NIKON Z30 OVERVIEW
In a nutshell, this is the smallest and lightest mirrorless camera in the Z series. Nikon states that this is a small but potent camera capable of capturing our memories in rich and precise detail. But with plenty of vlogging cameras out there, do we need another one? Well, Nikon argues that yes, we do. So today, we'll dive into the brand-new Z30 camera to see what this proposition is all about!
High video quality is possible thanks to the APS-C size/DX-format image sensor, EXPEED 6 image-processing engine and NIKKOR Z lenses. The standard sensitivity range of this camera scopes from ISO 100-51,200, allowing us to shoot stunning video and stills without noise, even indoors or at night. Regarding autofocus, Eye-/Animal-Detection AF for both videos and stills keeps subjects sharply in focus even when moving. And of course, this wouldn't be a vlogging camera without a versatile vari-angle touch-sensitive monitor which will allow us to shoot from a myriad of angles such as selfie, low-angle, high-angle and waist positions.
The Nikon Z30 is capable of recording up to 125 minutes of continuous video recording. This was tested in Full HD/24p/25p at 25°C/77°F, and the camera's capacity to always achieve the full 125 minutes is dependent on conditions like battery life or the camera's internal temperature. By including a REC lamp, video-record button, ergonomic grip and button layout it has been designed and optimized for video shooting. Features like 4K UHD/30p, Creative Picture Controls, slow motion and time-lapse expand your creativity. Content creator-friendly applications and software such as SnapBridge and NX Studio's Movie Editor and Webcam Utility are available. So, the Nikon Z30 is simply ideal for content creation and encourages us to express ourselves in new ways by allowing us to combine our ideas with wonderful details and textures, and unique looks and expressions that inspire us to take our creativity even further.
Vlogging You Say?
With the rise of our digital platform society, vlogging and streaming impose a considerable demand for cameras capable of delivering. The recently announced Nikon Z30 is a 20-megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera developed entirely with vloggers and content creators in mind. It offers a lot of similar elements to Nikon's previous 'DX' models but with a twist, more focus on self-shot stills and video.
The body-only option is available for $706.95 but you can also pick from a more complete array for $846.95. This one comes bundled with a 16-50mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 VR lens which looks fine when mounted on the camera. But if you want an even bigger combo, you can also consider the $1149.95 option which also includes the 50-250mm ƒ/4.5-6.3 VR lens. For an extra $149 you can toss in the Creators Accessory Kit which includes a Røde Videomic Pro shotgun mic, ML-L7 Bluetooth remote control unit and Smallrig mini tripod/selfie grip; a perfect package for those just starting in the vlogging craft.
Some Key Specs on this camera are:
- 1080 video at up to 120fps (as slow-mo)
- 21MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- 4K video at up to 30p
- Around 2 hours of video with USB power
- Fully articulating 3.0", 1.04M dot touch screen
- Re-arranged buttons with more prominent REC button
- Tally lamp
Let's Get a bit Closer Then
So this is the third APS-C mirrorless camera from Nikon to feature the notable Z mount. This means a small yet powerful sensor under the DX hood aimed at young content creators. And just like any other content creation targeted mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor, this little friend comes with a versatile and articulated screen and built-in stereo microphone with adaptability for windscreens. It also has been developed around the "front-facing footage" concept which means it doesn't have an intrusive electronic viewfinder (EVF) but it does feature a red "tally lamp" which is always a good thing to have in a video camera of course.
The brand new Nikon Z30 features a 20.8-megapixel sensor that can shoot up to Ultra HD 4K video at 30p. This provides entry-level content creators with professional 4K image quality, as well as that desirable soft blurred background that draws in their viewers' attention. Nice, but how is that even possible within such a small array? Because despite the size, an APS-C sensor is 14x larger than the typical sensor you could find inside a regular smartphone available today. That also means that this camera will behave better in low-light situations and will give you a nice shallow depth of field when compared to your phone.
Looking at Nikon's Z30 is like having a trimmed Z50 model. It's virtually the same design but with the lack of an EVF but with a nicer hand grip which is a little bit deeper and the top plate buttons have been rearranged to make it easier to reach the heavily used REC button while holding the camera towards our face. The back screen frames out to the side and by default, it engages a self-portrait mode with simplified touchscreen controls planned to be operated at arms-length. This feature isn't something new on Nikon cameras but makes a lot of sense for this particular piece of equipment. What's new is the capacity to adjust exposure compensation while in auto mode. This means we can be sure that our footage won't be too bright or too dark, without having to engage in further complex modes. Something worth noticing about this camera is the autofocus precision, which recognizes one's face immediately after engaging the selfie mode by grabbing your eyes and staying focused all the time.
