Nikon has launched its latest full-frame mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z5, in India. The new camera fills an all-important void between the Nikon Z6 and the Nikon Z50, and brings an entry-level full frame camera into the Indian camera market. This can be crucial in terms of price as well as features on offer – while the Nikon Z50 proved to be an excellent semi-professional camera in the mirrorless APS-C segment, camera buyers looking for a full frame offering only had the Nikon Z6 as the next option from the company, which costs more than twice that of the Z6. Now, the Nikon Z5 enters India with a body-only price tag of Rs 1,13,995, which makes it sit squarely between the Nikon Z6 (Rs 1,56,450 body only) and the Z50 (Rs 72,995 body only).
The new camera employs an all-new full frame sensor design in Nikon’s larger Z-mount family of cameras. It also differs from the flagship Z6 and Z7 in terms of certain key features such as peak video performance and burst shooting speed. On this note, here’s looking at how the new Nikon Z5 fares in comparison with the Nikon Z6 and Z50, at least on paper.
The Nikon Z5 features a new, 24.3-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor that is not a backlit unit. It offers effective resolution output of 24.3 megapixels, in comparison to the Z6’s 24.5-megapixel full frame backlit CMOS sensor. The Nikon Z50, on the other hand, features a 20.9-megapixel back-illuminated APS-C CMOS sensor. What’s important to note here is the lack of back illumination on the Z5’s sensor – an aspect that can be a cause of concern in smaller sensors. However, since the Z5 deploys a full frame sensor, it remains to be seen how this one fares in the real world.
In our review of the Nikon Z6, we had noted the excellent dynamic range and colour accuracy performance of the camera, which also reflected in brilliant in-camera JPEG conversions. The Nikon Z50, which we also reviewed, showed many similar characteristics as the Z6, for which we hailed it as a great offering in comparison to its bigger, more expensive brethren. Expectations, naturally, would be high from the Nikon Z5 as well, which now remains to be tried out in person.
It is here that the Nikon Z5 seems to lag behind, with peak continuous shooting rate of 4.5fps. This seems peculiar, since the Nikon Z5 also employs the same, Expeed 6 new generation image processor. The reason for this, of course, can be directly linked with low buffer memory bandwidth, but marks a slightly perplexing decision, since full-frame cameras typically offer better performance. This, though, goes on to show Nikon’s positioning of the Z5 – not as a professional’s second unit, rather an enthusiast’s first full frame camera. In comparison, the Nikon Z50 offers 11fps continuous shooting, and the Z6 peaks at 12fps.
Thankfully, the Nikon Z5 comes with the same hybrid autofocus unit of the Nikon Z6, which we also found to be particularly brilliant in our review. The Nikon Z50, on this note, showed a few minor inconsistencies, but with the Z5, you can expect reliable and smooth AF tracking – something that makes us wonder more why the Nikon Z5 does not get faster continuous shooting ability.
The Nikon Z5’s video performance is capped at 4K 30p, which is also what both the Nikon Z6 and Z50 offer. However, the Nikon Z5 can only shoot 1080p full HD videos at 60p, while both the Z6 and Z50 offer 120fps full HD video shooting – something that would have marked particularly well for slow motion enthusiasts. The Z5’s 4K video capture is also done at a sensor crop of 1.7x, which is far from ideal since framing would particularly become an issue. That said, it’s interesting to note that Nikon Z6’s video performance, with its DX crop region, led to fantastic, oversampled 4K video recording, and the Z5 will hopefully deliver similar results. The Nikon Z50’s 4K video recording features sensor crop of 1.5x, and on comparative terms, the Nikon Z5 will most likely offer better off-the-bat video quality, even with its significant sensor crop.
Design and other features
The Nikon Z5 essentially looks like a slightly larger Z50, without the quick-view LCD plate on top that the Z6 comes with. Apart from that, its rear button arrangement is literally the same as that of the Nikon Z6, which separates it from the more simplistic but touchscreen-reliant user interface of the Z50. That said, the Z5 makes a slight compromise with a lower resolution LCD display, and instead of the single XQD card slot of the Z6, the Z5 features two UHS-II SD card slots. Impressively, the Nikon Z5 adds constant USB charging to the camera, which can be particularly useful for long duration time lapse shooting.
The Nikon Z5 can be purchased body only, as well as in three kits. The first of the kits features Nikon’s new Z-mount lens, which has also been launched alongside the camera. The new lens, Z 24-50mm f/4.6.3, is priced at Rs 39,995. Apart from the lens, here are the prices of the new Nikon Z5:
Body only: Rs 1,13,995
With Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3: Rs 1,36,995
With Z 24-70mm f/4S: Rs 1,58,995
With Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3: Rs 1,71,995