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Nikon Z50 First Hands on Look


Nikon was very quiet this year, but today the company announced a sort of “mid-market” mirrorless camera – the first from the company with an APS-C sensor – the Z50. Alongside the camera, two APS-C Z mount lenses were also announced and at the same time Nikon also officially announced the monstrous  Z 58mm 0.95 ‘Noct’ lens.

We will start with the Z50 (you can check out Gordon Laing‘s video above as well to get a better understanding). The camera feels very much like a D5600/D7500 mirrorless equivalent (and from what we understand Nikon will be leaving the low and possibly also the mid-range DSLR segments in favor of Mirrorless from now on). It uses a 20.9MP sensor very similar to the one in the D500/D7500 but with over 200 phase-detect points on the sensor.

The mount is the same Z mount found in the Z6/Z7 cameras but the camera accepts APS-C Z mount lenses (currently there are only two and from the roadmap Nikon released it seems that just like with DSLRs the company is planning for users to either but basic/kit APS-C lenses or pay for FF glass, so don’t hold your breath for high-end Z-mount glass in an APS-C format anytime soon).

The new Z50 mirrorless APS-C camera

The Z50 itself seems to be well made with a nice grip and solid magnesium construction with some nice dust/water sealings. You have two dials (front and back like the D7500), a 3.2″ touch monitor and a center EVF with 2.3 million dots (down from 3.6m on the Z6/Z7), you will also get a USB 2.0 for data transfer and charging (sadly no option to operate the camera from USB like some of the Sony models), micro HDMI and 3.5mm mic (but no headphone connector).

The camera has no image stabilizer (unlike the Z6/Z7 and many competing cameras – although to be fair most cost more than the Z50), so if you are considering it – also consider using lenses with built-in stabilization (both new APS-C Z-mount lenses announced with the Z50 have image stabilization, so that is nice).

The camera monitor can be flipped below the body for selfies – which is interesting but it means that you can’t work this way with a tripod. The monitor itself can allow you to touch and change all the menus (but it doesn’t work when your eye is close to the EVF like some of the D5XXX cameras). The camera has a pop-up flash (but it can’t be used to command other Nikon flashes – so that it a bit of a shame).

Down facing flip screen – strange decision 

As for video – the Z50 can record up to 4K 30p but at 4K you will have the same high crop that the D7500/D500 had which is really a shame (that means that if you want to have a wide-angle you will need to adapt an APS-C F-mount lens like the Nikon 10-20mm otherwise you will be getting a significant crop factor). In 1080p there is no crop and you can shoot up to 120p.

Mode stills/video switch on top

Pricing is set at $850 body only or $1000 with the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR kit lens (which is very small and looks kind of similar to the Sony 16-50mm kit lens). For another $350 you can get a two-lens kit+camera with the new Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR lens as well.

Niccolls and Jordan from DPR with a first hands-on with the Z50

And Now for Something Completely Different (excuse the Monty Python quote). Nikon also announced today the long-awaited Z 58mm 0.95 ‘Noct lens.

This full-frame Z mount beast is a sort of statement from Nikon about what can be achieved with the Z mount (say might call it an homage to the original  Noct lens from 40 years ago).

The new lens which was demoed over a year ago for the first time is finally ready for prime time and it is huge, weighing a full 2KG or 4.41 lbs, it has its own tripod collar (not too many ~50mm lenses has one of these – not even the Zeiss 55m Otus but that one is only f/1.4).

The giant Z 58mm 0.95 ‘Noct lens

The lens has 17 elements with 10 groups including 4 aspherical elements and 4 ED elements making for a very complex design for its category. It has a 50cm min focus distance, it is fully manual although it does transfer information to the camera (which will control the aperture (no aperture ring on this lens) but you do have a tiny OLED monitor on top with two buttons, one of which is programmable). It has nanocrystal coatings and is dust and moisture-proof.

Just how huge it is on the Z7 camera

Pricing for this lens is what many people found surprising, even by Nikon’s own standards which have been increasing in recent years time and time again. The lens will sell starting later this month (October 2019).

Chris Niccolls from DPR on the Nikkor 58mm F0.95 Noct

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