3 B&W Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes + 1 Bonus Color Recipe

When the Nikon Zfc was announced in 2021, I preordered it, and waited a long time for it to come. When it finally arrived, I pulled the Zfc out of the box and began to use it, and I was quickly disappointed. I said that it was most similar to the Fujifilm X-T200, yet significantly bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Still, I put the camera through its paces, and even created 11 Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes using the Zfc. Then the camera went back into its box, and I strongly considered selling it.

After months and months of none-use, and after moving to a different state, I decided to give the Zfc one more try, but with a significant modification: I ditched the lousy Nikkor 28mm lens in favor of the TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4. Why? Because the TTArtisan lens has an aperture ring, and the Nikkor doesn’t. The TTArtisan lens is better optically than the Nikkor, too—I’m much happier with this setup. I then made three more Nikon Z recipes!

Right now I’m working on my full-review of the TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 lens (coming very soon!), and that means using it. In the process, I made four more recipes—I guess I couldn’t help myself! Three of these are black-and-white and one is color. If you add these four to the 14 others, I now have 18 Film Simulation Recipes for Nikon Z cameras!

Obviously, I made these JPEG recipes on the Zfc, so it will render differently on the full-frame models, but I’m not sure exactly how differently, as I’ve never used a full-frame Z camera. The reports have been positive, though, so I assume that they work well, including on the more expensive bodies—I just have no first-hand experience myself.

For those who might not know what “Film Simulation Recipes” are, they’re JPEG camera settings that allow you to achieve various looks (mostly analog-inspired) straight-out-of-camera, no editing needed. It can save you a lot of time by simplifying your workflow, and it can make the process of creating photographs more enjoyable.

These will be the last Nikon Z recipes that I create, as I decided not to keep the Zfc. If you are interested in buying it (bundled with the 28mm pancake and TTArtisan 25mm lenses), let me know. It’s gently used, and has spent more time in its box than out of it. Just send me a message if you are interested. Why am I selling the Zfc? Partly because I have never been fully satisfied with it, and partly because I’ve yet to figure out where it makes sense in my photographic process—it seems out of place in my bag. If sometime in the future Nikon makes a better effort on a similar camera, I’ll certainly consider buying it; however, the Zfc was just not the one for me.

Dramatic Monochromatic

Nikon Zfc — Dramatic Monochromatic

Similarities to using a red filter with B&W film.

Picture Control: Monochrome
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +3.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +2.00
Clarity: +1.00
Contrast: +1.00

Brightness: +1.00
Filter Effects: Red

Toning: B&W
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Cloudy
WB Adjust: B6.0 G6.0
ISO: up to 6400

Nikon Zfc — Dramatic Monochromatic
Nikon Zfc — Dramatic Monochromatic
Nikon Zfc — Dramatic Monochromatic
Nikon Zfc — Dramatic Monochromatic

B&W Push-Processed

Nikon Zfc — B&W Push-Process

Resembles the contrast of B&W film that has been push-processed.

Picture Control: Graphite
Effect Level: 100
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +2.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +2.00
Filter Effects: Yellow

Toning: B&W
Active D-Lighting: Extra High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Direct Sunlight
WB Adjust: A0.0 G0.0
ISO: up to 6400

Nikon Zfc — B&W Push-Process
Nikon Zfc — B&W Push-Process
Nikon Zfc — B&W Push-Process
Nikon Zfc — B&W Push-Process

B&W Film

Nikon Zfc — B&W Film

Reminiscent of black-and-white negative film.

