We just started testing cameras, and our test bench v0.7 is rather simplistic, so we decided to launch without text in the test boxes. If you have any suggestions on what to improve, let us know here. As we gather your suggestions, we plan on making more frequent changes to our methodology and we'll be able to add text to the reviews in the near future.

Nikon Z 50 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.7
Reviewed Feb 08, 2021 at 07:40 am
Nikon Z 50 Picture
7.4
Travel Photography
7.7
Landscape Photography
7.1
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.2
Vlogging
7.1
Studio Video
5.2
Action Video
Body Type
DSLR
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
Tested Lens
Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

The Nikon Z 50 is a mid-range mirrorless camera. It delivers impressive image quality, a decently reliable autofocus system, and great image and video stabilization performance. It's also well-built, amazingly comfortable to use, and has an outstandingly easy-to-use menu system. That said, it's bulkier than other mirrorless cameras, and its recording quality in poorly-lit environments isn't particularly impressive.

Our Verdict

7.4 Travel Photography

The Nikon Z 50 is decent for travel photography. It takes sharp, clear images, even in dimly-lit environments, and is well-built and comfortable to use. Its autofocus system is also decently reliable and consistent. Unfortunately, it's bulkier than other mirrorless cameras and has somewhat short battery life.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Comfortable to operate.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Mediocre battery performance.
7.7 Landscape Photography

The Nikon Z 50 is good for landscape photography. Image quality is impressive, and its kit lens lets in quite a bit of light, giving you a bit of added flexibility in darker environments. It's comfortable to use and feels sturdy, too. Unfortunately, it might feel a little heavy during longer hikes.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Comfortable to operate.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
7.1 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Nikon Z 50 is decent for sports and wildlife photography. It takes a long time for it to clear its buffer after long continuous bursts, but it has a decently reliable, responsive autofocus system and has a high maximum shutter speed, which is good for fast-moving subjects. It takes sharp images and keeps visual noise to a minimum, too. That said, the maximum zoom range of its kit lens isn't sufficient for taking clear photos of far-off subjects.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Comfortable to operate.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Long buffer clearing time for continuous shooting.
7.2 Vlogging

The Nikon Z 50 is a satisfactory option for vlogging. Its video stabilization features help keep camera shake fairly minimal, and its autofocus system does an outstanding job of tracking faces whether you're recording in 4k or FHD. However, its screen only tilts and flips but doesn't fully articulate, so it can be slightly hard to angle it toward your face when the camera is pointed at you.

Pros
  • Impressive autofocus performance.
  • Excellent video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Screen doesn't fully articulate.
7.1 Studio Video

The Nikon Z 50 is decent for studio video. While it doesn't handle noise very well in poorly-lit environments, it supports a wide variety of recording options in 4k and FHD. Its autofocus system can also track subjects reliably and consistently. While there's a good variety of inputs and outputs available for videography equipment, there's no headphone jack for in-depth audio level monitoring.

Pros
  • Comfortable to operate.
  • Impressive autofocus performance.
Cons
  • No headphone jack.
  • Mediocre video recording quality in poorly-lit environments.
5.2 Action Video

The Nikon Z 50 isn't designed for action video. It's too big to be mounted on a helmet rig and isn't water-resistant. Also, frame rate options are limited in 4k recording, though you can shoot 120 fps video in FHD if you want to create slow-motion videos. It also does an amazing job of smoothing out camera shake if you're recording handheld video.

Pros
  • Excellent video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Limited frame rate options in 4k recording.
  • 7.4 Travel Photography
  • 7.7 Landscape Photography
  • 7.1 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.2 Vlogging
  • 7.1 Studio Video
  • 5.2 Action Video
  1. Updated May 21, 2021: Corrected input error in 'Screen Articulation Type' field in 'Screen' section.
  2. Updated Mar 08, 2021: Corrected input error in the 'Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)' field inside the 'Lens' section.
  3. Updated Feb 12, 2021: An input error in the 'Guide Mode' field in the 'Menu System' box has been corrected. An error in the name of the tested lens has also been fixed.
  4. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Corrected input errors in the 'Sample Gallery' section.

