Ever since Nikon introduced the Z Series in 2018, the camera lineup has grown tremendously. As of 2023, the Z series now totals 9 cameras. The first two, the Nikon Z6 and Z7, are currently on the second generation Z6 II and Z7 II. In between, Nikon also released the Z5 (a budget full-frame mirrorless camera) and later the headline-grabbing Z9 at the top of their lineup.
As for Nikon’s APS-C cameras with a smaller sensor (which they call Nikon DX cameras), we now have the Nikon Z50, Zfc, and Z30. In this article, I’ll take a look at the general specifications of these nine cameras and see how they compare to each other.
To make it easier to compare the Nikon Z cameras, I created two large tables that show all the key specifications of the Z lineup side-by-side. The first table covers the Z5, Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II and Z9. Meanwhile, the second table covers the Z30, Zfc, and Z50. Please note that there is a lot of information here, and some of it had to be compressed to fit.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the key specifications:
|Camera Feature||Nikon Z5||Nikon Z6||Nikon Z6 II||Nikon Z7||Nikon Z7 II||Nikon Z9|
|Sensor Resolution||24.3 MP||24.5 MP||24.5 MP||45.7 MP||45.7 MP||45.7MP|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Highest Native ISO||51,200||51,200||51,200||25,600||25,600||25,600|
|IBIS||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis|
|Image Size||6016 x 4016||6048 x 4024||6048 x 4024||8256 x 5504||8256 x 5504||8,256 x 5,504|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||EXPEED 6||2x EXPEED 6||EXPEED 6||2x EXPEED 6||EXPEED 7|
|EVF Resolution||3.6 MP||3.6 MP||3.6 MP||3.6 MP||3.6 MP||3.6 MP|
|Media||2x SD UHS II||1x CFe||1x CFe + 1x SD UHS II||1x CFe||1x CFe + 1x SD UHS II||2x CFe/XQD|
|FPS (12-bit RAW)||4.5 FPS||12 FPS||14 FPS||9 FPS||10 FPS||20 FPS|
|Buffer (12-bit RAW)||100||35||124||23||77||1000|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000||1/8000||1/8000||1/8000||1/32000|
|Longest Manual Exposure||30 sec||30 sec||Up to 900 sec||30 sec||Up to 900 sec||Up to 900 sec|
|AF Points||273 points||273 points||273 points||493 points||493 points||493 points|
|Focusing Range, EV||-2 to +19 (-3 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-3.5 to +19 (-6 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-4.5 to +19 (-6 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-2 to +19 (-4 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-3 to +19 (-4 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-5.5 to +21.5 (-7.5 to +21.5 EV with Starlight View on)|
|Eye AF||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, with subject recognition|
|Eye AF in Video||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Max Video Resolution||4K||4K||4K||4K||4K||8.3K|
|Video Slow Motion||60FPS||120FPS||120FPS||120FPS||120FPS||120FPS|
|4K Video Crop||1.7x||1.0x||1.0x (30p), 1.5x (60p)||1.0x||1.0x (30p), 1.08x (60p)||1.0x|
|Maximum Video Quality||4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI)||4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI)||4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI)||4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI)||4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI)||Raw 12-bit (Internal)|
|N-LOG||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (and N-RAW)|
|HLG / HDR Out||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|LCD Type||Tilt||Tilt||Tilt||Tilt||Tilt||Vertical/Horizontal Tilt|
|LCD Size||3.2 Diagonal||3.2 Diagonal||3.2 Diagonal||3.2 Diagonal||3.2 Diagonal||3.2 Diagonal|
