Photo’s via NikonRumors.com
Nikon is about to announce a new retro-SLR-styled APS-C mirrorless camera: the Zfc. It has some similarities to the Fujifilm X-T30, X-T4, and X-T200 (and also the Olympus OM-D), while not being exactly like any of them. According to NikonRumors, this camera is the Nikon Z50, just in a retro body inspired by the Nikon FM and Df cameras. The Z50 has a 20-megapixel sensor, and, as far as I know, is well regarded yet unexciting. This new body design will certainly create some excitement!
You might notice the Zfc has a shutter knob, exposure compensation knob, and ISO knob on the top of the body (much like the X-T4). There’s also a PASM switch. I can’t help but wonder, if Nikon had included an aperture ring around the lens, would the PASM switch even be necessary? I feel like Nikon went 90% there, but just didn’t push themselves all the way. Of course, they know their audience far better than I do, and they have far more experience in camera design than I.
With this camera, I believe that Nikon is specifically targeting the Fujifilm market. I’m not sure if they’re trying to lure Fujifilm photographers to Nikon, or simply attempting to stop Nikon shooter from leaving for Fujifilm, or maybe both, or perhaps those moving on from Micro 4/3. I have no idea how successful they’ll be at this, but I do think the Zfc will get some attention, something Nikon desperately needs. It seems like they’ve produced a lot of rather ho-hum products as their customers have jumped ship for other brands.
What Nikon doesn’t have that Fujifilm does are Film Simulations and Film Simulation Recipes. That’s not to say that Nikon’s JPEGs are junk (because I’m sure they’re not), but there’s nothing in the photographic world that rivals what Fujifilm and Fujifilm shooters (that’s you and me!) have created. While Nikon’s new exterior camera design is great, if they really want to compete against Fujifilm they need to recommit to the camera-made JPEG and do something just as radical inside as they did with the body. After all, photography is both about the picture and the experience, and I think the Zfc is an attempt to improve the latter (for certain people) while not addressing the former. I like this step that Nikon is taking, and I think it would be great if they continued down that path, but I’d be surprised if they did. We’ll see. Nevertheless, the Nikon Zfc is indeed a lovely looking camera.
It’s nice looking, but I join you in wondering if it’s a good move. It does seem like they only -almost- went where they should have.
Exactly. Almost. It’s as if they didn’t have the courage to go a couple extra steps. If this is step one of many down that road, it’s a definitely a start; however, this is likely one-and-done.
The front and top views are attractive but I’m curious what the back will look like. That’s where they really gave up on the Df.
What Nikon is really missing is the lens selection Fuji has and that’s why they has to include the PSAM dial… to many DX lenses w/o an aperture ring I suspect. Plus, just a weak DX lens lineup overall, particularly the lenses I would think the potential buyer of this camera would want.
Just found a view of the back. Yuck, how unfortunate.
The back is like a cross between an X-T100 (buttons) and X-T200 (screen).
I agree with all of those points. The new 28mm is a start, but they have a ways to go.
As a former Nikon shooter, I’m not surprised that Nikon is releasing lenses without aperture rings. I think they re-packaged their DX lenses, very, very few of which had aperture rings.
It should have come out with a 35mm f/1.8 DX lens.
That was my thought, too, at first. Then I considered that my top most used lens lately is the 27mm f/2.8. But a faster prime would probably be a more exciting offering.
I thought that the 35mm would be cheap to make but would love to see a 27mm f/2.For indoor shots of my children I find f/2.8 too slow.
f/2 is definitely preferable over f/2.8, although I find f/2.8 sufficient for many situations. For indoor shots of kids, you need a fast lens for sure!
Z mount is an impressive mount. Nikon specifically designed it to get rid of any historical burden and fulfill the optics demands in digital era. I think Zfc would be attractive for those RAW shooters who are also fond of retro-style camera bodies. I don’t think other manufacturers will put much efforts into jpeg options for SOOC performance like Fujifilms do. So Fujifilms are still good for hobby shooters like me.
I so agree with comments above about the ‘almost’ thingy. It’s really a pity about the PASM alongside with shutterspeed dial design.
I agree with everything except this: JPEG is for hobby shooters. What I can tell you is that some photographers with names you’d recognize, who you would not consider hobbyists, are shooting JPEGs. Fujifilm seems to be the only company paying attention to this. Thank you for the thoughtful comment!
I think you might be a little off base on Nikon jpegs. I’m currently shooting a X100V, Z6ii, and Z50. I also up until about a month ago had the XE3 and a few of the F2 primes.
I think I’m terms of straight out of camera jpegs, I like them in this order 1) Z6ii 2) Z50 3) X100V 4) XE3.
I don’t know if it’s the differences in lenses or sensor or the combination, but the stellar image quality I’m getting out of the Z50 and the S primes is the reason I got rid of the XE3 and it’s lenses.
I still love my X100V for it’s form factor, but Idk after getting into the Z system this year I have a hard time finding any of the Fuji ILC stuff as attractive.
I shot Nikon many years ago, but shot RAW with it. I think the JPEG options are certainly more limited, as far as the custom looks one can create, on Nikon. I’m sure they look good, though. I don’t currently own a Nikon camera, so this is just my speculation from the outside.
