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Nikon Z fc Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.10
Reviewed Sep 20, 2021 at 09:54 am
Nikon Z fc Picture
7.3
Travel Photography
7.7
Landscape Photography
7.6
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.8
Vlogging
8.0
Studio Video
4.4
Action Video
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
Tested Lens
Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

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.

Our Verdict

7.3 Travel Photography

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.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Great autofocus.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Mediocre battery life.
7.7 Landscape Photography

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.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Great autofocus.
  • Wide dynamic range.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Not weather-sealed.
7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography

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.

Pros
  • Very fast continuous shooting speed.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Great autofocus.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Mediocre battery life.
7.8 Vlogging

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic autofocus tracking.
  • 'Self-Portrait' mode.
  • Fully articulated screen.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Stabilization is only decent with kit lens.
  • Significant rolling shutter effect in 4k.
8.0 Studio Video

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic autofocus tracking.
  • Good internal recording capability.
  • Several inputs and outputs.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Significant rolling shutter effect in 4k.
  • No headphone jack.
4.4 Action Video

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic autofocus tracking.
  • Can record at up to 120 fps in FHD.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Can't mount on helmets or action cam rigs.
  • Significant rolling shutter effect in 4k.
  • Stabilization is just okay in 4k.
  • 7.3 Travel Photography
  • 7.7 Landscape Photography
  • 7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.8 Vlogging
  • 8.0 Studio Video
  • 4.4 Action Video
  1. Updated Sep 23, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  2. Updated Aug 04, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  3. Updated Apr 26, 2022: We reevaluated this camera's low-light video performance in comparison with other cameras and slightly increased its score. The 'Low Light Capability' and overall 'Video Quality' scores have been adjusted accordingly for both 4k and FHD.
  4. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  5. Updated Jan 24, 2022: Retested maximum shutter speed and rescored 4k and FHD test scene extracts.
  6. Updated Sep 20, 2021: Review published.
  7. Updated Sep 15, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Silver (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Silver W/ 16-50mm Lens
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
5.0
Design
Portability
Height
3.7" (9.4 cm)
Width
5.7" (14.5 cm)
Depth
3.6" (9.3 cm)
Volume
76.8 in³ (1,258.5 cm³)
Weight
0.99 lbs (0.45 kg)
Weight With Lens
1.27 lbs (0.58 kg)
7.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Magnesium alloy frame with aluminum dials
  • Feels solid overall, but some parts feel cheap
  • Battery and SD card cover feels very flimsy
  • Buttons are somewhat slack
  • Dials feel sturdy and easy to turn
  • Screen mechanism feels sturdy

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
4
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
Z Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Nikon Z fc camera body
  • EN-EL25 battery and cap
  • Battery charger
  • Eye cup
  • Sensor cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • User manual

Note: The camera doesn't come with a USB cable in the box.

6.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Large Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No Hand Grip

  • No handgrip or thumb rest make it harder to maintain a secure hold on the camera
  • Plastic sides have slight texture to imitate leather and give more grip, but overall the body is a bit slick to hold
  • Really easy to adjust shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation due to dedicated dials
  • Easy to adjust aperture using front command dial
  • Drive mode can only be changed using the menu or 'i' button
  • Dedicated video recording button but only works when in video mode, though you can customize it's function in photo mode, which is set by default to hide info on screen
  • Tiny display on top of camera shows aperture
  • Can't access SD card slot while mounted on a tripod

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
1.02

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.

9.5
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully-Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
1,133 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
1.04 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes

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.

9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

  • Menu is easy to navigate using the touchscreen or physical controls
  • The menu remembers the last option visited, making it easy to jump back in to whatever setting you were modifying
  • Quick settings menu makes it easy to access frequently used settings
  • Some functions are harder to find, but once you get familiar with the menu, it's easy to find what you need
  • 'i' menu is customizable, so you can include your most frequently used settings
  • Guide mode to help new users understand certain settings and features

6.6
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
Optical Image Stabilization
Yes
Luminance
79.3%
Light Falloff
49.7%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.9 MP
Processor
EXPEED 6
Extended ISO Minimum
N/A
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
1.0
7.2
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL25
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
300 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
91 min

Note: While this camera supports USB charging, it doesn't include a USB cable in the box.

Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
NEF
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/4,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes

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.

7.6
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
1 fps
High Speed Continuous
11 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
11 fps
Raw Buffer Size
35 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
100 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
9 s
8.1
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
75%
Face Tracking Success Rate
64%
Face Detection Distance
93" (237 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
87%
Advertised Focus Points
209
8.0
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/10 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No
Photo Image Quality
8.7
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
11.0 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
9.4 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
7.5 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
6.9 f-stops
8.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,861 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,899 LW/PH
7.7
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
37.83 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
35.01 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
33.60 dB
8.0
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.14 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
38.27 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
36.73 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
34.31 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
31.96 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
29 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
26.24 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
24.41 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
21.4 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
20.38 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
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

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.

Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File 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
8.5
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

Note: This camera can also record video at 25 fps in 4k.

7.9
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
130 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
120 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
30 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
9.3
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.3
Face Tracking In 4k
9.1
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
7.3
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
6.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.1

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.

6.2
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
6.0°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video 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
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

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).

7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
132 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
24 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
30 min
8.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
8.0
Face Tracking In FHD
8.4
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
7.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.5

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.

8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.0°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
8.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

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.

Discussions