Cameras Nikon

Nikon Z fc

Modeled on the iconic FM2 35mm SLR film camera, the Nikon Z fc aims to tap into the growing popularity of retro designs with a thoroughly moderrn APS-C mirrorless camera based on Nikon’s popular Z 50.

  • 20.9MP CMOS DX Sensor
  • 209-point Hybrid AF
  • 11fps Continuous Shooting
  • 4K/30P UHD Video
  • ISO 100-51200
  • 3.0-in. 1.04M-dot Vari-Angle LCD Monitor
  • Seven Colors

QUICKFACT SHEET

The Nikon Z fc is one of the most beautiful retro design for a mirrorless camera. Inspired by the iconic Nikon FM2 film SLR, and using the popular mirrorless Z 50 as its core, Nikon has successfully crafted a camera that not only looks gorgeously classic but works also very well. The Z fc has the look, shape and dimensions of the FM2, including the dedicated analog-style controls: shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, ISO dial, and a small window on the top panel that displays the selected aperture (selected using the Front Command Dial). The Z 50 is a proven and popular model, so the Z fc can be thought of as a Z 50 in a classic retro design body. The final result is probably the best-looking retro-design APS-C mirrorless camera currently on the market.

Nikon Z fc

Nikon Z fc

The label “fc” apparently stands for “fusion” and “casual” — “fusion” as a “coming together of tactile precision mechanics and high image quality” to create a camera simple enough to be used by anyone, anywhere, “casually.”

Dedicated Controls vs. Mode Dial
The Nikon Z fc does not have full dedicated controls functionality. It does not provide aperture ring control, and it still uses a Mode Dial. First, since most of the Nikon mirrorless lenses do not have an Aperture Ring (e.g., on the kit lens), the aperture has to be chosen using the Front Command Dial. Next, the Mode Dial (or switch/lever/selector) is still very much present, and you must first select a shooting mode (PSAM) before you can select a shutter speed or aperture. To select a shutter speed, you must first (like on any Mode Dial-operated camera) first turn the Mode Dial to P, S or M; to select an aperture, you must first turn the Mode Dial to P, A or M. This is an awkward and unnecessary mode of operation for those who are used to selecting a shutter speed and aperture directly (i.e. without having to first ask the camera’s permission via its Mode Dial).

If you are used to (and like) the Mode dial operation, then you may feel right at home with that fusion of controls on the Z fc. It would have been much better for Nikon to have gotten rid of the Mode Dial functionality completely, and add “A” settings on the Shutter Speed Dial, the Aperture window, as well as on the ISO Dial for truer dedicated controls functionality.

Learn more about Dedicated Controls: How to Transition from Mode Dial to Fujifilm’s Analog-Style Dedicated Controls

The Z fc features 20.9 MP resolution, more than enough to capture beautifully detailed images. There is no anti-alias (Low-pass) filter. Focus acquisition is fast and precise with 209 on-sensor AF points (Contrast + Phase Detect AF, able to lock focus down to -4.5 EV) with Face- and Eye-Detection AF for people and animals for both stills and video shooting. To capture just the right moment, switch to Continuous Shooting at a blazing 11 fps (frames per second) with full AF/AE (no live view) or 5 fps with live view and AF. Record up to 30 minutes of 4K/30P Ultra High Definition (or Full HD/120P slow motion) movies with electronic VR.

Nikon Z fc

Nikon Z fc

Nikon Z fc

Nikon Z fc

The Nikon Z fc features Nikon’s first Vari-Angle display monitor, a 3.0-inch 1.04M-dot Vari-Angle LCD that flips out and rotates to face forward for easy selfies and vlogging. When turned to face forward, the Z fc automatically enters self-portrait mode with convenient touch screen operations.

You can, of course, also compose using the high resolution 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a retro round rubber eyepiece with diopter adjustments for glass wearers. The magnification is disappointingly only 0.62x (35mm equiv.) which is on the small side.

It’s an interesting trivia that the Nikon FM2 was the world’s first SLR camera that offered an action-freezing top shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. The Z fc’s Shutter Speed dial allows selection of shutter speeds from 1/4000 sec. down to 4 sec. in full stops, plus Bulb and Time long exposure modes (up to 15 minutes). If you park the Shutter-Speed dial on the 1/3 STEP setting, then you get to use the Rear Command Dial to set shutter speeds in 1/3 stop increments. The aperture is selected using the Front Command dial and is displayed in a small window on the top panel. The Exposure Compensation dial allows you to select an exposure compensation (even in AUTO mode, another first for Nikon) from -3 to +3 EV; set it to “C” and you can now select from -5 to +5 EV using the touchscreen display.

Another welcomed feature is that the Z fc’s battery can be recharged via a USB connection and it can also be powered by an external power bank while the camera is being used. This is good news for those who like to use the Interval Timer feature.

Other features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Focus Shift Shooting Mode (aka Focus Stacking), and Multiple Exposures.

Nikon Z fc Top View

Nikon Z fc Top View

The Z fc unfortunately does not have a built-in flash (which would have been so convenient for “casual” shooting), but it does sport a hot shoe that accepts external flash units. Flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

There is no IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization, or, as Nikon terms it: In-camera VR image stabilization), so you’ll have to rely on lens-based image stabilization for hand held shooting. For example, the offered NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR kit lens is optically image stabilized, allowing you to hand hold the camera for blur-free images. Strangely enough, there is also no ultrasonic sensor cleaner which means you’ll have to manually clean the sensor should it get dusty while changing lenses.

