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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update 05/21/2021: The 'Screen Articulation Type' field has been changed from 'Tilting' to 'Tilt and Flip'. The score has also been updated.
Update 03/08/2021: Corrected input error in the 'Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)' field. The score has been updated.
Update 09/17/2021: We retested this camera's luminance noise performance. Originally, we failed to adjust the camera's aperture to account for the camera's maximum shutter speed, leading to overexposed Imatest chart photos. The graph and data have been updated with the new results.
Update 09/20/2021: We retested this camera's stabilization features and discovered that it incurs a 1.1x crop in FHD. We previously showed that there was no crop (1x).
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.