Picture Control: Carbon
Effect Level: 100
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Filter Effects: Orange

Toning: B&W
Active D-Lighting: Extra High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Natural Light Auto
WB Adjust: A0.0 G0.0
ISO: up to 6400

Nikon Zfc — B&W Film
Nikon Zfc — B&W Film
Nikon Zfc — B&W Film
Nikon Zfc — B&W Film

Vintage Agfacolor Fade

Nikon Zfc — Vintage Agfacolor Fade

Reminds me of Agfacolor slides from the 1930’s

Picture Control: Graphite
Effect Level: 50
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: 0.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Filter Effects: Red

Toning: Blue Green 0.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Incandescent
WB Adjust: A6.0 M1.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc — Vintage Agfacolor Fade
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Agfacolor Fade
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Agfacolor Fade
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Agfacolor Fade

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Nikon Zfc — Amazon — B&H
TTArtisans 35mm f/1.4 — Amazon — B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

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3 (More) Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes

When the Nikon Zfc was announced in 2021, I preordered it, and waited a long time for it to come. When it finally arrived, I pulled the Zfc out of the box and began to use it, and I was quickly disappointed. I said that it was most similar to the Fujifilm X-T200, yet significantly bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Still, I put the camera through its paces, and even created 11 Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes using the Zfc. Then the camera went back into its box, and I strongly considered selling it.

After months and months of none-use, and after moving to a different state, I decided to give the Zfc one more try, but with a significant modification: I ditched the lousy Nikkor 28mm lens in favor of the TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4. Why? Because the TTArtisan lens has an aperture ring, and the Nikkor doesn’t. The TTArtisan lens is better optically than the Nikkor, too—I’m much happier with this setup.

Right now I’m working on my full-review of the TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 lens, and that means using it. Initially on my Zfc I was using the recipes that I had already created, but then I decided to make a few new ones—I guess I couldn’t help myself. If you add these three to the 11 others, I now have 14 Film Simulation Recipes for Nikon Z cameras!

Obviously, I made these JPEG recipes on the Zfc, so it will render differently on the full-frame models, but I’m not sure exactly how differently, as I’ve never used a full-frame Z camera. The reports have been positive, though, so I assume that they work well, including on the more expensive bodies—I just have no first-hand experience.

For those who might not know what “Film Simulation Recipes” are, they’re JPEG camera settings that allow you to achieve various looks (mostly analog-inspired) straight-out-of-camera, no editing needed. It can save you a lot of time by simplifying your workflow, and it can make the process of creating photographs more enjoyable.

Vintage Teal

Nikon Zfc — Vintage Teal

Vintage mood with a deep-teal cast.

Picture Control: Sepia
Effect Level: 40
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +2.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Filter Effects: Red

Toning: 7.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Cloudy
WB Adjust: A1.0 G4.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc — Vintage Teal
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Teal
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Teal
Nikon Zfc — Vintage Teal

Redscale

Nikon Zfc — “Redscale”

Similar to Kodak Gold with the film spooled backwards (redscale).

Picture Control: Red
Effect Level: 50
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: -1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: 0.00
Clarity: -1.00
Contrast: +2.00
Filter Effects: Green

Toning: 6.00
Active D-Lighting: Normal
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Day White Fluorescent
WB Adjust: B2.0 G4.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc — “Redscale”
Nikon Zfc — “Redscale”
Nikon Zfc — “Redscale”
Nikon Zfc — “Redscale”

Bright Negative

Nikon Zfc — “Bright Negative”

Reminiscent of brightly exposed color negative film.

Picture Control: Melancholic
Effect Level: 100
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: 0.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: -1.00
Contrast: +3.00
Saturation: +3.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Daylight Fluorescent
WB Adjust: A6.0 G6.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc — “Bright Negative”
Nikon Zfc — “Bright Negative”
Nikon Zfc — “Bright Negative”
Nikon Zfc — “Bright Negative”

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Nikon Zfc — Amazon — B&H
TTArtisans 35mm f/1.4 — Amazon — B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There’s a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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I Got it WRONG — How to Use the Nikon Zfc the Right Way!

Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4

I was wrong about the Nikon Zfc.

I wasn’t wrong about everything, actually. The Zfc is indeed surprisingly large and heavy—since it’s large and heavy it should have a grip, but it doesn’t. The camera feels too plasticky. It has an unnecessary PASM switch. The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens that it came with is pretty pedestrian—plus it doesn’t have an aperture ring (none of Nikon’s Z lenses do, unfortunately). The Zfc is a little overpriced. It’s a camera that is easy to be disappointed with, and I believe a missed opportunity for Nikon. I was right about all of that.

