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Nikon Z5 Review - Performance

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Nikon Z5 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.15secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.5secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.5secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.5secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
4.2fps (70 shots)
Continuous Shooting - RAW 3.3fps (40 shots)

The various responses are moderately fast, but the camera is by no means the fastest on the market. AF is snappy enough in good light but can be quite pedestrian at lower light levels.


Nikon Z5 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The kit lens proves itself to be a solid performer, with nice crisp, snappy images, and is ideal as an introduction to the Nikon Z range. Even with all in-camera corrections switched off, there is little distortion, no flare and no chromatic aberration. Images are crispest around f/8 and hold well up to f/16, after which the lens takes a hit from diffraction; f/22 and beyond are really best avoided.

Vibration Reduction – The 5-axis VR built into the camera does effectively reduce blurring due to camera shake and gives around 3 stops advantage.


Nikon Z5 Lens test images

Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 Handling and Performance - Leaving aside the already mentioned and absent lens hood, this is a fairly chunky “kit lens” using plastics extensively, including for the mount. This does not prevent of course the lens performing extremely well, as there are many “plastic fantastics” to be found. It seems well made and even has Nikon's electromagnetic diaphragm to enable smooth and silent aperture changes, in particular in video work.

There is a compact closed position and the camera will warn us to extend the lens for use. AF is not going to break any records, especially in dull light, but could be described as moderately fast. There is also a Custom Control Ring that can be set to operate manual focusing, aperture, exposure compensation or ISO.

The lens happily matches the body with some weather resistance, although the Nikon website carries the caveat that this “cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances.” This leaves us to accept the phrase “dust and drip-resistant” might mean we are OK in bad weather, but it might not. Nikon is not alone in being vague on points like this and we are left to do what we are comfortable with. Light rain during some of the location shots has not been a problem.

24-50mm turns out to be a very useful range for general shooting and the lens does exactly what we would expect of it without intruding on the creative process. It is a very satisfactory kit lens.


Nikon Z5 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO performance is really pretty impressive. With all noise reduction turned off, images are clean up to ISO 6400. Things are breaking down thereafter, with noise creeping in at ISO 12,800 and becoming very obvious at ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200. Even at these high ISO values though the grain structure is nice and tight. If we switch on noise reduction, the noise reduces but at the expense of detail. As the camera could be used with confidence up to probably ISO 6400, there might be little need to switch the correction on.


Nikon Z5 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Options include auto (3 types), natural light auto, direct sunlight, cloudy, shade, incandescent (tungsten), Fluorescent (7 types), flash, choose colour temperature (2500K TO 10,000K), preset manual (up to 6 values can be saved). I would normally choose a preset, to make sure that the natural light quality is preserved without the camera trying to “correct” it.


Nikon Z5 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Effectively digital filters and picture styles combined, we have Auto, Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat plus the creative picture controls: Dream, Morning, Pop, Sombre, Sunday, Dramatic, Silence, Bleached, Melancholic, Pure, Denim, Toy, Sepia, Blue, Red, Pink, Charcoal, Graphite, Binary and Carbon. Many of these effects are very similar and most can be replicated perfectly well in software such as Photoshop, but there's no reason why they cannot be a good source of ideas and alternatives to the norm. One interesting observation is that some of these settings appear in the EXIF data, but most do not.


Video - Movies can be recorded in MOV or MP4 formats, with video compression encoding H.264 or MPEG-4. Audio recording is either Linear PCM (for MOV) or AAC (for MP4). There is a built-in stereo microphone or an external mike can be used. Frame size is 3840x2160 (4K UHD) or 1920x1080.


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