|LCD Resolution||1.04 MP||2.1 MP||2.1 MP||2.1 MP||2.1 MP||2.1 MP|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots||310 shots||340 shots||330 shots||360 shots||700 shots|
|Battery Grip Option||MB-N10||MB-N10||MB-N11||MB-N10||MB-N11||Built-in|
|Continuous Ext Power||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|USB Version||Type-C 3.1||Type-C 3.1||Type-C 3.1||Type-C 3.1||Type-C 3.1||Type-C 3.1|
|Weight (with Battery and Card)||675 g (1.49 lbs)||675 g (1.49 lbs)||705 g (1.55 lbs)||675 g (1.49 lbs)||705 g (1.55 lbs)||1340g (2.9lbs)|
|Dimensions||134 x 101 x 70mm||134 x 101 x 68mm||134 x 101 x 70mm||134 x 101 x 68mm||134 x 101 x 70mm||149 x 149.5 x 90.5 mm|
|Price||$1200 (check current price)||$1600 (check current price)||$2000 (check current price)||$2500 (check current price)||$3000 (check current price)||$5500 (check current price)|
Nikon’s DX cameras:
|Camera Feature||Nikon Z50||Nikon Zfc||Nikon Z30|
|Announced||Oct. 2019||June 2021||June 2022|
|Sensor Resolution||20.9 MP||20.9 MP||20.9 MP|
|Sensor Type||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|ISO Range||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 100-51,200|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7mm||23.5 x 15.7mm||23.5 x 15.7mm|
|Image Size||5568 x 3712||5568 x 3712||5568 x 3712|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||EXPEED 6||EXPEED 6|
|EVF Resolution||2.36 MP||2.36 MP||N/A (no viewfinder)|
|Media||1x SD UHS I||1x SD UHS I||1x SD UHS I|
|FPS (12-bit RAW)||11fps||11fps||11fps|
|Buffer (12-bit RAW)||35||35||35|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/4000||1/4000||1/4000|
|Longest Manual Exposure||30 sec||900 sec||30 sec|
|AF System||209 points||209 points||209 points|
|Low-Light EV Range (f/2 standardized)||-2 to +19 (-4 to +19 with Low Light AF on)||-2.5 to +19.5 (-4 to +19.5 EV with Low Light AF on)||-2.5 to +19.5 (-4 to +19.5 EV with Low Light AF on)|
|Eye AF in Video||No||No||Yes|
|Max Video||4K @ 30p||4K @ 30p||4K @ 30p|
|4K Video Crop||1.0x||1.0x||1.0x|
|HDMI Out||4:2:0 8-bit||4:2:0 8-bit||4:2:0 8-bit|
|HLG / HDR Out||No||No||No|
|LCD Size||3.2 Diagonal||3.0 Diagonal||3.0 Diagonal|
|LCD Resolution||1.04 MP||1.04 MP||1.04 MP|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots||300 shots||330 shots|
|Battery Grip Option||None||None||None|
|Continuous Ext Power||No||No||No|
|USB Version||Type-B 2.0||USB-C||USB-C|
|Weight (with Battery and Card)||450 g (0.99 lbs)||445 g (0.98 lbs)||405 g (0.89 lbs)|
|Dimensions||127 x 94 x 60mm||134.5 x 93.5 x 43.5mm||128 x 73.5 x 59.5mm|
|Price||$860 (check current price)||$960 (check current price)||$710 (check current price)|
There are dozens of specifications variations between the camera bodies. Generally speaking, though, the biggest differences involve the camera’s sensor size, sensor resolution, and processing power – and, of course, price.
Overall, I’ve found the Z series cameras to be quite versatile. I’ve shot extensively with all of them except for the Nikon Z30, and I found that even the cheaper cameras can produce great results. But let me go through each camera one-by-one to explain if they’re the right choice for you.
At the bottom of the stack is the Nikon Z30. This camera is Nikon’s entry level body – the cheapest in their lineup at the moment. The biggest difference compared to the other Z-series cameras is that the Z30 has no viewfinder. Instead, the camera is operated entirely via the fully articulating rear touch screen.
Nikon is pushing the Z30 as a video-oriented camera for “content creators,” but it’s not really an advanced camera for video shooters. It even lacks a headphone jack, let alone more advanced video features like 10-bit recording or Log profiles for color grading.
