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Nikon Z 50: APS-C camera shoots 4K UHD/30p using the whole frame

Nikon takes the first step and announces its APS-C mirrorless camera in the Z series, leaving Canon behind. Will we ever see an APS-C EOS R? Probably not, as Canon has the M series. But who knows?

Nikon Z 50: a larger mount for an APS-C sensor

The Nikon Z 50 will be available in November 2019, in several configurations including body-only for a suggested retail price of $859.95. The camera shoots 4K UHD/30p using the whole frame.

The Nikon Z 50 confirms that Nikon wants to expand its mirrorless series to the APS-C format, and the Z 50 is the first model, announced with two new companion NIKKOR Z lenses, the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR, that offer users a basic and compact kit, good enough to start exploring the advantages of mirrorless with a smaller sensor.

“The new Nikon Z 50 is a small yet capable camera that brings the best of the Nikon Z series to all kinds of creators to discover, share and engage,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The new NIKKOR Z DX lenses expands the Nikon Z series to provide new creative tools for those looking to take their photo and video passions to new heights.”

The new Nikon Z 50 takes full advantage of Nikon’s larger Z mount, providing creators of all types with the most innovative optical system for superior image and video quality, especially when paired with the new ultra-compact 16-50mm zoom and the slim 50-250mm telephoto zoom lenses.

Nikon Z 50: a larger mount for an APS-C sensor

Large mount, small sensor

This is Nikon’s first DX-format mirrorless camera, delivering a more compact lightweight system to those upgrading to mirrorless or discovering the Nikon Z mount system. The new Z 50 offers an ergonomic design, intuitive operability and the steadfast reliability Nikon is known for, but in a slimmer, lightweight and attainable body. Taking advantage of the Nikon Z mount, the Z 50 produces stunning image quality and provides optimal performance for any type of content creation, from still photography to high-quality 4K video.

A DX-format 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor delivers, says the company, “superior image quality, sharpness, color and tones to document it all, even in low light. The EXPEED 6 image-processing engine helps to achieve excellent low-light performance and the highest standard sensitivity in its class1 for still-image shooting – ISO 51,200 – so users can capture high-resolution photos in challenging lighting conditions, like concerts or night street photography.”

AF system and interface

The camera quickly locks focus with a 209-point Hybrid AF System that enables broad coverage of approximately 87% of the frame horizontally and 85% vertically. It’s also the first Nikon DX-format camera to employ Eye-Detection AF, which makes portrait photography simple by recognizing and instantly focusing on a subject’s eyes, even if they are moving. What’s more, with fast 11 fps (with AF/AE) continuous shooting, users can keep up with fleeting moments and never miss a moment of the action.

The Nikon Z 50 features an easy to use interface with a 3.2-inch flip-down LCD touchscreen that’s ideal for selfies and vlogging. The LCD features familiar soft keys and icons, while intuitive controls make storytelling simple. Selfie Mode automatically disables all but essential controls while the LCD is flipped down, which makes it easy for the photographer to turn the camera on themselves and capture flattering photos and videos without worry of accidentally changing settings.

Nikon Z 50: a larger mount for an APS-C sensor

The Nikon Z50 as a video machine

As a video machine, the Nikon Z 50 can capture  16:9 4K UHD/30p video using the whole frame. It also shoots at 4K UHD/24p, a feature that may explain Canon’s decision to update its cameras via firmware.  The Z 50 offers, according to Nikon, “beautiful output with minimum noise at high ISO, 1080/120p for slow motion, and smooth, accurate and silent AF for video. You can even touch to focus using the LCD monitor, for fast transitions between subjects. Focus peaking is available in both 4K UHD and 1080p recording, assisting manual focusing with easier confirmation on the monitor.” For smooth footage, the camera also incorporates additional built in stabilization while shooting Full HD or 4K video.

Sharp, vibrant 4K video is just the beginning. Users can use time-lapse and interval timer as well as in-camera video trimming and 20 Creative Picture Controls. These Creative Picture Controls and Special Effect modes instantly transform an image or video footage, while Scene Modes automatically adjust settings to optimize performance for beginners.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity along with support for the new SnapBridge2 version 2.6 app allows users to seamlessly share still images and videos with friends, families and followers. In addition to automatically sending images to one’s phone, users now also have the ability to easily transfer video to their smart device quickly. The latest version of SnapBridge also supports RAW image transfer and advanced remote capture functions.

The next generation DX-format Nikkor lenses

The new NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm standard zoom and the NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm telephoto zoom lenses are designed to complement the new Z 50, striking the balance of small size and sharp optics. The NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens is a slim zoom lens that lets users capture a wide variety of scenes, from beautiful landscapes to candid portraits. The compact telephoto NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens allows anyone to go the extra distance and capture far-away subjects, like city skylines or birds in flight. When paired with the new lenses, Dual Detect Optical VR is enabled on the Z 50 to help control the effects of camera shake when shooting.

Both the new NIKKOR Z DX lenses unleash the potential of the Nikon Z mount, using the superior design flexibility made possible by the large-diameter and the 16mm flange focal distance to deliver outstanding optical performance and sharpness in a deceptively compact form factor.

Lenses optimized for video

In addition to achieving, says Nikon, “incredible image quality”, the new NIKKOR Z DX lenses are optimized for video capture when paired with the Z 50, making them must-haves for emerging content creators. Both lenses promise reduced focus breathing, a customizable control ring for smooth control of aperture or exposure compensation, as well as fast and quiet operation. Additionally, the new lenses offer in-lens optical Vibration Reduction (VR) technology to allow for smooth recording, with camera shake compensation equivalent to 4.5 stops and 5.0 stops, respectively.

Beyond these two new lenses, Nikon Z 50 users can enjoy greater variety in imaging expression by mounting any of the current lenses in the NIKKOR Z lineup. A vast selection of traditional F-Mount NIKKOR lenses is also available to shooters via the Mount Adapter FTZ, with many lenses retaining functions such as VR and AF.

The Nikon Z 50 will be available in November 2019, in several configurations including body-only for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $859.95, a one-lens kit with the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens for a SRP of $999.95 or a two-lens kit with both the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lenses for a SRP of $1349.95.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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