Where did I get the Zfc wrong? How I was using it. This is a camera that begs to be used with a manual third-party (or vintage) lens, and with the PASM switch set to M. Forget that crummy Nikkor lens! Buy a cheap “nifty fifity” from China instead. Then use the Zfc as an all-manual camera. Viola! It suddenly makes sense!

Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4

I purchased a TTArtisans 35mm f/1.4 for about $85 (stay tuned for a full review), and I’m much happier with it than the 28mm f/2.8. It has nothing to do with the focal length of the Nikkor lens or its maximum aperture. My favorite Fujinon lens is the 27mm f/2.8—that Fujifilm pancake is great! The Nikon version is not. The TTArtisans lens is much better than the Nikon lens that came with Zfc—it’s both optically superior and has more character. More importantly, though, it has an aperture ring.

Using the Zfc in full-manual without an aperture ring just doesn’t make sense. Using the Zfc in Aperture-Priority without an aperture ring doesn’t make sense, either. Using an aperture-ring-lens on a PASM camera isn’t particularly natural in my opinion, unless you set it to M and treat it like an old-school film camera—that’s what I did with my Zfc! It works on this camera only because it has shutter and ISO knobs—I control the exposure triangle with physical controls.

Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4

This! This is how to use the Nikon Zfc—the right way—all manual. No auto anything. The Zfc is unique in that, even though it has PASM, it also has physical controls that are activated by being in the correct mode (in this case, manual mode). When you do this, the shooting experience is similar to manually shooting with a Fujifilm X camera—this is the closest to the traditional Fujifilm experience that I have found outside of using a Fujifilm camera. If you don’t mind attaching a non-Nikkor lens and shooting full-manual, the Zfc is actually an alright camera. Yes, it’s still short of what it could have and should have been, but at least I found how I can enjoy using it.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Nikon Zfc — AmazonB&H
TTArtisans 35mm f/1.4 — AmazonB&H

Example photographs, captured with my Nikon Zfc plus the TTArtisans 35mm f/1.4 lens, using some of my Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes:

Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Analog Film” Film Simulation Recipe
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Analog Film” Film Simulation Recipe
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Vintage Color” Film Simulation Recipe
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Aged Analog” Film Simulation Recipe
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Aged Analog” Film Simulation Recipe (increased exposure)
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Aged Analog” Film Simulation Recipe
Nikon Zfc + TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 + “Vintage Color” Film Simulation Recipe

11 Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes!

On the day when the Nikon Zfc was announced, I placed my preorder for it. I’m a sucker for retro-styled cameras, and I used to shoot with Nikon DSLRs many years ago, so I was very curious about the Zfc. When it arrived I eagerly removed the packaging, and was very soon disappointed. The camera looked beautiful, but was bigger, heavier, and cheaper (as in quality, not price) than I had anticipated, and with questionable design decisions (such as PASM). Still, I put it through its paces, and published an article comparing the Nikon Zfc to Fujifilm cameras, which was more-or-less my review of it. Then I put the Zfc back in the box, which is where it remains today. I might dust it off and give it another chance, or maybe I’ll just sell it—I haven’t yet decided. For certain, I was unimpressed by Nikon’s efforts, and my advice to them would be to try again, but this time don’t be afraid to take the extra steps to give their customers a unique experience. I feel like they had the right idea, but didn’t have the guts to really see it through, and instead produced a mediocre camera dressed in lovely styling—kind of the lipstick-on-a-pig thing, but that’s a little harsher than I mean.

