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Nikon Z f Review

The original Nikon Z fc is a resounding success, highlighting the desire of content creators to enjoy film-era camera aesthetics combined with contemporary mirrorless features. Nikon has taken this concept one step further with the release of the Z f mirrorless camera, which adds powerful full-frame technology in order to create a hybrid camera, which competes with even the most advanced professional bodies in the Nikon mirrorless camera line-up.

Nikon Z f Review

Our Nikon Z f review explores the sophisticated new model, which takes the best design elements from the 1982 FM2 film camera, and develops on the FM series philosophy of going beyond just being an enthusiast-level camera. To provide this, it harnesses deep learning AF, captures full-frame 4K video, and shoots at compelling speeds with cutting-edge features.

Discover everything you need to know about this retro-styled mirrorless camera and how it can help transform the way you capture content by using the latest features available from Nikon.

Nikon Z f sample photo landscape

When did the Nikon Z f camera come out?

The Nikon Z f Mirrorless Camera Body was released on 20 September 2023, just a couple of years after the July 2021 Nikon Z fc launch. Aside from boasting a full-frame sensor, the Z f packs a host of upgrades, accompanied by entirely new shooting capabilities for the Z system.

Nikon Z f key features

The Nikon Z f is a Pure Nikon triumph, combining raw power with expressive potential, within a compact and lightweight film-era body. It’s extremely robust, having been extensively upgraded on the exterior when compared to the Z fc, whilst porting high-end features from cameras like the flagship Z9. Key features include:

  • The latest EXPEED 7 processor
  • Robust magnesium alloy parts, artificial leather body and leaf switch shutter release
  • Large top control panel and a built-in grip
  • Three lockable brass ISO, shutter speed and exposure dials
  • Up to 14fps burst in RAW/JPEG Continuous High Extended (30fps for JPEG only)
  • New dedicated Black and White Mode sits next to the Stills / Video mode switch
  • New black and white picture profiles with Flat monochrome and Deep tone monochrome
  • Maximum ISO 64,000 and -10EV AF sensitivity
  • Improved AF algorithm with deep learning subject recognition and tracking
  • AF tracking of People, Animals, Car, Motorbike, Bicycle, Train, Airplane
  • 4K/30p video recording oversampled from 6K, and 4K 60p Super 35 (DX crop)
  • New video recording in shutter priority mode
  • World’s first focus point VR
  • New Pixel Shift shooting
  • New rich tone portrait picture control
  • New Auto shooting with deep learning technology
  • New vari-angle screen – a first for the Z system
  • New customisable touch control for the first time on Z system
  • New subject detection in MF for manual and legacy Nikon lenses
  • Dust and moisture resistance plus a fluorine-coated sensor guard
  • 1x SD and 1x MicroSD memory card slot to save space

Handling Nikon Z f in the field

Is the Nikon Z f good for photography?

The Z f is a multi-purpose camera, which not only shoots at 14fps in RAW/JPEG, but captures images in the dead of night, in ultra high resolution and more. Its’ comprehensive array of photography features includes several new capabilities, helping you to capture beautiful results across a variety of shooting scenarios.

  1. For the first time, Nikon has introduced Pixel Shift shooting, which captures RAW images that are automatically merged on your computer once imported to NX Studio, resulting in high-definition files up to 96 MP for export. This is currently only available when shooting from a tripod rather than handheld, which favours stationary subjects such as architecture, interiors and stills life.
  2. Nikon has extended the Z f’s features for Black and white photography, with a dedicated mode on the control switch, as well as three picture profiles to choose between, all of which generate unique styles straight out of camera. Joining existing Monochrome is a new Flat monochrome and Deep tone monochrome profile. Flat monochrome is a great choice for soft warm portraits, while deep tone monochrome lends itself to natural looking landscapes, with darker skies, dark tones and good shadow detail.
  3. Nikon’s new subject detection in MF is a brilliant feature for photographers who have, or want to invest in manual focus, or legacy Nikon lenses. The lens must have electronic contacts, which enables the camera to pick up the subject’s eyes, and immediately zoom into focus.
  4. Although not new, Nikon’s pre-release capture has only recently been introduced with a Z9 firmware update, putting the Z f up there amongst Nikon’s pro line-up. Pre release records up to 1 second before and 4 seconds after the shutter is fully pressed, helping you to absolutely nail the precise moment every time, even when you thought you missed it.
  5. Joining a range of portrait modes is a new Rich Tone Portrait setting, which helps suppress white clipping by retaining detail, for greater post processing latitude.
  6. Deep learning has been utilised in new advanced Auto shooting, which judges stills scenes through metering, lens selection and motion detection. This provides better results when shooting in Auto, with more keepers and less misses.
  7. The Nikon Z f camera is a highly capable for night photography, with class leading -10EV autofocus sensitivity, Starlight view and a high maximum ISO 64,000, surpassing many other models for astrophotography.

Nikon Z f sample 02

Is the Nikon Z f camera good for video?

The Nikon Z f camera is extremely good for video and joins the Z system as a true hybrid for both stills and moviemaking. Thanks to the EXPEED 7 processor you can capture 4K 30p oversampled from 6K, 4K 60p in Super35 (DX), plus Full HD 120p for slow motion playback.

