CAMERAS Nikon Z50 Review

Nikon Z50 Review

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Nikon Z50 Review

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Nikon Z50 Review: Mirrorless Nikon Z 50 with APS-C sensor and lenses introduced With 16-50 and 50-250 mm

With the Z50, Nikon is adding an APS-C model to its mirrorless Z system, which is only about one year old and has so far only included full format cameras, and is thus showing where the journey is headed. Unlike its competitor Canon, for example, Nikon uses a uniform bayonet and thus interchangeable lenses. The Z50 itself is a camera of the middle class, roughly on the level of a Nikon D7500 or Sony Alpha 6400. It looks like a shrunken Z 6/7 and offers eleven continuous frames per second, a fast hybrid autofocus, over 20 megapixel resolution and 4K video recording, but no sensor shift image stabilizer.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Compact, very ergonomic and well manufactured housing
  • Extensive equipment with good handling for advanced photographers
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 1.600, good at 3.200 and sufficient at 6.400
  • Surprisingly good 16-50mm set lens

Cons

  • Screen turns off too quickly in the menus and during playback
  • Selfie function cannot be used with selfie stick or gimbal
  • Relatively high color deviation
  • (Still) quite low (adapter-free) lens selection

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Z50 is the first mirrorless APS-C system camera from the Japanese manufacturer. It offers 20.9 megapixel photo and 4K video resolution and eleven continuous frames per second. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon experimented with different camera designs, as shown by leaked pictures of a supposed APS-C-Z camera without viewfinder hump. But the Japanese manufacturer ultimately opted for the traditional “SLR design”. So the new Z50 actually looks like a shrunken Z6 or Z7, even the two function keys on the bayonet have made it into the Z 50. The dimensions are 126.5 by 93.5 by 60 millimetres (length by height by width), the weight is a light 450 grams ready for operation. The camera is aimed at ambitious photographers and offers a good equipment package at a very attractive price. The moulded handle lies well in the hand, even if the little finger reaches into the empty space, as we noticed when we first took it into our hands.

The housing consists of a magnesium die-cast part at the front and top, the rest is made of plastic. Seals are supposed to protect against the ingress of dust and splash water, but we could not detect any seal at the battery and memory card compartment at the bottom (single SD slot, compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-I). Also the two lenses announced in parallel (see below) are not sealed. By the way, the tripod thread is located in the optical axis and a new type called EN-EL25 is used as battery. It should provide juice for about 350 shots. Via Micro-USB the battery can be charged directly in the camera.

Nikon Z50 Review

Large bayonet, small APS-C sensor: The full format lenses of the Z 6 and Z 7 also fit on the Nikon Z 50. In relation to the camera and also to the sensor, the Z bayonet on the Nikon Z 50 looks huge [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

At the back, the Nikon Z 50 has touch controls next to the screen. The rear touchscreen of the Nikon Z 50 can be folded up 110 degrees and for selfies 180 degrees down. Permanent touch controls are located to the right of the screen. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

With a hot shoe, viewfinder, program selector and two multifunction wheels, the Nikon Z 50 is a mirrorless system camera for ambitious photographers, but beginners should also get along with it. With a program selector wheel with memory for user programs and two multifunction wheels, the Nikon Z 50 is clearly aimed at ambitious amateur photographers, but also offers beginners all the necessary functions. [Photo: Nikon]

At the heart of the Z 50 is a new APS-C sensor with 20.9 megapixel resolution. It offers 209 integrated phase autofocus measuring fields, which are sensitive up to LW -4 and cover 90 percent of the image sensor. The hybrid autofocus also features face and eye recognition. The 20-megapixel sensor is flanked by the current Expeed 6 image processor, which is designed to enable eleven continuous shots per second with either electronic or mechanical shutter, including AF/AE tracking. The standard sensitivity range is from ISO 100 to 51,200, which is one of the reasons why Nikon chose this relatively low resolution (all other APS-C mirrorless cameras have a resolution of 24, 26 or 32 megapixels). Unfortunately, the sensor shift image stabilizer has fallen victim to the compact housing, but the two new APS-C-Z lenses are optically image stabilized.

The video function achieves 4K resolution at 30 frames per second using the entire sensor width. At Full HD resolution, even 120 frames per second are achieved for slow-motion effects. Instead of the built-in microphone, an external 3.5mm jack connector can be used. The connection socket also has a power supply.

