Nikon Announce Retro DX Z Body, Z fc, with Retro Lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ShunCheung, Jun 29, 2021.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Z fc is quite similar to the existing Z50 but with retro-style controls, fairly similar to the Df DSLR, but the Z fc is DX. Nikon is making a retro version of the existing 16-50mm DX kit lens to match the Z fc, as well as a retro version of the FX 28mm/f2.8 compact lens, while the regular version has not yet been announced. Nikon is also pre-announcing a non-retro 18-140mm DX lens which has already been on the roadmap for close to two years. However, Nikon is not introducing any additional Z-mount DX lens beyond the original three that have been on the roadmap since late 2019.

    The Z fc uses essentially the same 20MP sensor as the one on the Z50 and uses the same EN-EL25 battery. That 20MP sensor is a descendent from the one on the D500, D7500, etc. It is fine but it is 5+ years old. The Z fc is also available in 6 additional colors. It looks like the target market is the young, hip crowd. Maybe some young ladies can match their camera color with their purses and shoes.

    In the US,

    • The Z fc, body only in black, is $960, about $100 more expensive than the Z50 and pretty close to the now discounted Z5 at $1000.
    • Z fc + retro 16-50mm DX kit lens is $1100.
    • Z fc + retro 28mm/f2.8 FX lens is $1200. That lens by itself is $300.
    • The DX 18-140mm/f3.5-6.3 VR will be available later in 2021. That is not a retro lens and is essentially the DX version of the 24-200mm zoom.


    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  2. I wonder just how much bigger it would have to be to put an FX sensor in it?


    "Really, I already have way too much junk in my house...."

    Nikon might take that as overly harsh criticism.......:eek:
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  3. If we compare the Z5 and Z50 we get something like this:

    Nikon Z5 vs Nikon Z50 Detailed Comparison

    The difference seems very small. I actually am thinking about purchasing the Z fc as I will need a camera body for the 105 MC which I seem to have ordered and I would like to have a compact ILC camera that would be a good fit for my 1-series Gitzo traveler tripod. Using my DSLR with 24-70/2.8 is just too front-heavy for that tripod (even with a better head, it feels like it could topple over) and I've been thinking about the Nikon DX Z 16-50 mm zoom as possibly a good fit for that kind of use. It would also fit in a small bag together with the camera body. A DX camera would also be a good fit for the 105 mm MC as macro and close-up photos get some more working distance by photographing the subject with DX. Nikon are offering the Z fc with a retro styled camera bag and strap and an extra battery for free if pre-ordered from a Nikon Store.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Z mount already suits the FX sensor, and the Z5 is only $1000. I assume Nikon could produce a retro FX version for cheap if they want, but I am very disappointed that Nikon is going down the retro route plus the very consumer-grade different color options. That really remind me the Nikon 1 J1 fiasco, at a time Nikon is really behind both Sony and Canon in terms of their high-end mirrorless offerings, and Nikon still has no native Z lens that is longer than 200mm. However, Nikon's mid-tier cameras such as the Z6 and Z7, especially the ii versions, are fine. And the Z lenses so far are mostly excellent. We just need long lenses and if Nikon is serious about DX, at least a few more Z DX lenses such as a wide zoom, e.g. 10-20mm DX.

    While I am not at all interested in retro cameras, if I wanted one in APS-C, I would be much better off going to the Fuji route with several bodies and many more lenses to choose from.
    Nick D. and mike_halliwell like this.
  5. The Zfc is Nikon answer to those who said Fuji did it better than the Df in the retro style. However, they missed the chance to make it retro by eliminating the SPAM level because they decided that the Z lenses don't have aperture ring like some of Fuji lenses.
  6. I actually like the clicking dials and the idea for me would be so I could adjust settings before putting the camera to my eye. However, since there is no dedicated dial for aperture in this case (unless used with FTZ and a lens with an aperture ring) then this approach would not necessarily work. The small display shows the aperture in use, but I suspect it would require turning the meter on, and certainly turning the camera on. With the F3 HP that I used for many years, I could set both aperture and shutter speed while the camera was still OFF, and on my hip. I liked that approach. Now (with the modern cameras) I have to turn on the camera and meter before any settings can be adjusted.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Incidentally, Grays of Westminster in London has produced a YouTube video with Ricci Chera to promote the Z fc:

    Sorry, I have never been to London outside of Heathrow. Just found out that Grays of Westminster only sells Nikon cameras? Interesting.

