Nikon announces Z fc style-focused APS-C mirrorless camera: Digital Photography Review



Published Jun 29, 2021
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dpreview staff

Nikon has officially launched the Z fc, a 21MP APS-C format mirrorless camera than recalls the styling of its classic FM and FE film SLRs, but uses the company’s current Z lens mount.

The Z fc shares many components with the existing Z50 model, including the CMOS sensor and Expeed 6 processor, but adds a fully articulating display, a USB-C socket that allows both charging and direct power, and a traditional user interface based on the use of dedicated dials for key exposure settings. It also gains full-time eye autofocus when shooting video, along with the ability to receive firmware updates from a smartphone.

The Z fc produces 20.7MP images and can shoot at up to 11 fps with full autofocus or 9 fps if Raw capture is set to 14-bit mode. It can shoot oversampled 4K video from the full width of its sensor, including vlog-style capture, thanks to its rotating display and AF abilities.

The rear screen is a 3.0″, 1.04M-dot touchscreen, above which the Z fc has a 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder. This uses the same Nikon designed and coated optics as the Z50’s finder, giving a magnification figure of 1.02x (0.68x in full-frame terms).

The camera’s real selling-point is its classic dial-driven operation, to encourage an engaged, considered approach to photography, but backed up by the ability to immediately share the results via the always-connected Snapbridge app, and the use of Nikon’s growing Z series of lenses.

One such lens option is the Nikkor Z 28mm F2.8 (SE), which is being launched alongside the camera. It’s a full-frame lens, which covers the equivalent of 42mm when mounted on the the APS-C format Z fc, and is designed to match the look of the camera and the appearance of Nikon’s classic Ai and Ai-s primes.

The Z fc will be available from late July 2021 at a recommended price of $960, body only, or as a kit with either a silver version of the existing DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR retractable zoom ($1100) or with the new 28mm F2.8 (SE) for $1200. Both lenses will be available separately at a cost of around $300 each (but not until fall, in the case of the 28mm).

Six alternative color versions of the Z fc will also be available in limited quantities, costing $1200 with the 16-50mm zoom. In the US these will be exclusively available direct from Nikon’s website.

Press Release:

ICONIC STYLE, CUTTING-EDGE PERFORMANCE: THE NIKON Z fc FUSES TIMELESS DESIGN WITH MODERN MIRRORLESS TECH

MELVILLE, NY (June 29, 2021) Today, Nikon announced the Z fc, a DX-format camera that combines the latest mirrorless technology with classic design and functionality. It’s the compact and lightweight everyday companion that evokes both the urge to create and to take the time to embrace the moment. Featuring a heritage-inspired design, satisfying analog controls and craftsmanship that’s both unique and functional, the Z fc is built to be a thoroughly modern camera that’s simply a joy to use for everything from stunning street snaps, self-portraits, vlogging or 4K UHD video content. Nikon has also announced two stylized lenses to complement the compact nature and aesthetic of the camera, plus additional NIKKOR Z lenses coming this year with a focus on small size and big performance.

“The Z fc is the kind of camera many have been waiting for, and that only Nikon could create. It’s exceptionally slim, yet offers superb image quality and features, with iconic styling and precise tactile controls. It’s a joy to carry and use for casual street photography, streaming, or just living in the here and now,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “It’s no coincidence that we are also announcing a variety of compact lenses alongside the camera to perfectly complement the iconic aesthetic.”

Fusion of Classic Design + Z Series Technology

The Z fc embraces both Nikon’s heritage and our future with the powerful Z mount to create something truly beautiful; it’s a distinctly designed camera that has the performance to keep pace, but also serves as a reminder to appreciate the moment.

  • An Iconic Design: Inspired by the popular Nikon FM2 film SLR, the camera affords shooting with analog tactile dials with satisfying clicks for precise control. The compact and lightweight camera gives enthusiasts and casual photographers alike the option to explore their creativity and go fully automatic or manual with mechanical dials for shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation.
  • Meticulously Crafted: The exterior of the camera is wrapped in a leather-tone material that offers an impeccably premium feel with a thoughtful blend of black and satin silver elements. It’s a familiar design that focuses on the harmony of style and functionality, with intricate details like carved aluminum dials, engraved lettering and a circular eyepiece surrounding the bright electronic viewfinder.
  • Explore New Angles: The Vari-Angle touchscreen LCD flips out to face the user and automatically adjusts for self-portraits, working on a tripod or holding at waist level for creative angles.
  • High Resolution: 20.9-MP CMOS sensor is paired with the EXPEED 6 engine to provide clean, professional quality videos and stills, even in low light. From a sunny hike or twilight cityscape, users will appreciate exceptional clarity, magnificent color reproduction and minimal noise in nearly any situation.
  • Focus Fast: The 209-point hybrid AF system has you covered, recognizing approximately 87% of the frame horizontally and 85% vertically for precise focusing and tracking throughout more of the frame. Rapid Eye-Detection AF for people and animals enable users to sharply capture the eyes of people and pets, even when they’re moving. Eye-Detection AF is also now available in the wide-area AF (L) mode, making it easy to select the area to prioritize focus.
  • Advanced Video Features: The Z fc has convenient video features creators want, like 4K UHD video and a variety of frame rates. Focus is rapid yet smooth, with full-time AF that locks onto eyes and faces in the frame. Slow motion can easily be created with the 1080p/120p setting or the 4x/5x in-camera slow motion modes. A built-in interval timer also allows for the convenient creation of 4K timelapse movies.
  • Keep Streaming: When connected via USB-C, the camera receives power, giving the ability to operate the camera continuously, which is beneficial for streaming, video production, timelapse creation and more. The Nikon Webcam Utility is available as a free download for all users of the Z fc and many other Nikon cameras.
  • The Z fc is Designed Around Nikon’s Revolutionary Z Mount: The widest lens mount of any comparable camera system means more light, and more light means more sharpness, contrast, accurate focus, low light performance and image quality.
  • Low Light Ability is at Your Fingertips: When operating the dedicated ISO dial, discover photos and videos with minimal noise, clear details and texture. The ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 up to 51,200*1 (expandable up to 204,800), allowing for faster shutter speeds in lower light to reduce blur and reveal striking nighttime visuals.
  • Creativity Made Easy: The Z fc can operate in fully automatic mode, and users can use the exposure compensation dial in auto mode to quickly adjust brightness for a custom look. Users also have access to 20 picture controls to add creative or dramatic flair and emphasis to images and video.
  • Always Connected with Nikon SnapBridge*2: Automatically send photos and videos to your phone or tablet for sharing, or use Nikon SnapBridge app as a remote control. The camera’s firmware can also be updated directly from the app.
  • Premium Construction: The classic design is built with a lightweight magnesium alloy frame with consideration to dust and drip resistance. The extraordinarily small and flattened profile is convenient to carry and fits easily into bags. The controls are well thought out, with most settings available at a glance, including aperture through the top display panel.
  • Choose Your Style: In addition to the retro black and silver, the Z fc will be available in six additional color options to vibe with any personal style; white, coral pink, mint green, sand beige, amber brown and natural gray.

