Retro-cool style joins field-tested function in the Nikon Z fc, plus new Z mount lenses announced

In a press release yesterday, Nikon announced the imminent availability of an intriguing new camera body and three lenses. This announcement was squarely directed at folks who enjoy using premium products—those who recognize that enjoying the experience of photography can be important in addition to the images you end up taking. Sure, the best camera in the world is the one you happen to have with you, but there’s nothing wrong with making the one you carry with you an absolute joy to use! Read on for more details, and don’t hesitate to get your order in—supply chains are still a little unreliable, and this body is dressed to impress.

Nikon Z fc

Joining the ranks of such style-conscious cameras as the Olympus PEN F, Fujifilm X-T30, and Nikon’s own Df DSLR, the forthcoming Z fc is a 20.9 MP mirrorless DX Z-mount camera designed to evoke the legendary Nikon FM2. Just as its predecessor was a bit of a throwback in the ’80s, when the trend was toward increasingly light (sometimes cheap-feeling) cameras, the Z fc’s machined aluminum dials and classic black-leatherette-and-silver look are eye-catching anomalies in the ’20s.

Working to impress, stress-free, the Z fc has appeal for a wide range of imaging enthusiasts. Its slim size, light weight, and extensive automated creative controls make it a great and great-looking option for the casual user, while any advanced enthusiast will find the carved, solid aluminum dials hard to resist and delightful to twist.

The majority of the body is machined from magnesium alloy, keeping the weight down without skimping on the metal construction. Nikon claims “consideration [was given] to dust and drip resistance” though it’s unclear exactly what level of resistance that implies.

Of course, the camera is fully compatible with the Nikon Webcam Utility, so you can upgrade your Zoom presence and/or enable your livestreamer dreams. Nikon’s SnapBridge app also provides extensive additional functionality at no extra charge, including wireless image sharing, remote control, and even wireless firmware updating.

The Z fc is similar in many ways to the more modern-looking Z 50, but there are some crucial differences. Not least important for those interested in streaming or taking advantage of the built-in intervalometer (for the production of 4K timelapse videos!) is the addition of a USB-C Power Delivery port. Mobile power is essential for those kind of creative endeavors! Check out this handy chart for more on the similarities and differences of the latest in the storied line of Nikon DX cameras.

Comparing…Nikon Z fcNikon Z 50
SensorDX (APS-C) CMOSDX (APS-C) CMOS
Resolution20.9 MP20.9 MP
ProcessorEXPEED 6 EXPEED 6
Max videoUHD 30p UHD 30p
Max framerateFHD 120p FHD 120p
Monitor3.0″ Vari-Angle LCD
1.04M dot
3.2″ tilting LCD
1.04M dot
ISO range 100–51,200
(expands to 204,800)
100–51,200
(expands to 204,800)
AF system209 point hybrid 209 point hybrid
Eye-AF control
for video
YesNo
Dimensions3.7″ x 5.3″ x 1.8″3.7″ x 5″ x 2.4″
Weight390 g395 g
Built-in flashNoYes
Hot shoeYesYes
ConnectionUSB-C Power Delivery
Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi
USB-Micro-B
Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi
BatteryEN-EL25 EN-EL25
Battery life300 captures300 captures
StylePremium
Retro
Standard
Modern
Manual dial controlExtensiveReasonable

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New Z-mount lenses

Also announced yesterday evening were three new Z-mount lenses—well, technically, two new lenses and one new version of an existing lens. Two are sized and priced for DX cameras, and all three should be available at some point in 2021.

NIKKOR Z DX 16–50mm f/3.5–6.3 VR

Already available in black, the satin-silver finish on this new version of the DX 16–50mm was designed specifically to complement the handsome retro style of the Z fc. It is the smallest lens native to the Z-mount, and that size in combination with a respectable standard zoom range (24–75mm full-frame equivalent field of view) makes it a great everyday option that won’t strain your neck (or your bank account). The silver version of this lens will be available on its own or in a kit with the Z fc in late July.

NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE)

The lightest FX lens yet, the 28mm f/2.8 draws design inspiration from lenses of the same era as the FM cameras that inspired the Z fc. Sharp-looking, bright, and eminently toteable, this prime is sure to delight. A “standard edition” (presumably a more modern-styled) version will be released at a later date, along with the 40mm prime already in development. This special edition version will be available in a kit with the Z fc starting in late July, and separately starting this fall. Click here to pre-order yours today, or visit a Mike’s Camera near you.

NIKKOR Z DX 18–140mm f/3.5–6.3 VR

Scheduled for release sometime in 2021 (but not more accurately than that), this 18–140mm lens offers a very broad zoom range in what appears to be a very reasonably-sized package. A huge advantage of using cameras with DX/APS-C sensors is their carryability, so an all-in-one designed to maximize that quality makes a whole lot of sense to me.

This lens should also be an exciting sight generally for those using DX-format Z-mount cameras (the Z fc and Z 50). While a larger sensor has many advantages, using a smaller sensor allows you to use significantly smaller and less expensive lenses, as long as they are produced by the manufacturer. With an additional body and lens announced, Nikon has signaled their commitment to expanding their support of the format. Huzzah!

2 comments

    1. I think that the many users of SnapBridge would disagree with “unusable,” but thank you for sharing an alternative for anyone who might be looking for one!

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