Nikon Z50 Review

The front housing shell of the Nikon Z 50 is made of a magnesium alloy. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Z 50 (center) looks like a shrunken Z 6 (right) and Z 7 (left). [Photo: Nikon]

The rear screen is a tiltable touchscreen, and directly to the right, behind the same cover, there are three touch buttons. This is somewhat unfortunate, as you cannot feel them when looking through the viewfinder. The screen measures 8.1 centimetres (3.2 inches) diagonally and has a resolution of 1.04 million pixels. It can be folded 90 degrees up and 180 degrees down, which allows selfies and Vlog recordings, but handles screwed to the tripod thread obscure the view of the screen.

An electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels and a 0.68x magnification in 35 mm equivalent is located in the hump above the monitor. A small pop-up flash with a guide number of seven and a TTL system hot shoe are also located in the viewfinder hump. Thanks to a program selector wheel, two multifunction wheels, a four-way weight and the two Fn keys, the Nikon Z 50 should be very easy to operate. But the Z 50 also has a lot to offer photographers who like to work with automatic and effect filters. 20 in-camera effects are available for both photos and videos. The strength of the effect can also be adjusted in a preview.

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Z 50’s rear touchscreen can be folded up 90 degrees upwards and 180 degrees downwards, which also makes selfies possible. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

On the side, the Nikon Z 50 offers three connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack with power supply for microphones, micro USB with charging function and micro HDMI with clean video output. With a 3.5 mm microphone jack, Micro-USB including charging function as well as Micro-HDMI, the Nikon Z 50 offers the most necessary interfaces. [Photo: Nikon]

Of course, Nikon has also installed Snapbridge as a tandem of Bluetooth for an energy-saving permanent connection and WLAN for the transmission of larger data volumes. The WLAN can also be used independently of Snapbridge. Also interesting is the compatibility of the Bluetooth remote control known from the Coolpix P1000, which not only allows the camera to be triggered but also offers some function keys.

 

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Z 50 looks like a shrunken Z 6 or Z 7, which makes it not exactly the smallest APS-C system camera. Nevertheless, the pictured combination stays well under 600 grams thanks to the light Z 16-50 mm 3.5-6.3 VR DX. [Photo: Nikon]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The fact that the Z 50 is identically designed to the Z 6 and Z 7, only a little smaller, says at first sight that it is not a camera for beginners, but an APS-C camera for more demanding amateur photographers. Right from the first touch you feel the well-shaped, not too small and very ergonomic handle. In addition, the Z 50 weighing just under 450 grams is excellently balanced with the small 16-50mm set lens. Among the mirrorless APS-C system cameras, it is the one with the best ergonomically shaped handle at present (end of 2019) without being too bulky. Only the little finger does not find room on the handle with every hand size, which is not detrimental to a secure grip in any way. Somewhere certain compromises have to be made if the camera is to remain compact and suitable for travel.

The combination of camera and set lens weighs less than 600 grams and measures around 13 by 9 by 9.5 centimetres (width by depth by height) including lens cap. This means that the camera can even be stowed in a jacket pocket if necessary, does not pull too much on the neck when hung around the neck or easily finds room in other pockets. The housing consists partly of a light metal alloy (front side) and partly of plastic (especially the rear housing shell). The gap dimensions are small, although not exactly the same everywhere. The housing finish has a high-quality appearance. In addition, generous, grained rubber applications on the handle, front and back (including thumb cavity) ensure good slip resistance. According to Nikon the camera should be dust and splash water protected. But you don’t notice too much of that, as the keys’ haptics don’t feel like seals, and there aren’t any seals in the battery and memory card compartment either. The camera will certainly not fail in a light rain shower, but Nikon definitely has better sealed cameras in its range. The two DX lenses are not sealed at all.

All important controls are within reach of the right hand, including the switch lever located around the shutter release. The shutter release has a first pressure point that is easy to feel and hold. Video recording, ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation buttons are located directly behind the shutter release button. The program selector gives most of the room to the classic creative programs P, A, S and M as well as two user memories, but full auto, subject programs and picture effect programs can also be set directly here. The wheel does not have a safety catch, but locks in place well and is not located in a particularly exposed position. A handy lever under the program selector switches between photo and video mode.

