Nikon Z fc Hands-on Review: Is Nikon’s stylish new camera more than a pretty face?

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posted Friday, September 24, 2021 at 2:35 PM EDT

Click here to read our Nikon Z fc Hands-on Review

 
 

The Nikon Z fc is Nikon's latest DX-format Z camera, and it blends the past and present in a way unlike any other Z camera in the lineup. On the inside, the camera includes the same imaging pipeline as the Nikon Z50, including using the same 20.9-megapixel APS-C image sensor and EXPEED 6 image processor. The Z fc has a few new features, but it's nonetheless familiar to Z shooters. The Nikon Z fc is familiar to Nikon photographers in another, much more distant way, as the Z fc's old-school style is inspired by the Nikon FM2 film camera from the early 1980s. The blend of old-school cool and new-school performance helps the Z fc stand out from the rest of the Nikon Z lineup, but does it truly separate itself from the pack in meaningful ways?

 
Nikon Z fc

Available in various colors, including the classic silver I went hands-on with, the Nikon Z fc is the company's most stylish Z camera yet. It's designed to appeal to a more fashion-conscious consumer than other Z cameras, which seem to have zeroed in on appealing more to established photographers who are more concerned with function rather than form. That isn't to say that prior Z cameras have looked bad – I think they look great – or that the Z fc doesn't handle well, because it does. In fact, the Z fc's retro style pays dividends in terms of the overall user experience thanks to extensive physical dials and controls. The Z fc also offers an excellent fully articulated touchscreen, although admittedly, that feature is far from retro.

 
Nikon Z fc

But it's what is inside that counts, right? And the Z fc is not just a pretty face. The Z fc's 20.9-megapixel image sensor isn't new, nor is it especially fancy, but it works well. It's not backside-illuminated or stacked, but that doesn't prevent it from capturing sharp, detailed images with good colors across an impressive ISO range.

 
Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens at 26mm (39mm equiv.), f/11, 3s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

The Z fc includes a good autofocus system, as well. The AF is reliable and works well across many situations, including when photographing action and moving subjects. The Z fc has face and eye-detect autofocus for human and some non-human animal subjects, and unlike the Z50, can do full-time eye-AF when recording video. The Z fc can also shoot at up to 11 frames per second, which is quite speedy.

 
Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens at 200mm (300mm equiv.), f/6.3, 1/250s, ISO 11400. This image has been edited.

In terms of video, the Z fc is also quite capable. It records 4K video at up to 30 frames per second using the full width of the image sensor. The video quality itself is good, even when shooting in low light. The fully articulated display works well for video, too, allowing vloggers and content creators to frame themselves while recording easily.

 
Nikon Z 24-200 f/4-6.3 VR lens at 125mm (188mm equiv.), f/11, 0.5s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

There's much more to say about the Nikon Z fc camera. It does a lot well, and it does some things relatively less well. It's a good camera for many types of photography, but to see if it might be a good fit for you, head over to our Nikon Z fc Hands-on Review.

Nikon Z fc Hands-on ReviewGallery