SMART DESIGN The Z f, like almost every new camera, is blessed with a good spread of video features including 4K/60p video
The camera’s IBIS has a claimed eight-stop benefit and worked well. With the 24-120mm, I was getting pin-sharp 0.5sec exposures. The Z f is the first camera with a Link VR to focus point feature, where in wide area AF, the system targets and stabilises the focus point instead of the central area of the frame. It’s designed for off-centre shooting
with wide-angle and standard lenses rather than telephoto. It seemed to work well, but I’d need to do much more shooting to see how effective it is. Having said that, it’s a case of so far, so good. On the whole, I enjoyed the Z f shooting experience – and that was heightened by the quality of its output. Out-of-camera JPEGs looked
lively yet natural, and working on the Raws, there was plenty of room to pull and push highlights and shadows. This includes files saved in high-efficiency modes. In most situations, even using the strongest compression would work fine and save memory, perhaps reserving lossless compression for more demanding lighting. PN
Verdict Naturally, much will be made of the Z f’s appeal to imaging nostalgia seekers, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that it’s a fine camera in its own right. Period. Sure, it has its handling idiosyncrasies – as does every camera – but judging the Z f on its imaging ability, there’s little to grumble over. It focuses rapidly and accurately, has a decent frame rate, will suit content creators and produces excellent stills even at super-high ISOs. The fact it’s a great looker is just a big bonus and, at £2299, it’s fairly priced. 24 /25 FEATURES A richly featured full-frame camera with stunning retro looks 22 /25 HANDLING The analogue top-plate works brilliantly – the F LCD excepted – and the Z f is a pleasure to use. A focus joystick and user/custom modes would have been good, though
PERFORMANCE: PIXEL SHIFT SHOOTING MODE
Multi-shot high-res modes are not new, but they are to Nikon Z, and the Z f has pixel shift shooting for static scenes with a tripod- mounted camera. There’s no handheld high-res shot option. Using the electronic shutter, there is the choice of four and eight frames, where the sensor moves by one pixel between each shot, and 16 and 32 frames, where the sensor shifts by 0.5 pixels. You can set the time delay before the sequence starts by up to 10secs and whether a gap is required between each exposure, from 0sec up to 30secs. On completion, the camera beeps three times. Image-merging is not done in- camera and you need Nikon’s free NX Studio software. A 32-image merge took about 30 seconds on an M2 Mac Studio.
A Z f native Raw is around 35 to 40MB, and the merged files are around 133MB for the four and eight shots and open up to 6048x4032 pixels, and about 515MB for the 16 and 32 merged images. These open to 12,096x8064 pixels, equivalent to 96 megapixels. The benefit of the 32-frame merge at ISO 51,200 shown here is nothing short of incredible. At that stratospheric ISO, the exposure was 1/400sec at f/8 and the shooting time for 32 frames was very brief, but at ISO 100 each exposure was 1.3secs, so over 40secs. Knowing that you get great quality even at sky-high ISOs, you might get away with high-res shooting on a breezy day or with a less-than-stable tripod provided the subject is static.
ISO 51,200 single-shot Raw
24 /25 PERFORMANCE
Superb imaging performance, especially at high-ISO speeds. AF is highly capable, too
ISO 51,200 32-shot pixel shift
24 /25 VALUE FOR MONEY
Keenly priced for a nicely featured full-frame model that turns in a fine performance and is enjoyable to use
94 /100 OVERALL
The Nikon Z f has serious appeal for creators of all levels, but the traditional layout will probably not have universal appeal
More than half of us have camera gear we no longer use. Don't sit on it. Sell it. Sell your gear and upgrade your visual storytelling. Trade up for new adventures.
PROS Control design/layout, retro look, imaging performance, especially at high ISOs, dual card slots, touch monitor, eye/subject detection in manual focusing, pre-capture and pixel shift modes CONS No focus joystick, the F window is not very useful, right handgrip could be more ergonomic, no custom modes, some features fiddly to set up, no sensor protection blind
Find out more at mpb.com/sell
Issue 112 | Photography News 25
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