Nikon has debuted with a bang in the world of mirrorless cameras with its Z50. Just after coming into the market, this camera has already sprinted to the top of many lists. It is quite safe to say that it might be one of the best cameras that Nikon has launched so far. There have been many improvements from the usual features of a Nikon camera, and we are excited to cover them all.
Thereby, let’s get started with our camera review for the Nikon Z50!
Features To Look Out
We will be discussing some of the features that have impressed us and also the general necessary ones.
First, is the format of the camera. As mentioned above, the Nikon Z50 is a mirrorless camera. It also has an APS-C sensor.
Before moving further, let us know what the APS-C sensor camera is. In the early days of the DSLRs, this type of format was quite popular. They were used for cameras that sit below the full-frame models. These are usually referred to as DX-format by Nikon. These types of cameras are generally found in the more compact and affordable body. This makes them ideal to be carried all the time.
The Nikon Z50 has a Z-mount for the lens. This means that you can use the lenses compatible with the Z series and also those which are compatible with the F series.
2. Lens Compatibility
As discussed before, the Nikon Z50 has a Z-mount for lenses. Hence, there are a total of 15 native lenses available for this model.
The Z50 does not have the image stabilization feature. This feature helps the photographer to click good still images even if the subject is in motion. As this feature is absent in the camera, you have to get the lens that has the Optical Image Stabilization feature. This would help to make up with the lack of the feature in the camera.
There are a few lenses that have the Optical Image Stabilization feature among the 15 native lenses. You will also find some of them have weather sealing. This would help a lot. If a lens is weather sealed, then you can use it outdoors under any sort of weather, without worrying about the lenses.
Here are some of the lens models with Optical Image Stabilization that are compatible with the Nikon Z50:
- Standard Zoom Lens: Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
- Telephoto Zoom Lens: Nikon Z DX 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR & Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200 F2.8 VR S
- SuperZoom Lens: Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR
Here are some of the lens models with Weather Sealing that are compatible with the Nikon Z50:
- Standard Zoom Lens: Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 S & Nikon Z 24-70mm F2.8 S.
- Wide Angle zoom Lens: Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S
- Wide Angle Prime Lens: Nikon Z 24mm F1.8 S, Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm F1.8 S, Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 S & Samyang MF 14mm F2.8 Z.
- Telephoto Zoom Lens: Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200 F2.8 VR S
- Telephoto Prime Lens: Nikon Z 85mm F1.8 S & Samyang MF 85mm F1.4 Z
To find out the Full Frame equivalent focal length of the lens when mounted on the Nikon Z50, you have to multiply the lens’s original focal length with 1.5. We are using 1.5 as the Z50 being an APS-C sensor camera, and 1.5 as the multiplier.
3. Image Sensor & Processor
The Nikon Z50 comes with a 21.0MP APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm) sized BSI-CMOS sensor. This model allows you to take pictures with a resolution of 5568 x 3712 pixels. The aspect ratio of the pictures is 1:1, 3:2, and 16:9. The crop factor for the images is 1.53X.
The Nikon Z50 has a processor of EXPEED 6, which is one of the recent processors, making it more efficient than its predecessor.
Before getting into the details of the ISO settings in the camera. Let us understand the concept of ISO so that we can understand how good the feature is.
In lay man’s words, an ISO is a type of a camera setting that either brightens or darkens the image you want to capture. To increase the brightness of your picture, you have to increase the number in the ISO settings on your camera. ISO settings are specifically useful for shooting in the dark environment if the artificial lights don’t suffice.
However, sometimes using the ISO settings, you will notice “noise” in your pictures. This “noise” is tones of grainy dots on the image. Therefore, it is advisable to use ISO settings only when you cannot increase the brightness of the image through shutter speed or aperture.
The Nikon Z50 has an ISO setting of 100-51200 for still images. If you have the push models, the settings can go up to 102,400 and 204,800. For videos, it is ISO 100-25600. However, with the “Night Vision” mode, the ISO settings can start from 100 to go as much as ISO 4, which means the settings can go up to 409,600.
The additional feature of the “Night Vision” mode is of great help to the videographers. Recording at night with that much of ISO will change the whole view of the video automatically. This makes the Z50 more ideal as a travel camera.
