amazon Nikon Z50 reviews
There are cameras for photographers, and then there are cameras for photographers first. The Nikon Z 50, Nikon’s smallest DX camera yet and APS-C sensor mirrorless camera head, falls mostly into the latter category. Marketed towards Instagram users willing to upgrade from a smartphone, the Z 50 combines in-camera video editing and wireless video transmission while keeping the same design geared towards an entry-level DSLR.
However, the Z 50 also comes with a built-in audience – Nikon’s regular cameras with F-mount lenses that can be easily adapted to the mirrorless Z-mount. Without the in-body stabilization of the full-frame Z 6 and Z 7, the Z 50 makes for a shorter feature list with its lightweight, 14-ounce body and small kit lens.
After the failed Nikon 1 series of cameras, it’s good to see that Nikon has put some real effort into a mirrorless camera aimed at casual photographers. It’s not perfect, but the Z 50 does a lot of things right.
Design: A mix of old and new
The Z 50 skips some of the premium features of the Z 6 and Z 7, like in-body image stabilization, to shave off a few millimeters. At just 3.7 inches tall, Nikon’s smallest crop sensor interchangeable lens camera is unsurprisingly beating even the compact D3500 DSLR.
However, Nikon cannot make the same claim about weight. At 14 ounces, the Z 50 is about 6 ounces lighter than its full-frame versions. But thanks to the magnesium alloy, and weather-sealed exterior, it’s heavier than the budget D3500, if only by about an ounce. We’d take that extra ounce in exchange for superior construction, rather than the nagging feeling of a cheap DSLR.
The 16-50mm kit lens is just impressively small, measuring 1.26 inches long and weighing less than five ounces. While extremely easy to carry around, the small size makes it possible to misplace the control ring. It also leaves no room for a focus scale or an AF/MF switch. Instead, the manual focus must be enabled from the camera’s quick menu. Given the Z 50’s target demographic, we don’t doubt many customers will be interested in this extra step as they’ll be happy to let the camera autofocus.
While smaller cameras often make serious sacrifices for ergonomics, the Z 50 manages to achieve a happy medium. The grip is a nice size, wide enough to hold comfortably for extended use. Due to the shorter body, one’s fingers don’t wrap around the controls as perfectly as a DSLR, requiring the camera to sit a little higher in the palm to comfortably access the top controls. But, for such a small camera, it is very comfortable to hold.
The controls are simple enough not to overwhelm new photographers, but still, leave some room to grow. There’s both a pop-up flash and hot shoe, as well as micro, USB, and HDMI ports – and, of course, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Unlike the Z 6 and Z 7, there’s no secondary display on the top plate, leaving more room for the mode dial, dual control dials, and shortcuts for ISO, exposure compensation, and video. While the record button works to start recording video in any mode, a small switch toggles between still and video modes – this allows photographers to use a set of settings for stills and one for video, and easily switch between the two modes.
At the front, two function buttons provide customizable shortcuts. The back continues the minimalist scheme with a few menu controls and playback options including three buttons built into the LCD. An autofocus joystick is, unfortunately, missing from the design.
The 3.2-inch LCD uses a hinge-style tilt, which still allows the screen to flip all the way forward, but below the camera, not to the side. While the design is sturdy and works well for handheld selfies, this means the screen will be blocked when using a tripod, a potential problem for vloggers and YouTubers. When the screen transitions, the camera automatically switches to selfie mode and locks many of the camera’s controls to prevent accidental collisions.
Like the LCD, the 2.36-million-dot viewfinder is clear and precise. While not as distinctive as the higher resolution viewfinders on the Z 6 and 7, it’s fine for this type of camera. The downside – like most, but not all electronic viewfinders – is that it goes black when taking pictures, making the latter a bit more difficult.
The Z 50 may be the first in a new line of DX mirrorless cameras, but the camera feels like a real Nikon. While we miss the Z 6’s greater joystick and grip, Nikon has managed to use the real estate on the Z 50 wisely, creating a camera that is both easy to use and versatile.
Good performance, but not perfect
The Series 1 – the mirrorless system Nikon wants you to forget – has its problems, but it is noted for its good performance. The Z 50 follows a similar trend, although it’s certainly not as fast as a professional sports-oriented camera like the Sony A9.
