Released in October 2019, the Nikon Z50 is a great camera for beginners. It’s small and lightweight weighing in at only 450g (with battery), and fits well into small camera bags. But don’t let its small size fool you–this little camera packs a powerful punch. This Nikon Z50 review will demonstrate that it’s solidly built (yes, it’s weather sealed), simple to use, and with its 20.1 megapixel sensor, it can capture stunning images, and record video in 4K Ultra HD.
Should I Buy the Nikon Z50?
Beginner photographers and content creators will love this camera. It features a flip-down LCD screen that activates “Selfie Portrait Mode“, which works well for taking selfies and vlogging. You can edit video clips right on the camera. Connect it to your phone, send over the edited clips and post to social media. Overall it’s a solid contender in this segment. Image quality isn’t as good as professional grade camera systems–but for the beginner, it’s easy to use, small, and performs surprisingly well.
Pricing is fair for the Nikon Z50, and depending on which kit you buy, it will run you anywhere from around $835 (body only), to $1,590 (2 lens kit).
The Nikon Z50 features a 20.9 megapixel APS-C crop sensor (Nikon DX format 1.5x crop) which is OK in low light scenes, and delivers vibrant, crisp shots in well lit situations. It features a built-in flash, and an ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to 204,800). It uses an electronic front curtain type shutter, which can be configured to open for as long as 30 seconds (for long exposure photography), and as quick as 1/4000s of a second (to freeze action). The camera is capable of shooting continuously up to 11 frames per second, which is great when you need to capture action oriented subjects like kids, wildlife, or sports. You can also capture 8MP (megapixel) still photos while shooting video! For those times where you need to be quiet (somber ceremonies, or skittish wildlife), you can enable “Silent Photography Mode“, and shoot in complete silence.
Since it’s a mirrorless camera, it features a high resolution EVF (electronic viewfinder). It activates when you bring your camera up to your eye, and shows you exactly how your photos and videos will look. You can even preview Creative Picture Controls, filters, effects, and camera settings in real time.
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The Nikon Z50 also features a powerful eye detection autofocus system, so your camera will always lock on to your subject’s eyes for beautifully focused portraits. The camera also features Nikon’s Animal Detection AF (auto focus), so if your subject is one of your pets, you’ll get a crisp focused image there too!
If you want to try some creative photography, the Z50 features a “multiple exposure” option, which allows you to capture multiple shots and blend them into one image.
To get a feel for the photo quality you’ll get with this camera, photographer Alex Stead partnered with Nikon to show you what it’s capable of. You can see those photos here.
The Z50 was Nikon’s first Z-mount crop sensor camera body, and is compatible with Nikon’s Z-mount lenses–both full frame and DX. Nikon sells more than 25 Z-mount lenses, and there are plenty of third party lens makers who do as well, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the “right” lens.
The Nikon Z50 is a little powerhouse which features some pretty cool video capabilities. It enables you to capture 4K video, time-lapse, 1080p slow motion, vertical video, and more. When shooting for slow motion video, this camera is capable of shooting at 1080/120p–which basically means you can capture footage at 120 frames per second (fps) at 1080p (high definition).
Here’s a video sample, by Alex Stead, shot on the Nikon Z50:
Ease of Use
If you’ve ever used a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you know the menus can be pretty involved. You might just want to make a quick setting change and keep shooting–but end up standing there for several long minutes, hunting through menus. Not fun. The Nikon Z50 attempts to change all that with their “i” button. The “i” button is a convenient shortcut key that brings up a customizable menu of your 12 favorite camera settings. You can pick which settings appear in the “i” menu, and even rearrange them to your liking.
Switching between photo and video mode is simple as well–just flip one switch on the top of the camera. Many camera users prefer different settings in video mode. The Nikon Z50 keeps your video and still photo camera settings separate, so you can set each mode to your liking, then smoothly switch back and forth.
Lastly, when changing camera modes (auto, manual, shutter priority, etc.), most cameras require you to press an “unlock” button while you turn the wheel to change between modes. The Nikon Z50 omits that locking button, which makes it fast and easy to switch modes on the fly.
|Camera Type||Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera|
|Release Date||October 10, 2019|
|Lens Mount||Nikon Z-Mount|
|Sensor Type||Nikon DX format CMOS sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5mm x 15.7mm APS-C|
|Maximum Resolutuion||5,568 x 3,712 — 20.9 effective megapixels|
|ISO||ISO 100 – 51,200 (standard)|
|ISO 100 – 204,800 (expanded)|
|Memory Card||SD Card — 1 slot|
|Focus Type||Hybrid AF|
|Focus Area||209 focus points|
|Shutter Type||Electronically controlled mechanical shutter; Electronic front curtain shutter|
|Shutter Speed||30s — 1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5fps to 11fps (expanded)|
|Video Resolutions||4K UHD at 30p/25p/24p|
|Full HD at 120p/100p/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p|
|LCD Screen||3.2 inch tilt down touchscreen LCD with 1.04 million dots|
|Ports||USB Mini-B, HDMI Type D|
|802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||126.5mm x 93.5mm x 60mm|
|4.98″ x 3.68″ x 2.36″ (inches)|
|Weight||395g (body only)|
|450g (with battery)|
Although this little camera is powerful, it lacks a few features some may look for in a camera.
- No slow motion video in 4K (maximum fps in 4K is 30p)
- No IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)
- No built-in sensor cleaning
- Memory card is inside the battery compartment, near the door hinge–which makes it a bit fiddly to get in and out
That wraps up this Nikon Z50 review. If you’re new to photography, are thinking about giving a camera as a gift to someone, or need a lightweight travel camera that fits easily into your bag, then this may be just the camera for you!
If you’re not “sold” on the Nikon Z50, be sure to check out our 5 Best Cameras for Beginners post!