5. Image Sizes
We will be now looking into the image sizes that the camera produces.
First, is the full grate which is enabled if you click the pictures in 15.7 × 23.5 mm DX.
- Large: 5,568 × 3,712 pixels native (20.67 MP)
- Medium: 4,176 × 2,784 (11.6 MP)
- Small: 2,784 × 1856 (5.2 MP)
Next, if you go for the Square Crop, that is in 1:1 aspect ratio or 15.7 × 15.7mm.
- Large: 3,712 × 3,712 pixels native (13.8 MP)
- Medium: 2,712 × 2,784 (7.8 MP)
- Small: 1,856 × 1,856 (3.4 MP)
Lastly, if you go for the 16:9 crop or the 13.2 × 23.5mm, the sizes will be as follows:
- Large: 5,568 × 3,128 pixels native (17.4 MP)
- Medium: 4,176 × 2,344 (9.8 MP)
- Small: 2,784 × 1,560 (4.3 MP)
For still images, the camera stores it in JPEG format or RAW at 12-14 bit.
Like most of the DSLR cameras out there, even the Nikon Z50 record videos. However, with so many amazing new features for clicking pictures, it does not disappoint us with the video system either.
The camera can shoot footage at 4K UHD up to 30p or with 1080 up to 120p. This is quite a high quality for the predecessors of the model.
There are a lot of features in this new camera that made the shooting experience an amazing one. There are tools like Focus Peaking and Zebra Warnings. Before we get into the other topics, let us understand the concepts of Focus Peaking and Zebra Warning quickly. This will help you to appreciate the features of this camera. Focus Peaking usually works by detecting the edges of the highest contrast of the scene in which you are recording.
It highlights that portion by bright color, as chosen by you. It is recommended to go for colors like white, green, or red, which will stand in contrast to the natural colors of the scene. While recording this feature is of great help as you can easily fix your focus during the recording and get that perfect shot. Zebra warning works similarly to. The only difference is that it highlights places where it is either overexposed or underexposed with several lines. A small warning, these features don’t help you to fix the problems, but they just point it out to you.
Another feature of the camera is the difference in the settings for still images and video. You can easily go from one setting to the other by a click. Z50 also allows you to record videos in Program, Aperture Priority, or Manual exposure mode. If you are recording in the Manual mode, then you will be able to directly control the shutter speed and ISO settings of the camera.
This camera has a built-in stereo microphone. However, the mic-in jack along with the plug-in power overrides the built-in microphone’s quality. Also, there is no headphone jack.
However, there are very small drawbacks in the video system of Z50. For fine patterns, you will notice sometimes that the part has experienced aliasing. Though it goes unnoticeable most of the time, there are chances that you might find that your shot has experienced a lot of moire. The rolling shutter rate of the camera is 21 ms; which is not that bad. However, if you are recording fast-moving vehicles, you might notice the change in the effects of the shot.
The Auto-Focus (AF) system of the Nikon Z50 is fairly good however, in comparison to some of the best DSLRs of other companies and also Nikon, it is a bit mediocre. There are 209 AF points you can choose from.
There are a lot of options under the AF system which you can go to. Usually, you have to choose a certain option based on the distance between the subject and the camera. The different options are quite basic:
- Pinpoint AF (AF-S only)
- Single-point AF
- Dynamic-area AF (AF-C only)
- Wide-area AF (S)
- Wide-area AF (L)
- Auto-area AF
The best AF systems in the camera are usually said to be the Pinpoint mode and the Dynamic Area Mode. These modes can even capture a moving subject without much difficulty.
The AF points can be controlled by the four-way controller located at the back of the camera, or you can even use the touchscreen of the camera. However, if you are not using the screen, but the viewfinder, then you cannot access the touchscreen for controlling the AF points.
One of the most amazing features of the Z50 is the face/eye detection feature. If you keep the feature on, the camera will be prioritizing the main subject over the others. However, if other faces are detected by the camera, you can easily tap the left or right side of the controller. Although, there are a few limitations to this feature.
