Updated: Aug 19
Nikon’s mirrorless APS-C format camera, the Nikon Z50, might be the right camera for some people, but is it right for you? Let’s find out.
What’s it like to use the Z50? Well, it’s an inexpensive camera with affordable lenses that impressed us. It has a lot of DNA from the Z6 and Z7, with a 20MP APS-C sensor that punches above its weight class.
If you like Nikon colours, you’re going to like this colour. The images just pop if you’re using full-frame lenses, and it really makes the images come alive. Sharpness and detail look good, dynamic range is decent and we don’t have any complaints about image quality.
One small issue is that if you like to crop your images, the 20MP sensor might be a bit limiting because you’ll lose detail when cropping in. Our advice? Set the focal length before you start taking photos, and this issue will be alleviated.
Video quality is about average with everything else on the market, 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps. The only thing you’re going to notice is that there’s no in-body image stabilisation, and camera shake is an issue occasionally. There’s no grip that you can put on this yet, but because it’s so lightweight, you really need to position yourself if you’re shooting at slower shutter speeds.
With the 3.2″ display, it’s not the highest resolution on the market but it does the job well. It articulates, but it swivels in a very weird way. You can flip it for those waist-level shots, but you can also flip the screen down. It’s a little odd, a side flip would be better because if you’re using a tripod or grip, you can’t use the screen.
Aside from that, the display is good, the touchscreen is responsive and you get a 2.36 million dot EVF that does the job and the colours are good.
It’s a fun camera to shoot with, and it’s great for trips because it’s so lightweight. It might even be a good secondary camera for people who are already using Nikon gear. Battery life is okay, not phenomenal but it’s decent.
Let’s talk lenses. We tried the 85mm f/1.8 with the Z50 and it’s a beautiful lens to use for portraits, street photography and more. It’s sharp, there’s no chromatic aberration or distortion. It’s a well-made lens and the colour is fantastic. And this quality isn’t limited to just this lens, it carries on to other lenses in the range.
The 24mm f/1.8 has the same kind of image quality and they don’t come in at an expensive price point. Granted, they don’t have all the bells and whistles when it comes to design but the image quality is definitely more important.
One of the legendary lenses, the 105mm f/1.4, might not be the sharpest lens out there, but the dreamy bokeh is absolutely beautiful. It’s about equivalent to a 135mm, but just take a few steps back and you’ll get photos with the background absolutely annihilated.
We finally went back to the kit lens, the DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3, which is equivalent to a 24-70mm lens. You might think there’ll be a huge difference in photo quality, but you’ll be surprised. This definitely will struggle in low light situations, but for other scenarios, it’s a great small lens to use.
It doesn’t feel as high quality as the Z lenses, but it’s a kit lens and it’s sharp for what it is. Overall, you might use this lens a lot more than you think you would because it’s compact, lightweight and sharp.
The last lens we have is the DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3, a telephoto lens that basically covers most of the focal length you’ll ever need. It’s not the fastest lens, but it’s a kit lens. It’s a very sharp lens with beautiful image quality and works well.
What Nikon did with the Z6 and Z7 was impressive and they were, in some ways, ahead of the game. If you don’t have the funds to go for those cameras, the Z50 is a very good choice.
More information about the Nikon Z50 can be found on Nikon’s website.