– The Nikon Z50 caught usby surprise late last year.
Small in size, but rich in features, it was the exact oppositeof the high-end Z camera that we were expecting.
I took the Z50 out on assignment to see if it could makea good field camera.
What transpired was a delightful and surprising shooting experience, that I'm excited to share in this video.
(upbeat music) Hey Gearheads, thanks for tuning in for another episode of”Hammerhead Gearhead.
” So, we are still on lockdown/quarantine here in Manila, Philippines, and I'm catching up with all the episodes and videos that I have planned.
So, If you're at home watching this, then mission accomplished, I am doing my small bitto keep you guys at home.
So, today's episode isfocused on the Nikon Z50, and it seeks to answer thequestion that all my peers and students have been asking me, “Is it a good starter camerafor wildlife photography?” Well, this episode seeksto answer that question.
I was able to take the Z50 to Thailand for two rigorous assignments, a music festival and a wildlife shoot, for my upcoming mini documentary.
This review will be in the same vein as my one-year honest fieldreview of the Nikon Z7, where I'll frame my assessmentwithin these two assignments, and then give you my verdict and recommendations right after.
The Nikon Z50 was releasedon November seven, 2019.
I remember this very well, because my son Mako wasborn on the same day.
It has a 20.
9 megapixel APS-C sensor.
It is the same EXSPEED 6sensor on the Z6 and Z7.
It has a hybrid autofocus system with 209 on-sensor autofocus points, that cover an impressive 90% of the frame.
It boasts a Z lens mount, that allows the use of all Z mount lenses and F mount lenses, through the FTZ adapter.
It films video at both both HD and 4K, and records all data on a UHS-1 SD card, and is powered by the new EN-EL25 battery.
To begin with, I am surprisedat how light this camera is.
It is two thirds the weightof the Z6 and the Z7.
But even then it boasts a good build, a very deep grip, andfeels perfectly balanced.
It has a form factor thatis familiar to Nikon users, and makes for a great introduction for first-time Nikon users, who may later port toother models later on.
I'm particularly stokedby the EXSPEED 6 sensor that was lifted from the Z6 and Z7, essentially making thiscamera a mini version of those two when itcomes to image quality.
I'm also happy that theyused the same Z mount.
Streamlining the lens system across the Z, and with the FTZ adapter, Nikon DSLR systems.
A big drawback though, is the lack of in-bodyimage stabilization, which basicallycompromises any sort of use of the full-frame Z mountlenses, that have no VR.
The only consolation is thatthe DX Z mount lenses have VR, as the F mount lensestraditionally has VR.
I was equally impressedwith the two DX lenses that were immediatelyavailable, the 16 to 50 lens, which is so light and flat you can consider it a pancake lens, and the 50 to 250 zoom lens which rounds up the reach requirement.
They're not exactlywizards in terms of bokeh, but to my surprise, theimage quality was topnotch.
(scene booms) I first took the Z50 tothe Wonderfruit Festival in Pattaya, Thailand.
Wonderfruit is an annualfive-day celebration of music, art, and ideas, that encouragesits 20, 000-strong audience to rethink sustainability, waste management, transportation, and human interactions.
I was invited to participate as a speaker, but I also wanted tocapture my experience, so I walked aroundWonderfruit with the Z50, taking photos on one hand, and the Z7 on a Weebill-Srecording video on the other.
The fact that I wasable to do both, alone, is a testament to theportability of the Z50.
It's such a challenge nowadaysto be a hybrid shooter, even more so when you're tryingto do both at the same time, but the size and the weight ofthe Z50 helped considerably.
The image quality just blew me away.
Nikon's EXSPEED 6 sensorenabled me to capture rich, colorful scenes in differentlighting conditions.
It was just a joy to use.
I shot until early evening, and the low light capabilities of the Z50 allowed me to reach intohigher ISO settings, with low noise return.
The 16 to 50 millimeterlens is a performer.
I had my doubts about sucha compact, pancake-ish lens, but it delivered outstanding quality with sharp, vivid images.
Admittedly, one of myconcerns was battery life.
