Nikon Z50 Review: Worth it in 2021?

This is a review guide covering the Nikon Z50.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:

Let’s dive in.

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In a hurry? Here’s the quick summary

Nikon Z50

There are, of course, many other choices, but the Z50 comes with the option to use all of Nikon’s legacy F-mount lenses via the FTZ adapter.

Let’s say that you have a bunch of F-mount lenses (both FX and DX) you can easily use them on the Z50 using the FTZ adapter.

Plus, the Z50 is a powerful video shooter. There are many features loaded into the camera for someone interested in shooting videos.

Little things like being able to save shooting settings for stills and videos separately and then being able to jump from one to the other without having to go through resetting everything is a big plus.

Of course, I can’t even overstress the fact that the Z50 is an excellent still shooter. I have already discussed in detail its still capabilities above.

Not only an enthusiast but even a professional who may have several top pro cameras might find the Z50 not out of place in these hands.

And that is probably what makes the Z50 a big success. If you are looking for an APS-C interchangeable lens camera the Z50 offers an interesting mix of features that makes it worth a look.

For anyone looking for a lightweight camera for travel photography, video shooting, etc., the Z50 is a more than capable camera.

Pros and Cons Nikon Z50

Pros
  • 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 6 image processor
  • Capable of shooting UHD/4K
  • 2.36 million
  • Continuous shooting speed of 11 fps with autoexposure and autofocusing.
  • 4K video at 30 fps
  • Beautiful, bright OLED viewfinder with 2.36-Million dots resolution.
  • The touchscreen can tilt 90 degrees up and 180 degrees down
  • Built-in Bluetooth functionality
Cons
  • Sensor resolution is on the lower side
  • Does not have video Log profile
  • Eye detection fails at times.

Nikon Z50 Review Intro

The Nikon Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera from the Nikon stable. The camera was launched in October 2019.

It seems like ages ago. Nikon has been pushing the Z mount camera system to stake a claim in the mirrorless pie.

They recently launched a few very good products in the form of the Z6, Z6 II, the Z7, and the Z7 Mark II.

Let’s dive right in and dissect the Nikon Z50 specs and find out more about it:

Nikon Z50 Specs

Let’s discuss the Nikon Z50 specs in some detail. It is important to note that the Z50 is the first APS-C mirrorless camera launched by Nikon.

All the previous models in the Z mount system are full-frame cameras.

There was a bit of excitement around this camera when it was launched. And rightfully so.

Looking at the specs of the Z50 you can see it does not offer a very high resolution. At 20.9 megapixels it is just below par with some of the other cameras.

But really when you are mainly sharing your work on social media platforms a 20.9-MP sensor is more than enough.

Plus, the 20.9-MP sensor is the same as the one used on the D500 and the D7500. So, it’s not a misfit after all.

Nikon Z50 Sample Image
Nikon Z50 example image – Source

It is a useful video shooter capable of recording 4K/UHD footages at a frame rate of 30p.

Full HD videos can be recorded at a maximum frame rate of 120p. The maximum clip length can be 29 mins and 59 seconds.

The Z50 does have a built-in stereo mic but for best results, I would recommend that you get yourself a proper mic for your camera.

There are a bunch of Rode shotgun mics that you can look into. Let’s talk about the autofocusing system on the Z50.

The system uses a 209-point phase-detection autofocusing system.

There are five focusing modes including four autofocusing and one manual focusing mode in the camera.

Nikon Z50 Sample Image
Nikon Z50 example image – Source

Finally, to round up this Nikon Z50 review let’s talk about the connectivity features of the camera. The Z50 has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

It is easy to connect with a compatible smartphone or device and then share your images and videos.

Yes, it is a two-step process to share your memories online but when compared to what is possible with a smartphone and this, the Z50 always wins.

You get superior image quality, detail, and noise performance, something that is never quite possible with a smartphone.

Nikon Z50 Design

The Z50 is the smallest mirrorless camera from the Nikon stable. It is as small as a compact camera, yet the powerful sensor inside takes its imaging capacity to a completely different level.

A lightweight powerful camera is a boon for anyone looking for a camera for travel or street photography purposes.

