Learn & Explore - Z Series
Nikon Z 5: The Content Creators’ Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
Dual SD Card Slots and USB Powering: A Z series First!
The Nikon Z 5 is the third FX-format (full-frame) camera in the Z series. While it has similar specs as the reputable Z 6 which is designed for advanced users, it also incorporates new features by popular demand. The result: a camera that provides excellent value. Built sturdily with weather-sealing to protect the camera from dust and water droplets, the camera is also equipped a bright, clear electronic viewfinder (EVF) and in-body Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilisation. With the addition of dual UHS-II SD card slots and an option of USB power delivery, the Nikon Z 5 ticks off many items on a first-time mirrorless photographer’s wishlist. (Report by: Kouji Ueda)
A Tour of Exterior Features
Nikon Z 5
24.3-megapixel image sensor & EXPEED 6 image-processing engine
5-axis, 5-stop in-body Vibration Reduction
New high-capacity battery
For batteries, the Z 5 uses the EN-EL15c, which boasts improved capacity and is interchangeable with the existing EN-EL15 series. It is rated up to 470 still shots or 120 minutes of video.
3.69 million dot EVF— providing a clear, natural view
Dual UHS-II-compatible SD card slots
Instead of XQD or CFexpress, the dual card slots on the Z 5 take SD cards compatible with UHS-II standard.
Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
The full body surface and top cover of the Z 5 are made of strong, solid magnesium alloy. Weather sealing gives the camera dust- and drip-resistance comparable to that of more advanced cameras.
In-camera USB powering to charge as you shoot
The Z 5 is the first camera in the Z series to support powering via a USB cable while you are still using it. Previously, in-camera USB charging was possible, but not powering while using the camera. This means you no longer need to worry about batteries running flat when taking time lapse movies or attempting long duration shoots! Compatible with the new EN-EL 15c batteries and EH-7P charging AC Adapter, or UC-E25 USB cable to a computer or power bank*.
“A great companion for hiking and arduous outdoor activities, as well as travel photography”
- Tim Hurley
The Z 5 is an extremely comfortable and easy to use camera. The ergonomics are superb, and the overall size and weight of the body felt just right. Combining it with the new NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 kit lens makes a very compact, portable package that delivers fantastic images all on its own, without the burden of extra gear—perfect for taking along with you not just on walks, but also hikes and other arduous outdoor activities.
Another thing I like about the Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 combination is the speed and accuracy of the autofocus. For travel and street photography it was very reliable, and I rarely found the need to change out of the auto focus point select mode. The speed of the EVF coming on, the autofocus, the face and eye detection, the compact size of the camera and lens, the excellent in-camera VR, and the superb ergonomics all play their part to make the Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 a great package for street photography.
Compact and discreet; perfect for capturing fleeting street photography moments
Nikon Z 5/ NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 / FL: 44mm / Manual exposure (f/9, 1/800 sec)/ ISO 400
I really liked how the small stool here looked with the artwork on the wall behind it and the light coming in from the left was gorgeous. I wanted to add a human element to the scene without revealing the subject's identity, so I opted to wait for someone passing to put their shadow in the right place in the scene. Small and discreet, the Z 5 and NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 combination reacted quickly with great accuracy, allowing me to capture the fleeting coincidence without disturbing the moment.
In-body Vibration Reduction: Made me rethink my approach to landscape photography
Nikon Z 5/ NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 / FL: 32mm / Manual exposure (f/16, 0.8 sec)/ ISO 100
This image is of the Empress Falls, located in the Valley of The Waters in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. I was really impressed by the new five-axis in-body VR system. Being able to use shutter speeds as slow as 1 second and yet still retain perfect results, even while standing on uneven ground, made me rethink the way I approach landscape photography. I feel liberated from the slow and often cumbersome task of setting up my tripod, which makes it a lot easier to get creative and experiment with more compositions. The weather sealing in both the camera and lens is also reassuring when shooting in such rugged conditions.