The subject has to cover the maximum area of the frame, otherwise, it won’t be able to detect the face. Another problem is if the face gets covered or turned away even for a brief period, the camera loses the focus. You have to wait again for the camera to find and focus on the face. The face detection feature has been introduced very recently by Nikon. This is the reason why this feature has some drawbacks.
Another feature that you will find is the Subject Tracking. You can enable this function by tapping the rear screen or pressing “OK” to engage the mode. You can only enable this mode if you are in the Auto-Area Mode. However, there is a huge disadvantage in this feature that puts it down a rank from its peers with the same feature. Sometimes, the camera gets confused while focusing on a subject and might focus on something else.
If this occurs, you have to press “OK” again to reset the point but this would reset the focus to the center of the screen and not necessarily on the subject you wanted to. To disengage this mode, you have to press the “Zoom Out” button. This might be a problem if you have put the camera to your eye, as that button does not stand out much.
To conclude, the AF system delivers great images and will make sure to provide that sharpness and rich detail in your pictures. However, the slow processing and these drawbacks have disappointed a lot of users.
8. Light Meter
Before we start discussing the light meter in the Nikon Z50, we should understand the whole concept of the Light Meter.
When we point the camera at a specific scene we must have an idea about the amount of light the camera is receiving, to control the setting, and get the shot that you have in mind. Therefore, it is easier if you know the measuring system of the camera, as that will help you in controlling the settings.
The TTL (Through-the-Lens) Metering system is the most common system to measure the incoming light on the camera. Most of the time, people don’t pay attention to the TTL being measured constantly when the camera is at work. However, the moment your camera is switched on to capture, the TTL is shown, and sometimes it is necessary to know the measurement so that you can easily handle the settings.
There are four ways under the TTL system to measure the light:
- Matrix or Evaluative Metering- The camera comes to an average calculation after looking at the lighting of the entire scene.
- Center-Weighted Average Metering- The camera comes to an average calculation after looking at the lighting of the entire scene but the prime focus is given to the center.
- Partial Metering- The camera measures the light located only on the center portion of the frame. Usually an 8-12% of the frame. This measuring system is not available for Nikon cameras.
- Spot Metering- The camera measures the light only in the autofocus point. Usually, 1.5-3% of the frame.
The Nikon Z50 has the matrix metering and centered-weighting average metering. The weight of the calculation is 75% given to the 8mm circle in the center of the frame. The Spot metering circle has a diameter of 3.5mm, which is about 2.5% of the frame. It is also highly-weighted.
The viewfinder is one of the essential features of the camera. As most of the settings and the final image are based on what you see from the viewfinder. The Nikon Z50 has an electronic viewfinder. This means that you will be able to see your viewfinder even in direct sunlight. This makes shooting outdoors easier.
The viewfinder has a resolution of 2,360k dots and it provides 100% of screen coverage. If your camera has a 100% screen coverage that means the image you see from the screen is going to be the exact image that will come out later. This ensures that you don’t have to crop the unwanted part of the image later. This also helps to adjust your settings and effects accordingly. The camera allows a 0.68X of magnification.
The eyepoint of the viewfinder is 19.5 mm and has diopters of -3 to 3.
Shutter Speed is one of the most important features of a camera. It helps you to do two things. One, it is capable of changing the brightness of the picture. And it can also create dramatic effects as it can freeze or blur the motion of the subject. Now you must want to know exactly what the shutter speed is. Well, it is the time taken by the camera shutter to open and close; during this time light is exposed to the camera sensor.
The Nikon Z50 has a vertical metal focal plane along with a silent electronic shutter. However, the shutter does not close even if the power is off. So you have to make sure you switch off the shutter properly before switching off your camera.
It has a max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. It also has a 1/200 flash sync speed. While using the camera, you put it into self-timer mode. This will help the shutter go off during a pre-set time. There are multiple exposures like the standard, average, lighten or darken modes.
11. Frames Per Second (FPS)
FPS is the frames per second captured by the camera. It is also known as burst shooting. If the camera has a higher fps, that means you can easily capture the subjects if they are in high-speed motion.