The Z50 serves more purposes than just shooting travel and street photography.

Nikon Z50 Sample Image
Nikon Z50 example image – Source

The back of the camera is dominated by a 3.2—inch large tilting touchscreen LCD with 1040,000-dots resolution. The beautiful bright touchscreen offers a crisp clear view of what the frame looks like.

You could use that or switch to the 0.39-inch OLED viewfinder that offers a resolution of 2.36-m dots.

It’s crisp and lag-free and offers a crystal clear view of the scene as seen by the sensor.

Nikon Z50 Image Quality

The sensor resolution is one of the gray areas of these Nikon Z50 specs sheets. Because it is less than many of its competitors. The 20.9-MP sensor is paired with an EXPEED 6 image processor.

Images produced by the Z50 are, however, very crisp and the colors are natural. The amount of detail captured is a lot less than some of the other cameras in this segment (which is understandable because the sensor resolution is less).

But, it does not make a huge difference because a majority of the time you will only be sharing your photos online on social media and for that, a resolution of 20.9-MP is more than enough.

Of course, you can always shoot in RAW and take full control over the colors and saturation using photo editing software.

That said it is pertinent to mention that you also get a Creative Picture Control that is bundled with the camera’s in-camera RAW conversion software.

You can control the final look and feel and then produce JPEGs according to your preference.

The fast image processor results in a beefed-up continuous shooting speed. You can shoot an incredible 11 frames per second.

The Z50 is capable of wildlife, fast action, and sports shooter. Autofocusing system on the Z50 is powered by a 209-point hybrid AF system that even has eye-detect functionality.

However, there is a caveat, eye-detection seems to work only when the subject is close by.

But on the bright side if there is more than one subject it lets you choose which one to focus on.

Nikon Z50 Sample Image
Nikon Z50 example image – Source

Nikon Z50 Video Quality

This Nikon Z50 review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the camera’s video capabilities. The Z50 is a handy video shooter.

If you are in the market for a starter mirrorless camera that not only shoots great stills but also produces fantastic videos, then the Z50 is a camera that you can look at.

It shoots 4K/UHD videos at a maximum frame rate of 30p.

Alternatively, you could shoot in full-HD mode and you can shoot that in 120p maximum frame rate.

The Z50 utilizes the whole of the frame to capture the 4K/UHD footage. That means it oversamples the footage and therefore captures a lot more detail.

Capturing a lot more detail also exposes it to the problems of false colors and moiré.

Straight out of the camera the Z50 does a good job of reproducing the colors and capturing a lot of detail in the footage.

Although the Z50 does a great of stabilizing the video and capturing decent quality audio, you would probably be better of using a gimbal stabilizer and an external mic (there is an option to plug in an external mic using the 3.5mm input jack) for smooth video quality and excellent audio to go with it.

A problem that a lot of mirrorless cameras using electronic shutter mechanism faces is the rolling shutter. The result is a tilting landscape as you pan or buildings appearing crooked.

The video technology inside the Z50 seems to somehow suppress the problem of rolling shutter well. I would go the distance to say that the Z50 is a great tool for video shooting.

There are a few features I loved. One of them is the Zebra Highlights and the other one is Focus Peaking.

These two for me, are very important. Even for someone who may not be shooting for professional reasons. Then there is a bunch of microphone controls that come with this camera.

You can adjust the microphone volume and the recording levels while shooting, which is cool. Plus you have an optional wind-cut filter.

This helps to record much better quality audio, especially when shooting in strong wind.

Notwithstanding, if you are a professional and are looking for a smaller lightweight second camera for shooting videos, you will find it is missing the Log option.

And that is probably what makes the Z50 a camera aimed at amateurs rather than serious video nerds.

An amateur, however, will have something to boot, like color modes and a Flat profile.

Nikon Z50 Overall Performance

There are many takeaways from this camera.

But simply getting down to the basics, this is a powerful camera that shoots excellent stills and videos.

Final Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this review guide on the Nikon Z50.

Consider everything we’ve reviewed as to whether this is the right camera for you!

Also, check out the full list of best Nikon lenses for Portraits.

Have fun, good luck, and keep photographing!

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