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Nikon Zf camera review: The mirrorless has evolved | Technology News

Last week, braving the chilly New York winds to capture some early morning shots by the Hudson River, I was reflecting on how my life has changed over the year. Earlier, I would have been doing this photo walk with a DSLR, now I had the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Nothing Phone (2a) which I was reviewing. The DSLR has gradually stopped being a part of my life, so much so I am not sure where I have stowed away my camera. But still, when the opportunity presented itself, I could say no to reviewing the new Nikon Zf camera, especially since I was keen to figure out how the full frame mirrorless segment was progressing.

As I took it out of the box, the Nikon Zf reminded me of the feeling of holding a proper camera, the confidence it offers with its sheer weight. The vintage-style Nikon Zf provides a film camera experience with the specs of a modern competitive mirrorless camera. However, while the embossed leather exterior adds to the feel of a film camera, the hefty weight of the body makes it difficult to use without a grip. But the weight of the body is not just a con, it does help significantly in one aspect. Zf looks like an evolved clone of the Nikon FM2, with all the dials at the same spots.

The film camera aesthetics work just right with an aperture display (without backlight) and dedicated dials for adjusting shutter speed (SS), ISO, and exposure value (EV) along with modes from Auto, Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, and Manual under ISO dial and switching between photo, video and B&W mode under the SS dial. Switching between photo, video and B&W is surprisingly fast with hardly any lag. The EXPEED 7 image processor ensures that photos are canned in a jiffy, even if you have used an AI feature like portrait impression balance.

Nikon Zf camera review Dedicated dials for adjusting shutter speed (SS), ISO, and exposure value (EV) are present. (Image: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The monochrome selector — Zf’s dedicated black and white dial — is one of the most attractive features. Zf’s B&W is more than a gimmick, producing high-quality, accurately balanced pictures. Neither does it burn out highlights, nor does it create dark areas in the shadows. With 273 focus points, you get the option of Subject Detection to choose between people, animals, vehicles, and airplanes.

Nikon Zf camera review (Image: Chitral Khambati/The Indian Express)

The Nikon colours work as well in the videos. The 3.2-inch 360-degree flip screen can be as helpful in vlogging as in high and low-angle shots. Zf can record HD videos up to 120 fps, and 4K up to 60 fps. The Zf has Nikon’s VR (vibration reduction) and Electronic VR- which cuts down to zoom the frame to provide better stabilisation. Image stabilisation works really well for videos, and this is where the weight of the body goes from hefty to helpful.


Festive offer

The combination of VR and body weight can help you ditch a tripod at times. Nikon has managed to fit a record button on top along with the multiple adjustment dials. Once you get used to the shutter and record button placement, you will get to experience what shooting high-resolution photos and videos in a retro camera feels like.

Nikon Zf camera review (Image: Chitral Khambati/The Indian Express)

The camera is also a testament to how much creators are dictating the features in the camera segment now, as in the settings you get almost everything you need to get a good YouTube video production done with the best output possible. Features like wind noise reduction and skin softening clearly underline the kind of use cases this camera envisages.

Nikon Zf camera review (Image: Chitral Khambati/The Indian Express)

We used the camera with a 24-70 Nikkor S F/4 lens (Rs 78,450) which takes care of most of your needs from portraiture to some action shots and maybe a bit of wildlife photography. I was also impressed by how easily the camera locked on to its subjects even in low light. Plus, you get the freedom to play around with the focus by just touching where you want to lock it.

With mirrorless cameras, low-light capabilities have always been an advantage and in the Zf this is exceptional too, even without going to the higher ISO 51200. As an experiment, I tried some low-light shots with a fancy light and the results were impressive. And even when I used just that light to try and frame shots of a cactus, the clarity was impressive.

Nikon Zf camera review (Image: Chitral Khambati/The Indian Express)

On the flip side, I would not recommend this camera to anyone. It is at the end of the day a top-of-the-line professional camera and unless you are going to use this always in the auto-mode, this will be craving for some professional hands. But then if you want to go ahead and buy this, there is always the full auto mode to fall back on.

Nikon Zf camera review The camera syncs with the Nikon SnapBridge app. (Image: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The camera syncs with the Nikon SnapBridge app which can easily sync your photos and videos with the phone for easy editing and sharing from wherever you are. Plus, the camera can be remotely controlled using this app which lets you see what the camera sees and click.

With a body price of Rs 1,76,995, the Nikon Z F is now one of the best cameras you can invest in if you love photography or, even better, use a camera for your professional growth. This camera is as versatile as it is powerful.

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Nandagopal Rajan writes on technology, gadgets and everything related. He has worked with the India Today Group and Hindustan Times. He is an alumnus of Calicut University and Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. … Read More

First uploaded on: 16-03-2024 at 15:58 IST


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