More NIKKOR Z Lenses

As the family of NIKKOR Z lenses rapidly expands, Nikon is releasing a variety of small, high performance FX and DX-format lenses. These lightweight lenses are easy to carry every day, and pair perfectly with the new Z fc as well as other Z series cameras.

  • NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR: This is a stylized version of Nikon’s smallest lens, created with a satin silver finish to complement the Z fc. It’s an ultra-thin DX-format lens with a convenient wide-to-standard zoom range from 16mm to 50mm (24-75mm equivalent). It serves as a great walk-around lens for a wide variety of scenes ranging from landscapes, snaps, and portraits to tabletop photos.
  • NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE): Nikon’s first ultra-compact and lightweight NIKKOR Z prime checks all the right boxes – it’s fast, fun and affordable. The NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) will be first released as a special edition lens for the Z fc. This is the lightest FX lens yet, with a design inspired by classic NIKKOR glass to match the Z fc’s unique finish. The lens offers a standard angle of view (42mm-equivalent when attached to a DX body) that is ideal for shooting portraits and still photography with gorgeous, blurred backgrounds and excellent low-light performance. A standard edition of this lens is planned to be available within the year, along with the 40mm f/2.0 compact prime that is currently in
  • Development of NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR: Nikon is pleased to announce the development of the NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR, a high-power 7.8x zoom lens for APS-C format (Nikon DX-format) mirrorless cameras. The lens is scheduled for release during 2021. This will be a versatile lens for users looking to capture wide-angle to telephoto focal lengths as well as at short distances.

Pricing and Availability

The Nikon Z fc will be available in classically styled black and silver starting late July 2021 (US) in a variety of kit configurations; the body-only will be available for a suggested retail price (SRP)* of $959.95, or paired with the silver NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens for $1,099.95 SRP. The silver NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens will be available separately starting in late July for $299.95 SRP.

The NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) special edition lens will be available in a kit with the Z fc camera for $1,199.95 SRP starting in late July, and sold separately starting in fall 2021 for $299.95 SRP.

The six additional color options will be available in limited supply as a kit with the silver NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR for $1,199.95 SRP and will be sold exclusively through nikonusa.com.

For more information about the latest Nikon products, including the new NIKKOR lenses and the entire Nikon Z series, please visit nikonusa.com.

*1 – The maximum standard sensitivity for video recording is ISO 25600.
*2 – The Nikon SnapBridge app can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store® and Google Play™. See Nikon’s website for further information.

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Nikon Z fc specifications

Price
MSRP $959 (body only), $1099 (w/16-50mm lens), $1199 (w/28mm lens)
Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Body material Magnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution 5568 x 3712
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 21 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 22 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Expeed 6
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
Image
ISO Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 100-204800)
Boosted ISO (minimum) 100
Boosted ISO (maximum) 204800
White balance presets 8
Custom white balance Yes (6 slots)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Fine, normal, basic
File format

  • JPEG (Exif v2.31)
  • Raw (12 or 14-bit NEF)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus

  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 209
Lens mount Nikon Z
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fully articulated
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,040,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 1.02× (0.68× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution 2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Exposure modes

  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via hot shoe)
Flash modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, off
Flash X sync speed 1/200 sec
Drive modes

  • Single frame
  • Continuous L
  • Continuous H
  • Continuous H (extended)
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive 11.0 fps
Self-timer Yes
Metering modes

  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Modes

  • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 100p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I supported)
Connectivity
USB
USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB charging Yes
HDMI Yes (micro HDMI)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port No
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote control Yes (via smartphone)
Physical
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description EN-EL25 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 300
Weight (inc. batteries) 445 g (0.98 lb / 15.70 oz)
Dimensions 135 x 94 x 44 mm (5.31 x 3.7 x 1.73)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS None



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