The shooting rate of 11 frames per second is very fast and handles RAW files well. (However, that maximum speed is not compatible with flash). The buffer fills up after 3 seconds of RAW images and takes about 15 seconds to fully recover. For the JEPG, the camera shoots continuously for 8 seconds and recovers after only 4; The low-speed setting helps the Z 50 stick to a steady speed much longer.
But, like Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z 50 autofocuses a bit. In good lighting, the camera performs as expected, focusing quickly and only missing some images in continuous mode.
In dim conditions, such as indoors or outside at night, 209-point autofocus. It hunts longer than usual, creates a lag in the image, or sometimes never finds focus. That’s not to say that all low-light shots from the Z 50 are out of focus, but the camera has a lower shooting rate than Nikon DSLRs – and some competing mirrorless cameras – in the harshest conditions.
The Z 50’s AF eye follows a similar but not great pattern. As long as the subject is relatively still and close to the camera, it works fine (further away, the camera locks onto the face). But the AF eye can’t keep up with a lot of movement, and some people laugh a lot – like choosing to focus on the face of an inflatable snowman instead of someone a little further away.
Similarly, autofocus tracking works great in some cases, but in other cases, the focus indicator box will drift away from the selected subject.
While the autofocus may not be as powerful as a Nikon DSLR, the Z 50 can still do what a DSLR can’t – shoot silently. Silent mode lives up to its name – there can be a bit of noise from the autofocus motor, but that’s it. However, without seeing the screen off, you can’t tell if a photo was taken.
While most cameras have some in-camera editing options, the Z 50 also adds the option to crop and save the video. That saves time and battery when using the new Snapbridge capability that enables wireless transmission of video. Like other recent Nikons, setting up a wireless connection is simple and gives access to remote photography and remote transfer tools for existing photos, a big improvement.
At first glance, Nikon seems to have fallen behind on the Z 50. It’s only 20.9 megapixels, after all, four less than the $400 D3500. Most companies seem to favor 24 megapixels for models enthusiast cameras, while the new Canon EOS M6 Mark II boasts 32.
But the megapixel count is a superficial and inaccurate way to measure image quality. The image from the Z 50 sensor is 5,568 pixels wide, while the image from the 24-megapixel camera is 6,000 pixels wide. That difference is fine for an extra 1.8 inches of print size, but few people will notice the difference — especially the Z 50’s target audience of Instagrammers.
However, most will notice a difference in image quality when it comes to noise. In general, the more pixels you cram into a sensor, the more susceptible that sensor is to noise. With fewer megapixels and the new EXPEED 6 processor, the Z 50 handles high ISO beautifully. With some adjustments to the RAW file, ISO 3,200 doesn’t even sound like a high ISO. Even without editing, the noise is still not annoying. Photographers can shoot confidently even at ISO 6,400, and beyond that quality just steps down from excellent to good.
At and below ISO 6,400, sharpness is excellent from the Z 50, a trend we’ve seen with all of Nikon’s Z cameras, thanks in part to the new lens mount. Swapping out the Z 50’s inexpensive kit lens for the more expensive Z 24-70mm f/4 Z has a bit more sharpness, but to a degree that might not be as noticeable when shooting in the real world.
Video quality follows many of the same patterns, with excellent sharpness and color. Autofocus looks smooth, though it doesn’t always adjust as quickly as we’d like. 4K offers great detail, while Full HD offers a wider range of frame rates.
While the body is not stabilized, the 16-50mm kit lens is. We were able to shoot sharp photos down to 1/25 of a second, and hand-held video wasn’t nauseating. At this time, there are only two Z DX lenses available, the second being the 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3, which is also stabilized. For any other focal length, you’ll need to use full-frame Z glasses or Nikon’s adaptive DSLR lenses, both of which don’t maintain the Z 50’s slim profile.
The Nikon Z 50 is an impressive departure from the first APS-C model in the Z series. It’s a solid design, takes great photos, and offers fast performance. Simple connectivity and in-camera video cropping make it ideal for influencers who want to shoot and share without plugging in a computer. However, autofocus lags behind some competing DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, especially when working with limited light.
Starting at around $850, the Z 50 is also reasonably priced and compares favorably with other cameras in this class.
where can you get a Nikon Z50 online
Nikon Z50 + Z DX 16-50mm Mirrorless Camera Kit (209-point Hybrid AF, High Speed Image Processing, 4K UHD Movies, High Resolution LCD Monitor) VOA050K001: Buy it now
Nikon Z50 Compact Mirrorless Digital Camera with Flip Under Selfie/Vlogger LCD, Body: Buy it now
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