John Riley reviews the new Nikon Z5, Nikon’s entry level full-frame mirrorless camera, with a 24mp sensor, and 4K video recording.
Aimed squarely at potential full-frame mirrorless users who would like a lower cost introduction into the fine Nikon Z range, the new Z5 offers a 24.3MP CMOS sensor in a competitively priced package. Using the more familiar SD cards also reduces the cost dramatically compared to the expensive XQD system. Also in this package is the new Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 “kit lens”. Results from the Nikon Z range reviewed so far have been outstanding, so it will be fascinating to see how this is translated into a lower cost arena.
A 24.3MP image size is not the highest resolution available, but nonetheless should be more than enough to produce excellent A3 prints that stand up to close scrutiny. It also enables 4K video. There are 273 active AF points. The sensor is also the heart of the 5-axis Vibration Reduction (VR) system, which is therefore usable with any lens or accessory.
The viewfinder is an electronic EVF and offers a magnificent 3,690,000 dots, so the amount of detail is staggering. The EVF has reached a standard where it is a very viable option to the pentaprism viewing of the DSLR, but it is still to some extent a matter of personal preference. Both mirrorless and DSLR choices are there and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Regarding lenses, the new Nikon Z range is constantly expanding but Nikon’s DSLR lenses can also be used via the FTZ adapter. There is a version of the Z5 kit available that includes the adapter.
- 24.3MP CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
- Nikon Z full-frame lens mount
- Weather-resistant construction
- In-camera 5 axis sensor shift VR (Vibration Reduction)
- 3.2-inch tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD 1,040,000 dot monitor
- 0.5 inch 3,690,000 dot OLED EVF with 100% frame coverage
- Focal plane shutter 30s – 1/8000s
- 4.5fps shooting with mechanical shutter
- ISO range 100-51,200 (expands to 50-102,400)
- 273 focus points
- Supports focus stacking
- 4K UHD Movie shooting
- Movie formats H.264/MPEG-4
- Audio formats Linear PCM/AAC
- WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth
- EN-EL 15c Li-ion battery
- Weight including battery and SD card 675g
- Accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC cards
- Supports UHS-I and II cards, 2 card slots
- Supports Snapbridge app for iOS and Android
There is extensive use of high-quality plastics and the balance of camera body plus the new kit lens shows a uniform level of approach to quality standards. The result is a light and ergonomic package. In terms of aesthetics the body looks fairly basic but functional and the lens a bit chunky in appearance. But to be fair in terms of function all is well. The one glaring omission is that the lens is not provided with a lens hood as standard and considering its cost I would argue that it should be. Even with multi-coating, a lens hood is all but essential, and in any case, affords some impact protection to the front of the lens.
The design of the lens requires the barrel to be extended for use, the advantage being that the lens/body combination is more compact when being carried. Overall, the design ethos is similar to Nikon and Pentax DSLRs in many respects – the dedicated ISO and exposure compensation buttons, the combined on/off switch and shutter release, the very satisfactory array of buttons on the back of the camera to access main functions without having to constantly refer to the menus. All this expedites good, fast handling.
Setting up the camera to suit the individual should be no problem either, as there are a multitude of options available. The printed manual provided offers the very basics in-camera functions and it may be necessary to access the online manual to discover some of the more esoteric facilities. Rather than have a basic manual in umpteen languages it would be much better to have a full manual for each and every market in the appropriate languages.
Minor gripes aside, the camera remains an impressive offering and in terms of handling, it is an absolute doddle to use.