There was one bright spot with the Nikon camera: Picture Control (and the Creative Picture Control subset). While Fujifilm’s Film Simulations are inspired by film, Nikon’s Picture Controls are inspired by feelings and mood. It’s a much different take, and not necessarily better or worse—simply a divergent approach that’s worth noting. Fujifilm infuses an analog soul into their digital images, while Nikon infuses emotions that may or may not be analog-esque into their images. I found this to be intriguing, and I excitedly created some Film Simulation Recipes, which are JPEG camera settings, for it (like I do for Fujifilm cameras)—I crafted 11 Film Simulation Recipes for the Zfc before I boxed it back up.

I never did anything with those recipes, other than store them on my computer. Nobody knew that I had even made them, yet, because of my Zfc article, a number of people have requested that I publish Nikon Z Film Simulation Recipes. I briefly considered making a website and app, like I did for Fujifilm and Ricoh, but decided that I really don’t have the time, energy, or desire to do that, at least for now. Instead, I decided to simply publish those 11 Film Simulation Recipes for Nikon Z in this article—you’ll find them below! These recipes are fully compatible with the Nikon Zfc, Z50, and Z30 (the APS-C models). They are likely also compatible with the full-frame Z cameras—Z5, Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II, and Z9—but I’m really not 100% sure, and most likely they’ll render just a little differently—if you have one of those cameras, give it a try and see what happens.

For those who don’t own a Nikon Z camera, you might find the similarities and differences between these and Fujifilm recipes to be fascinating. I hope that those who come to this website for Fujifilm-related articles aren’t too disappointed by this post, but instead find something about it worthwhile. Likely a few of you have both a Fujifilm and Nikon Z camera, so this article should be beneficial to at least a handful of people. If it is, let me know in the comments! Also, if there’s a certain recipe in this list that you are drawn to, let me know!

Nostalgic Print

Nikon Zfc – “Nostalgic Print”

Resembles the aesthetic of classic Kodak prints that have been stored in a box for many years.

Picture Control: Dream
Effect Level: 90
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: -0.50
Mid-Range Sharpening: -2.00
Clarity: -4.00
Contrast: +3.00
Saturation: -2.00
Active D-Lighting: Normal
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Natural Light Auto
WB Adjust: B2.0 G0.5
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Nostalgic Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Nostalgic Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Nostalgic Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Nostalgic Print”

Silver Slide

Nikon Zfc – “Silver Slide”

Some similarities to color transparency film with the bleach step reduced (but not skipped).

Picture Control: Dramatic
Effect Level: 70
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: +1.00
Contrast: -1.00
Saturation: +3.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Direct Sunlight
WB Adjust: A3.0 M1.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Silver Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Silver Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Silver Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Silver Slide”

Weekend Negative

Nikon Zfc – “Weekend Negative”

Inspired by inexpensive consumer-grade color negative film, printed at the one-hour lab.

Picture Control: Sunday
Effect Level: 60
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: -2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: 0.00
Clarity: +3.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: -3.00
Active D-Lighting: Normal
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: 6500K
WB Adjust: A/B0.0 G2.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Weekend Negative”
Nikon Zfc – “Weekend Negative”
Nikon Zfc – “Weekend Negative”
Nikon Zfc – “Weekend Negative”

Tungsten Dawn

Nikon Zfc – “Tungsten Dawn”

Great for mixed light situations, with some similarities to Tungsten film—also, great for toning down the intensity of warm “golden hour” light.

Picture Control: Morning
Effect Level: 70
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: -2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +2.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: +2.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Day White Fluorescent
WB Adjust: A2.0 M1.0
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Tungsten Dawn”
Nikon Zfc – “Tungsten Dawn”
Nikon Zfc – “Tungsten Dawn”
Nikon Zfc – “Tungsten Dawn”

Fujichrome

Nikon Zfc – “Fujichrome”

Color palette reminiscent of Fujichrome Astia but with vibrancy more similar to Fujichrome Provia.

Picture Control: Somber
Effect Level: 90
Quick Sharp: -2.00
Sharpening: 0.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: 0.00
Clarity: -3.00
Contrast: -3.00
Saturation: +1.00
Active D-Lighting: Extra High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Direct Sunlight
WB Adjust: A2.0 M1.25
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Fujichrome”
Nikon Zfc – “Fujichrome”
Nikon Zfc – “Fujichrome”
Nikon Zfc – “Fujichrome”

Classic Slide

Nikon Zfc – “Classic Slide”

Some similarities to Kodak Elite Chrome emulsions.