There is a single card slot that accepts a SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I card.

The Z fc is not weather-proof.

What Is the Difference Between Interval Timer and Time Lapse?
Time Lapse photography enables us to capture a subject or scene as it changes over time, replayed in a short time-compressed video. So, for example, you could obtain a time lapse of a flower opening up, or even a plant growing up from the ground, of ants eating up a dead insect, of the rotation of the earth (as viewed by the movement of the stars), etc. all happening in a matter of seconds.

To create this speed-up time effect, an Intervalometer or Interval Timer is required. The Intervalometer allows you to capture one shot every so many minutes or even hours (the time inerval) for a number of intervals, starting immediately or at a set time. You’ll end up with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of individual shots. Depending on how long you intend to be capturing individual shots, you may need to be able to power your camera externally.

You would then download these individual shots into your computer and combine them in an appropriate software to create a time lapse video. So, when you read that a camera has an Interval Timer or Intervalometer, that is the feature they are talking about.

However, if you combine these individual shots yourself manually, it can become a laborious process, though many photo editing software now includes a time lapse feature allowing you to simply select the shots you want to include in the time lapse and automatically creating the movie for you. Since you still have all the individual shots, the Intervalometer is a powerful feature that allows you to be quite creative.

Enter in-camera Time Lapse as a feature. This is a simplified Intervalometer. Like the Intervalometer, it also captures one shot every so many minutes or even hours, but does not save them as individual shots. Instead, it combines them in-camera into one time lapse movie, and saves that movie only. So, you will not have access to the individual shots later. It is a much simpler process and yields an immediate result.

The Nikon Z fc has both an Interval Timer and in-camera time-lapse movie feature. In addition, it also allows you to select individual shots taken with the Intervalometer and combine them in-camera (you don’t need to download them to a computer) to create a time-lapse movie.

Nikon Z fc

Nikon Z fc

The Nikon Z fc can be purchased now bundled together with either the new NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR kit lens or the new NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 SE kit lens. The latter lens is styled to match the classic looks of the Z fc.

The weak point in Nikon’s APS-C mirrorless line-up is the lack of lenses built specifically for the APS-C DX sensor. Though you can use high-quality Z Nikkor full-frame FX lenses (and you can use a FTZ adapter to attach your existing F mount full-frame lenses), these full-frame FX lenses are much bigger and heavier. (Remember also, since the Z fc uses a smaller APS-C DX sensor, there is a 1.5x crop factor when an FX lens is attached.)

The Z fc can be conveniently used as a webcam for live streaming, teleconferencing and gaming.

NIKON Z fc SPECS AT A GLANCE (Jun 29, 2021)




SENSOR: 20.9MPTYPE: APS-C (15.7 X 23.5 MM)
LENS MOUNT: NIKON ZISO: 100-51,200 + EXTENDED 204,800
VIEWFINDER: 2.36M-DOT OLED 1.02X (0.68x equiv.) 100% COVERAGE 20MM EYE POINTLCD: 3.0″ 1.04M-DOT VARI-ANGLE
I.S.: N/A (Lens-based)VIDEO: 4K/30P/25P/24P, 1080/24P/25P/30P/50P/60P/100P/120P
CONTINUOUS SHOOTING: 11 FPS/5 FPSSTORAGE MEDIA: SINGLE UHS-I SD/SDHC/SDXC
OTHER:
DEDICATED SHUTTER SPEED DIAL, EXPOSURE COMPENSATION DIAL AND ISO DIAL; WI-FI, BLUETOOTH; LIVE STREAMING, WEB CONFERENCING; IN-CAMERA TIME-LAPSE; USB-C BATTERY CHARGING/POWERING; REMOTE CONTROL SHOOTING; 20 CREATIVE PICTURE CONTROLS
DIMENSIONS: 134.5 X 93.5 X 43.5 MM (5.3 X 3.7 X 1.8 IN.)WEIGHT: 390 G (14 OZ) BODY ONLY
PRICE (BODY ONLY):
US $959.95, CAD $1,299.95
BUY:
Nikon Z fc Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)

Nikon Z fc is available in six colors

Besides the Black and Silver model, the Nikon Z fc is available in six other colors

Take the popular and thoroughly modern Nikon Z 50 APS-C mirrorless camera and drop it into a beautiful retro body almost identical to the elegant FM2 35mm Film SLR and you have an instant winner in the Nikon Z fc (US $959.99, CAD $1,299.95). Nikon has done a really good job this time and has carefully ported over its classic SLR design to a modern mirrorless version. Everything from the viewfinder hump, the classic lettering and the engraved markings on the dedicated analog-style dials take you back to a time when taking pictures was a more deliberate process of exposure selection and careful composition.

Other cameras you may want to also look at is the Nikon Z 50, the Fujifilm X-S10 and the Fujifilm X-T30 II.

Mirrorless Camera Buyer’s Guide


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ADORAMA:

Z fc DX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body
Z fc DX-Format Mirrorless Camera with NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) Lens