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Nikon ZF Review

Nikon ZF Review

As the DSLR camera market continues to heat up, Nikon is not taking it’s foot off the pedal and announced it’s newest release into the extremely competitive full frame mirrorless camera market, the Nikon ZF. The Nikon ZF is the full frame upgrade over the APS-C cropped Nikon ZFC. When Nikon designed the ZF, they wanted this new camera to have a retro feel to it. With brass dials and the look of a classic SLR camera, Nikon is making a splash in the $2,000.00 market range for cameras. The Nikon ZF is has the patented Nikon Z-mount system for lenses, however it is an interchangeable lens camera and with an FTZ adapter you can mount not just Z lenses from Nikkor Z by Nikon like this amazing Nikkor Z telephoto lens but also lenses from manufacturers like Sony, Sigma, Fujifilm X by Fuji, Leica, Canon EOS and others. You will find many identical features and specs found in other Nikon cameras like the Nikon Z6ii, the Nikon Z7ii, the Nikon Z8, the Z9 and the Nikon ZFC. The Nikon ZF comes in as a direct competitor to the cameras like the Sony a7c ii. 

The Nikon ZF DSLR Full Frame Mirrorless camera comes with a 24.5 million megapixel CMOS processor (found on the Z6 II). This fantastic processor gives the camera the availability to shoot 4K UHD videos in 60 FPS upscaled from 6K, this includes 10 bit N-log recording. So as a user of the Nikon ZF, you will get awe inspiring image quality from their new digital camera.

With the Nikon ZF’s smallrig design and retro styling, the camera is perfect for Vlogging. In addition to it’s ergonomics, you get long battery life, ample storage with it’s memory card slots, and great connectivity. Therefore, running a long Vlog session and uploading your creative content to a social media site of your choice has never been easier.

Let’s take a first look at some of the configurations here in which this camera is available and our top pick from the available models. Please remember you can purchase the camera body only as well and as previously mentioned attach a lens of your choosing.

Nikon ZF

Top Choice and Specs

Our top choice in configurations of the new Nikon ZF is the Nikon Z f FX-format Mirrorless Camera Body w/ NIKKOR Z 24- 70mm f/4 Lens. This combination of a Nikon mirrorless camera and a versatile lens should suit the needs of both novice and professional photographers. So let’s get a hands on look at some of the amazing specs and features on this model.

The Nikon ZF’s Full-Frame sensor, (the CMOS Sensor) with a whopping effective pixel count of 24.5 million, the camera gives you the sheer processing power you need to get the perfect image quality. So every pixel Thanks to it’s included expeed 7 sensor which offers “3D” tracking as well as enhanced subject recognition ability. This includes animals such as dogs, cats, birds etc.

With the Nikon ZF, you also get “Enhanced Subject tracking” when the camera is set in autofocus mode. The Nikon ZF recognizes a plethora of subjects such as people, animals, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, aircraft and trains. When using it’s Deep Learning technology you will get the right focus point for every environment and scene. This also includes enhanced eye detection. An amazing nice feature to have.

Having the ability to take video footage in 4K UHD oversampled from 6K is great. The Nikon ZF’s powerful processor will provide amazing clarity, sharp detail and exceptional color vibrancy from the sensor’s 6K image data for footage that exceeds the resolution of normal 4K UHD. This is also available in slow motion shooting as well as Full HD recording in 120 FPS.

Additional benefits of the Nikon ZF’s Deep Learning technology analyzes your shooting situation and automatically adjusts aperture, ISO and shutter speed to match lighting environments and your shooting scene. You can capture images with beautiful background Bokeh effect or have all the faces of your subjects in focus for a group shot.

If you like to use the camera in a continuous shooting setting, you can achieve 14 FPS using the Nikon ZF’s mechanical shutter. The shutter has been tested by Nikon to 200,000 cycles. This can also be increased to 30 FPS utilizing the silent electronic shutter.

The intuitive autofocus mode on the Nikon ZF, can also detect subjects faces and eyes even in dark, low light or harsh lighting conditions. You can still get wonderful exposure compensation with the applicable dial in real time or make any changes you want to your image in post processing. 

Offering 8.0 stops of 5-axis VR image stabilization, the Nikon ZF’s IBIS is fantastic. Therefore you can slow your shutter speed by an amazing 8.0 stops slower than would otherwise be possible without causing image blur and. As the world’s first focus-point stabilization camera, the Nikon ZF applies image stabilization directly to the area around the active focus point, wherever it is in the frame, providing accurate and precise correction right where you need it.

The Nikon ZF also has the largest ISO range of any Nikon Z camera. Beginning with a setting of ISO 100-64,000 for stills with low noise across the entire range and ISO 100-51,200 for video recordings.

