The Nikon Z fc is a retro-style alternative to the entry-level Nikon Z 50. Though it looks like a vintage Nikon SLR on the outside, complete with silver accents and a squared-off body, the Z fc is a modern interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera with similar internals and the same 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor as the Z 50. It has a fully articulated touchscreen and, true to its vintage-inspired design, includes dedicated shutter speed and ISO dials, making it easy to adjust settings on the fly. It's also fairly lightweight, and its magnesium alloy frame and aluminum dials feel premium and sturdy.
The Nikon Z fc is decent for travel photography. It's not too heavy and is easy to travel with, though it lacks a handgrip and isn't the most comfortable to use for long periods. It has a great autofocus system and a fast continuous shooting speed to capture brief moments. It also delivers excellent overall image quality and does a great job stabilizing photos when using its kit lens. Its screen is also bright enough to overcome glare from the sun. However, its advertised photo battery life is mediocre, though battery performance can vary with real-world conditions.
The Nikon Z fc is good for landscape photography. It delivers excellent overall image quality, and photos stay sharp and relatively noise-free at higher ISO levels for nighttime landscapes. It also has a wide dynamic range to bring out details in highlights and shadows. Its screen is remarkably bright, too, so it easily overcomes glare in daylight. That said, it's not the most comfortable camera to use since it lacks a handgrip, and it isn't weather-sealed to protect against moisture or dust.
The Nikon Z fc is very good for sport and wildlife photography. It has a fast high-speed continuous shooting speed of 11 fps and a virtually instantaneous buffer empty time for uninterrupted burst photography. It also has a great autofocus system that tracks moving subjects well. Overall, the image quality is excellent. That said, it isn't the most comfortable camera to use since it lacks a handgrip. It also has a mediocre advertised battery life.
The Nikon Z fc is decent for vlogging. It has a fully articulated touchscreen, so you can monitor yourself while recording. It also automatically switches into 'Self-Portrait' mode when you flip its screen around, making it easier to make exposure adjustments when recording yourself. Its autofocus system does an amazing job of tracking faces, ensuring you stay in focus. It delivers good overall video quality in brighter conditions, though it's worse in low light, and there's a lot of rolling shutter effect in 4k. However, it doesn't do the best job smoothing out camera shake when using its kit lens.
The Nikon Z fc is satisfactory for studio video. It has good internal recording capability and an easy-to-use menu system. While it has a microphone jack and HDMI port, it lacks a headphone jack and doesn't come with a USB cable in the box. Its overall video quality is good in more controlled lighting conditions, though it performs worse in low light. There's also significant rolling shutter effect when panning to the side in 4k. That said, it has a fantastic autofocus system.
The Nikon Z fc is a poor choice for action video. It isn't designed for you to mount it on a helmet or chest rig. It doesn't do the best job stabilizing camera shake in 4k when using its kit lens, though it's notably better in FHD. It also isn't rated as being water-resistant. Overall, video quality is great in brighter lighting conditions, though there's noticeable rolling shutter effect in 4k. It also offers many frame rate options, including up to 120 fps in FHD, along with a slow-motion capture mode.
Note: The camera doesn't come with a USB cable in the box.
Note: Enabling this camera's magnification assistance feature causes the EVF and/or monitor to become very sluggish to the point that it hinders use.
Note: By default, this camera has a 'Self-Portrait' mode that's enabled when you flip the screen around to face forward. It automatically sets a 3s timer for photos and videos and shows fewer on-screen options. You can also change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO via the touchscreen in this mode. However, it prevents you from accessing the menu, quick menu, or playback function.
If you'd prefer a camera with a tilting screen with a higher resolution, check out the Fujifilm X-T30 II.
Note: While this camera supports USB charging, it doesn't include a USB cable in the box.
Update 01/24/2022: We retested the camera's maximum shutter speed using different lenses. When paired with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S, for example, the camera can achieve a max shutter speed of 1/4000s, but other lenses like the kit lens we initially tested the camera with may limit the max shutter speed to 1/2000s. Since this is a limitation dependent on lenses, we've amended the maximum shutter speed to 1/4000s.
Note: The mechanical shutter is only compatible with certain lenses, not including the lens we tested it with, though we confirmed the max shutter speed using the Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens.
Note: You can use this camera as a webcam by simply connecting it to your computer with a USB-C cable (not included) and using compatible software.
Note: This camera can also record video at 25 fps in 4k.
Update 01/24/2022: We rescored the 4k test scene extract to be more representative of this camera's actual performance and to be more in line with comparable cameras.
Note: In addition to the listed frame rates, this camera can also record at 100 fps, 50 fps, and 25 fps. Also, it gives you the option to record at 120 fps in either regular capture or slow-motion capture (with a 30 fps playback speed).
Update 01/24/2022: We rescored the FHD test scene extract to be more representative of this camera's actual performance and to be more in line with comparable cameras.
The Nikon Z fc comes in one color variant: Silver. You can buy it with a Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR kit lens or without a lens.
Let us know if you come across a different variant or your Nikon Z fc doesn't correspond to our review, and we'll update it.
You can see our unit's label here.