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Nikon pushes out first Z-mount, DX-format mirrorless

12 October 2019

It's a camera that's smaller, lighter, and cheaper than its full-frame siblings. The new Z50 prices $859 body only, and Nikon is also introducing two new DX-format lenses with it.

"The new Nikon Z 50 is a small yet capable camera that brings the best of the Nikon Z series to all kinds of creators to discover, share and engage", said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc.

The Z50 can record 4K videos at 120p slow-motion, time-lapse and interval timer modes with in-camera video trimming and up to 20 Creative Picture Controls. It's effortless to carry while vlogging a vacation, hiking the backcountry or exploring a new part of town. The mirrorless system features 11fps continuous shooting, a silent shutter, and its low-light performance should at least match the D500, which uses a similar image sensor and excels at higher sensitivities.

At the core of the 14oz (~0.4kg) magnesium-alloy-framed camera is a 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor backed by an EXPEED 6 image-processing engine. Autofocusing is via phase-difference detection pixels on the sensor, giving 209 focusing points which provide 87 percent frame coverage horizontally and 85 percent vertically.

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On the back, the Z 50 has a 3.2-inch, 1-million-dot touchscreen that can control just about every aspect of the camera, including the main and Q menus.

The camera also has a selfie function inspired by the latest smartphones, with face forwarding screen, selfie mode becomes active while disabling other functions. Videos can also be trimmed in-camera. Users can also transfer video to their smart device with support for RAW images and advanced remote capture. Curiously, neither Z DX lens has weather sealing. The compact telephoto NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens allows anyone to go the extra distance and capture far-away subjects, like city skylines or birds in flight. When paired with the new lenses, Dual Detect Optical VR is enabled on the Z50 to help avoid camera shake when shooting.

Nikon has released a detailed lens lineup chart that shows what NIKKOR Z lenses will be available all the way up to 2021. 4K, 30 fps video quality also looked good, with no signs of aliasing and crisp, accurate color reproduction. Both lenses promise reduced focus breathing, a customizable control ring for smooth control of aperture or exposure compensation, as well as fast and quiet operation.

By the end of 2021 there will be 23 native Z mount lenses available. To that end Nikon will be selling two different lens bundles on the Z 50, for the U.S. at least, with a 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 options available.

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We thought the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 were compact, but the Z50 is positively dinky, particularly with the new "pancake" 16-50mm kit lens attached. Created for the most discerning photographers, the new Noct lens is an exclusively manual focus prime lens with an incredible maximum aperture of f/0.95 for a truly dramatic depth of field and next-level low light performance.

Measured in accordance with CIPA standards.

But the smaller physical sensor size isn't the only place where savings have been made. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

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Nikon pushes out first Z-mount, DX-format mirrorless