Nikon just announced the Zfc, a 21-megapixel Nikon Z mirrorless camera with an aps-c (DX) sized sensor and a retro stylized body. The Zfc was announced alongside a few lenses, including the development announcement of the DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR from the roadmap.
Here’s the full list of announcements:
- Nikon Zfc retro-themed DX camera for $960, body only (pre-order here)
- Nikon DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Special Edition (adds retro styling compared to the existing 16-50mm) for $1100 as a kit with the Zfc or $300 on its own (pre-order the kit here)
- Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Special Edition (retro-styled version of the lens we already knew about) for $1200 as a kit with the Zfc, or $300 on its own – but Nikon says it won’t be available on its own until fall 2021 (pre-order the kit here)
- Development announcement of Nikon DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR – no retro theme that we know about – available some time in 2021
The Zfc as well as both of its standard kits (one with the 16-50mm; one with the 28mm f/2.8) will start shipping in late July, yet the 28mm f/2.8 SE lens won’t be available standalone at first. This might lead to an unusual situation where full-frame Nikon Z photographers who want the 28mm f/2.8 within the next couple months will buy the Zfc + 28mm kit and resell the Zfc on the used market…
Here are some of Nikon’s official photos of the Zfc:
There is also an optional hand grip, which you may find useful considering that the Zfc on its own has no grip whatsoever.
Let’s take a look at the Nikon Zfc’s main specifications:
- Sensor size: DX (23.5 × 15.7 mm)
- Sensor resolution: 20.9 megapixels
- In-body image stabilization: No
- ISO range: 100-51,200 (extended ISO 204,800)
- Processor: EXPEED 6
- Frame rate: 11 FPS (12-bit RAW); 9 FPS (14-bit RAW)
- Flash sync speed: 1/200 second
- Focusing points: 209 user-selectable points
- Eye detection: Yes; includes pet eye AF and eye AF in wide-area AF mode
- Video: 4K @ 30p, oversampled and uncropped
- Viewfinder: Electronic viewfinder (EVF); 2.36 million dots; 0.68× magnification
- Rear LCD: Tilt-flip touchscreen with 180 degree rotation for selfies/vlogging; 1.04 million dots
- Construction: Magnesium alloy frame
- Pop-up flash: No
- Memory card: 1× SD up to UHS-I
- Battery: EN-EL25
- Battery life: 300 shots (CIPA)
- Continuous USB power: Yes
- Weight: 445 grams (0.98 lbs)
- Size (L×W×H): 135 × 94 × 44 mm (5.3 × 3.7 × 1.7 inches)
- Colors: Retro black, retro silver, white, coral pink, mint green, sand beige, amber brown, natural gray
The Nikon Zfc is a very similar camera to the existing Nikon Z50 DX mirrorless camera. Aside from the obvious stylistic changes, the biggest difference is the addition of a fully articulating tilt-flip screen. The Z50’s screen is tilt only (though it does tilt completely upside down).
I can’t help but think the name “Zfc” – where the “c” potentially stands for “crop” – leaves a very obvious place for a future, full-frame “Nikon Zf” with retro styling of its own. Whether such a camera ever exists likely depends on the Zfc’s sales.
Speaking of, how well is the Zfc going to sell? Although it is very similar in features to the slightly cheaper Nikon Z50 (which is currently $860 body only / $1000 with the 16-50mm kit), the retro styling clearly differentiates it. That’s especially true if both cameras are sitting side by side at a Best Buy or Walmart.
The fact is that many non-photographers looking for an advanced camera don’t care about the minutiae of specifications and performance details. Instead, they’ll choose their first DSLR or mirrorless camera based on which one looks and feels the best when they test it in the store – especially when all the cameras have basically the same specs. I suspect that the Zfc’s pleasing aesthetics will convince enough potential Z50 buyers to pay the extra $100, and that it will turn out to be a big seller for Nikon.
There’s also the potential audience of existing Nikon users who want a DX camera for backup or any other reason. The Zfc has dedicated shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO dials – plus the standard two command dials – which far more than most sub-$1000 cameras. Add those to the new tilt-flip screen and the nostalgic design, and this camera may have broader appeal than the Z50, even at a slightly higher price.
As for the lenses, there aren’t any big surprises. The compact 28mm f/2.8 full-frame lens is going to ship a bit sooner than some expected (at least in its “Special Edition” form, with similar styling to the Zfc). The development announcement of the 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 confirms another entry from Nikon’s roadmap. And the other lens announced today, the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 SE, is the same as the existing 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 but with retro styling.
I did find the lens construction diagram for the 28mm f/2.8 to be one of the weirder and more interesting lens diagrams I’ve seen:
It almost looks backwards, but the diagram above is the same as always: the front of the lens on the left, the mount on the right. Although this is interesting, it’s not really important how the diagram looks. Things like weight and performance are the more important considerations.
Nikon says that the 28mm f/2.8 will weigh about 160 grams (0.35 lbs) and measure just 43 mm long (1.7 inches). That’s a bit more than a traditional “pancake” lens, but it’s still very compact. Travel photographers will find it a good match for any of the Nikon Z cameras released so far, even though it won’t be available separately from the Zfc for another few months (aside from the used market). The 28mm f/2.8 will have a maximum magnification of 1:5, which is solid but not enough for macro photography without accessories.
You can pre-order the Nikon Zfc and associated kits here:
Here’s Nikon’s press release for the Zfc and associated lenses:
ICONIC STYLE, CUTTING-EDGE PERFORMANCE: THE NIKON Z fc FUSES TIMELESS DESIGN WITH MODERN MIRRORLESS TECH
Nikon’s Newest Mirrorless Camera Complemented with an Assortment of New Compact NIKKOR Z Lenses
MELVILLE, NY – 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: 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 51,2001(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 SnapBridge2: 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.
- 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.
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Specifications, equipment, and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
The appearance of the product may differ from the photos shown above.
- The maximum standard sensitivity for video recording is ISO 25600.
- 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.