Check Price

Black (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Black W/ w/ NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Lens
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
5.6
Design
Portability
Height 3.7" (9.4 cm)
Width 5.2" (13.3 cm)
Depth 3.0" (7.6 cm)
Volume
58.0 in³ (950.7 cm³)
Weight
1.01 lbs (0.46 kg)
Weight With Lens
1.28 lbs (0.58 kg)
7.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Mostly made of plastic
  • Tilting screen mechanism is solid
  • Buttons, wheels, and dials on the camera provide good physical feedback
  • Memory card and battery compartment is covered by a solid hinged door
  • Collapsible lens needs to be retracted before storing the camera
  • Input/output compartment is covered by a rubber flap
  • Screen only tilts and doesn't rotate, so you can't see yourself when the camera is pointed at you

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
Z Mount
Built-In Flash
Yes
Design
In The Box

  • Nikon Z 50 mirrorless camera
  • Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens
  • Lens hood
  • 1x Nikon EN-EL25 battery
  • Shoulder strap
  • Sensor cap
  • Battery charger
  • Micro-USB cable
  • User manual

8.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • Adequate room between the camera body and the lens, even for people with large hands
  • Handgrip surface is textured but can be slightly slippery
  • Changing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is simple with either eye pressed up against the viewfinder
  • Users with very large hands may find handgrip a little small

9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

Update 02/12/2021: The 'Guide Mode' field has been set to 'Yes' following a retest that confirmed the presence of a guide mode feature. The text has been updated.

  • Menu is easy to use and can be navigated via physical controls or inputs on touch screen
  • Many features are hidden behind sub-menus
  • Guide mode function helps users understand some camera functions

Design
Viewfinder
Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
1
8.0
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilt and Flip
Screen Max Brightness
540 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
1.04 million dots
Size
3.2" (8.1 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes

Update 05/21/2021: The 'Screen Articulation Type' field has been changed from 'Tilting' to 'Tilt and Flip'. The score has also been updated.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.9 MP
Processor
EXPEED 6
Extended ISO Minimum
N/A
ISO Minimum
100
ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
2.01
6.3
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL25
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
No
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
300 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
95 min
7.0
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
3.5 - 6.3
Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)
f/5.4
Minimum Focal Length
16 mm
Maximum Focal Length
50 mm
Max Focal Length (Full Frame Equivalent)
76.5 mm
Luminance
85.3%
Light Falloff
52.8%

Update 03/08/2021: Corrected input error in the 'Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)' field. The score has been updated.

Photo
Photo
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
RAW File Format
NEF
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Minimum Shutter Speed
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/4,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Zebra Pattern
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
5.9
Photo
Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
3 fps
High Speed Continuous
10 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
11 fps
Raw Buffer Size
37 RAW Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10,000 JPG Photos
Buffer Empty Time
62 s
7.3
Photo
Autofocus
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
209
Manual Focus Assistance
Yes
Face Detection Distance
100" (255 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Face Tracking Success Rate
53.9%
Object Tracking Success Rate
63.3%
7.8
Photo
Image Stabilization
In Body Image Stabilization
No
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/13 s
8.3
Photo
Image Quality
Dynamic Range At ISO 100
8.44 f-stops
Color Accuracy (dE2000)
6.82
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 800
35.96 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.341 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 1600
35.63 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 1600
1.433 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 3200
34.36 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.487 pixels

ISO Setting Sample Photo
ISO 100 Photo
ISO 200 Photo
ISO 400 Photo
ISO 800 Photo
ISO 1600 Photo
ISO 3200 Photo
ISO 6400 Photo
ISO 12800 Photo
ISO 25600 Photo
ISO 51200 Photo

8.1
Photo
Luminance Noise
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 100 40.04 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200 38.65 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400 36.52 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800 33.97 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600 31.37 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200 28.36 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400 25.64 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800 24.47 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600 24.46 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200 24.61 dB
Sample Gallery
Sample Gallery
The Skate Park

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Polish Church

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Studio

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Stairway

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

General Video
General Video
Video Feature
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
No
General Video
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
General Video
Video Exposure Assistant
Zebra Line
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Waveform
No
General Video
Recording Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
6.1
4k Video
4k Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
Crop At Max Available fps
1.1 x
8.3
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In 4k
No
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Face Tracking In 4k
9.5
Object Tracking In 4k
8.3
8.6
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
Walking Test In 4k
8.07 pixels/frames
Running Test In 4k
19.76 pixels/frames
Crop
1.1 x
7.5
4k Video
4k Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
142 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
135 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 bits
Record Time Limit 30 min
Overheat Recording Interruption
No
6.2
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
5.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.1
4k Rolling Shutter
8.43°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In FHD
No
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Face Tracking In FHD
9.5
Object Tracking In FHD
8.3
8.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
Walking Test In FHD
5.30 pixels/frames
Running Test In FHD
11.01 pixels/frames
Crop
1
7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
145 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
11.9 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8
Record Time Limit 30 min
6.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
6.9
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.63°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Input / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nikon Z 50 is only available in one color variant: 'Black', which we tested with the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens, and you can see its label here.

It can be purchased with other Z mount lenses, including the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm F/4.5-6.3 VR lens, but we haven't evaluated its performance when it's been configured differently. It can also be purchased without a lens at all.

If you come across a differently-equipped variant of the Nikon Z 50, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Discussions