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Friday, December 8, 2023

Nikon’s new ZF is a retro-styled full-frame digicam aimed proper at our nostalgic hearts

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After 9 years of often chasing the retro-camera-with-modern-features unicorn, Nikon could have lastly gotten the method proper. 

The Japanese digicam maker is saying the Nikon ZF, a contemporary mirrorless digicam full of pretty excessive specs — like a 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor, 299-point monitoring autofocus with topic detection, in-body picture stabilization, and twin card slots (of a form) — in a physique that appears identical to one of many digicam’s analog forebears. Nikon could have performed this dance earlier than with its trifling ZFC and long-forgotten Df DSLR, nevertheless it’s correcting its foremost errors with these cameras by giving the ZF a full-frame sensor and aggressive value of $1,999.95 when it launches mid-October.

Whereas the Df could look an entire lot like an {old} Nikon FM2 or FE2 movie digicam, it’s bought the identical Expeed 7 processor present in Nikon’s higher-end Z8 and Z9 cameras, together with a lot of their accouterment. The ZF has five-axis in-body picture stabilization Nikon claims is sweet for eight stops of correction, 3D monitoring autofocus, 4K 10-bit H.265 video with as much as 60 frames per second cropped or 30fps full-width, an articulating 3.2-inch touchscreen, and steady burst capturing as much as 30fps. However what separates the ZF essentially the most from the Z8 and Z9 are its classic seems to be with basic dials, a devoted swap for monochrome mode, and an audible KACHUNK-sounding mechanical shutter (the Z8 and Z9 solely use electronic shutters).

Nikon will instantly promote the ZF in six amazing-looking coloration choices for an additional $100, whereas all different US retailers solely get black-on-black.
Picture: Nikon

It’s these seems to be, sounds, and really feel that basically give the ZF its biggest appeal, as my colleague Becca Farsace bought to expertise in her all-too-brief hands-on time within the video above.

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The ZF appears positioned primarily at photographers who idolize the cameras of yore however need the newest tech and options to get greater picture high quality than movie can present. It’s principally Nikon’s biggest reply but to Fujifilm (which constructed its X-system on classic digicam aesthetics) and its greatest try to court docket movie fanatics and people who covet Leica cameras however can’t justify their super-high costs. The ZF shouldn’t be practically as hardcore of a digicam because the black-and-white-only Leica M11 Monochrom, as its monochromatic mode is just a software program filter reasonably than a part of the sensor’s {hardware} design, nevertheless it dabbles in Leica’s vibes-based world with its seems to be and its magnesium-alloy construct.

The facade begins to interrupt down just a little as soon as you set a non-vintage-looking Nikkor Z lens on it. There are solely two old-school type “SE” lenses in Nikon’s lineup, a 28mm f/2.8 and a 40mm f/2, so most of Nikon’s present lenses will break your Steve McCurry cosplay a bit. You’ll be able to mount true classic glass to the ZF, however that awkwardly places an adapter in the way in which. And talking of awkwardness, whereas it’s nice the ZF helps twin card slots, it’s an SD and microSD tandem — which is simply kinda bizarre, even when I’ll take what I can get.

I’ll wager lots of the ZF’s quirks could be forgiven by the picture diehards who love a digicam that appears and acts like a digicam greater than a laptop computer. I can recall the hype behind the Df in 2014 when Nikon was first teasing a return to the nice ol’ days. That digicam might need had some success if it wasn’t so costly and wasn’t a re-housed Nikon D600 physique with a terrific sensor however the video stripped out. And when the ZFC got here out in 2021, the collective groan from many people was basically, “Good work, Nikon. Now attempt once more, and don’t make it from low cost plastic or give it a cropped sensor that you simply’re prone to ignore with lens help.” The ZF seems to be prefer it’s precisely that — a metallic, full-frame digicam that honors Nikon’s roots and makes use of its greatest glass.

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