More exposed is the thumbwheel on the right, rear upper side. It can therefore be turned with the thumb and locks in small steps, noticeably and audibly. The front dial can also be turned with a similar feel, even if it only protrudes from the front of the case. Two function keys are located near the bayonet. The upper one can be reached very well with the middle finger, the lower one requires a little more distance with the ring finger. On the back of the device you will find the directional pad with the central confirmation button, an AEL/AFL button and four other buttons within thumb reach. Only the switch button between display and viewfinder has to be operated with the left hand, if the button is needed at all due to the automatic switching.

The screen is an eight-centimeter touchscreen with a resolution of one million pixels. The maximum luminance is okay at 550 cd/m², but there are significantly brighter displays. Fortunately, the Z 50 also offers a good viewfinder, more on that in a moment. The touch control is well embedded in the overall operation, in the recording mode as well as in the menu, corresponding functions can be operated alternatively to the keys by fingertip. To the right of the screen is a black area that is also covered by the display protection glass. Nikon has installed three sensor keys here. Whether this was necessary instead of real keys is certainly another matter. But there is a small advantage: If you fold the screen down 180 degrees for selfies, these touch controls simply fold along. Nikon could just as well have used a wider screen instead and made the touch keys context-sensitive or programmable. But maybe that would have been a bit too modern for such a traditional photo company and maybe even its customers.

The fact that the screen folds down by 180 degrees is commendable, because at least selfies are possible with the camera. A selfie-stick or a gimbal for “vloggers” will sit in front of the screen, so the camera is not very suitable for this. On the positive side, the screen remains in the optical axis behind the camera for shots close to the ground or unobtrusive shots “from the hip”. What’s a bit annoying on the screen are the short, non-extendable switch-off times in the menu without any button activity, as well as in playback, where the screen gets darker after a few seconds only to switch off shortly afterwards. Probably Nikon wants to save battery energy this way.

The menus are structured in a typical Nikon way, there are six main categories plus a favorites menu. The individual categories scroll over up to five screen pages, with a maximum of eight menu items per page. Unselectable options are grayed out, and help can be displayed for many menu items. The only exception is the menu for the individual functions, where there are even six screen pages, which are colour-coded and arranged in seven categories. There is also a quick menu with twelve functions, which admittedly isn’t quite intuitive to access via the back “i” key.

The electronic viewfinder may not boast the highest resolution, but the OLED’s 2.36 million pixels are certainly fine enough. The viewfinder eyepiece protrudes pleasantly far over the screen, so that you don’t have to press your nose so close to the camera when looking through it. With glasses, the viewfinder shades a little at the sides, but at least the dioptre correction ranges from -3 to +3 dpt. Both the viewfinder and the screen respond quickly, showing good color and contrast. A live histogram, exposure preview, depth-of-field preview (anti-glare function programmable on the Fn button), digital level (3D spirit level) and grid lines can also be displayed in the viewfinder and on the screen.

The tripod thread sits on the underside in the optical axis and also in the middle of the rather narrow camera base. Thanks to the large handle, Nikon was also able to place the battery in the same one, so that the compartment sits very far away from the tripod thread. 300 recordings are possible according to CIPA standard. This may not be the best value, but it is sufficient. Moreover, Nikon has learned something new, as the battery can not only be recharged in the camera via USB (an external charging cradle is included anyway), but the Z 50 is also not as choosy as its big sister models Z 6 and Z 7 with the type of USB power source. Beside the micro-USB interface, the Z 50 also has a micro-HDMI interface as well as a 3,5 mm microphone input. The interfaces are covered by two well-fitting rubber straps. It communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.2 LE and WLAN on 2.4 and even 5 GHz.

The SD memory card is also stored in the camera’s bottom compartment. The Z 50 is compatible to SDHC, SDXC and UHS I, but not to UHS II. The write speed of just under 63 megabytes per second reaches almost two thirds of the theoretical maximum of UHS I. Thus, one should not use a slower memory card if one does not want to slow down the camera. For 4K video recordings at least a U3 card (V-Class 30) should be used anyway, which guarantees 30 MByte per second minimum write speed.