The Nikon Z50 has an electronic shutter, this means that the fps will be quite high too. Hence, the fps of this camera stands at 11. However, this is nothing new from Nikon. The predecessors of the Z50 like the Z6 gave 12 fps while the Z7 gave 9fps. If you go for a continuous high speed the burst shooting speed might decrease to 5 fps and if you are going for a low continuous shooting speed it will drop down to 1-4 fps.
Flash is an essential feature while you are shooting in low-light areas or even dark environments. Usually, with DSLRs, a built-in flash is rare, specifically with the predecessors of the Z50. You might have to invest in an external flash gear. However, here the Nikon Z50 will save a bit of your budget.
The flash is located just at the front of the viewfinder hump. It is manually raised and this feature has also made the camera consumer-friendly. However, the flashlight is not that strong. It just makes up for the fact that the camera has a built-in flash.
As mentioned above, the camera used the TTL system for measuring the light, this same system is used by the flash too. The flash exposure compensation is available within a range of -3 to 1EV in ½ EV steps. The built-in flash cannot act as a commander, however, there is support from Nikon’s Creative Light System. The flash sync speed is 1/200.
There is an “Advanced Wireless Lighting” in the IR Optical Control System. Another additional feature of the flash is the Auto FP high-speed sync setting.
There is an external flash too which has a dedicated i-TTL system for measuring light. Also, light sensitivity settings are at ISO-518 hot shoe. However, there is no Prontor-Computer terminal. You have to use the built-in flash or an external hot shoe cord.
13. LCD Monitor
The size of the LCD monitor in the Nikon Z50 is 3.2” and it has a resolution of 1,040k dots. The size and the resolution are quite solid in comparison to the standards of the camera.
The LCD monitor of the camera is a touch screen. This enables the photographer to focus properly and at any location, they want through the screen. They can easily change the settings and the complications of the buttons will not slow down the process anymore.
Another amazing feature of the Z50 is its Selfie-friendly Screen! This will enable you to rotate the screen towards the lens (180°) and you can click a selfie or groupie in an amazing resolution. This also enables you to take pictures at any angle possible, thereby allowing you to show your creativity to the maximum limit. This tilting screen is also a boon for vloggers or videographers who work only and have to shoot everything by themselves.
You will find a 3.5mm mic-in along with plug-in power. There is also a Micro-B USB and an HDMI type D, for connecting.
15. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
For Nikon Z50, you have built-in wireless Wi-Fi. This will enable you to connect with any smart device and you can transfer pictures from your camera to that device. It has IEEE 802.11b/g/n/a/ac. Also, the frequency of the Wi-Fi goes up to 2.412 ~ 2.462 GHz and 5.180 ~ 5.320/5.825/5.805 GHz. The Maximum Effective Isolated Radiated Power of the Wi-Fi (EIRP) is 6.9 dBm at 2.4 GHz or 10.2 dBm at 5 GHz. The authentication system of the Wi-Fi is Open and WPA2-PSK.
The Bluetooth of the camera is in the 4.2 version. You can connect it to all the devices which support the Bluetooth system. You can transfer your pictures through this method too. It gives a frequency of 2.402 ~ 2.480 GHz. The Maximum Effective Isolated Radiated Power of the Bluetooth (EIRP) is 1.4 dBm (Bluetooth Low Energy: -0.1 dBm). The radius within which the Bluetooth of the camera can be connected to is 30’/10m range.
However, there is no NFC available for this camera. Also, there is no GPS on the camera.
Another amazing feature is the ability to turn your smartphone as a remote control for your camera. One can change the settings of the camera, release the shutter button, view the LCD screen of the camera, and a lot more.
The Nikon Z50 has the UHS-I, for the card slots, and it supports three types of memory cards. They are:
- SD (up to 2GB)
- SDHC (up to 32GB)
- SDXC (up to 512GB) cards
The Nikon Z50 has an EN-EL25 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. If given full charge and then used, it will give you 320 shots before dying. This is quite average with respect to the other mirrorless cameras who on average provide a lifespan of 368 shots.
For charging, you can use any Micro-B USB cable. Usually, the camera takes up to 3.5 hours to charge fully.