As an interchangeable lens camera, you can get the camera in a body only option. The Nikon ZF will have the availability to let you choose a lens that suits your needs. Or if desired, have multiple lenses such as a Wide Angle or Telephoto lens attached to the camera body as well. The included 24-70 mm lens on our top pick is a nice all round lens that we highly recommend.

The Nikon ZF offers tremendous in camera image stabilization by slowing your shutter speed which will garner 8.0 stops slower on the 5 axis image stabilization feature than would otherwise be possible without causing image blur.

With it’s dedicated Black and White modes available just adds to the retro feel of the camera. All new Flat and Deep Tone Monochrome Picture Controls give you additional controls for video recordings and stills images.

Up to 96 megapixels in Ultra High Resolution still images. When activating Pixel Shift Shooting you will get the best resolution, lowest noise and lowest false color (moiré) still images ever produced in a Nikon camera. (*Please note: This requires NX Studio to combine a 32-image sequence into one 96MP image, check for this software and download it.)

It doesn’t matter if you are using the autofocus system or the manual focus ability of the Nikon ZF, you can adjust the hue and brightness of skin tones including a “Rich Tone” color profile.

Don’t fret over taking stills and video recordings in manual focus mode, the tactile brass dials on the camera make for easy adjustment of settings such as the aperture via the aperture ring and ISO. This gives the camera a gorgeous retro look and tactile image and video shooting experience.

You can continuously shoot video for approximately 2 hours of video to the memory card installed in the camera is a great feature of the Nikon ZF. This gives the user the peace of mind for those long Vlog sessions or extensive landscape photography.

The built in LCD and the great touchscreen Vari-Angle EVF (electronic viewfinder) with a magnification range of 0.8x, allows the user to adjust settings without worrying about being distracted and having to look away from the exposure scene. The LCD and EVF offer great playback options to view your exposure or video and prepare for any post processing editing you may want. The camera can benefit from focus peaking, using the LCD on the rear of the camera.

Mounted on the Nikon Z mount system, this camera will allow you to choose from Nikon Nikkor lenses or by using an FTZ adapter to mount lenses from other manufacturers, allows the Nikon ZF to be able to be paired with over 360 different lenses.

Don’t worry about dust, debris and weather elements. With the Flourine sensor coating and weather sealing for dust and element protection, keeping your camera clean and working properly has never been easier.

The Nikon ZF can shoot still images in both jpeg and HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) formats. The HEIF option which is commonly utilized by an iPhone allows for data to be compressed for file storage purposes without loosing image quality. You can convert an HEIF file into a jpeg if you want to with the proper software. Nikon’s post processing ability may allow for that right out of the box. Please refer to the user manual of the camera.

The included dual memory card slots rated for cards such as SD (Secure Digital), UHS-1 and UHS-II compliant SDHC and SDXC memory cards, microSD cards (UHS-1 compliant microSDHC and microSDXC memory cards). So storage should not be an issue for you when using the Nikon ZF. However, we do recommend having spare memory cards.

Connectivity is plentiful on the Nikon ZF. Starting with the USB-C connector port (SuperSpeed USB) a Type D HDMI connector and 3.5” stereo microphone or headphone jack is also included. Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi AC is available on the Nikon ZF. This allows the user to access the faster 5ghz wireless spectrum for faster speeds uploading content to a social media platform of your choice. This is great if you are a Vlogger or Content Creator and need your content uploaded at a fast rate to your social media site.

Bluetooth 5.0 allowing for a decent distance between the camera and the device you are connecting to. GPS locating using the SnapBridge App can also be activated on the Nikon ZF.

The included EN-EL15c rechargeable Li-ion battery is included rated at the following: Viewfinder only selected for monitor mode up to 410 still shots. These may change if you choose energy saving mode on or off. For Video Recording (Viewfinder only) the battery can provide up to 90 minutes of shooting time. Please note if you it is always a good idea to purchase a spare battery, especially if you are going on lengthy photography or videography sessions.


Alternative Configurations

Some alternative configurations of the Nikon ZF are also available. Besides for our top pick, you can get the camera as a body only option and then purchase a lens separately. There is also the Nikon Z f FX-format Mirrorless Camera Body w/ NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 (SE) giving you a different prime lens than our top choice. The specs and features of the camera will not change based off the lens you choose. Different lenses will give you many shooting options so feel free to attach a wide angle lens, a zoom lens or even a telephoto lens.

Availability and Final Thoughts

So great news, the Nikon ZF is now available for purchase. As photography and videography continue their climb in technology and demand and with the advent and booming industry of Vlogging, you want to ensure that you have the right tools for your needs. The Nikon ZF provides those, so your Vlogs will show up with fantastic image and audio quality when uploading the Vlog to a social media site. Whether you are a photography hobbyist or professional photographer, the Nikon ZF will provide you with some of the best specs and features found in the competitive $2,000.00 range of DSLR cameras. 

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