NIKON Z FC
Photography week|September 23, 2021
Nikon’s first retro-themed Z-mount camera
Mike Harris & Ben Andrews

www.nikon.co.uk £899/$959

With the likes of Fujifilm, Olympus and Leica cashing in on the retro camera style for years, the time has come (again) for Nikon to follow suit, this time in the form of the Nikon Z fc.

We say ‘again’ because it wasn’t so long ago that Nikon tried the same thing, with the Df in 2013. However, while the Df was was a full-frame DSLR camera, the new Z fc is an APS-C Z-mount mirrorless model. The Z fc is also specced to be a better all-round camera than the Df ever was, in an effort to make it just as versatile as its conventionally styled rivals, only with more visual appeal.

Anyone who remembers the Df will spot similar styling cues on the Z fc. It sports the iconic and achingly handsome looks of the Nikon FM series of 1980s 35mm film SLRs, wrapped around Nikon’s latest APS-C mirrorless technologies. That’s not to say the Z fc’s tech is all new, though. This is more of a re-skin of Nikon’s existing Z 50 – although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the Z 50 is a great camera in its own right.

1 The Z fc has twin recessed control dials: one on the front, and another on the back.

2 The flat-fronted body looks stylish, but it doesn’t give your hand much of a grip.

3 Even now, Nikon only makes two native DX Nikkor Z lenses. This is the 16-50mm kit lens.

4 The rear screen is on a pull-out vari-angle hinge, unlike the tilt-only screen on the Nikon Z 50.

5 The 2.36 million-dot EVF isn’t the highest-resolution by any means, but it’s perfectly adequate.

6 The four-way circular controller on the back is quite small, but it’s mostly for navigation not settings.

7 It’s from the top that the Z fc’s retro design stands out – the ISO dial looks really smart.

8 Additional retro-style controls include a shutter speed dial, and a dial for exposure compensation.

9 This mini-screen indicates the currently set lens aperture, although there are no aperture dials on the lenses themselves.

Key features

The result of sharing the Z 50’s tech is that the Z fc packs the same 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor with low-pass filter, and the same Expeed 6 image processor. That’s around 3MP less than the 24MP sensors in most APS-C rival cameras, while the likes of Fujifilm and Canon offer even higher megapixel counts in some of their mirrorless models. Even so, 20.9MP is still more than enough resolution, while the larger sensor photosites should, in theory, improve the Z fc’s low-light performance and dynamic range.

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