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Nikon Z F: a classic made new again

Posted on Oct 6, 2023

Beautifully styled and packed with contemporary tech, read on to discover this impressive all-rounder 

Sharing technical DNA with Nikon’s top-of-the-line Z 8 and Z 9 mirrorless cameras, and a design that harks back to the manufacturer’s Z fc from 2019 and the FM2 film camera from the 1980s, the new full-frame Nikon Z f holds appeal for photo professionals, enthusiasts and content-creating vloggers alike.

Featuring a fully articulated LCD touchscreen, a new grip, an embossed artificial leather finish and a magnesium body, the camera is reassuringly chunky and rugged but relatively lightweight. Its classic styling includes manually operated brass dials on the top-plate for controlling shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation.

It’s not all old-school though. At the heart of the camera is a 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor, wedded to a latest-generation Expeed 7 processor. Native ISO tops out at 64,000, but is expandable to ISO 100,000 – while, impressively, the autofocus detection range goes as low as -10EV. There’s two new black & white capture options here too, in Flat Monochrome and Deep Tone Monochrome. In terms of burst shooting, this starts out at 7.8fps for continuous Raw/JPEG shooting and rises to 30fps for JPEG capture only. On top of this, the camera boasts a pre-release capture function, which shoots up to 30 frames.

Another first here, not just for Nikon, but for any camera, is focus-point VR (vibration reduction). While we’ll need to review the camera to test out exactly how well this feature works, it involves tilting the sensor and concentrating stability on one particular point. Commercial photographers will also want to make use of the camera’s pixel-shift shooting feature, which can deliver up to 150-megapixel images when used in conjunction with Nikon’s NX Studio software.

Portrait shooters have image-enhancing modes to choose from too, including a portrait impression balance function, skin softening and Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control options. Capture formats include HEIF files as well as JPEGs, and, interestingly, the camera records to a choice of SD card or microSD.

Of course, like any contemporary camera, video capture is integral to the Z f. There’s the ability to shoot 4K-resolution clips at up to 60p, as well as Full HD at 120p, with 8-bit or 10-bit recording offered. And there’s up to 125 minutes of recording time, even in 4K mode.

Other features to enhance the experience for videographers include a red recording border that’s displayed via the LCD, so users can tell when they’re shooting, with the video-info display akin to that of the Z 8 and Z 9. The new camera also has 24-bit professional audio recording.

As we went to press, the Z f had a release date of October 2023, for a suggested price of £2299 body only. A couple of kit options bundle the Z f with a 40mm f/2 SE lens for £2519, or with a 24-70mm f/4 for £2849. The camera will be widely available in black, with different colour variations – such as Sepia Brown and Sunset Orange – exclusive to the Nikon store.

Originally published in Issue 111 of Photography News.

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