Equipment And Features

As already mentioned in the beginning of the reciew, the program dial already indicates in my opinion, that beginners are not the primary target group of the Nikon Z50. This does not mean, however, that it is not possible to get in with it and it does not offer automatic functions. It is therefore also a good camera for those who may be entering the system camera segment, but soon want more than the automatic alone. For example, the Z 50 does not have a special automatic scene control. Of course, the fully automatic mode still adjusts the camera to the shooting conditions, just not quite as subject-specific. Here, beginners can’t go wrong, as functions like the exposure correction or the white balance are not available, but one can take pictures in raw instead of or in addition to JPEG if one wants to.

Nikon Z50 Review

The handle of the Nikon Z 50 with its good shape fits ergonomically into the hand and offers a secure grip. No other mirrorless APS-C system camera currently (end of 2019) has a better handle. [Photo: Nikon]

If you want to take pictures automatically, but with the subject in mind, you have to select a suitable subject program yourself. In sports mode, for example, the camera takes continuous pictures and the autofocus follows the subject without the need for special settings. Even those who like to take pictures with effect programs will get their money’s worth with the Z 50, as it offers numerous possibilities for image alienation including standards such as trendy colours, retro and black-and-white modes, a toy camera effect, etc.

Even in the classic creative programs, where you work with the aperture, ISO sensitivity and exposure time semi-automatically or manually, the image processing parameters such as color reproduction, contrast, sharpness, etc. can be adjusted. In addition to wide spread bracketing with many exposures (up to nine with up to 1 EV or up to five with up to 3 EV), Nikon can also automatically take HDR shots and calculate the individual images directly in the camera. However, there is no panorama function. An interval recording function is not missing, nor is a time-lapse function (interval recording function with automatic video creation).

The integrated pop-up flash offers a small guide number of about seven and must be unlocked manually. In auto mode, the camera recommends that the flash pops up when it feels it is necessary. It even distinguishes between backlighting (fill-in flash) and dark subjects (flash out the entire subject). The flash offers all the necessary functions such as fill-in flash, long flash sync or flash at the end of the exposure. The shortest sync speed is 1/200 second, but with electronic shutter it is not possible to flash. Also a flash exposure correction as well as a possibility for manual flash power control are not missing. Unfortunately, the integrated flash cannot be used as a TTL wireless flash trigger; this is reserved for a control unit or system flash on the TTL system hot shoe. Center contact flashes can also be used.

The autofocus of the Nikon Z 50 works with 209 phase AF sensors integrated on the image sensor. However, the autofocus is not the fastest when releasing the shutter including focusing from infinity to two meters at 0.3 to 0.37 seconds, the pure shutter release delay is 0.09 seconds, which is quite long for a mirrorless system camera that does not have to fold up a oscillating mirror in a time-consuming way. The autofocus works reliably and precisely. Faces and eyes are also recognized and scene tracking is possible at up to eleven continuous shooting frames per second. For manual focusing, the Z 50 lacks a dedicated AF-MF switch; instead, you can use one of the function buttons or the quick menu. A focus magnifier as well as a peaking function for edge enhancement help with manual focusing, while the focus scale only shows in which focus range you are, a distance indicator is completely missing.

The Z 50 reaches the promised eleven frames per second in our measurement for no less than 73 JPEG images in a row, after which the recording continues somewhat unevenly at 3.4 frames per second until the 100th frame. In raw, however, we measured only 9.1 frames per second for 30 consecutive shots, and the frequency dropped to an irregular 1.9 raw continuous frames per second. Here, too, the end is reached after 100 recordings at the latest. This limit is intentional by Nikon and can be lowered in the menu if desired, but not further increased. Therewith, the continuous shooting function is completely sufficient for most action scenes; Nikon has never promised a sports ace anyway. Very positive we noticed the short storage time after the end of the recordings. In Raw the write indicator goes out after two seconds, in JPEG after five to six seconds.

Nikon Z50 Review

The tripod thread of the Nikon Z 50 is exemplary in the optical axis. [Photo: Nikon]

Contrary to the Z 6 and Z 7, the Nikon Z 50 does not have a movable image sensor for image stabilization. Instead, Nikon relies on the “classic” optical image stabilizer in the lens, which also works very effectively. Both set lenses (16-50 and 50-250 mm) have an optical image stabilizer. Many of the usable Z full format lenses, however, do not use this, especially the fixed focal lengths. This is a clear disadvantage compared to the Z 6 and Z 7, and probably Nikon didn’t succeed in shrinking the image stabilizer as well as the case and the image sensor.

