On the 21st July 2020 Nikon announced the new full-frame Nikon Z5 mirrorless camera and Z 24-50mm lens kit. We thought we’d take a closer look at this pairing and compare the body to existing Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras and see who this kit is aimed at. We also celebrate the new teleConverters announced simultaneously as we love having greater reach from our lenses!
Nikon first introduced their mirrorless Z range in 2018 and they have subsequently collected a number of high profile industry accolades for the Z7 in particular. These include;
The ultra-wide lens flange of the Z-mount allows more light into optics and the closer distance to the sensor ensures more light hits sensor pixels. These and other innovations allow Nikon to develop incredibly bright aperture lenses which are extremely compact compared to F-mount options. The new Z5 camera and 24-50mm zoom lens continue with these traits being synonymous with optical quality.
The Z5 camera and lens kit is aimed at photographers who are new to mirrorless systems and perhaps have been holding back from joining the foray. Moving systems can be daunting, with prospective buyers unsure of whether to move from crop sensor to full-frame for example. What’s particularly important to consider when investing in a new system is an existing lens collection. For Nikon DSLR users, the ability to employ F-mount lenses on the mirrorless Z system is an invaluable benefit.
Nikon has ensured that their FTZ adapter allows users mount a DSLR lens and still benefit from mirrorless technology advancements (also available in this Z5, lens and FTZ kit). These include sensor shift stabilisation and advanced hybrid AF functions, such as Eye-detect and Animal-detect. Buying a camera and lens kit is one thing, but having another interchangeable lens or two which will also work, saves time and money with photographers or videographers able to hit the ground running. Over time we would consider switching out DSLR lenses for their mirrorless counterparts, particularly as the Z-mount design provides clear optical advantages as mentioned above. Nikon’s S-Line mirrorless range are particularly strong and deliver the pinnacle of NIKKOR’s optical technology. In practical terms this means fast, bright and incredibly detailed shots are captured, with excellent resolving power, contrast and colour.
The full-frame mirrorless Z5 incorporates a number of features shared with the flagship Z7 body. We’ve added a comparison table below, however these shared features are well worth a mention, as the Z5 is supposedly an entry-level body, but punches above its’ weight with certain features.
There are actually a couple of areas where the Z5 demonstrates improvements over the Z7 due to developments in the last couple of years. Let’s raise a fanfare for this first one… DUAL CARD SLOTS! Nikon has clearly listened to their enthusiasts asking for two SD card slots. The new body accepts two UHS-II SD cards which can be configured in a variety of ways. Users can back-up onto the second card, video can record to one and stills to the other. They can also be set to overflow from one to the other when full. Thank you Nikon!
The broad ISO range of 100-51200 provides flexibility for shooting smooth, low noise with bright light or when tripod mounted, as well as excellent low light capabilities. We’ve all become used to being able to crank our ISO levels to grab a shot in near darkness and the Z5 delivers here once again.
Purchasing a kit lens providers newcomers to any system with instant gratification, able to head straight out and capture images or videos from day one with a native lens. Z 24-50mm focal range is ideal for a wide range of subjects, delivering versatility at an incredibly compact size. In fact the lens is so small it holds the current world record for the smallest full-frame zoom lens, weighing only 195g. Size and weight was the original concept for mirrorless cameras; small, light and easy to use. This ultra compact offering delivers on all of those concepts admirably.
Another improvement is the addition of a new battery, the EN-EL 15C (which is backwards compatible). The new rechargeable lithium-ion battery has a higher capacity for longer operating life.
Overall the Z5 shares several features with its two siblings, for example by providing extremely competent image stabilisation. Whilst this is becoming more standard these days, photographers and videographers are actually in a remarkably fortunate situation where we can expect 5EV stops of advantage from an entry level camera. Nikon’s system shines here as it will work with any lens in both their mirrorless or DSLR range.
Subjects which this lens can be trained on are many and varied. With the widest angle at 24mm we definitely would consider cityscapes, architecture and street photography. Interiors and landscapes are also commonly captured at wide angles. Zooming in to 35mm or 50mm gives us some of the most popular ‘standard’ focal widths suitable for various portraits and general photography. These may include travel, candid images and documentary. Working photographers might also enjoy the lightweight compact nature of this pair allowing for discreet shooting at any time thanks to size and weight.
The silent AF system is quick and accurate with Eye-detect built into Nikon’s AF algorithms. Add in low light ISO capabilities as well as the sensor shift technology and low light can be mastered with minimal shake. This results in sharper images and more hooray moments as we capture elusive images in dark environments. Speaking of which, amateur night photographers will be able to capture some beautiful night sky, star and milky way shots with 24mm at f/4. We made a recent post about capturing Jupiter and Saturn here, with some equipment ideas for night photographers.
Bird photographers, other wildlife and sports or action photographers will be extremely happy that Nikon simultaneously announced two new mirrorless teleConverters. These have been released at the industry standardised 1.4x and 2.0x ranges, providing 40% more or double the range depending on which model is selected. They are compatible with all of the full-frame Z bodies. Nikon’s versions are both weather sealed and made from aluminium delivering lightweight additions to the Z 70-200 f/2.8 S lens. Other lens compatibility will be added as Nikon expand their Z-mount lens range.
All in all we believe that this new mirrorless kit from Nikon will tempt a broad range of newcomers to their excellent Z system. Full-frame photography offers a number of benefits over cropped sensor and the range of lenses is growing rapidly. New teleConverters, a versatile kit lens and appealing features definitely give us plenty of food for thought.
For photographers interested in Nikon equipment, we’ve made these recent blog posts;
As ever thanks for reading and please do let us know your thoughts about these new products.
By Nick Dautlich on 21/07/2020