. 2360k-dot (XGA) OLED electronic viewfinder with color balance and auto and 7-level manual brightness controls.
Talk to me in Video
- Audio recording device: Built-in stereo or external microphone with attenuator option; sensitivity adjustable
- Audio recording format: Linear PCM (for video recorded in MOV format), AAC (for video recorded in MP4 format)
- File formats: MOV and MP4
- Frame rates: 1920 × 1080; 120p, 100p, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p; 1920x1080 slow-motion; 30p (×4), 25p (×4), 24p (×5)
- Frame size (pixels): 3840 × 2160 (4K UHD); 30p (progressive), 25p, 24p
- Metering modes: Matrix, Center-weighted, Highlight-weighted
- Metering system: TTL metering using camera image sensor
- Video Active D-Lighting Can be selected from extra high, high, normal, low or off
- Video compression: H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
- Video ISO sensitivity: M: Manual selection (ISO 100 to 25600 in steps of 1/3); auto ISO sensitivity control (ISO 100 to 25600) (Recommended available with selectable upper limit Exposure Index); P, S, A: Auto ISO sensitivity control (ISO 100 to 25600) with selectable upper limit; "i": Auto ISO sensitivity control (ISO 100 to 25600)
How Does it Feel?
Based on the following information we can be sure that the camera can be used all day long without feeling any sort of exhaustion.
For a very comfortable eye-level viewing, a 2.36m-dot electronic finder is there for us. This optical little masterpiece has a 1.02x magnification and uses NIKKOR optics to guarantee a sharp, clear image.
And for controlling and interacting with the camera, a generous 3" 1.04m-dot LCD screen for bright, clear, and vivid image playback and live view shooting. The screen has a vari-angle design, which benefits front-facing selfie captures, and it is also a touchscreen for more intuitive operation, navigation, and settings control.
Both dust and weather resistant, a robust magnesium alloy chassis for us to work safely in harsh climates and inclement conditions. Do we need to remind you that the price of this bad-boy is $956.95 body-only? Also, it is Compatible with NIKKOR Z lenses as well as F-mount lenses using the separately purchased FTZ Mount Adapter. And it comes with an EN-EL25 rechargeable lithium-ion battery which delivers approximately 300 shots per charge. Pretty decent indeed.
Who Should Buy the Nikon Z fc?
At that price, we are sure that this camera will exceed the niche approach that its vintage and retro design appears to be aiming at. Here we have some of those odd objects that might be interesting for both newcomers and well-seasoned fellow photographers.
We all know that the FM-2 is still a revered icon, but that doesn't mean that only those who shot with it back in the 70s and 80s will find the Z fc as an interesting photographic option. We are sure that this camera could be perceived as a serious option for those young folks finding themselves interested in photography beyond what smartphones deliver.
The tangible nature of the dials and the retro-looking vibe of the camera makes it a perfect object for anyone interested in having a closer relationship with their photographs in these highly saturated visual times we live in nowadays. And if you find this idea to be interesting to you, then we recommend shooting with some small capacity SD cards so you can get that limited experience from the film days.