Picture Control: Pop
Effect Level: 30
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: 0.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: +2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: -2.00
Active D-Lighting: Normal
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: 5200K
WB Adjust: A/B0.0 M0.75
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Classic Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Classic Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Classic Slide”
Nikon Zfc – “Classic Slide”

CineFilm

Nikon Zfc – “CineFilm”

Resembles the aesthetic of low-saturation cinema film.

Picture Control: Silence
Effect Level: 70
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +2.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: +3.00
Active D-Lighting: Auto
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Auto (0) Keep White
WB Adjust: A5.0 M0.50
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “CineFilm”
Nikon Zfc – “CineFilm”
Nikon Zfc – “CineFilm”
Nikon Zfc – “CineFilm”

Cinema Color

Nikon Zfc – “Cinema Color”

Produces a cinematic filmic look.

Picture Control: Bleached
Effect Level: 60
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: -3.00
Contrast: -1.00
Saturation: +3.00
Active D-Lighting: High
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Direct Sunlight
WB Adjust: A5.0 M1.00
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Cinema Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Cinema Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Cinema Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Cinema Color”

Vintage Color

Nikon Zfc – “Vintage Color”

Reminiscent of color pictures from the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Picture Control: Melancholic
Effect Level: 90
Quick Sharp: -1.00
Sharpening: +1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: 0.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: -1.00
Active D-Lighting: Normal
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Daylight Fluorescent
WB Adjust: A3.0 G2.25
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Vintage Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Vintage Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Vintage Color”
Nikon Zfc – “Vintage Color”

Analog Film

Nikon Zfc – “Analog Film”

Resembles classic negative print aesthetic, particularly underexposed frames.

Picture Control: Pure
Effect Level: 80
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: -1.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: 0.00
Clarity: +2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: +3.00
Active D-Lighting: Low
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Auto (1) Keep Overall Atmosphere
WB Adjust: A3.0 G0.50
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Analog Film”
Nikon Zfc – “Analog Film”
Nikon Zfc – “Analog Film”
Nikon Zfc – “Analog Film”

Aged Analog

Nikon Zfc – “Aged Analog”

Similarities to color negative film prints that have aged and slightly discolored.

Picture Control: Denim
Effect Level: 80
Quick Sharp: 0.00
Sharpening: +2.00
Mid-Range Sharpening: +1.00
Clarity: -2.00
Contrast: +1.00
Saturation: -2.00
Active D-Lighting: Low
High ISO NR: Low
White Balance: Direct Sunlight
WB Adjust: A4.0 G0.50
ISO: up to 3200

Nikon Zfc – “Aged Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Aged Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Aged Print”
Nikon Zfc – “Aged Print”

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Nikon Zfc  Amazon  B&H
Nikon Zfc + 28mm f/2.8  Amazon  B&H
Nikon Zfc + 16-50mm  Amazon  B&H

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Nikon Zfc vs Fujifilm X-Trans

Fujifilm X-T30 & Nikon Zfc

I’m a Fujifilm fanboy, but this new Nikon looks quite nice.

Maybe you can relate: I’m a sucker for retro-inspired cameras, and the Nikon Zfc had me drooling the day that it was announced. I love Fujifilm, yet I have nothing against Nikon—I used to shoot with Nikon DSLRs, and a few of my favorite photographs were captured on Nikon cameras. I figured that if I’m interested in the Zfc, maybe some of you are, too, so I purchased one to try. At the very least I could compare it to Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, and explain the similarities and differences.

At first glance the Zfc looks like it’s in the same class as the Fujifilm X-T30. There are certainly some similarities between the two models. The Zfc has a rear screen and knob arrangement that’s more like the X-T4, so I thought it could, perhaps, even fall in-between those two models somewhere, and serve as an upper-mid-tier APS-C mirrorless camera. It’s hard to tell from looking at pictures, but that’s what I was expecting.