Then again, the Z30 does at least have a fully articulating LCD, video eye-AF, and a tally light (which lights up when it’s filming). These features aren’t groundbreaking, but they are at least a nice iteration that makes it a bit easier to film video on the Z30 relative to most cameras. If you don’t need a viewfinder, you can save some money with the Z30 compared to the Z50 or Zfc while otherwise getting very similar specs.
The Z50 was Nikon’s first APS-C camera in the Z system. It’s an upper-entry-level camera, roughly in line with Nikon’s D5000-series DSLRs.
To that end, it lacks in-body image stabilization (IBIS), it only has a single UHS-I compatible SD card slot. However, it retains the more traditional electronic viewfinder of the full-frame Nikon Z cameras, while still being smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the full frame options.
If you want a viewfinder for easier handheld photography, the Z50 is a nice upgrade over the Z30 for an extra $150 or so. Between the two, it’s the more competitive camera overall, although they’re not too different.
The Zfc bumps up a few minor specs compared to the Z50. The biggest is that the LCD is fully articulating, whereas the Z50’s LCD only tilts up and down. However, the main reason to spend an extra $100 on the Zfc instead of the Z50 is to get a retro-themed camera.
Nikon did a nice job styling the Zfc to evoke its old film cameras in design. However, if you’re on a budget, it’s probably wiser to spend your money elsewhere, like lenses. It’s up to you. By the way, if you’re buying used, go with the Z50. It’s currently selling for much cheaper than the Zfc on the used market.
Now we’re onto Nikon’s full-frame (FX) mirrorless cameras.
The Nikon Z5 is the most budget-friendly option among Nikon’s FX cameras. In fact, it is one of the cheapest full-frame cameras on the market today.
It does lack some advanced specifications, admittedly. The continuous shooting speed of 4.5 FPS isn’t very fast. The camera sensor itself is an older generation that doesn’t do quite as well in very low light. And the 4K video capabilities are more limited, due to a heavy 1.7x crop.
Other than that, most of the features are very similar to the more expensive Nikon Z6 / Z6 II, making the Z5 a great deal. I consider it the best deal in Nikon’s entire Z-series camera lineup, in fact. I’d get this instead of any of the DX cameras if you’re able to spend a bit more. (The Z5 also goes on sale for $1000 at least once a year.)
Z6 and Z6 II
The Z6 and Z6 II offer a better sensor and better AF performance over the Z5. The Z6 II additionally adds dual EXPEED 6 processors, which boosts the autofocus systems, increases continuous shooting frame rate, and improves video features.
While the Z6 version is somewhat older, it’s still a competent and versatile camera. I’d expect a third update to these cameras coming soon, probably with better autofocus tracking for sports photography (one of the few complaints about these cameras).
Z7 and Z7 II
Above the Z6 series, the Nikon Z7 series adds basically nothing except more resolution. Rather than a 24 megapixel sensor, it’s a 45 megapixel sensor. (The base ISO also is 64 instead of ISO 100, which is great for landscape photography.)
Despite being a higher megapixel body, the Z7 is still quite fast, able to do 9 or 10FPS, albeit with some viewfinder and AF limitations. For landscape photography, it’s hard to beat either of these cameras. They’re some of the best on the market (and the original Z7 is selling for some very good used prices these days).
At the top of the heap is the Nikon Z9, a pro level, flagship camera for $5500. The camera has a 45 megapixel sensor, 20 FPS shooting, and a 1,000+ RAW image buffer.
On the video side, the camera is equally capable, with support for internal recording of 8K 60p video – RAW video at that. If you’re considering this level of camera, take the time to read our extensive review of the features and performance.
Where applicable, you can read our in-depth reviews of these six cameras here:
- Nikon Z50 Review
- Nikon Z5 Review
- Nikon Z6 Review
- Nikon Z6 II Review
- Nikon Z7 Review
- Nikon Z7 II Review
I hope you found the above comparison useful for choosing which Nikon mirrorless camera is right for you. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below!