The video function of the Z 50 works either in Full HD or 4K resolution and independently of this without lateral image trimming. A maximum of 30 frames per second is possible in 4K, up to 60 frames per second in Full HD or up to 120 frames per second in high-speed mode (which then does not include sound). The level of the integrated stereo microphone, which is located on the top of the housing to the left and right of the flash, is displayed on the screen and can be adjusted manually if desired. A digital wind filter can also be switched on. Thanks to the 3.5mm jack, an external microphone can also be used. If you want, you can also record videos via the HDMI interface. The optical image stabilizer works just as reliably as the autofocus in video recording, provided the subject is bright enough. If the focus is shifted to a dark subject detail during shooting with a fingertip on the touch screen, the autofocus occasionally pumps back and forth several times.

The Nikon Z 50 contacts a smart device (tablet or smartphone) wirelessly via Bluetooth as well as WLAN. The function, which Nikon named “Snapbridge”, connects permanently via energy-saving Bluetooth, whereby not only location data for geotagging can be transferred to the camera, but also small preview pictures with at least two megapixels in the background can be transferred to the smart device. This is quite sufficient for sharing in social networks. The full 20 megapixel image resolution can be transferred via WLAN to 2.4 and 5 GHz if desired; the latter is particularly fast but has a shorter range. The current Snapbridge generation also works much better than the first, and remote control including live image transmission is also possible.

Nikon is also very good at the possibilities to edit photos directly in the camera. This ranges from simple image cropping to raw data development and the subsequent application of filter effects. The original images remain untouched.

Image Quality

Nikon has equipped the Z 50 with an APS-C sensor with a resolution of “only” 20 megapixels. The background is certainly the higher performance, but also the slightly larger pixels. 20 megapixels in APS-C format are already known from the Nikon D500, but the Z 50 uses a new development with integrated phase autofocus sensors, which the sensor of the D500 doesn’t offer.

We were positively surprised by the image quality of the 16-50mm set lens. Normally, cheap set lenses rarely offer good image quality, especially in a “pancake” version like the 16-50mm. But in fact, in combination with the image optimization by the camera, it shows almost no optical errors. Edge darkening, distortion and also color fringes hardly occur. Normally, such digital image optimizations intensify the already existing marginal resolution problems of the lenses, but here the 16-50mm does surprisingly well. The resolution is already high from the open aperture in the image center and only drops slightly when zooming in. The resolution edge drop of around 20 percent is also in the green range and on a par with regular fixed focal lengths. Only with the light intensity it is not so far with the 16-50mm with F3.5 to F6.3.

The maximum resolution reaches 59 line pairs per millimeter in 35mm equivalent at 50 percent contrast in the image center, which is quite remarkable for a 20 megapixel sensor. The sharpness artifacts are on a medium level with up to 16 percent, but in our opinion, a JPEG can be crisply tuned, as the raw format is better for post-processing anyway. The tone curve is moderately steeped, resulting in crisp midrange contrasts and brilliant images. The output tonal range is very good at ISO 100 with almost 256 of 256 possible brightness gradations and decreases almost linearly with increasing ISO sensitivity. Up to ISO 1.600 it is good with over 160 gradations, at ISO 12.800 it slides into the bad area with less than 100 gradations.

The Nikon Z 50 draws fine textures at low ISO sensitivities with great detail. Above ISO 400, the reading starts to decrease slowly, but is still very good at ISO 800 and remains good up to ISO 3,200. From ISO 6.400 on, the first losses of detail become apparent, but with one eye closed, the details at ISO 6.400 are just about sufficient. From ISO 12.800 on, the pictures don’t look so nice anymore. From here on, the salt and pepper noise becomes increasingly noticeable (dark and light pixels), while the Z 50 keeps the color noise very well under control. The input dynamics are at a high level of eleven f-stops at low sensitivities and even at ISO 6,400 they still reach over ten f-stops. Above that, the input dynamics decrease significantly.

