Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras indeed get all the attention, but with the release of the Z30, the company’s APS-C system has been streamlined. That brings the total number of cameras and lenses to three, but is three the optimum choice for photography equipment?
When compared to its brothers, the inside has seen very few changes. The Nikon Z50 was released in 2019 with a 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and the ability to capture 4K/30p and HD/120p video with no cropping. These features have been carried over into the Nikon Z FC and are currently included in the Z30 in 2022.
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Since the processing power and overall build quality of each of these cameras is roughly comparable, we now have three APS-C cameras designed with beginning photographers in mind. So, what exactly is the difference?
You need only glance at the cameras to realize what genuinely sets them apart from one another — each has its distinct approach to the design. The Z30 aims to be one of the most excellent vlogging cameras out of the three, offering more outstanding quality and more creative versatility than a smartphone camera. It’s also a strong contender for the title of best beginning mirrorless camera, especially if video and price are two of your most important considerations.
Nikon Z30 Design
Stereo microphones and microphone input are included inside the camera. However, there is no headphone port. Think of the Z30 as having a design focused on video, the Z50 as having a plan focused on photos, and the Z FC as having a strategy focused on nostalgia.
We have a camera in the Z30 that bears an uncanny similarity to the ZV-E10 that Sony produced. Despite being the larger of the two and having a more pronounced handgrip, it still manages to be Nikon’s smallest APS-C or full-frame mirrorless camera to date.
More grips should be designed like this one since it not only provides an excellent grasp for taking still photographs but also makes it simple to pivot the camera so that it is pointed in your direction while still allowing you easy access to that enormous shining red button.
Composing shots for the video, particularly for vlogs, is typically done through a screen, eliminating the need for a viewfinder (though you may miss one when shooting stills). Nikon was able to manufacture its smallest and most affordable APS-C mirrorless camera to date by excluding the viewfinder from the design of the camera. Currently, no electronic viewfinder (EVF) may be purchased as an optional extra.
Nikon Z30 Features & Performance
4K video is available on almost all current cameras, although the quality of 4K video can vary significantly. For example, the Z30 uses the entire sensor width to capture 4K video, and its HD 120p slow motion preset does the same. This means that there is no cropping of the image.
You can preserve the entire field of view of the 16-50mm lens, which is a lifesaver for vlogging because very few wide-angle APS-C mirrorless lenses are available.
The video recording durations on the Z30 are likewise infinite, in contrast to the Z50 and Z FC, and several other models, which only allow for 30 minutes of recording time. We say endless, but in the end, it comes down to the card’s capacity, and Nikon estimates somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 minutes.
Reliable continuous autofocus and facial detection AF are two camera capabilities considered to be among the most significant in vlogging. The 209-point phase/contrast-detection AF featured in the Z30 (also present in the Z FC and the Z50) does not quite live up to the focusing performance and adaptability of the Sony ZV-E10. Still, it is more than excellent enough to follow a self-shooter.
Nikon Z30 Image & Video Quality
Every Nikon APS-C mirrorless camera utilizes the 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor. In addition, as we noted in our evaluations of the Z50 and Z FC, the Z30 will provide you with crisp and colorful images up to an ISO of 6,400 in various shooting conditions. If you wish to minimize the adverse effects of noise, it is recommended that you stay away from ISO 12,800 and 25,600 if at all feasible.
There is a color profile available to suit most people’s preferences. The “Vivid” shape makes colors more noticeable, while the “Flat” profile is best for video shooters who want to maximize the camera’s dynamic range (and who don’t mind color grading after the fact). Flat is the profile that comes the closest to a Log profile and is also most accessible to grade, which is why it is recommended for a camera aimed at beginners like this one.
You can, for instance, have the photo setting set to Vivid and the video setting set to flat, or you can choose an option that gives you “Same as photo settings” for both photo and video color profiles. We like that the camera remembers the setting you last used for photo and video color profiles.
Nikon’s color reproduction is proven and trustworthy when it comes to still images and moving pictures. The influence of autofocus on the white balance is an important consideration that should not be overlooked.
For instance, the Z30 appears to place a greater emphasis on subject identification in terms of its color rendition. It is possible to take a picture of an identical scene and end up with a white balance that is dramatically different depending on whether or not the autofocus has been tracked and is locked onto a person.
The 16-50mm kit lens has a respectable level of sharpness. Still, some of the full-frame Z mirrorless lenses, including the 40mm f/2 and the 28mm f/2.8, are an excellent physical match with the Z30 camera and have an even higher level of sharpness. However, there is a noticeable lack of APS-C lenses, and no prime lens is available. At the risk of repeating myself,
We have to be careful with camera systems that have an unbalanced ratio of cameras to lenses; in this case, it’s three for three, which is cause for concern. More APS-C mirrorless lenses, please, Nikon. Oh, and about vlogging, one that covers a somewhat broader range.
Nikon Z30 Specs
|Body type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||5568 x 3712|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||21 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||22 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 204,800)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal, basic|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (NEF, 12/14-bit)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||209|
|Lens mount||Nikon Z|
|Focal length multiplier||1.5×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual|
|Scene modes||“Autumn ColorsBeach / SnowBlossomCandlelightChildClose-upDusk/DawnFoodLandscapeNight LandscapeNight PortraitParty/IndoorPet PortraitPortraitSportsSunsetSpecial Effect Modes|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleLow-speed continuousHigh-speed continuousSelf-timer|
|Continuous drive||11.0 fps|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11ac + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||EN-EL25 lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||405 g (0.89 lb / 14.29 oz)|
|Dimensions||128 x 74 x 60 mm (5.04 x 2.91 x 2.36″)|
Nikon Z30 Verdict
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Vloggers will find the Nikon Z30 an easy-to-use and straightforward mirrorless camera. Because of the built-in viewfinders, the Nikon Z50 and Z FC, quite comparable cameras, are more suited for photographers. But if you want to take video more than anything else, the Z30 has a lot going for it, including a small body, a touchscreen that can be adjusted to different angles, and a tally lamp.
The Z30 is a capable camera with an impressive 16-50mm kit lens; however, we wish it had a headphone jack and a wider variety of lenses available to choose from.