The brand new Zf is a full-frame FX format mirrorless digicam impressed by the enduring FM2 movie digicam that was first launched in 1982. It additionally very carefully resembles the APS-C sensor Nikon Zfc digicam that was launched in 2021.
The Zf has a traditional classic design, that includes a number of acquainted bodily controls on the physique, together with devoted dials for adjusting ISO, shutter velocity, and publicity compensation.
The Zf makes use of the identical Z lens mount as Nikon’s vary of full-frame sensor cameras, which implies that it may well utilise the identical vary of Z branded FX lenses.
Key options supplied by the Nikon Zf embody a 24.5 megapixel sensor, EXPEED 7 processor, 299 phase-detection AF pixels with the identical subject-tracking modes because the Z8/Z9, -10EV low-light AF, 8 stops of vibration discount, ISO vary of 100-64,000 that is expandable to 100,000, as much as 30fps burst capturing with AF/AE monitoring, 4K/30p video recording, a vari-angle touch-screen LCD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, mud and drip-resistant weather-proofing right down to 0 °C, and twin reminiscence card slots.
The Nikon Zf is on the market in October 2023 priced at £2299 / €2599 physique solely, £2519 with the Z 40mm f/2 SE lens, and £2849 with the Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens. There are six completely different premium exterior color choices, along with the all-black commonplace mannequin.
Right here’s our evaluate to date, based mostly on spending just a few hours with the Nikon Zf – we’ll replace this evaluate and attain our last verdict after we’ve spent much more time with it. The pattern photographs have kindly been supplied by Nikon.
Ease of Use
Nikon have adopted up the 2021 launch of the APS-C sensor Zfc retro digital digicam with the brand new 35mm full-frame Zf, which carefully follows the design ethos of the older mannequin, a lot so that you simply’d be hard-pressed to inform them aside side-by-side.
In flip, each of those cameras have clearly taken their inspiration from Nikon’s previous FM2 movie SLR from the Eighties, together with a well-recognized pentaprism type design, a leaf shutter change and an array of rangefinder-like dials and switches.
There’s additionally a model new embossed synthetic leather-based grip space, together with when the LCD monitor is closed, full with brass dials on high of the digicam which apparently will regularly put on over time so as to add extra character and patina to the digicam.
Nikon are clearly attempting to money within the rising enthusiasm for retro-styled mirrorless cameras in recent times, in addition to, individually, an increase within the recognition of movie based mostly images, not solely from individuals returning to the artwork, however from these of a youthful, pupil technology.
Kudos to Nikon although, as the brand new Zf is far more than only a trustworthy ode to the previous. Certainly, it provides a number of technological firsts for the Nikon Z-series as an entire, even providing options not seen on the flagship Z8 and Z9 fashions.
This consists of topic detection in handbook focus mode, which is good for customers who need to use older manual-focus-only lenses. On this model new mode for Nikon, topic detection robotically strikes the main focus level to the attention and instantly zooms in to focus, one thing that it often a slightly laborious course of for MF customers. There are even focus aids accessible within the hooked up lens has digital contacts.
We acquired hands-on with the usual all-black model, which is definitely very stealthy and excellent for road images, however the Nikon Zf can be accessible in as much as six extra colors in abroad territories that embody varied pastel shades, brown and gray.
The Zf will value £2299 body-only on launch, considerably greater than the Zfc at £899, so should you just like the styling however haven’t got the money to go full-frame, then the APS-C different is a compelling choice by way of its price-tag.
There are a few equipment lens bundles accessible at launch, together with both the diminutive Z 40mm f/2 SE prime with its equally retro styling, or the extra fashionable, versatile Z 24-70mm f/4 S zoom which pushes the worth as much as £2849.
Nikon has opted for a better of each worlds strategy right here on the subject of the Zf’s dealing with and operation. To take one instance, we get the prospect to fireside the digicam’s shutter launch both through the common top-plate button encircled by the on/off change, or by merely tapping its LCD contact display to concurrently focus and seize a shot.
Extra skilled customers can twiddle the top-plate dials and knobs to their coronary heart’s content material to fine-tune the outcomes in the event that they’re in control on what that’ll do to the top end result, or, alternatively if much less acquainted, you possibly can merely go away the digicam set to Auto and simply level and shoot.
It’s honest to say that the Zf’s high plate is full of options, with simply sufficient room to get a finger or thumb across the varied dials and ranges, with, usually, one stacked upon the opposite so particular person dials even have a number of capabilities.
The usual P,A,S,M capturing mode settings are accessed on the left-hand-side through a lever that sits beneath the dial for choosing the ISO choices, whereas a lever for swapping between stills, video or the model new black and white mode sits beneath the shutter velocity settings.
There are three distinct black and white modes accessed by this devoted change on high of digicam – Monochrome, Flat Monochrome and Deep Tone Monochrome. The flexibility to shortly change to one among these modes just by flicking a change is a good function.
Regardless of the preliminary obvious complexity, we shortly acquired used to the busy set-up and located ourselves liking it that means; it makes the Nikon Zf really feel like a finely tuned instrument with a formidable array of performance actually to be discovered at your fingertips.