Nikon Z50 Review

The battery and memory card compartment of the Nikon Z 50 can be opened easily even with the tripod quick release plate attached. The Z 50 takes about 300 pictures according to CIPA standard with the 1,120 mAh Li-Ion battery. [Photo: Nikon]

The Nikon Z 50 deserves less praise for its colour reproduction. As written above, we believe that a JPEG should be crisp and crisp, and we also like to see beautiful colors. But the Z 50 exaggerates it with its partly clear color deviation in the blue-cyan, magenta, red and orange area. Especially the color saturation is significantly increased. The Z 50, on the other hand, reproduces green tones in an extremely neutral way.

At actual colour depth, the Z 50 fortunately makes up ground again and even scratches the mark of eight million colour shades at ISO 100 and 200. Even at ISO 1.600, more than four million colours are still differentiated, and even at ISO 6.400, the measured value is still just over two million colours, which is just in the good range. Above this, the measured value, like so many others, drops significantly. From ISO 12.800 on, one can no longer speak of a picture “quality”, but rather of a documentary character according to the motto “better a bad picture than none at all”. Even in raw format, respectable results can be extracted at ISO 6.400, but this is no longer possible at ISO 12.800.

Conclusion

The Z 50 is Nikon’s successful, although quite late entry into the mirrorless APS-C format. The camera offers a good balance of price, performance and features. The image quality is even almost convincing, especially the two quite affordable APS-C set lenses surprise with extremely positive image quality results. Thus, the tip is also to buy the camera in a cheap bundle with both lenses. But those who hope for a fast expansion of a specialized APS-C lens offer will probably need a lot of patience or will have to resort to full format lenses as also to the adapter solutions offered by Nikon.

Nikon Z50 Review

Together with the Z 16-50 mm 3.5-6.3 VR DX, the Nikon Z 50 makes a very compact overall package. The lens provides a surprisingly good image quality, as does the camera. [Photo: Nikon]

In detail, the Z 50 scores with its ergonomic housing and the operating concept, which is good for ambitious amateur photographers with many setting options and focus on creative photography. Z 50 does not lack any photographic functions as long as it is not used in highly specialized photographic applications. Its performance is good, even if it is not one of the top cameras. But it does not want to and does not have to do so if price and performance are the main focus.

The fact that the image sensor “only” offers 20 megapixels in 2020, does not need not be a disadvantage, as the Z 50 shows. This is because it converts the sensor resolution into a high, practically usable resolution with crisp, even if not quite as color-true images in JPEG format. The image quality is very good up to ISO 1,600. It gets a little worse at ISO 3.200, but it is still satisfactory and even just barely sufficient at ISO 6.400. Higher sensitivities should be avoided.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Nikon
Model Z 50
Sensor CMOS APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)21.5 megapixels (physical)
20.9 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 4.2 µm
Resolution (max.) 5.568 x 3.712 (3:2)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2,160 30p
Lens Nikon Z 16-50 mm 3.5-6.3 VR DX (zoom lens)
Video finder EVF, 100% field coverage, 2,360,000 pixels resolution, 1.02x magnification (sensor-related), 0.68x magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-3.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Display 3.2″ (8.0 cm)
Resolution 1.040,000 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swiveling
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Scene automatic
Scene mode programs 16 scene modes programs are available
Automatic programming yes
Program shift
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
Manually yes
Bulb Long Term Exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function no
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement, center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/4.000 s
Flash built-in flash
Synchronous time 1/200 s
Flash connection Hot shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
WLAN yes
NFC
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, Bluetooth trigger, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Interval recording yes
Storage medium
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 100-51.200
manually ISO 100-204,800
White balance
automatically yes
manual measuring yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 209
Speed 0,30 s to 0,37 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions 127 x 94 x 60 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 448 g (body only
)579 g (with lens)
Tripod thread on optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manually on the lens
Battery life 300 recordings (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

This test of the Nikon Z 50 with Nikon Z 16-50 mm 3.5-6.3 VR DX was made with DXOMARK Analyzer.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Compact, very ergonomic and well manufactured housing
  • Extensive equipment with good handling for advanced photographers
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 1.600, good at 3.200 and sufficient at 6.400
  • Surprisingly good 16-50mm set lens

Cons

  • Screen turns off too quickly in the menus and during playback
  • Selfie function cannot be used with selfie stick or gimbal
  • Relatively high colour deviation
  • (Still) quite low (adapter-free) lens selection

