Photography News 81 WEB

NikonZ5 Shooting full-frame photographs comes at a cost, in money and in bulk. The mirrorless Nikon Z 5 aims to keep both to a minimum, but how well does it do? NIKON.CO.UK

Big test

PRICE: £1719

WORDS AND IMAGES BY WILL CHEUNG

Its body form is essentially the same as its two brothers – it’s just 2mm deeper – and it’s not just size that’s shared. The Z 5 has a five-axis in-body sensor-shift image stabiliser with 5EV benefit, 273-point autofocus system with human/animal eye detect and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with 3690k dots. Of course, there are design and feature differences, most notable being that the Z 5 has a lower- resolution 1040k dot touch monitor, there’s no top-plate LCD, its maximum shooting speed is 4.5fps and, for those keen on video, the Z 5’s 4K video comes with a 1.7x crop, although Full HD is full-frame. The Z 5 is the first Z full-frame mirrorless with dual card support with two SD UHS-II card slots. Resolution from the front-side illuminated sensor is quoted at 24.3 megapixels, working with Nikon’s Expeed processor to give a top ISO of 51,200, expandable to 102,400, and the option of 12- or 14-bit Raw capture. Camera control layout is typically Nikon, with the on-off control on a collar around the shutter button, and ISO, video record and exposure compensation buttons nearby, perfect for the forefinger, and the exposure mode dial is nearby. This is firmly click- stopped, but there’s no lock available. A decently sized AF-ON button falls

THE Z 5 IS THE THIRD in Nikon’s line- up of mirrorless full-frame cameras. The Z 6 has hybrid leanings with a feature set that will appeal to still and video shooters, the Z 7’s sell is its 45.7 megapixels, and now the Z 5: an entry- level model with 24.3 megapixels under its bonnet. There’ll be many happy to argue the semantics of what entry- level actually means, but the long and short of it is that the Z 5 is Nikon’s cheapest full-frame mirrorless camera, priced at £1719 with the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 zoom.

SPECS

›   Price £1719 with the 24-50mm f/4- 6.3 zoom. £1859 with 24-50mm f/4-6.3 zoom and the FTZ adapter ›   In the box Z 5, body cap, 1 x EN- EL15c cell, 1 x MH-25a charger, strap, USB cable, 24-50mm f/4-6.3 zoom with front and back caps ›   Sensor 24.3 megapixels, CMOS ›   Sensor format 23.9x35.9mm, 6016x4016pixels, 12- or 14-bit Raw ›   Lensmount Nikon Z ›   ISO range 100-51,200, expansion to ISO 50 and 102,400 ›   Shutter range 30secs-1/8000sec, B, flash sync 1/200sec ›   Drivemodes Continuous 4.5fps ›   Exposure system Matrix, centre- weighted, highlight-weighted and spot. PASM ›   Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV or 0.5EV ›   Monitor Tilting 3.2in touchscreen, 1040k dots ›   Viewfinder 3690k dot OLED, showing 100% of image ›   Focusing system Phase/contrast detect, -3EV to 19EV range ›   Focus points 273 points with pinpoint, single point, dynamic area, wide area (S, L), auto area AF ›   Image stabiliser Five-axis sensor shift, lens shift with VR lenses ›   Video 4K UHD 24/25/30p with 1.7x crop, Full HD 1920x1080 full-frame, 29mins 59secs max recording time 4K UHD time-lapse ›   Movie format MOV, MP4 ›   Connectivity Wi-Fi, SnapBridge, low-energy Bluetooth, GPS via SnapBridge app ›   Other key features Picture Control (inc landscape, mono and portrait), Creative Picture Controls (20 settings including Dreamy, Somber, Toy), weather sealed ›   Storagemedia 2 x SD UHS II ›   Battery 1 x EN-EL15c Li-ion, 390 shots viewfinder only, 470 shots monitor onlyy ›   Dimensions (wxhxd) 134x100.5x69.5mm ›   Weight 590g body only Contact nikon.co.uk

THE Z 5 IS ANENTRY-LEVELMODELWITH 24.3MEGAPIXELS UNDER ITS BONNET

be used at the same time, which is potentially a big benefit. Look through the Z 5’s EVF and you’ll find an excellent image, with panels top and bottom showing plenty of camera setting info without encroaching on to the image. The screen’s high resolution reveals plenty of detail and also comes in handy when using the focus magnifier to closely inspect focus. There are two magnification settings and if you touch the shutter release, the camera takes a fewmoments to sharpen up details to help you ensure sharp focus. Around the camera’s front are two dedicated function buttons easily

nicely to the thumb, with a focus joystick below, which I found could use without having to adjust my grip. The Z 5 comes supplied with the EN-EL 15C battery, which is claimed to be more efficient than the 15b and claims to give 390 shots via the EVF. The good news for existing owners of a range of Nikon cameras is that the original EL-EN 15, 15b and 15C are the same size so cross-compatible, albeit with lower capacity – this is with Nikon’s own cells, as a couple of third- party 15b cells I tried were rejected by the Z 5. The Z 5 cell can be charged via its USB 3.2 port using a power bank or mains charger and the camera can

IMAGES The Z 6 and Z 7 have a single XQD/CFexpress card slot, but the Z 5 has the attraction of dual SD UHS-II slots you can use in various ways

PERFORMANCE: ISO For this ISO test, the Nikon Z 5 with 24-50mm lens was fitted to a Manfrotto BeFree GT carbon tripod. High ISO and long exposure noise reduction were both turned off, and the Raws were processed through Lightroom with default NR set. The base exposure for the ISO 100 twilight shot was 3secs at f/8. The Z 5 produced a competent noise performance and I’d be happy shooting at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 as noise had little impact on fine detail and, if there is any, grain is fine and neutral. With a little work in software, you could get excellent big prints from these high speeds. It’s only when you venture beyond ISO 6400 speed that noise is much more obvious and the image softens and saturation suffers. A very creditable high- ISO noise performance from the Z 5, with its front-illuminated sensor.

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20 Photography News | Issue 81

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