Filmmakers can choose whether to record in highly compressed 8-bit or more flexible 10-bit using SDR, HLG or N-Log profiles, and this is the first Z camera to support all setting controls when recording in Shutter Priority mode.

Despite its compact size, the Z f will record 4K in 30p and 60p for up to 125 minutes, which is equivalent to pro Nikon mirrorless cameras, and ample for most situations.

There are numerous video features such as a red REC border, focus peaking and zebra stripes, ensuring this is the perfect camera for serious moviemaking as well as causal or beginner video creators. Furthermore, Nikon includes 24-bit linear PCM audio recording for the highest possible sound quality when combined with a suitable external video mic.

Nikon Z f street photogaphy

How user friendly is the Z f camera?

The Nikon Z f camera caters for almost any style of shooting, with intuitive ergonomics and robust build quality within a retro exterior design. This model sees the addition of an unobtrusive body grip for better hold, along with three high-quality lockable brass dials for ISO, Shutter Speed and Exposure compensation.

What’s more, you can lock off the dials and adjust the same settings via the camera body if you choose, as well as use custom touch control, which is available for the first time on a Z camera. This works by assigning custom functions to mapped areas of the LCD screen, enabling you to activate functions with a tap, while keeping you eye on the EVF.

Several other features such as weather sealing, 0ºc operation and a vari-angle screen are included, to ensure you get the best shooting experience with a heritage-styled camera design.

Camera top panel controls

World’s first Focus Point Vibration Reduction

Nikon is pushing the boundaries of sharpness with a new VR system, which concentrates around the focus point when using Nikon own-brand lenses. This produces sharper results where it really matters, rather than missing opportunities by attempting to stabilise the entire frame. VR is up to 8-stops, which is impressive for any system and will help maintain sharpness in very low light while handholding.

Nikon Z f camera sample street image

Powerful AF system

One of the key advantages for Nikon Z f users is the sophisticated AF tracking performance, which draws on deep learning and the EXPEED processor. A large 89% x 95% area is covered with 299 AF points, which can also be custom set in wide area patterns.

The upgraded AF system recognises a broad range of subjects including people, animals and vehicles. Both human and animal eyes and faces are tracked, as well as the whole body or torso, when the face or eyes are not visible.

Whichever subjects you capture the Nikon Z f is able to precisely focus, track and achieve sharp results in a range of lighting conditions, including when they are backlit. The table below compares popular Nikon cameras, which are best known for delivering advanced AF performance.


Area coverage

AF points

Nikon Z6 II

80% x 80%

81 point

Nikon Z f

89% x 96%

299 point

Z9 and Z8

78% x 83%

405 point

Wide range of Nikon Z lenses

Several extremely versatile zooms can be found in the growing range of Nikon mirrorless lenses, providing the versatility to reach a range of subjects from a single point.

You will also find numerous S-Line and standard fixed focal width primes, such as the Nikon 24mm F/1.8 S Z Mount Lens, and ultra-fast models including the Z 85mm F/1.2 S Z Mount Lens. There are options available from third party brands too, catering to every style of photography and video you could enjoy capturing with the Z f.

Z f camera and lens kits

Alongside the body-only, Nikon has released three lens kits with a zoom and two primes depending on your needs and content style.

  1. Nikon Z f Camera with Z 24-70mm f/4 S Lens Kit – the only zoom kit offers versatility with a popular focal range for all manner of shooting styles
  2. Nikon Z f Camera with Z 40mm f/2 SE Lens Kit this kit is designed to cater for natural-looking subjects, with a field of view similar to the human eye
  3. Nikon Z f Camera with Z 28mm f/2.8 SE Lens Kit combines a wide angle prime with the body, for vlogging, landscapes, street and more

Best accessories for the Z f camera

As a hybrid model, you can choose the best accessories for the Z f camera according to the stills and video subjects you most like to capture. This camera also bucks the trend by including microSD cards, which means that might need to stock up on one or two high capacity cards, such as the SanDisk 128GB Extreme 190MB/S A2 UHS-I MicroSDXC Card With SD Adapter to go with your SD cards.

You can add an external video microphone to suit the type of content you create, which might be anything from a wireless DJI Mic (2Tx + 1Rx) for vlogging or interviews, to the Rode VideoMicro II Compact On-Camera Microphone for compact directional recording.

For supplemental lighting a Nikon SB R200 Speedlight can be adopted into your creative lighting system alongside any compatible Nikon fit flash, such as the Speedlight SB-700.

The Nikon Z f picks up where the Z fc left off, and is a unique full-frame mirrorless camera, which successfully combines an exterior reminiscent of film cameras, with cutting edge technology on the inside. It brings numerous firsts to the Z system, with comprehensive features aimed at creating the most compelling content and enjoyable shooting experience for both stills and videos.

The body is robust, made with durable materials, which will age beautifully the more you shoot with it, while the camera’s capabilities are future-proof to enjoy for many years to come.

Shop for your Nikon Z f Mirrorless Camera Body today, or choose the Z f with Z 24-70mm f/4 S Lens for a versatile kit, and discover the amazing content you can create with this powerful full-frame mirrorless camera.

If you’re upgrading from a Z fc or other model why not grab a free trade-in quote for your camera, and use the money to offset against the cost of the all new Z f.


By Nick Dautlich on 28/09/2023

Trade in your old equipment

Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more