Nikon Z5 First Shots: Sample images from Nikon’s new & affordable full-frame mirrorless camera


posted Monday, September 21, 2020 at 3:50 PM EST

Click here to browse our Nikon Z5 First Shots


Full-frame mirrorless cameras are all the rage these days, but those looking to buy such a camera on a budget are left with few options. The used market is one, while grabbing a previous-generation model at a discount is another. But if you wanted a brand-new camera, you were likely looking at a hefty price tag. The new Nikon Z5 changes that. Based around a 24MP full-frame sensor and EXPEED 6 image processor, the new Z5 incorporates a pleasing amount of high-end features yet comes in at a rather pleasing $1400 body-only. Sure, that's not the "holy grail" $999 price tag for a new full-frame camera, but given that the Z5 also sports the Z6's hybrid AF system, has 5-axis IBIS, shoots 4K video, features weather-sealed construction and dual UHS-II card slots, it certainly doesn't seem like the typical "entry-level" camera.

Though it shares a similar 24MP image resolution as the higher-end Z6, the two cameras use different sensors; the Z6 uses a backside-illuminated chip, while the Z5 does not. They do, however, utilize the same generation image processor. As such, the ISO range of the new Z5 is similar to the Z6, though not exactly the same. The native ISO is the same, spanning ISO 100 up to ISO 51,200, but the expanded high ISO tops-out at 102,400 rather than 204,800 on the Z6. (Low expanded dips down to ISO 50 for both cameras.)

To see how the new Nikon Z5 looks across its full ISO range, check out our classic First Shots series of lab sample images. As always, our standardized First Shots series of sample images span the camera's full ISO range, and we also have a series shot at the Z5's default setting of in-camera noise reduction processing and with it disabled. Of course, we also have RAW files available for download. 

See below for a couple of quick comparison crops from the Nikon Z5 against a popular 24MP competitor, the Sony A7 III. For more side-by-side comparisons, use our handy Comparometer tool. 

Nikon Z5 vs Sony A7 III - ISO 100

ISO 100 - Nikon Z5 (left) vs. Sony A7 III (right)

Nikon Z5 vs Sony A7 III - ISO 6400

ISO 6400: Nikon Z5 (left) vs. Sony A7 III (right)

Nikon Z5 PreviewSample Images