Owing to the average lifespan and the long time required for charging, it is best that you do keep a second battery handy while shooting outdoors or if you are on a trip.
18. Body Of The Camera
We will now look into the physical aspects of the Nikon Z50. This means that we will take into consideration the size, weight, and weather sealing of the camera.
- Size- The external dimensions of the Nikon Z50 is 127 x 94 x 60 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.36″). You will be quite surprised to find that it’s just a little bit bigger than a credit card! This makes this mirrorless camera quite compact. So, if you are going out for a shooting day, you need not worry about having a large space reserved just for your camera.
- Weight- The Nikon Z50 weighs approximately 397 g (0.88 lb / 14.00 oz). If we take the weight of the other mirrorless cameras into consideration, then their average stands at 437g. This makes this model quite light-weighted in comparison. Heaving a light-weight camera is beneficial in the sense that you can always carry it with you without being tired of the weight.
- Weather Sealing- The camera can function very well under the temperature of 0º-40º C (32º-104º F). It also has weather sealing or environmental protection. This feature helps to protect your camera from harsh weather conditions.
That means even if it’s raining or snowing outside, you can get your dream shot without having to worry about your camera’s condition. If you do want to be completely carefree, make sure to get the weather-sealed lenses. This will ensure that your lens will not be affected too.
What’s Good About Nikon Z50?
Now we will have a look at the advantages of the Nikon Z50. Though all the features have been discussed in detail, it would be better to let you how these features will benefit you.
First, we will discuss the screen of the camera. As mentioned before, we have a fully-articulated screen. It can be rotated at a 180° angle. This will give you two benefits. One, you can click your pictures from any angle, helping you to unleash your maximum potential. Another, you can click selfies and groupies with the camera. The 3.2” screen also helps you to see the image quite clearly.
Another benefit is the touch screen. You can easily adjust the focus and settings of your camera with touch. This saves a lot of time and makes the camera hassle-free.
2. Sensor And Resolution
The Z50 has a 21.0MP high sensor resolution. This makes the picture rich in detail. Also, the LCD screen has a resolution of 1.040k dots and the viewfinder has a resolution of 2360k dots.
3. AF System And Other Settings
The AF system does provide a great quality irrespective of the slow result. The 209 focus points will make sure to give you the best details in the picture. Face Detection Focusing is good too. It indeed takes a bit of time to focus. However, once you get the hang of it, the wait is worth it. The Real-Time Animal Eye or the Subject Tracking is a good feature too.
The light sensitivity settings of 51.200 Max ISO is great. Along with that, we have 11 fps, that too with a mechanical shutter. The Wide AE Bracketing Range goes from -5 to 5 EV. All these features make the pictures look amazing in detail.
4. Other Advantages
Other features also add to the advantage list you do get the Z50. It weighs 370g, which is quite light-weight for a mirrorless camera. This will ensure that you can easily take it anywhere you want to without having to worry about its weight. The camera also has an environmental sealing. This means you can shoot even in harsh weather conditions.
You can shoot videos in 4K UHD. This is a great leap for the videographers using Nikon cameras. Also, it has the feature of Timelapse Recording. Usually, in a camera, you would have to invest in an external gear to capture time-lapse videos. However, with the Nikon Z50, you can save that part of your budget.
The flash sync speed of 1/200 is quite high. This helps the in-built flash to provide you great pictures even in dark environments. There is also a Flash Sync Port available in the camera. Also, you can add an external microphone through the port made for the mic. This will ensure that you can have high-quality audio for your videos.
There are built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity which makes sharing pictures from your camera way easier. The viewfinder is also electronic, which makes the image you see extremely clear and efficient while focusing. Another mind-blowing feature of the camera is the fact we can control the camera settings with our smartphone. This means it will make recording and shooting with the camera a lot easier as we can efficiently work it through our phones. The Nikon Z50 is also compatible with the fast processing UHS-II cards.
What Can Be Improved In Nikon Z50?
Now let us have a look at the features which could be improved in the Z50.
- Image Stabilization- For a mirrorless camera of this quality, it is a pity that the Z50 does not have an image stabilization feature. The lack of this feature makes the users go for a lens that has Optical Image Stabilization. This process makes them lose out on some great lens too. Just because that lens does not have the feature.
