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Nikon Z 50 Camera Review

We review the brand-new Nikon Z 50, Nikon's new 20mp APS-C mirrorless camera, which uses the Z-mount from the Z 6 and Z 7. Find out how this speedy shooter performs.

| Nikon Z 50 in Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 (7)

Nikon is introducing the new Nikon Z 50 and with it a new range of APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras and lenses, with Nikon proclaiming the Z 50 as a new "era" for Nikon. Using the same Z-mount as the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, the system can use existing full-frame Z-mount lenses, as well as the new DX (APS-C) lenses being introduced.

As well as the new Nikon Z 50, Nikon has officially announced the Noct 58mm f/0.95, two new DX lenses for the Z 50, the DX 16-50mm VR, and DX 50-250mm VR. Nikon has also shared a new, updated, Z-mount lens roadmap so that you can see what future lenses to expect from Nikon.

UK Prices:

  • £849 body only
  • £989 with 16-50mm
  • Dual lens option £1199


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Nikon Z 50 Features

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 (1)

Nikon’s first APS-C mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z 50, is considered to be an enthusiast camera, and sits next to the D7500 and D500 in the Nikon ILC line-up, as shown below. Nikon is suggesting it’s a great choice for those wanting to upgrade from a D5000 / D7000 series camera, for people looking for a smaller camera, and it can use current Nikon F-mount lenses with the FTZ adapter.


Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Range Z50 DSLR October 2019 2000

The Nikon Z 50 offers a 20.88mp APS-C CMOS sensor, with 209 Phase Detection AF (PDAF) points, offers ISO100 to ISO51200, as well as offering 11fps continuous shooting. All in a compact mirrorless camera body, with a large hand grip for comfortable handling and easy-to-access controls. The ISO speed can be expanded up to ISO204800 for stills, and the ISO range available for video recording is ISO100 to 25600. This is Nikon’s first DX (APS-C) format sensor with PDAF.

The camera uses an EXPEED 6 image processor which features built-in diffraction compensation, as well as picture control sharpness adjustments. You’ll also find creative picture control, scene modes, and special effects mode - effects levels can be adjusted between 0 to 100. Effects can also be applied in movie recording.

The camera body doesn’t feature in-body image stabilisation, which can be found on the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. Instead, the camera relies on in-lens optical image stabilisation, which Nikon call VR (Vibration Reduction). This comes with “Dual detect” optical VR, which has gyro sensor information to give high levels of image stabilisation in the new DX 16-50mm VR and DX 50-250mm VR lenses. Using Nikon Z-mount lenses, the Nikkor Z control ring can be adjusted to focus, aperture, ISO (new), and exposure compensation.

The iMenu is customisable and allows quick access to 12 different options (on the rear screen or in the EVF). The camera has focus peaking, this is the first time for a DX Nikon. Silent photography is available, with this being the first time it's been available on a Nikon DX camera.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has 100% coverage of the frame, 0.68x magnification, eye detection sensor, dioptre correction, and a 2.36 million dot resolution.


Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 (11)

4K UHD video recording uses the "full-frame" of the APS-C sensor and can record at 30, 25 and 24fps. You can take still images while recording video. Video includes Active D-lighting, electronic VR, focus peaking and picture control is available. Video recording in self-portrait mode is also available. You can record FullHD video at speeds up to 120fps. There’s a microphone socket on the side, supporting an external microphone.

It's also possible to create a time-lapse video in the camera at FullHD resolution. You can also record time-lapse at a higher resolution, and put this together on your computer, to create 4K UHD time-lapse videos, max 20 minutes.

Nikon's SnapBridge is supported, with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This lets you transfer images and movies, use location and data information, browse images from a smartphone, transfer raw files, add credit information, auto upload to Nikon Image Space, and shoot remotely.

There is a single SD card slot, which can be found underneath the camera, in the same compartment as the battery. The camera uses an all-new EN-EL25 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, with 1120mAh, 7.6V and 8.5Wh. A battery charger is included in the box, however, you can also charge the battery in the camera using the MicroUSB connection. The Nikon Z 50 will also work with the previously announced ML-L7 remote.

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 With 16 50 And 50 250mm

Nikon Z 50 Key Features

  • 20.88mp APS-C CMOS sensor (5568x3712 resolution)
  • Nikon Z mount
  • EXPEED 6, 14-bit raw
  • 3.2inch 1040K dot monitor, touch-screen controls on the side, tilts vertically down for selfie mode
  • EVF 2.3 million dots, 0.68x magnification
  • 209 Phase Detection AF points, -4EV focus sensitivity
  • 90% horizontal/vertical frame coverage
  • Face and Eye detection AF
  • ISO100 to ISO51200
  • 1/4000s shutter speed
  • 11fps continuous shooting
  • 4K UHD video recording
  • Nikon Snapbridge support, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Magnesium body (front and top panel)
  • Built-in pop-up flash (GN7)
  • 450g with battery and memory (395 without)
  • 126.5x93.5x60mm


Nikon Z 50 Handling

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 Top With 16 50mm Lens

There are two front Fn (Function) buttons, that can be found next to the lens mount, and this means you have quick access to your favourite settings.

