Nikon Copying Fujifilm?

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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.