The highest plate options three handbook dials controlling shutter velocity, publicity compensation (+/- 3EV) and ISO sensitivity, whereas a small window handily shows the present aperture in use. Alternatively, easy entry to a wide range of settings is achievable through a press of the ‘i’ button and that i menu and use of the touch-screen LCD in tandem.
In the event you’re contemplating this one as a attainable vlogging digicam, then you definitely’ll be happy to study the LCD monitor might be flipped totally outwards and the display rotated to face whoever is in entrance of the lens. The elevated articulation of the display here’s a first for the full-frame ‘Z’ collection.
There isn’t any built-in flash on this digicam, although there’s a vacant hotshoe for an non-obligatory accent flash, so by way of gentle sensitivity choices when taking pictures or video with out, it’s price noting that high plate dial provides direct entry to incremental settings starting from ISO 100 to 64,000.
There’s additionally a further setting on the identical dial marked ‘C’ which expands this high setting to the equal of a number of steps larger, going all the best way as much as a whopping, albeit noise-prone Hello 1.7 setting of ISO 100,000.
Along with this excessive low-light ISO sensitivity, the brand new Nikon Zf has the astonishing skill to auto-focus in -10EV low-light utilizing the brand new Backlit AF mode. This makes use of separate pixels on the sensor for autofocusing, permitting the AF pixels to overexpose for focusing in virtually full darkness with out adversely affecting the general publicity of the ultimate picture.
Whereas it boasts nostalgic attraction, as regards its efficiency and response instances the compact and moveable Zf is distinctly bang-up-to-date. For example, it ably helps precisely the identical subject-tracking modes because the Z8 and Z9 fashions, and with 299 phase-detect AF factors on the sensor, it truly provides extra body protection (89×96%) than the Z8/9 (78×83%).
For the very first time on any Nikon mirrorless digicam, the ZF provides contact management on the LCD display while utilizing the EVF. This s one thing that we have seen earlier than on a number of different producers cameras, however by no means earlier than on a Nikon.
You’ll be able to configure a customisable space of the LCD display for contact management activation, assign a operate to it from one of many 5 accessible, after which activate that operate by tapping the chosen space on the LCD whilst you’re wanting via the viewfinder.
The Nikon Zf provides three completely different steady capturing modes – Steady Excessive (7.8fps, RAW+JPEG/HEIF), Steady Excessive Prolonged (14fps, RAW+JPEG/HEIF) and Excessive-speed + (30fps, JPEG/HEIF solely).
There’s additionally extra assist in capturing the decisive second from the pre-capture mode, similar to on the Z8/9, the place the digicam robotically information as much as 1 second earlier than the shutter has been totally pressed and 4 seconds after it has been launched.
The brand new Focus Level VR mode is a world first not only for Nikon, however for cameras basically. On this mode the as much as 8 stops of in-camera vibration compensation that the Zf provides are targeting the at the moment chosen and lively focus level, leading to a sharper topic no matter the place it’s within the body. Notice that this function solely works with Nikkor lenses that do not have VR built-in, and just for stills images and never video.
Pixel-shift capturing has been seen earlier than on rival cameras, however now makes its debut on the Nikon system. You’ll be able to select to take 4, 8, 16 or 32 RAW photographs in fast succession, with the VR unit shifting the sensor by as much as 1 pixel every time.
The ensuing information can then be merged collectively utilizing Nikon’s NX Studio 1.5.0 software program to create one high-resolution picture that is round a most of 150 megapixels in measurement. Notice that the digicam has to saved utterly steady on a tripod or related – there is no handheld mode as at the moment discovered on just a few different cameras.
The Nikon Zf has a slightly modest video mode that solely helps as much as 4K/30p/25p/24p 10-bit high quality oversampled from 6K, however it does supply as much as 125 minutes recording time in any mode, which is considerably longer than on the Z6 II and Z7 II fashions. There are additionally 4K/60p within the DX format and 1080/120p slow-motion modes.
The Zf is the primary Z-series digicam to assist full management over the important thing publicity settings when capturing video within the Shutter Precedence mode. On this mode the ISO and aperture might be set to Auto, depending on the pre-selected shutter velocity, which can be utilized to match the shutter velocity to a difficult gentle supply or when the brightness of the scene is consistently altering.
Not like the Zfc which solely has one reminiscence card slot, the bigger full-frame Zf has twin card slots, though there may be fairly a twist in that one slot helps commonplace UHS-II SD playing cards and the second slightly uniquely helps the Micro SD card format. We have by no means seen this implementation earlier than on any digicam, so it is going to be attention-grabbing to see how its obtained.
Nikon sum up the brand new Zf by saying that it is the strongest digicam in its class and but it additionally seems very fairly too, which can hopefully show to be a profitable mixture within the ever-competitive full-frame market.
In the end, should you want a modern-looking Nikon mirrorless then the cheaper Z6 II or the equally priced Z7 II are each nice choices, but when the classic bells-and-whistles maintain an additional attraction and such nostalgia tweaks these heartstrings, then the brand new Zf is a surprisingly succesful digicam that does not simply look to the previous for inspiration.
It is a collection of pattern photographs from the Nikon Zf digicam, which had been all taken utilizing the 24.5 megapixel Giant JPEG setting. The thumbnails under hyperlink to the full-sized variations, which haven’t been altered in any means.
Listed under are a few of the rivals of the Nikon Zf.
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