Lens used: NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
- Lens construction: 11 elements in 10 groups (including 2 ED elements and 3 aspherical elements)
- Diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
- Minimum focusing distance: 0.35m (at all zoom positions)
- Maximum magnification: approx. 0.17x (50mm zoom position)
- Filter diameter: φ52mm
- Diameter x length: approx. 73.5×51mm (when fully retracted)
- Weight: approx. 195g
“The Z 5 opens up a whole new world of possibilities”
- Elliott Thompson
Right out of the box, this lightweight powerhouse felt so comfortable in my hands! Prior to this, I was using the older D750, which was impressive but had limited features compared to the Z 5. Having a touchscreen, image preview in the viewfinder and different colour processing opens up a whole new world, unleashing possibilities I didn’t know existed before.
I rigorously tested it out while out adventuring and was beyond impressed with how this handles harsh light and low light. Light and handy, it produces stunning image quality under almost any light, giving me more time to focus on my composition, where I wanted to be, how I wanted the photos to look, and other artistic aspects. It is a huge weight off the shoulders in more than one sense.
Combined with the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR kit lens, you get a huge range of focal length to work with without having to constantly switch lenses. A solid all-rounder lens like this makes the art of photography ten times easier!
Superior visual resolution, even in difficult lighting situations
Nikon Z 5/ NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR / FL: 44mm / Manual exposure (f/5.3, 1/80 sec)/ ISO 640
Even in challenging backlight, the sharpness and quality of the images captured by the Z 5 and NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR was amazing. The fur details of this highland cow are well resolved with no visible colour bleeding. For this shot, I enhanced the vibrant evening colours in-camera by using the “Vivid” Creative Picture Control preset. All I needed to do after that was adjust the contrast a little. Telephoto lenses can be intimidating to subjects, but the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR was compact enough, allowing me to shoot this image from as close as around 5 to 10 metres away.
Saved by USB powering
Nikon Z 5/ NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR / FL: 26mm / Manual exposure (f/5.3, 1/80 sec)/ ISO 640
I stood at this location waiting for the sun to peak under the clouds, and while doing so, my batteries went flat. In-camera USB power was able to get me through just long enough to snap this beauty. The Z 5 handled the highlights and shadows flawlessly, resulting in this final product.
- Lens construction: 19 elements in 15 groups (including 2 ED elements, 1 aspherical ED element, 2 aspherical elements, elements with an ARNEO coat and a fluorine-coated front lens element)
- Diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
- Minimum focusing distance: 0.5m (at 24mm position)
- Maximum magnification: approx. 0.28x
- Filter diameter: φ67mm
- VR image stabilisation: up to 5 stops
- Diameter x length: approx. 76.5×114mm (when fully retracted)
- Weight: approx. 570g
Conclusion: Expand your creative playground with Z 5
Small and lightweight (dimensions: approx. 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm; weight: approx. 675g with battery and memory card) and yet tough and durable, the Z 5 is a very appealing take-along camera if you want to capture beautiful, high-quality FX-format images of your adventures. Features like the in-body VR system, which reduces the need for a tripod in many scenes, and the support for in-camera USB power which helps prolong shooting times, up the convenience for when you plan to spend the entire day out shooting with the camera and prefer to travel light.
Enhancing the experience is the excellent autofocus, high-resolution EVF, dust- and drip-resistance, and dual card slots, thus endowing the Z 5 with features found on a semi-professional camera. Indeed, it provides excellent value for new mirrorless camera creators as well as enthusiasts looking for a high-performing, all-purpose yet affordable camera.
Tim first fell in love with photography while shooting the landscapes of his home country, Australia, and became intrigued with street photography in the streets of New York City while living in the United States. He runs @street.finder, an Instagram account that curates inspiring street photography posts.
Elliott Thompson is a wedding, portrait and adventure photographer based in Clare, South Australia. To him, photography is about capturing those special moments, so that each split second isn't just a memory, but something you can physically have forever!