APS-C Lenses For The Nikon Z50

Matching the Z50, Nikon also released two APS-C lenses. Both are lenses that can be retracted for transportation purposes and thus save space. In particular, the Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm F3.5-6.3 VR (24-75 millimeters corresponding to 35 mm) is very compact. When retracted, it measures only 70 millimetres in diameter and with its length of just 32 millimetres it protrudes only about half a centimeter beyond the handle of the Z 50. It has a mechanical zoom ring, which is also used to extend the lens into working position. The filter thread measures 46 millimetres. In addition, a silent multi-function ring is built in for setting the focus, exposure correction or aperture, for example. The optical construction of nine lenses in seven groups contains one ED glass lens and four aspherical lenses, promising high image quality with only minor optical errors. Also on board is an optical image stabilizer, which should allow up to 4.5 f-stops longer exposure times. The virtually silent internal focus is also suitable for video recordings and allows a maximum magnification of 1:5 with a minimum focus distance of 20 to 30 centimetres (depending on the focal length). 135 grams, the Z 16-50 mm is very light, but has to make do with a plastic bayonet and no seals.

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm F3.5-6.3 VR offers a zoom ring and an adjustment ring. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

When retracted, the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm F3.5-6.3 VR measures 32 millimetres in length. The weight is also very low at 135 grams. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

For operation, the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm F3.5-6.3 VR must be extended. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

Nine lenses in seven groups crowd closely together in the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm F3.5-6.3 VR. Four aspherical (blue) and one ED lens (yellow) are designed to minimize optical errors. [Photo: Nikon]

The Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR (75-375 millimetres, corresponding to 35 mm) can also be pushed together for transport, but with a length of eleven centimetres it remains visibly a telephoto zoom. Beside the zoom ring there is an adjustment ring for different functions like the 16-50. Also at 50-250mm an optical image stabilizer is built in, which should even allow up to five f-stops longer exposure times. An ED glass lens is used in the optical construction of 16 lenses in twelve groups. The quiet internal focusing is suitable for video recordings, whereby the close-up limit of 50 centimetres at 50 millimetres focal length increases when zooming to one metre at 250 millimetres focal length. The maximum magnification is 1:4.4, the filter thread measures 62 millimetres and the weight is just over 400 grams. A plastic bayonet is also used here, seals are not installed.

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR is considerably larger than the 16-50 mm, but with 75 to 375 mm it also achieves a much longer focal length. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

Even when retracted, the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR measures eleven centimeters in length and weighs just over 400 grams, despite a lot of plastic (including bayonet). [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

For operation the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR must be extended. This lens also offers a multifunctional ring. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

When built up from 16 lenses in twelve groups, the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR only needs a single ED lens to correct optical errors. [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR in retracted position on the Nikon Z 50 [Photo: Nikon]

Nikon Z50 Review

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm F4.5-6.3 VR in extended position on the Nikon Z 50 [Photo: Nikon]

The Z 50 can also be connected to the 35 mm lenses of the Z-System. So the Z 35 mm F1.8 becomes about a normal focal length and the Z 50 mm F1.8 becomes a portrait lens. Of course, the FTZ adapter also fits the Z 50, so that APS-C and full-frame lenses from the extensive DSLR lens range with Nikon F bayonet can be used on the Z 50.

Prices and market launch

Since January 2020, the Nikon Z 50 and the two zooms are already available, also in a discounted combination. The price of the Z 50 is about 950 Euro, the 16-50mm is supposed to cost 360 Euro and the 50-250mm 410 Euro. For 1,100 you get the Z 50 either in a set with the FTZ adapter or with the 16-50mm. The Z 50, FTZ adapter and 16-50mm in a package should cost just under 1,250 euros. For the double zoom kit of the Z 50 with the 16-50mm and the 50-250mm Nikon states a price of 1.340 Euro.