How Does it Behave?
The Nikon Z30 felt pretty natural in our hands and allowed us to do some nice things while shooting. For example, we figured out that while recording video footage, the camera can be toggled through several video configurations like:
- 4K UHD 3,840 × 2,160 /30p/25p/24p
- Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 /120p/100p/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p
Something cool when considering all the creative possibilities 120p can deliver like comical or emotional feelings simply by slowing down your content. Also the camera feels comfortable even after shooting all-day long with it due to its light weight of just 350 grams.
Content creation isn't just about showing ourselves to the world, so if you find the need of shooting some products or any other unanimated subjects, then switching off eye detect and going into the auto area will make the camera focus on what's in front of it.
And speaking of video footage, long scenes can be recorded up to 125 minutes continuously while in full HD at 24p; while shooting in 4K, the estimated continuous record time is around 35 minutes. Also if you happen to need a quick image for a thumbnail or cover photo, the Z30 is capable of conveniently taking snapshots within footage while recording. But if you find yourself in the need of recording something longer than two hours, the USB-C connection allows for constant power along with great image quality and precise autofocus.
And no footage is complete without sound, so it's worth noting that audio in this little camera is just impressive as well. Within it, we found a high quality built-in stereo mic which comes with an option for toggling between vocal and wide frequencies. The first is perfect for vlogging and the latter for capturing ambient noise. But the best part is the flexibility for coping it with external accessories like an external microphone or else.
We also found a micro HDMI port for tethered usage with larger external monitors or recorders. Something great since it means that this camera leaves plenty of room for growth. It can also be used for high quality live streaming at 1080 60p, and if we need to live streaming all day long, we can always use the USB-C connection for enhanced recording autonomy of course. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility work with the Snapbridge app for mobile devices, enabling remote camera control as well as wireless transferring of photos and videos to your tablet or phone.
One of the most interesting features we discovered while playing around with this camera was the "?" function which allowed us to uncover the purpose of certain features we were pretty unaware of. Simply clicking the question mark button while highlighting something from the menu reveals what that feature does. That's a great way of learning about the camera while shooting and having fun! And about still shooting, the versatile APS-C sensor resolution is perfect for capturing snaps during productions or for photographing higher-resolution thumbnails and promotional images.
Lets see more Specs
Below we share some of the most interesting specs we found on this vlogging camera:
- Crop Factor 1.5x
- Exposure Compensation: -5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
- Photo: 100 to 51,200
- Video: 100 to 25,600
Recording Modes H.264/MOV/MP4
- UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p
- Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p
- Mechanical Shutter: 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
- Electronic Front Curtain Shutter: 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
- Electronic Shutter: 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
- Shutter Type: Electronic Shutter and Mechanical Focal Plane Shutter
- White Balance : 2500 ~ 10,000K with the following presets: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Preset Manual, Shade
Last But not Least
The Nikon Z30 Mirrorless Camera with Creator's Accessory Kit:
- The Rode VideoMicro Ultra Compact Camera-Mount Shotgun Microphone is a durable and small Shotgun Mic with Directional Sound Pickup. It's super easy to hook and detach from the camera and when coping it with a furry windshield it considerably reduces wind noise from breeze, fans, heaters and air conditioning systems.
- The SmallRig Tripod Grip for Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth Remote Control is a holder, a mini tripod, and a handgrip designed to support the Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth Remote Control. It also offers a 1/4"-20 screw on top to support other cameras such as the Nikon Z fc.
- The Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth Remote Control is used to easily and wirelessly control camera functions like zoom and change settings like aperture and ISO, all without compromising your sweet composition.
When it comes to optical devices, we are true advocates of entry-level kit lenses like the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and the NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR. The reason why is quite simple, they open the doors of photographic exploration in ways no other lenses are capable of, by giving us loads of limitations.
First, we want to mention the smallest APS-C size/DX-format lens ever, the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR. This lens covers the sweet spot of the zoom range, letting us capture streets and landscapes with ease as portraits and close-ups. It comes with a powerful Vibration Reduction image stabilization for keeping our videos steady and our photos sharp.
And if you need to reach further from 50mm, the NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR is what you need in your bag. Telephoto lenses are perfect for portraits since they render images naturally with little distortions. Also, they make subjects stand out against a soft, blurry background and they fill the frame with precise compositions. This lens has been designed to deliver compact, lightweight telephoto capabilities for Z series cameras.
Who is this Camera For?
The answer to this question is short. The Nikon Z30 is a great camera for those content creators starting out but still taking their craft as seriously as they can. So in other words, it is an intelligent upgrade for those vloggers currently shooting with their phones but who are ready to take a step further into the wonders of visual endeavors.