Nikon says the Nikon Z 50 is designed to be compact and lightweight, but feature Nikon ergonomics, and that means there’s a large handgrip, with a rubbery texture that goes from the front of the camera, round to the back of the camera. There's a space for your thumb to naturally land, making the camera comfortable to hold. All of the buttons and controls are easily reached with your right hand, so it's possible to use the camera with one hand, and the lighter weight of this camera certainly makes this possible.

The camera body is a mixture of metal and plastic sections, however, with the plastic parts featuring the same textured finish as the metal parts, the camera feels and looks good.

The top features a movie record button, ISO button and exposure compensation button just behind the shutter release button and on/off switch, giving quick access to settings. There’s also a front (sub) command dial, as well as a rear / top main command dial.

The mode dial can be found on top, with a switch next to it letting you switch between the photo and video modes, and there are two user programable modes (U1, and U2). The mode-dial is not a locking mode dial. There is a pop-up flash on top of the camera, as well as a flash hot-shoe.


Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 (9)

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has dioptre correction. The resolution is around 2.3million dots, with a magnification of 0.68x and there’s also an eye-detection sensor so that the camera will automatically switch between the rear screen and the EVF. The view looks good, and is certainly clear enough, with good colour reproduction.

The rear screen is worth mentioning, as it’s a 3.2inch touch-screen, that can be tilted up and down (as well as tilting down and facing forwards) for selfies. This means the screen isn't obstructed by the viewfinder, when facing forward, however, using a tripod or mini-tripod could be difficult if you also want to use the screen facing forwards. There are additional touch-controls on the right side of the screen, however, these don’t take up any space on the screen and are built-in to the camera next to the display. The screen resolution is 1040K dots, and this looks good.

The menus are easy to navigate and follow the same familiar design layout as other Nikon Z and D cameras, with each section colour coded. There's also a "MyMenu" section so that you can get quick access to all of your favourite settings.


We used the camera, with the 16-50mm, and 50-250mm DX lenses, and found the focus to be extremely rapid. Focus works down to -4 EV, with low-light AF, or -2 EV without. There's an option for silent shooting, and this uses an electronic shutter, although you will then need to be careful about rolling shutter.

There's a MicroUSB socket on the side next to the micro HDMI connection, and above these is the 3.5mm microphone socket. The MicroUSB socket lets you charge the battery while it's in the camera, however, it seems an odd choice for a brand-new camera, when the Z6/Z7 use USB Type-C connections. A standard wall-charger is provided in the box. The Z 50 uses a Nikon EN-EL25 1120mAh 7.6V battery, a completely new battery specifically for the Z 50. Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Nikon / CIPA standards, with approximately 75 minutes of movie recording.

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review: Nikon Z50 (3)

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Z 50

An English vineyardThe cycle of lifeResistance is futileLittle baby light-house?ClimbingThe English Mangroves?Boathouse bluesSilhouettes at Sunset IIDipping in goldSunset silhouetteWhale Of A TailSeven out for an evening strollThe bench'Wibble'

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stevepwest Avatar
stevepwest 5 260 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2019 8:10AM
Looks great, but why have Nikon opted for a bottom hinge on the screen? They did this with the D5000 and were criticised for the impracticality of this choice when the camera is mounted on a tripod. They quickly changed to a side hinge for the D5100 onwards and never looked back. I would have thought they would have done the same. Strange..

Maybe I'm a DSLR Luddite but if I had that amount of money to spend I would still go for D7500.
ThomasT Avatar
ThomasT 10 2 United Kingdom
16 Oct 2019 12:11PM
What's the point? Dx7500 has built in flash, 2 setting buttons, This has NO flash.. but it's smaller.. so what.. when I stick a flash on to it becomes quite awkward. How grateful we were when built in flash came along.. now they want us to stick a box on top of a slightly smaller camera. Any takers??
mike0101 Avatar
mike0101 19 35 3 United Kingdom
16 Oct 2019 3:27PM

Quote:This has NO flash..