 

Nikon Z50 Review Nikon Z50 Review
Manufacturer Nikon Nikon
Model Z 16-50 mm 3.5-6.3 VR DX Z 50-250 mm 4.5-6.3 VR DX
Price (EIA) 359,00 EUR 409,00 EUR
Bayonet Nikon Z Nikon Z
Focal length range 16 to 50 mm 50-250 mm
Luminous intensity (maximum aperture) F3.5 to F6.3 F4,5 to F6,3
Smallest aperture F40 F32
Lens system 9 lenses in 7 group incl.
ED and aspherical lenses
16 lenses in 12 group incl.
ED lens(es
)
KB full format no no
Number of aperture blades 7 7
Close-up limit 200mm 500 mm
Image stabilizer available yes yes
Autofocus available yes yes
Water/dust protection no no
Filter thread 46 mm 62 mm
Dimensions (diameter x length) 70 x 32 mm 74 x 110 mm
Lens weight 135 g 405 g
Nikon Z 50 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)21.5 megapixels (physical) and 20.9 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 4.2 µm
Photo resolution
5.568 x 3.712 pixels (3:2)
5.568 x 3.128 pixels (16:9)
4.176 x 2.784 pixels (3:2)
4.176 x 2.344 pixels (16:9)
3.712 x 3.712 pixels (1:1)
2.784 x 2.784 pixels (1:1)
2.784 x 1.856 pixels (3:2)
2.784 x 1.560 pixels (16:9)
1.856 x 1.856 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 36 bits (12 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.31), DCF standard (version 2.0)
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
MP4 (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) LPCM

Lens

Lens mount
Nikon Z

Focus

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 209 sensors, autofocus operating range from -4 EV to 19 EV, contrast autofocus
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier
Sharpness control Depth-of-field control, depth-of-field button

Viewfinder and Display

Display 3.2″ (8.0 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, viewing angle 170°, non-reflective, brightness adjustable, tilts 110° up and 180° down, with touchscreen
Video finder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,360,000 pixels, 1.02x magnification factor, dioptre compensation (-3.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral metering, matrix/multi-field metering, spot metering (metering over 3% of the field of view), AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (automatic
)1/4,000 to 30 s (manual)
1/4,000 to 30 s (electronic shutter)
Bulb function
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 9 shots, step size from 0.3 to 3 EV, HDR function
Exposure Compensation 5.0 to +-5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 51,200 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 204,800 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, Bluetooth trigger, remote control via smartphone/tablet, remote control from computer:
Scene modes Flowers, twilight, indoor photo, candlelight, children, landscape, food, night scene, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sunset, sports, beach/snow, animals, and one additional scene mode program
Picture effects brilliant, High Key, Landscape, Low Key, Miniature effect, Monochrome, Neutral, Pop Color, Portrait, Selective Color, Sepia, Toy Camera, 27 additional image effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 7 presets, Tungsten light, from 2,500 to 10,000 K, Manual 6 memories
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting 11.0 frames/s at highest resolution
Self-timer Self-timer with 10 s interval, special features: additional lead times 2, 5, 10 or 20 s.
Timer Timer/interval recordings with max. 9,999 recordings, start time adjustable
Recording functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (flip up
)Flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync speed 1/200 s
Flash code Guide number 7 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, manual flash output (6 levels), lamp red-eye reduction, flash exposure correction from -3.0 EV to +1.0 EV

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer electronic image stabilizer and no optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit no power supply connectionUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL25300 pictures
Playback functions Red eye retouching, video editing, cropping, image rotation, image protection, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (LPCM format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Image parameters Sharpness, contrast, color saturation, noise reduction
Special functions Electronic spirit level, Grid fade-in, Orientation sensor, Live View, User profiles with 2 user profiles
Connections Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (type: ac, B, G, N)
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo with power supply))
Audio output: no
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″ in optical axis
Housing Splash water protection
Special features and miscellaneous Photo during video recording 3,840 x 2,160 and 1,920 x 1,080 pixelOLED viewfinder
with eye sensorActive-D-Lighting
(5 steps) bracketing possibleMulti-exposure
(4 modes)
Flicker reduction during shootingVideo metering
: matrix, center-weighted and highlight meteringVideo
ISO: 100 – 25.600, night vision mode 100 – Hi 4Video
Active-D-Lighting (5 levels)
4K time-lapse recording Electronic
image stabiliser for video 2
.4 and 5 GHz WLAN

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 127 x 94 x 60 mm
Weight 448 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Nikon DK-30 (eyepiece cover
)Nikon EH-73P Power supplyNikon
EN-EL25 Special batteryNikon
MH-32 Charger for special batteriesNikon
UC-E21 USB cable Carrying strap
AN-DC20,
additional accessories Nikon FTZ (F-Mount to Z-Mount) (bayonet adapter)

 

, Nikon Z50 Review
Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.

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