When I pulled the Zfc out of the box, a few things surprised me. First, the camera is bigger than I expected. It’s much larger and noticeably heavier than the Fujifilm X-E4 that I frequently shoot with. It’s a little larger and slightly heavier than my X-T30. It’s almost as big as an X-T4, although much lighter. The Fujifilm camera in my collection that’s most similar in size and weight to the Zfc is the Fujifilm X-T1.

The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens (that came with the camera) is massive, too. I thought, perhaps, there’d be some similarities between the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens and the Nikkor glass, but other than maximum aperture and similar focal-length, these two lenses are much different. The Fujifilm lens is smaller, lighter, sharper, and superior in pretty much every way. That’s not to say that the Nikkor lens is bad, but it’s definitely not as good as the Fujinon, which happens to be my favorite lens. Nikon didn’t include an aperture ring on the 28mm f/2.8 (or any other Z glass), which I think is a big oversight.

Another surprise is how plasticky the Zfc feels. It doesn’t look plasticky, and its weight suggests that it’s not all that plasticky, but it definitely feels plasticky when you use it. I wouldn’t trust this camera to survive a hard fall. It doesn’t appear to be a cheap camera (and its price tag would confirm this), but when you use it, the feeling is that it’s a budget body, and not mid-range.

After considering where it best compares to Fujifilm models, the one I think the Zfc is most comparable to is the X-T200. If Fujifilm had put markings on the customizable unmarked knobs, the two cameras would be very similar (aside from size and weight). For those who don’t know, the X-T200 was Fujifilm’s budget option, with a price of $700 for the body or $800 bundled with a kit zoom. The X-T200 didn’t last long (both introduced and discontinued in 2020) because it didn’t sell well. Perhaps the Zfc sits a little above the X-T200, but in my opinion that’s the most similar Fujifilm model.

One last surprise is that the shutter and ISO knobs are more for looks than practical use. You see, there’s a PASM switch, and only when you are in the correct PASM position do the knobs actually do anything. If this camera had been designed correctly, PASM would be completely unnecessary, and the knobs would always do something if you turned them. It’s a much different user experience than what most Fujifilm cameras deliver, and maybe more confusing.

I understand that those who don’t have a background in classic film cameras and have only used PASM might be intimidated when trying Fujifilm X cameras for the first time. I think that’s one reason why the X-T200 and X-S10 cameras were designed the way they were: intended to be less intimidating to the uninitiated. So perhaps Nikon had that in mind with the Zfc, but this was certainly an opportunity to break the mold and offer a different experience to their users, and they just couldn’t do it—it really is a missed opportunity.

Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Pure” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Fujicolor Reala 100” recipe

Fujifilm is known for their Film Simulations and JPEG output. I’ve published over 200 Film Simulation Recipes to achieve various looks straight-out-of-camera. I even made an App (available for both Android and Apple) for these JPEG recipes. Fujifilm used their vast experience with film to create profiles that are modeled after film. For many Fujifilm photographers, Film Simulations (and recipes) are an intrinsic element of the user experience and picture aesthetic. For Nikon, their lesser-known equivalent is called Picture Control, with a subset called Creative Picture Control. While Fujifilm’s Film Simulations are inspired by film, Nikon’s Picture Controls are inspired by feelings and mood. It’s a much different take, and not necessarily better or worse—simply a divergent approach that’s worth noting. Fujifilm infuses an analog soul into their digital images, while Nikon infuses emotions that may or may not be analog-esque into their images.

Those who are regular readers of the Fuji X Weekly blog already know this, but for those who don’t, I’m a JPEG shooter. Many years ago I was a RAW guy, but Fujifilm cameras changed that for me. Shooting JPEG saves me time while making the process more enjoyable, as I get the look I want straight-out-of-camera without the need to edit. That’s my perspective.