Thomas, I think it does have a built-in flash; it pop out of the space where pentaprism isn't.
But I have just discovered there is no means of attaching a remote release; something almost as important as a tripod fitting on the base. Apparently I can use a smartphone instead but that's not a practical alternative for anything serious.
It is a strange camera???
Ste67 Avatar
Ste67 3
10 Nov 2019 12:42PM
My Z50, arrived in the UK, last Thursday. I'm impressed. Used it in the studio already & the images are pin sharp, yes there is a flash, installed but not used that yet.
You can buy a remote release for this camera too! Take a look on The Nikon website.
It's a great upgrade from My D5500.

Don't knock it until you've tried it Wink
It's not all about the camera, it's the way you use it. I've seen some pretty awful images, with more expensive camera's because photographers, just can't seem to get the balance right on manual.

I love the Z50 & pleased with the results, just need to get out in the open & hope it's just as good as it is in the studio.
stevedigip Avatar
5 Dec 2019 11:14AM
Good review. I bought the twin lens kit and am very satisfied. The camera with 16-50 attached is about the size of a Fuji X100 so meets my needs for a compact and lightweight camera I can take anywhere better than my Z7/Z6. Both lenses seem sharp and the High ISO performance is really excellent as stated in the review which helps to mitigate for the relatively slow lens apertures and the built in pop-up flash is handy to have. The Z50 handles really well and I think as an overall package is excellent. Yes IBIS would be nice to use the other Z mount lenses and non-stabilised F-Mount lenses via FTZ but no doubt this would have pushed up the cost so overall a good decision.
gtwerra Avatar
gtwerra 11
12 Dec 2019 2:42PM
You gotta love comments from people that don't even own the camera... yes, it has a flash and it also works well with my SB500. This review is spot on, the Z50 is an excellent mirrorless camera. I've only had mine for a week, but I'm finding that it does just about everything right for me. The autofocus is excellent and I'm blown away by the high ISO performance up to 12,800 from the apsc sensor. While it may not win the paper spec war, it's a very capable camera that delivers excellent images.
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
24 Dec 2019 4:54PM
I 've just seen the commercial for it from Nikon. A male photographer shooting a female model. As the camera was in his hands (handgrip not visible) I thought: hey, it reminds me of a camera.. "tadaaa" : the Samsung NX20 mirrorless camera with the i-lens, minus the blue ring which Sony fashioned later in Alpha7 in copper colour. It took ages to see Nikon going forth with a serious mirrorless (sorry J-1).
I hope the Nikon fan base keeps this range afloat cause I really feel for those Samsung owners who were left high and dry.
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
18 Jan 2020 5:06PM
Last few days I visited various retailers on my own and with the youngest brother of a friend who studies photography at college. I've put my hands on kit and boy I was surprised of how much EVF's have advanced in the last ten years, it was like having a new pair of eyes that they work fine, lol. I had my hands mostly on Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus. Nikon was the brand that my "own" 35mm camera was (pocket, automatic) and still is, despite the knocks and the chips. Last retailer we visited, as my friend needed film for his quite small(!) Pentax MX, was Calumet, where my friend bought a tripod. Discussing with the store manager in general who was happy to see film camera users, we talked about brands aftersales. Nikon he said trumps up. Some, I as Pablo, will not say names, if there are problems do not want to know. Nikon they do want to know. Having done that job for 35 years I suppose he had seen a lot and I trust he was unbiased as I wasn't there for buying any camera. Worth considering if you buy a camera...
mike0101 Avatar
mike0101 19 35 3 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2020 6:32PM
Having just read the AP review (a real review not the 'hands-on' stuff) it seems the Z50 does accept a wired cable release; contrary to what I thought in an earlier comment.

But my comment was based on Nikon's own published specification! Still, it seems they are correcting the spec every 3 or 4 weeks; major things like it's no longer weather sealed similar to a D7500. So it appears Nikon's left hand doesn't know what the right is doing! I'm hoping to actually see & try one at some point.

pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
19 Jan 2020 12:25AM
Bought the issue on Friday but apart from being given "Gold" I have not read the review yet... I would be pleasantly surprised if it is weather sealed. =)
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
29 Jan 2020 2:50PM
One of the concerns I have heard is about the amount of lenses available for it. There have been suggestions that Z50 should have a DX lens mount to take on existing DX lenses (and even older AI ones), same as the Nikon Df did. I suppose Df was quite a niche camera and did not sell as much but I would take a bow to Nikon for making it.
I have personally ordered a lens adapter to use some Minolta glass, the Rokkor 58mm f/1.2 (yesss!). That would be a 87mm lens, which I hope to use for portraits and bokeh! Thank you EPZ!
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
16 Apr 2020 12:05PM

And there are more vintage lenses you can put on!
mike0101 Avatar
mike0101 19 35 3 United Kingdom
16 Apr 2020 12:26PM
Is that the Rokkor 58mm f/1.2? It was a classic lens in it's time!

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