The Nikon Z fc is a retro mirrorless camera that’s a must for camera fans

For photographers that want that classic manual feel and the latest tech, the Nikon Z fc has you covered

Nikon Z fc
(Image credit: Nikon)

The Nikon Z fc takes Nikon’s Z-series range down a new path and it’s one that classic Nikon fans will be very pleased about. Styled on the old Nikon FM2 SLR from 1984, the Nikon Z fc is a high-performance mirrorless digital camera inside but is oozing retro appeal on the exterior.

The fc apparently stands for fusion casual, not classic, as I might have expected. While the advertising for this camera is definitely targeted at the casual shooter, the specs are certainly impressive.

It features a 20.9-million-pixel DX sensor with a 100 to 51,200 ISO range, extendable up to a Hi2 setting of 204,800. It shoots 4K video at up to 30fps and slow-motion 120fps content at 1080p. While regular movie shooting is limited to under 30mins, you can shoot time-lapse in 4K for up to 8 hours.

Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Nikon)

On the rear, there’s a 3-inch monitor on a vari-angle bracket that can swing all the way round for selfie stills and video shooting. The viewfinder is a 0.39-inch 2360k dot OLED with both auto and manual brightness controls.

The traditional dials on the top of the Z fc provide ISO control, shutter speed and exposure compensation controls, as well as a mode selection to switch between fully manual, shutter priority, aperture priority, program and auto modes.

The aperture control is through a dial with a small LCD screen for the value. While this would traditionally be on the lens, Z-lenses don’t offer this, so a workaround was needed. While other manufacturers have managed to do this on the neck of the lens mount, this is a valid solution too.

Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Nikon)

To go with the Z fc, Nikon has also released two classic-styled lenses. The Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is a handy standard zoom, while the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8(SE) is a fast standard lens that gives a 42mm equivalent focal length. Both of these new lenses are low profile and styled to match the Z fc camera. The 28mm lens looks a lot like an old Nikon prime, complete with the textured focus grip.

Of course, the Nikon Z fc is compatible with all 20+ Z-series lenses, but their styling won’t match as well. You could though, add the Nikon FTZ mount adapter and use any of the hundreds of classic Nikkor F mount lenses on it.  

I expect many that buy this camera will ultimately leave it in Auto mode but I really like that this camera can be used in a very similar way to old SLRs. This is not Nikon’s first attempt at a classic style – the Df offered a similar idea with the F mount – but it is one of the best retro-styled models to come out since the Leica M system.

The Nikon Z fc goes on sale on July 28 but is available for pre-order now priced £899/$959.95/ AU$$1,499.95 body only, £1,129/$1,199/AU$1,899.95 with 28mm f/2.8 SE lens, £1,039/$1,099/AU$1,699.95 with 16-50mm lens. 

Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Nikon)
Mat Gallagher
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat is a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, cars, music or travel.