The X100V and X-E4 have identical image quality, so the difference must be the lens.
I appreciate the comment!
That would be interesting to put to the test, though: Fujifilm JPEGs vs Nikon JPEGs.
I’d actually like to see it myself. The newest Fuji’s do have things like grain and the chrome effect that the Nikon doesn’t. However, you can still make custom picture controls on Nikon. So should be able to tweak it quite a ways.
Even the default picture controls on Nikon I think look pretty good though. They might not be named after film stock like on Fuji, but I do find that they’re very useful. Especially if you put a custom curves on them and then tweak the white balance.
I appreciate the input! Maybe an opportunity will come someday to try it myself and see what happens.
I just ran across this video comparing the Z6ii + 50mm to the XT3 + 35mm, it’s actually interesting how close the base profiles are. Although, I would still like to see how far the JPEGs could be pushed inside the Nikon. I may try to make some custom profiles using your recipes as my starting point and see if I can get them close to how they look on my X100V.
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. That would be an interesting experiment.
Of course, Nikon love Fujifilm starting from his first E series and this is just continuing of the love.
Too little and way too late, I left Nikon years back and came to Fuji and I will not be going back.
I left Nikon for Sony (a brief stop) before finally settling on Fujifilm (about five years ago). I don’t regret selling my Nikon DSLR and glass.
If I had to choose a Nikon body I would still prefer the Nikon DF because it has an optical viewfinder and colors nicer than usually the Nikon colors which are not my cup of tea; but if I had to choose between any Nikon, including the DF, and Fujifilm I still prefer my Fujifilm X100, as it has the advantages of an optical viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder, while not worried about chimping the photo as (using your recipes :D) I know the jpeg is going to be as I want them. Is the closest experience I have to just focus in the image through my eye without feeling drawn from it to check camera controls or being burdened by the idea of each photo will be an editing task in the future, which is almost a nice experience when shooting film cameras, “almost” as scanning is hell x.x hehe
This camera is beautiful visually but the experience I suspect will not be that different from the other cameras in Nikon line, and I don’t see it competing with the Fujifilm X E line, which uses a digital viewfinder but the design language seems to me elegant with classic film controls inspiration but without looking faux retro; maybe this playful Nikon competes more with the X T line. Still I am glad other companies are doing cameras that look like cameras and not bodies that apparently are meant just for professional sport shooters, is a noble profession for sure, but I think that is one reason people just prefer cellphones, there are moments in life where the camera should just appear when you need it and not be intimidating to others.
To me, the the Z fc seems to have aspects (speaking of the body design) of the X-T4, X-T30, and X-T100. It’s almost as if they took those four bodies (plus a Df) and said, “Let’s use this from this one, and that from that one…” and mixed it all together. I like how it looks, and I think it most closely competes against the X-T30. I prefer the X-T30 for many reasons, but most notably the film simulation recipes. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!
I think Nikon actually modelled it after their 1980 FM2 film camera. Old Nikon film cameras are unbelievably beautiful – happy to see them move back to these designs
It is good to see them move back to beautiful designs!
It feels like a major opportunity was dropped here to make a Zf that was full-frame. It’s probably coming eventually, but APS-C has never been Nikon’s best lineup. The investment needed to repackage their old DX lenses as Z options will be costly and probably not very successful unless they can turn them around quickly. This *could* have been the answer to people asking for Fuji on full-frame: introduce a retro-styled camera with a Z6 sensor and the entire Z lens lineup ready to go. My main setup is an XT-3, but I also own a Df because it’s just plain fun to shoot. I would have pre-ordered a Zf, but I could not care less about the Zfc.
If Nikon had the courage, which I’m sure they don’t have, they’d make a retro-styled full-frame fixed-lens camera. I think it would be a massive success if they did it well. An interchangeable-lens retro-style full-frame Z camera is something that should definitely be on their to-do list.
Totally agree. An X100V-style offering with full-frame, leaf shutter, built-in ND, and either a 35, 40, or 50mm fixed lens would be baller.
Back in the days Fuji copied nikon 🙂
Well, yeah! Everyone copied everyone, but also made it their own. Nothing wrong with that. There’s very little that’s truly original. If Nikon is “copying” Fujifilm (who at some point also “copied” Nikon), I say great. Put you own flair on it to make it your own, but draw inspiration from wherever you can.
I’m wondering when Fujifilm copied anybody?
The X100 is certainly derivative. Fujica was derivative. Fujifilm’s cameras all pretty much copy (“inspired by”) designs from the 1940’s through 1970’s. Nothing at all wrong with that, in fact the art of it is beautiful.
It might be me getting old, but I remember learning how to take photos on a Nikon N80 with Fujifilm inside. Around the same time Fuji was making a dSLR that utilized the Nikon F-Mount. As such, I’ve always had a sweet spot for both Nikon and Fuji. I just can’t decide which I like better, so I bought both. I can’t seem to get myself as excited about the other brands.