- Battery Life- The Nikon Z50 has tons of amazing features. These features might tempt you to keep on experimenting with various modes and styles. However, this would require a long battery span. The Z50 is already a bit lower than the average of all the span of mirrorless cameras. Having only 320 shots, kind of feels like a bummer.
- Magnification– The viewfinder of the Nikon Z50 provides a magnification of 0.68X only. We feel that a camera of such great caliber could have a magnification power more than that.
- Crop- The fact that the Nikon Z50 provides the facility to record videos at 4K UHD is awesome. However, you will find that there is a 1.50X crop on those videos. This kind of bums out the user.
- Other- There is no sensor cleaner, which would have been helpful to the user. There is no headphone jack, although there is a microphone jack.
Unfortunately, there is no USB-C connector, which is usually used now. The camera goes for the older version of the Micro-B USB. Also, there is an absence of GPS and NFC.
What Photography Suits Nikon Z50?
In this segment, we will briefly talk about the types of photography that the Z50 is better suited for.
1) Portrait Photography
For Portrait Photography, a camera with a good sensor and high resolution is good to go. However, the Nikon Z50 faces a bit of a drawback due to its lack of image stabilization feature.
2) Street Photography
For this, the Nikon Z50 is a very good camera.
Not only does it have a good sensor and a high resolution but the face-detection features give it the brownie points. The tilting touch screen is also quite beneficial. The Live View would enable you to even record videos at a high quality.
3) Sports Photography
In this area too the Z50 is a good match.
In Sports Photography, you will require a camera with a good sensor and resolution. In addition to that, a fast shutter speed helps to capture the fast-moving players. Having a 209 focus point is good too. The low light ISO settings have also increased the points for the camera. Having an environmental sealing also makes it preferable for sports.
4) Daily Photography
For this, all you need is a camera with a good sensor and high resolution. In addition to that, the compact size of the camera has added a good point. You can carry it without having to empty a lot of space in your bag. The weight could be a little bit heavy, but it is not that big of an issue.
5) Landscape Photography
You can use the Z50 for landscape photography as it fulfills all the requirements. For this, you would require a camera again with a good sensor and a high resolution, also having an environmental sealing helps a lot. All these are present in the Nikon Z50.
FAQs on Nikon z50 review
Q1. Is The Nikon Z50 A Professional Camera?
The Nikon Z50 is a professional camera. Nikon for the first time has made a mirrorless camera and has successfully been able to place the APS-C sensor behind the Z-mount. According to the company, it is a camera for those who do not consider themselves photographers. In short, it can be used by both professionals and amateurs.
Q2. Can I Use The DX Lens On Z50?
The Nikon Z50 uses the Z-mount for fixing the lens in front of the camera. Therefore, you can easily use full frames and even the DX frame lenses.
Q3. Is Nikon Z50 Full-frame?
As mentioned in the above answer, the Nikon z50 uses the Z-mount lens which enables the user to use even full-frame lenses for shooting.
Q4. Does Nikon Z50 Have Image Stabilization?
The Nikon Z50, unfortunately, does not have the feature of image stabilization. However, you can get lenses that have the Optical Image Stabilization feature.
Nikon z50 Review – A great choice?
After discussing all the features of the camera in detail, finding out what is good and what needs more improvement, it is time, to sum up, the Nikon Z50 review.
The image and video quality of the camera is great. Users have not been dissatisfied with it at all! The size and weight of the camera also make it ideal for taking with you on vacations. The drawbacks might seem to be a huge one, however, once you get the hang of using this camera, you will overlook them all. The drawbacks do not seem to be affecting the quality of the image in any way.
In comparison to other mirrorless cameras, the price of the Nikon Z50 is quite reasonable too. This seems to be a good camera to invest in without having to burn a huge hole in your pocket. In comparison to the predecessors, the Z6 and Z7, on paper, you might feel that it is similar. However, once you use it practically, you will understand there is a lot of difference between them.
We hope that if you get the Nikon Z50, you have amazing shooting experience and find it equally great.