    And another video from Ricci on the Z fc. Please keep in mind that Ricci clearly has strong tires with Nikon so that he is getting all sorts of pre-production cameras and lenses to produce videos to coincide with Nikon's product launches. I wouldn't expect a lot of criticisms from him.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  8. Some Z lenses do have control rings which can be programmed to set the aperture, but that is electronically operated so there is no clicking feel AFAIK.
  9. Grays of Westminster is a really great store for Nikon users, they only sell Nikon equipment for one thing, but they have a lot of it in stock, and their basement has a large collection of vintage as well as modern second-hand Nikon equipment (most of it in top shape). They offer long warranties on all second-hand purchases (I don't remember what was their standard, 12 months?). I really like visiting them and if going to London, it's well worth the time. Their staff are also very pleasant to deal with.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to visit London in close to three years now, and I miss that city. I am not sure if they'd let me in now, as they Brexited and I've only had one vaccine dose so far. :/ (I am half-joking, I am sure there would be a way to travel there.)
  10. You need to have aperture marking on the ring like that of the Fuji so you can put an A on the ring to eliminate the PSAM. Of course if I have it my way then simply remove both P and S mode from the camera but then a lot of people won't like it.
  11. Interestingly he just, and i mean just, falls short of saying the AF is better than the Z6ii/Z7ii.......;)
  12. I just bought the Z 50. The lack of a built-in flash would have disqualified the Z fc for me.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    On the higher-end Z lenses, there is an LCD display by the programmable ring, so that you can use that ring, without click stops, to control the aperture, and you can also program that LCD to display the current aperture. But that feature is not going to be available on the DX and kit lenses that are more typical on the Z fc.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Z50 is the only Z body to have a pop-up flash so far. Otherwise, the Z fc is perhaps 90% of the Z50 but with retro controls.

    At least there is now a second body using the EN-EL25 battery, such that maybe some third-party would get interested in producing clones. But you may need to worry about counterfeits as well. :(
  15. There is a small LCD on top of the Z fc which displays the aperture. So you can see the aperture as you turn the ring, assuming that those control rings allow that functionality on this particular camera. As Shun noted, some of those lenses are capable of displaying the aperture on the lens display as well.
  16. I'm guessing it's displayed in the EVF and on the back LCD, if required.

    But I can see the theory that you can look down at the camera and see what it's set to. Does it still show when it's turned off. bit like the frame counter on other Nikon DSLR and ML cameras?
  17. I liked my FM when I had it, also an F3HP, and I can see some attraction in the camera, but it seems like a crazy move on Nikon's part when you consider all the other things they should be doing. Not really sure who the customer is, but definitely not me. IMO, they should be concentrating on FX because that's where the money is. It also seems like somebody wanting that style of control is the same person who'd prefer FX.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
    bgelfand and James Bryant like this.

  18. Fuji have had some success with their APS-C cameras with some degree of retro styling and traditional controls, so Nikon seem to be wanting to get on board with this market. They've had previous models in this paradigm and this is the latest one. The Df was, according to its designer, a bit thick (due to the F-mount requiring a certain flange distance due to the mirror, and then the electronics and LCD behind the sensor added more, leading to a thicker overall camera than the film cameras were) and this was considered a negative, so maybe this time they wanted to get as close to the original FM series cameras in terms of size and shape. DX may have made it slightly easier to keep it small, and it certainly helps keep the price in check. It's hard to combine so many users' different (and often contradictory) wishes and requirements into one camera.

    I like the Z fc but also would prefer it to be FX. However, I didn't buy the Df which was FX and I guess I have partly myself to blame that this is now DX. Being FX was not the issue for me with the Df.

    As for where the money is, it's hard to know. 35 mm full-frame mirrorless has become a hotly competed area as well.
  19. I might have been interested if it was FX std sensor size. The problem for me would not be sensor performance, but angle of view of the retro lenses I would use.

    My Z6 does pretty well as a retro lens camera, anyway. No problem for me to spin the front wheel for shutter speeds instead of a top mount shutter speed dial.

    I hope the camera is a success for Nikon, but I would have preferred more R&D put into Z lenses and improved future bodies.

    PS: I do think it looks closer to an FM than the Df did. FM was my first Nikon and serious camera, bought new right after they came out.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
    bgelfand likes this.
  20. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Interesting to me is the resonance of the Retro Lens with the old high end Kodak 35mm from around and after WWII. The camera is attractive, at least in silver and black. Already have more cameras than are reasonable, so i won't be ordering one.

Share This Page