The Nikon Z30 is an APS-C camera tailor-made for content creation

It doesn't have the best specs for its category, but then again it doesn't need to.

by Justin Choo

The Nikon Z30 doesn’t seem like much, specs-wise, but it certainly checks all the right boxes for those who want a simple camera package that can be used for all manner of content creation, be it photos or videos.

The Z30 has a more traditional mirrorless housing but has a grip you’d associate more with DSLRs. As such, when paired with the basic NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens kit, the Z30 is a compact and versatile camera that’s suitable for a variety of uses, especially vlogging. The body weighs about 350g, and if paired with a small and lightweight lens, you can mount it on a gimbal. Nikon also made an optional wind cover for the built-in stereo microphones that fit on the hot shoe (turns it into a cold shoe).

The Z30 uses a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor that Nikon says is suited for low light conditions. It is rated for a maximum ISO of 51,200 for stills and ISO 25,600 for video, which is still plenty to work with.

As a stills camera, the Z30 offers a 5fps burst with 11fps extended and a shutter speed of up to 1/4000s. For video, it’s capable of up to 4K 30p video and slow-motion 120 fps at Full-HD resolution. However, the Z30 has a hard cap of 125 minutes of recording in Full-HD or 35 minutes in 4K, which is less than ideal but it’s still workable. Alternatively, you can offload the recording to a recorder or use it as a live-streaming camera; both bypass this limitation.

The autofocus supports both eye and animal detection, which helps a lot in keeping the focus on moving subjects. However, there is no in-body stabilisation, and the Z30 relies on either in-lens solutions or electronic stabilisation.

The 3-inch vari-angle articulating touchscreen is a must-have for a camera like this and Z30 duly obliges. On top of that, it has three custom user modes built into the dial (there’s no lock, however), two function buttons in front conveniently located beside the lens mount, and 12 quick access touch screen buttons that you can preset to your liking – all of which makes tweaking a breeze.

This is a camera that is designed for the photographer or videographer who spends time in front of the lens. That’s why there’s an easy-to-set selfie timer; a lamp indicator on the front doubles up as an indicator light for situations like when you are running close to the recording limit.

Other useful tools include slow-motion as mentioned earlier, time-lapse, and an array of 20 real-time filters in Creative Picture Controls.

Ports are also limited to the essentials: one micro-HDMI, one USB 3.2 port that you can use to power the camera for recordings, and one microphone jack for an external microphone.

Aside from buying the body alone, you will have the choice of three bundles: one kit with the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR, one kit with the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR, and one kit with the NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR. Local prices have yet to be announced, though the international price of US$710 for the body places it just shy of $1000 (approx. $988). Why worry about trying to get the best smartphone camera picture you can get?

The other announcement is an interesting prime lens: the NIKKOR Z400mm f/4.5 VR S. Weighing only 1.16kg, it is significantly lighter than what you would expect from a lens of this nature (usually 3-4kg). It still features Super ED and ED glass (extra-low dispersion) and SR lens elements, and yet is well-balanced. Nikon says that the lens was designed for handheld shooting, and touts that it remains sharp even when used with a teleconverter. The optical stabilisation is rated for 5.5 stops and 6 stops with Synchro VR system on the Nikon Z9. The local price has not been announced but if you need a ballpark figure, it has been priced at US$3,295.

Update: The Nikon Z 30 is now available for purchase in Singapore. The Z 30 +  NIKKOR Z 16-50MM VR is priced at $1,309 while the Z 30 NIKKOR Z DX 16-50MM F/3.5-6.3 VR + NIKKOR Z DX 50-250MM F/4.5-6.3 VR is priced at $1,679.

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