Well, the rumour mill seems to have been a little off. It wasn’t Canon that was announcing a new camera today, but Nikon. Nikon has now officially announced their latest addition to their Z mirrorless lineup, the retro FM-inspired Nikon Z fc. It features a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sized sensor paired with an EXPEED 6 processor for fast performance and 4K UHD video.
It also seems that Nikon might’ve actually finally figured out how to make a decent vlogging camera. Well, almost. It offers full-time eye-detection autofocus, a flippy out LCD, a built-in stereo microphone, a 3.5mm socket for an external microphone and built-in live streaming although it doesn’t feature any IBIS, which may be a dealbreaker for some vloggers.
While the Nikon Z fc sports a flashy new exterior, when you look at the specs, it essentially appears to be a Nikon Z50 in a new housing – but with a much more useful, albeit slightly smaller flippy out LCD. And when you look at them side-by-side, they are fairly close. The LCD’s a tad smaller and the AF sensitivity goes half a stop lower, but other than that… Yup, pretty much.
|Nikon Z fc||Nikon Z50|
|Mount||Nikon Z||Nikon Z|
|Format||DX (1.5x APS-C)||DX (1.5x APS-C)|
|Resolution||5,568 x 3,712||5,568 x 3,712|
|Mechanical shutter||1/4000 to 30 sec||1/4000 to 30 sec|
|Flash Sync||1/200, AutoFP High Speed Sync supported||1/200, AutoFP High Speed Sync supported|
|Focus type||Hybrid phase-detection/contrast AF with AF assist||Hybrid phase-detection/contrast AF with AF assist|
|Focus modes||Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo AF (AF-C), AF mode auto-switch (AF-A; available only in photo mode), full-time AF (AF-F; available only in movie mode) ; predictive focus tracking, Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used||Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo AF (AF-C), AF mode auto-switch (AF-A; available only in photo mode), full-time AF (AF-F; available only in movie mode) ; predictive focus tracking, Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used|
|AF points||209||209 (single-point AF, photo mode, DX image area)|
|AF sensitivity||-4.5 to +19 EV (Measured in photo mode at ISO 100 and a temperature of 20 °C/68 °F using single-servo AF (AF-S) and a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8.|
), Without low-light AF: -3 to +19 EV
|-4 to +19 EV ( -2 to +19 EV without low-light AF, single-servo AF, photo mode, ISO 100, f/2.0 lens, 20 °C/68 °F)|
|Viewfinder||1.0-cm/0.39-in. approx. 2360k-dot (XGA) OLED electronic viewfinder with color balance and auto and 7-level manual brightness controls||0.99-cm/0.39-in. approx. 2360k-dot (XGA) OLED electronic viewfinder with color balance and auto and 7-level manual brightness controls|
|LCD||7.5-cm (3.0–in.) diagonal, Vari-angle TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and color balance and 11-level manual brightness controls, Approx. 1040k-dot||8-cm (3.2–in.) diagonal; Tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and 11-level manual brightness controls; Approx. 1040k-dot|
|Internal video||H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding||H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding|
|External video||Unknown||4:2:2 8-Bit 4K UHD & 1080p HD|
|Memory card slots||SD, SDHC (UHS-I compliant), SDXC (UHS-I compliant)||SD, SDHC (UHS-I compliant), SDXC (UHS-I compliant)|
|Connectivity||802.11b/g/n 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||Approx. 134.5 x 93.5 x 43.5 mm (5.3 x 3.7 x 1.8 in.)||Approx. 126.5 x 93.5 x 60 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.4 in.)|
|Weight||Unknown||Approx. 450 g (15.9 oz.) with battery and memory card but without body cap; approx. 395 g/14 oz. (camera body only)|
The Nikon Z fc shoots 4K UHD video internally to an SD card, although there’s been no word yet on its video output capabilities to an external recorder. I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high, though. The Nikon Z50 offers 8-Bit 4:2:2, so I wouldn’t expect more with the Z fc.
Aside from the overall aesthetic, the big selling point for the Z fc over the Z50 is that flippy out LCD. It’s a first for Nikon Z mirrorless and we’ve also only seen it in Nikons before with the D5x00 range of DSLRs – it’s what made them great for vlogging (along with the 3.5mm microphone socket). I used a D5300 to vlog myself for several years and like the Z fc, the D5300 has no IBIS.
The Nikon F mount had that little, lightweight 18-55mm kit lens with VR allowing you to get some fairly stable handheld footage. The Nikon Z mount lineup has the even tinier 16-50mm with a slightly wider angle of view. The 16-50mm also has VR and there’s even a kit available containing that retro-styled version of lens with the Z fc body. And it’s only $100 more than the Z50 with the 16-50mm kit.
Is it worth the extra $100 over the Z50 for that retro styling and the flippy out LCD? Personally, I’m inclined to say… Well, yeah, absolutely it is! For me, it’s the first Nikon Z mirrorless camera that’s actually convinced me to maybe consider replacing some of my DSLRs. Even though I wouldn’t intend to use it as a vlogging camera (Panasonic already lured me in while I was waiting for Nikon to get their act together), it looks like it’ll be a great walkabout camera and a flippy out LCD is useful for far more than just vlogging.
Hopefully, they’ll start adding that filppy out LCD to some of their full-frame bodies now, too, even if they don’t give them the same retro styling.