Nikon debuted their revolutionary mirrorless Z system just over a year ago, and they’re making big changes yet again—by making something small! The Z 50 is a Z-mount camera with a small but mighty APS-C sensor.
They’re also fulfilling a promise teased from the very first announcement. That’s right—click here to skip ahead to the latest on Nikon’s widest-aperture lens ever!
For those of us with slightly less premium tastes, keep reading to get the down and dirty on Nikon’s first mirrorless DX-sensor camera. But first, get a sense for what this camera’s capable of in this beautiful video—that is, why these specifications matter—featuring street photographer Miho Comuro.
- 20.9 MP DX (APS-C) sensor
- 4K 30p video
- 120 fps slow-motion video at 1080p
- Only 14 oz (just over half the weight of the 23.8 oz Z 6)
- Eye-Detection Autofocus driven by on-sensor 209 point Hybrid Autofocus system
- EXPEED 6 processor (same as the Z 6 and Z 7) powering in-camera editing features
- Up to 11 fps burst shooting at full resolution
- Up to 30 fps burst shooting at 8 MP
- Silent shooting mode
The Z 50 loses a few features compared to the Z 6—lower-res EVF, joystick, shoulder display, etc.—but it gains a lot compared to the D5600, its more-or-less equivalent DSLR, and even adds a few features more suited to a wider audience which are not found on its full-frame brethren. The Z 50 is the first Z-series camera to feature a pop-up flash and has the widest range of screen movement yet, allowing 90° up and a full 180° down—perfect for selfies!
Other differences from the much-more-expensive Z 6 and Z 7 are hardly noticeable for most shooters. It may not have a dedicated headphone jack, but the Z 50 will still be a perfectly viable option for videographers thanks to its 3.5mm audio jack, and Nikon has made up for the need to skip IBIS by outfitting both of the simultaneously-announced Z DX lenses with their rock-solid VR system.
I was pretty impressed with the level of physical control built into this camera; compared to the D5600, the Z 50 offers not only an extra control dial and dedicated ISO button on-body (amongst other differences), but also access to the extra control ring built into every Z-mount lens released so far. There’s even a switch next to the mode dial which allows you to program your still image and video settings independently. Nice one!
And let’s not forget the software: I think some of the most exciting features are those enabled by the blazing EXPEED 6 processor, including in-camera 4K (or 1080) time-lapse video processing and in-camera video trimming for instant sharing via SnapBridge.
Like the Z 6 and Z 7, the Z 50 benefits from the Z-mount’s massive 55mm mount diameter (click here to read more on why that matters) and is fully compatible with the FTZ mount adapter, unlocking decades of optical development and making it a great backup or travel body for any existing F-mount shooter, even if you’re not ready to make the leap to mirrorless.
That’s not all…
NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct
Announced alongside the Z mount with little detail but great expectations, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct will finally be released this year on Halloween! It holds the remarkable designation of being the fastest NIKKOR lens ever released, handily beating its namesake, its inspiration, and the previous record-holder: the Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2. Like the 1977 original, the S Noct is manual-focus only, but will benefit from the control ring, Fn button, and even a handy built-in display that can tell you, amongst other things, the distance from your camera to each boundary of the focal plane at the current aperture. With that insane aperture, almost manufacturing light, it will be a great choice for low-light video, astrophotography, creamy-bokeh cravings, and more; with its ultra-premium coatings and top-shelf glass, it’s sure to find some application in scientific, studio, and technical photography requiring the best sharpness money can buy. Watch out—this one’s going to go down in history!
(If you don’t have a full-frame Nikon Z camera yet, there’s still time to prepare for this amazing glass. Trade-in now and you’ll get huge bonuses!)
NIKKOR Z DX 16–50mm f/3.5–6.3 VR
NIKKOR Z DX 50–250mm f/4.5–6.3 VR
Not as flashy as the Noct but integral to a healthy camera-system ecology, the first two DX lenses for the Z mount provide a 24–375mm equivalent field of view (combined) but shed the size and weight which would have been necessary to cover an FX (full-frame) sensor. These are the workhorses of the system! The standard zoom retracts for maximum pocketability, too. Sales begin in November.
Nikon MB-N10 battery pack
Continuing to develop the Z system as a whole, Nikon announced one more product for Z 6 and Z 7 shooters. Weather-sealed and just as stylish as the cameras themselves, the MB-N10 battery grip allows for up to 1.8x more shooting time and is compatible with both full-frame Z models. Batteries in the grip are hot-swappable, so you’ll never have to miss a shot! Watch for this one in November as well.