In this article, we take a look at why Nikon has made a strong move into the mirrorless camera world with the Nikon Z Mount range.
A couple of years back, Nikon was synonymous with top-notch, ahead-of-their-time DSLRs. Any photographer – beginner or professional, looking for the perfect DSLR would head to a Nikon store right away. It just wasn’t because these photographers were crazy for the brand. It was because the brand understood their requirements, and compiled them into class-apart digital cameras.
Without any doubts, Nikon’s range of DSLRs has been popular amongst people of all generations for decades. It is why the news of Nikon dropping 1/3rd of its DSLR lineup to pave the way for the Nikon Z mirrorless cameras surprised many. From a market point of view, Nikon’s decision isn’t really surprising – especially because Nikon’s prime competitors, Canon and Sony have already made a mark in the market with their advanced range of mirrorless cameras.
Take, for example, Sony’s long-standing range with the a7 cameras, or Canon’s R series. These cameras evolved at the right time, foraying into the market with features that made them easily stand apart from DSLRs. Albeit a bit late, Nikon has finally caught up, learning from their heritage as well as understanding the requirements of the changing market. They have made a move into the mirrorless camera world. Later in 2018, Nikon made clear their intentions to develop and deliver industry-leading mirrorless camera technology with the Nikon Z series.
We’re sure you’re just as excited as us to have a look at the stunning collection of Nikon Z Mount mirrorless cameras. Let’s get into the details of the best ones right away:
Nikon Z6 II – A Comprehensive Upgrade
The original Z6 model represented Nikon’s revolutionary step into the new age of mirrorless cameras. With the introduction of the Z6 II, Nikon has simply taken it a notch higher. Right from its sturdy yet lightweight build to its impeccable features, this model from Nikon is awe-inspiring in all respects. Let’s understand this model better:
Featuring the powerful 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor, the Z6 II is characterised by an increased buffer depth and a faster continuous shooting rate. Paired with the sensor is the advanced dual EXPEED image processor, which further enhances the power of this camera. The sensor is well-suited for all-round shooting, delivering exceptional low light quality. Even when working at high or low ISO values, you are guaranteed vivid and smooth imagery with this Nikon Z Mount camera.
Frames Per Second
The excellent combination of the sensor and processors delivers a continuous shooting rate of 14fps for up to 124 consecutive frames, in the single-point autofocus mode. In other focusing modes, the camera offers 12fps. This outstanding continuous shooting speed, the camera also offers a noticeably reduced blackout time in the viewfinder.
Accurate and Smooth Focusing System
The updated autofocus system of the Z6 II now includes Eye and Face Detection, which is effective for both humans and animals. This better detection system works best in the Wide-Area autofocus mode and applies to capturing images as well as recording videos.
Located on the sensor is an array of 273 phase-detect autofocus points, covering 90% image area both horizontally and vertically. With this, the camera provides fast and accurate focusing for both stills and video. You also have the benefit of hybrid AF, which delivers phase and contrast-detect systems during video recording.
Unmatchable Video Output
The Nikon Z6 II is a more-than-capable multimedia camera. Thanks to the attributes of the sensor and dual-processors, UHD 4K video recording is now possible with full pixel readout up to 30p. It supports Full HD 1080 video recording at up to 120p for slow-motion playback. The in-body 5-axis vibration reduction cuts down the effects of camera shake, giving you the much-needed stability for handheld shooting.
Consistent Low-light Performance
With an ISO sensitivity range spanning from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, the camera is well-suited for delivering clear images and videos even in low-lit shooting conditions. The range is expandable to ISO 50 to 204800. The sensor also permits accurate focusing in low light situations down to -4.5 EV. The camera is apt for shooting in broad daylight, as it is for shooting in the dark.
Despite its excellent upgrades, the Z6 II still retains its form factor and exceptional image quality. Not only is it the right fit for portrait and wildlife photography, but this Nikon Z camera is also versatile enough for every type of creator, photographer and even filmmaker. With the Z6 II, Nikon has continued their progressive move into mirrorless cameras.
Nikon Z7 II – Unmatched Performance
The successor of Nikon Z7 is one spectacular mirrorless camera, with improved processing and greater versatility. The upgraded Nikon Z7 II has impressive new features, which adds to this already well-performing camera. For every detail-obsessed photographer, who loves to replicate their exact ideas into reality, this camera is for you. We’ll talk further about the best features of this camera. Read on to know more about this fantastic camera from Nikon.
Dual Image Processor
The Z7 II features not one, but two EXPEED 6 image processors. It is a significant addition to not only its predecessor but to the entire Z series of mirrorless cameras from Nikon. With faster processing and greater versatility, this camera easily sets itself apart from the rest of the Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.
Eligible for ProRes RAW Upgrade
The Z7 II is eligible for an optional ProRes RAW upgrade, allowing the camera to deliver ProRes RAW footage to a compatible Atomos external recorder. This upgrade gives you greater colour flexibility with the ProRes codec. Along with this, the update also makes the camera capable of delivering uncompressed 12-bit RAW footage over HDMI. The Z7 II will be eligible for this update in early 2021.
The Nikon Z7 II flaunts a powerful 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor, which is for high-resolution shooting with tremendous speed in the continuous shooting mode. The maximum ISO sensitivity of the sensor is ISO 25600, with the minimum being ISO 64. The sensor has a unique design, with which it omits the conventional optical low-pass filter to deliver crystal-clear imagery.
Likewise, the sensor is back-illuminated, producing clear high sensitivity output and reduced noise, especially when working at high ISO values. The sensor is coupled with the dual image processors and adds up to the delivery speed of this camera.