It’s clear to me that, over the last decade, Fujifilm has invested more R&D dollars and time into their JPEG output than Nikon has. The Zfc is a new camera, but the JPEG quality is closer to X-Trans I—which is 10-years-old now—than X-Trans IV, which is very soon to be replaced by X-Trans V. When viewing on social media or the internet, you can’t tell, but when pixel-peeping, the Fujifilm X-E4 (for example) produces sharper, more detailed images, with more pleasing noise and fewer banding and artifact issues than the Zfc. It’s not a night-and-day difference (and I’m not suggesting that the JPEGs from the Zfc are bad), but it’s definitely noticeable when viewed closely, and I personally prefer the pictures produced by the X-E4; however, it only really matters if you are pixel-peeping, cropping deeply, or printing posters, and otherwise doesn’t matter.

Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Dream” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Kodak Portra 400 Warm” recipe
Crop from Nikon Zfc.
Crop from Fujifilm X-E4.

If you want the full Fujifilm photography experience, there’s no substitute for Fujifilm. The Nikon Zfc looks like it could deliver a similar experience, but it falls short in multiple ways. I would suggest the Fujifilm X-T30 II or X-E4 instead, which are similarly priced (cheaper actually), and are better cameras, in my opinion. The Fujifilm X-T3 WW is another solid option with a similar price point (slightly more expensive). With that said, the Zfc is still a very beautiful camera that’s fun to use and produces quality pictures.

If you already own a Nikon Z camera and lenses but like retro-styling, the Zfc is for you. An advantage of Nikon Z is that Z lenses are compatible with their full-frame mirrorless line. So perhaps you start with the Zfc and 28mm lens, but then you later add a couple lenses to your collection, and even later buy a Z7 II. Or maybe it’s the other way around: your Z7 II is big and heavy, so you add a Zfc for travel and walk-around photography, and the lenses you already own are compatible. This is why you buy a Nikon Zfc, I think.

Obviously, they’re hoping that the Zfc will convince those from other brands to try Nikon. My first thought is that those “moving up” from Micro-4/3 will be tempted by this model, although I’m not sure that this camera is convincing enough. Those dissatisfied by Sony, Canon, and Pentax might consider this model, if based on nothing more than looks, which is most likely what it would be based on because the Zfc lacks innovation that would attract photographers from other brands.

Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Sunday” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Analog Gold” recipe

I don’t think the Zfc will snag very many from Fujifilm. Maybe if you’ve never liked the lack of PASM—maybe. But other than good-looks, which your Fujifilm camera already offers, the Zfc doesn’t give you a good reason to switch brands. I can tell you with certainty that I won’t be switching brands anytime soon.

If you like your cameras to have retro-styling, the Nikon Zfc is one of your options. It’s a good camera that’s fun to use, but it’s not as good or as fun as a Fujifilm X-Trans model, like the X-T30 II or X-E4, which are slightly less expensive. My recommendation is to buy the Nikon Zfc only if you are already invested into the Z system, or if you are planning to get into that system for the long-term. Otherwise, there are better options, and if you are looking for those better options, let me point you towards Fujifilm.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Nikon Zfc Amazon B&H
Nikon Zfc + 28mm f/2.8 Amazon B&H
Nikon Zfc + 16-50mm Amazon B&H
Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Black + 27mm f/2.8   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver + 27mm f/2.8  Amazon   B&H
Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-T30 II Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-T30 II + 15-45mm  B&H
Fujifilm X-T30 II + 18-55mm B&H
Fujifilm X-T3 WW  Amazon  B&H

Example photographs, captured with Nikon Zfc and Fujifilm X-E4:

Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Melancholic” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — AgfaChrome RS 100” recipe
Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Dramatic” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Muted Color” recipe
Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Morning” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Pushed CineStill 800T” recipe
Nikon Zfc & 28mm — “Silence” Picture Control
Fujifilm X-E4 & 27mm — “Fujicolor NPS 160 Pulled” recipe

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$5.00

Nikon Copying Fujifilm?

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.