When I borrowed the Z50from Nikon Philippines they only had one unitof the battery to spare, so I was so scared to losebattery while shooting.
To my pleasant surprise, the Z50 gave me more than 300 shots, with more left over if Iwanted to shoot some more.
I was also having fun operating the Z50 and the Z7 at the same time.
Easy to use, very familiar, and interchangeable.
I could also imagine howmuch fun this is to use while out traveling.
I think it has carved out thatspecific niche for itself, and it's going to perform spectacularly.
The next testing ground was a project site of Elephant Nature Park, one of the sanctuariesthat rescue elephants from the cruel and abusiveelephant tourism industry.
Here we add unpredictable variables such as a jungle location, and a highly intelligentand playful animal.
I was shooting a short documentaryon elephant sanctuaries, and just like before, I hadto shoot photo and film video.
The singular lens mount thatthe Z50 shares with the Z7, allowed me to use all thelenses across all cameras.
The image quality captured bythe Z50 caught me by surprise.
I was expecting lower dynamic range and less sharpness on theedges, but the Z50 delivered.
These photos of theelephants display how the Z50 captured the texture, colors, and light accurately and pleasingly.
It was comfortable to useand very easy to wield.
The compact size lengthened my endurance and allowed me to move more freely.
One of the elephants decided to test the weather sealing of the Z50.
Deep in her mud bath, she flung a huge chunk of wet mud at me, splattering the Z50.
While initially concerned, I just waited for the mud to dry off before I brushed it off.
It functioned perfectly after.
A clear testament to its robust sealing.
Are you guys liking this review? If you are, pleaseconsider liking this video, subscribing, and clicking on that bell.
I have more reviews coming up, and you may want to be tuned in for those.
Now that you've seen the featuresthat I love about the Z50, what are the things that I didn't like? Well first, and at the top of my list is the lack of in-bodyimage stabilization.
I mean, you could compensateby using lenses that have VR, but what happens when thoselenses are not available to you? Another is the inabilityto record NLOG internally.
This was also my gripe with the Z6 and Z7.
And, can you please explain this to me, this flip screen that flips underneath.
I understand the intent, which is to give vloggers the ability to see themselves whenthey're out filming, but when you have a tripodon it's completely worthless, because when you have it here the view is completely obscured.
And, the lack of a headphonejack also is a handicap, because you can't hearwhat you're picking up while filming in the field.
And lastly, this flip flash, it's just too weak and itcompromises the weather sealing.
So, either having it here but stronger, or not having it here at all.
Let's get to answering the question that we posed at the start of this video.
Is the Z50 a good camera for those who are startingout on wildlife photography, or those who are your casualwildlife photographers? Well, my answer is adefinite and resounding yes.
The Z50 is a mirrorless modelthat I have been waiting for, because it's bothreasonable and affordable.
The Z50 boasts an EXSPEED 6 sensor that was ported from the Z6 and the Z7.
It also has a great autofocus system, both of which are perfectfor for wildlife photography.
Another, is the Z mount.
It allows you to usethe DX Z mount lenses, the FX or full frame Z mount lenses, and using the FTZ adapter, the F mount lenses.
That said, the 16 to 50and the 50 to 250 lenses are no pushovers either, they're smart purchasesbased on their price point.
The Z50 also shoots greatvideo in 1080 and 4K, perfect for hybrid shooters.
Well, let's admit, all of us are.
And another, is the weather-sealing.
It's good enough for thosetough shooting conditions.
And lastly, the Z50 is a good way to acclimate to the Nikon ecosystem, and the Nikon Z mirrorless workflow.
The Z50 is a bang for the buck.
So, who else is the Z50 perfect for? Well first, frequent travelers.
It's light enough to bring anywhere.
Second, it's a goodsecondary or support camera to your main wildlife camera.
And third, it's nimble and unobtrusive, also good for your documentaryand street photographers.
So, are you excited over the Z50? Do you already have it, or are you planning topurchase it in the future.
Please let me know in the comments.
I want to hear your thoughts on this small but full-featured camera.
If you want to see morephotos taken with the Z50, head on over to myInstagram, noelguevaraphoto.
Cheers guys, thanks forwatching, I will see you soon.