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. Originally from the UK, he has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing and Hong Kong, is now based in Chicago.