A Post By: Jaymes Dempsey
Last week, Nikon officially unveiled the Z5, an addition to the full-frame Z-mount mirrorless lineup that had previously only included the Z6 and the Z7. While the Z5 doesn’t offer any groundbreaking features on par with Canon’s EOS R5/R6 announcement, the camera offers plenty to love, and will likely fall into place as an affordable full-frame option for those looking to move up from Nikon APS-C bodies. So what does the Z5 include?
First, a full-frame, 24.3 MP sensor. This resolution is standard for entry-level APS-C and full-frame cameras, but it’s more than enough for all but the most megapixel-hungry of photographers, and generally offers a nice balance between detailed images and low-light capabilities. Nikon promises a spectacular high-ISO performance, claiming that the Z5 will “excel in low-light situations, making it ideal for shooting everything from low-light events to an all-nighter under the Milky Way.” As with the Z6 and Z7, you’ll also get in-body image stabilization, which ensures the Z5 is handholdable even in more difficult low-light scenarios or when shooting video, and allows the camera to deliver high-quality landscapes and travel photoseven when there’s no tripod at hand. You also get a 3.6M-dot electronic viewfinder, which should be enough to impress even more demanding shooters, as well as a 3.2-inch rear-LCD with tilting and touchscreen capabilities. Interestingly (and perhaps in response to complaints from Z6/Z7 users), the Z5 will offer dual SD card slots, which provide a level of redundancy required by many professional shooters. As for autofocus, Nikon promises 273 AF points, which “cover nearly the entire frame,” as well as human and animal eye-detection technology for easy tracking of pet, portrait, and wildlife subjects. This appears identical to the highly-regarded AF system on the Z6, and should provide Z5 shooters with fast focusing and tracking, even in trickier conditions. Unfortunately, while the Z5 boasts a maximum shutter speed of 1/800s, a significant drawback is the continuous shooting speed, which tops out at 4.5 fps, and makes the Z5 immediately unsuitable for more serious sports and wildlife photographers. And while the Z5 is compatible with a slew of excellent lenses via the FTZ adapter, the number of native Z lenses is still limited compared to mirrorless competitors such as Sony and Fujifilm. On the other hand, the Z5 features a weather-sealed body, which is (surprisingly) on the same level as the Z6 and Z7. And regarding video: The Z5 does offer 4K/30p recording, but this comes with a pretty substantial (1.7x) crop, which will undoubtedly make the Z5 less compelling for more serious video shooters. Bottom line: The Z5 will be an appealing option for photographers looking to transition to mirrorless, especially given a relatively reasonable ($1400 USD) body-only price. But the slow continuous shooting speeds will force fast-paced photographers (e.g., wildlife, sports, and street) to look elsewhere, while the presence of the Z6 (at around $1800 USD) will be a compelling alternative for photographers desiring faster (12 fps) shooting speeds. The Z5 will begin shipping in late August, and is currently available for pre-orde