I used to shoot Canon and Pentax with “Fujifilm inside” (Velvia 50, for example). Although Fujifilm was an early innovator in digital photography (Fujifilm was the first to sell a digital camera, the Fujix DS-X, in 1989), I didn’t start using their cameras until five years ago. About 10 years ago (roughly) I did shoot with a Nikon DSLR for a little while. I don’t miss that Nikon camera, but maybe if I had a deeper history with it I’d feel much differently. The Zfc might very well be that camera for some future photographers. Thanks for the comment!
I had Nikon FA, very nice camera it was. Its obvious that Nikon wants to enter into “Fuji area”. Mobile phones are killing cameras on average. I see how people look at me when they see me with with real camera (x-t30). And no one wants to carry full frame around if he doesn’t need too. But photography was always about a photographer. You can take better photo with old Russian Kiev camera equipped with Jupiter lens than someone with all Nikons, Fuji’s and film recipes.
Apparently Nikon’s plan is working because they’ve already received more demand than they can fulfill. It’ll be interesting to see if Nikon does more “retro-styled” gear. Old Russian gear is incredible, I have a couple of cameras and several lenses myself….
Great news, you have Russian lenses. Do you use them with Fujifilm? I’m most often using Volna 9m and Tair 11a.
I have a Helios 44-2, Industar 61, Industar 69, and a couple that I can’t think of the names of off the top of my head. Yes, I use them on my Fujifilm cameras.
If you send to me photos of lenses that you don’t know names I could try to explain to you what is these lenses. My email is in the details of this message.
They are Jupiter 8M, Jupiter 12, and Helios 103.
Oh, sorry, I decided that they have a Russian marking. These three lenses are very good professional lenses from the camera Kiev.
I’ve got a home-made (not by me) adaptor that only kind-of works–it turns these into macro lenses on my Fujifilm X cameras.
7 years ago in photography forums throughout, the mantra was get smaller, get lighter. Then Fujifilm reared it’s head to create and present what photographers wanted. Coming fro Nikon film cameras that I still own and when presented with the dilemma to do something, Nikon released the add which was the perfect solution to bring back my Nikkor AIS lenses alive. I opted to Fuji because of build quality and the X factor. Looking back to Df owners, they love their Dfs! I mean they really LOVE their Dfs!! All this in spite of flat reviews from the D geniuses in print. So…. having said all that I’m very surprised Nikon wouldn’t improve on the Df verses go blatant with this new Z. Actually really amazed at that because regardless of my switch to Fuji, I appreciate what Df owners see in their choice. Oh well. It’s a world gone mad.
It’s shocking that Nikon never made a Df II camera. Maybe a Zf is in the plans. You are right: Df users really love the Df, no question about it. Thanks for the comment!
Nikon does have film simulations and 20 creative picture profiles built in. Picture profile presets can be stored as well. About 150 are available here ready to download: nikonpc(dot)com. Nikon’s Black and White options offer greater variety than Fujifilm. Particularly in case of landscape and woodland B/W where Nikon excels Fuji in SOOC output.
Nikon has undersold their JPEGs. The Z series has one of the best JPEG engines out there.
Thanks for the information! How do these stored picture profiles work? Are you able to have an unlimited number stored on an SD card that can be selected at any time?
Nikon has Picture Control Utility 2. That’s what Fujifilm must-have.
It’s interesting. Are the settings created in Picture Control Utility 2 different than what can be created in-camera? Or are the settings identical (such as Fujifilm in-camera and X RAW Studio)?
Unfortunately, I have no idea. I’m not using Nikon and their software.
They’re almost the same as what you can create in camera, but there are a few things you can do from the computer that you can’t in camera. Then big one for me is that I can create custom tone curves from using the Picture Curves Utility.
You may have a look at how it is done here in this playlist
I know this from Nikon DSLR bodies. I don’t have a Z body yet(yet to decide between Z fc and Fuji X-E4). But it should be available on Z bodies. Though I read online that the old procedure does not work as is.
Nikon has actually standardised the procedure for creating custom profiles on Z bodies through Picture Controls Utility 2 and the manuals explain how to load it in the camera.
Here is the procedure:
Nine custom profiles can be saved at a time as explained in Nikon manual for Z7 II here:
I don’t know why Nikon does not advertise its picture controls as much. They offer as much flexibility as Fuji film sims.
Thank you, that’s very helpful!
I used to be a NIkon shooter, before I found Fuji. The only reason I would go back to NIkon is I loved the 50mm f1.4 for street and portrait. It does look nice, but I prefer the compact and versatile XT30.
The X-T30 is a great little camera. I used to shoot Nikon (among other brands) many years ago, but I’m super happy with Fujifilm. Thanks for the comment!
Yes my Nikon D80 was built like a tank and got me some amazing shots, but I’m purely Fujifilm and can’t see myself going back.
I have a problem with x-t30. When i use area AF. So I view thru EV and move that focusing square around with finger. Constantly freezing. I must on/off. It has latest update. Then I switched AF mode on Wide and no problem…but i would like more to use Area Af…
I’ve not experienced this issue on my X-T30 (although I typically use the joystick to move the square around). Have you tried contacting Fujifilm support?