493-point Phase-detect AF System
The sensor features an array of 493 phase-detect autofocus points, just like the Z6 II. It covers 90% of the image area vertically as well as horizontally. The phase-detect autofocus system works very well with both images as well as videos. For capturing videos, you have the option of hybrid AF, which gives you the flexibility to transition from phase-detect to contrast-detect AF as per your requirements.
In-built Vibration Reduction System
The Nikon Z7 II features the 5-axis sensor-shift vibration reduction system, which compensates for up to 5 stops of camera shake. The system is also compatible with F-mount lenses when using an optional FTZ Adapter. With F-mount lenses, however, it offers 3-axis stabilisation instead of 5-axis.
Right from wedding to portrait to motion photography, this Nikon Z camera is well-suited for wide photography applications. With its exceptional connectivity, robust body and impressive features, the Z7 II is indeed here to stay. Its predecessor has already made a mark in the mirrorless camera world, and this model will further add to Nikon’s growing reputation in this segment.
Nikon Z5 – Multipurpose Mirrorless
This FX-format mirrorless camera is yet another masterpiece from Nikon. With a sturdy yet lightweight body, this camera is supremely compact and apt for outdoor photography. Let’s understand what sets the Nikon Z5 apart from its counterparts.
Advanced Imaging Capabilities
The advanced autofocus system of the Z5 features 273 selectable points. It is a hybrid autofocusing system that delivers phase-detection and contrast-detection focusing. With this, you have an accurate, smooth and quiet autofocus system that works well with not only images but also with videos. Along with the adept subject tracking, the camera offers the face detection feature, which again, suits both photography and videography.
The internal diameter of this mount is 17% larger than that of Nikon’s F mount. With this added feature, Nikon can optimise the lens design to a greater extent. Thanks to the Z mount, the Z5 delivers enhanced low light performance. You also have a maximum aperture as wide as f/0.95, not forgetting the quick data transfer between the camera and lens.
Strong Design and Structure
Despite being loaded with the best features, this camera is very light. Not only does this make shooting with the Z5 easy, but also adds to its portability. You will barely feel its weight once it’s in your photography kit. The Nikon Z5 is on the lower side when it comes to weight, but this has not at all compromised on the camera’s quality, durability and sturdiness.
Focus Shift Mode
The Z5 also features the focus shift mode, which automatically takes a series of up to 300 sequential images while advancing the position in every shot. This feature is simply perfect for macro-photography enthusiasts, who love stacking a series of images to bring out the best photo. It is also suitable to capture still subjects as well as for landscape photography.
With the built-in SnapBridge connectivity, you can now seamlessly transfer low-resolution images to connected devices. You can also operate your camera remotely as the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Wi-Fi enables instant communication between the Nikon Z5 and any of your smart devices. The mobile device can not only trigger the shutter remotely but also display a live view image straight from the camera, making your job a lot easier.
Just like the other models in Nikon’s Z series range of mirrorless cameras, the Z5, too, has a set of unique attributes that instantly distinguish it from other cameras in this range. An ultimately cost-effective model, if you’re looking to start your mirrorless journey, there’s nothing better than Nikon’s Z5!
Nikon Z50 – Fit For All Occasions
A DX-format mirrorless digital camera that revolves around Nikon’s versatile Z mount, the Z50 is equally capable in both stills and video realms. The sleek build of the camera is an instant eye-catcher, and just like all the above models, this one also has spectacular features making it an illustrious member of the Z-series. Let’s find out more:
UHD 4K Video Recording
The Nikon Z50 goes beyond merely capturing images – it supports UHD 4K video recording at up to 30fps. It also offers full HD recording at up to 120 fps for slow-motion effects. The camera can produce a finished UHD 4K video file directly from the camera. With this feature, in-camera time-lapse shooting, too, is possible.
20.9MP DX-format CMOS Sensor
With this sensor, the camera offers high sensitivity, nuanced image quality, while improving the overall performance of the camera. The sensor has a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 51200, giving you the flexibility to work in a range of lighting conditions. This sensitivity range can be further expanded up to ISO 204800, to maintain consistency in image quality in low light conditions.
EXPEED 6 Image Processor
The powerful image processor in the Z50 greatly improves its operating speed. Coupled with the sensor, the processor contributes to clean image quality and smooth colour transitions throughout the sensitivity range. The processor offers a top full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 11 fps. It also shoots up to 30fps at 8MP.
Accessible and Easy Control
The camera features a large 3.2″ 1.04m-dot LCD screen, which is touch-sensitive. This screen is perfect for bright and clear image playback as well as live view shooting. The tilting design of the screen allows you to shoot from high and low angles comfortably. With the 180° tilting screen, you can easily click selfie shots with the Z50, too. With the touchscreen, you have a more intuitive operation and navigation control.
Impressive Ergonomic Build
The camera has a sleek yet ergonomic body and is very comfortable to use, especially during long shooting hours. It has a magnesium alloy body that is weather-sealed and apt for working in tricky and harsh working conditions.
The Z50 has everything you need to look out for in the perfect mirrorless camera. The camera comes bundled with awesome features keeping the photographer’s comfort and requirements in mind. It makes the Nikon Z50 a great option among the whole range of mirrorless cameras out there.
It is not very surprising that Nikon has come up with this class-apart range of mirrorless cameras, considering its noted reputation in the field. One thing that cannot be denied is that Nikon Z Mount cameras have gone above and beyond to not only match up with the mirrorless cameras of Canon and Sony but surpassed them in a whole range of aspects.
At this stage, we have to say that Nikon is doing an exceptional job delivering this quality of cameras in an unbelievable price range. The future of Nikon’s current and upcoming range of cameras is undoubtedly bright! Plus, you can check out our full review of the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II right here.