It might look like a seventies throwback, but on the inside the new Nikon Z F is as modern as it gets. It’s the firm’s first full-frame mirrorless camera to go down the retro route, with previous efforts having stuck to smaller APS-C sensors. Full-frame sensors tend to dominate most mirrorless camera best lists, for their APS-C-beating detail and light-gathering abilities, and the Z F looks set to do the same.
The firm has taken design inspiration from its FM2 film camera, swapping the familiar SLR shape for a rangefinder body and an abundance of manual controls. It’s made from weather-resistant magnesium alloy, instead of the plastic used for the APS-C Nikon Z Fc. The all-black colour scheme gives it a stealthy vibe, or there’s a bunch of brighter, more colourful alternatives if you order directly from Nikon.
ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation all get dedicated dials on the top plate, while a tiny LCD display shows the current aperture setting. A shutter release button and mechanical shutter complete the vintage theme, and even the logo has reverted to the 1970s version.
Around back there’s an EVF viewfinder, vari-angle LCD display that can face forwards for vlogging and selfie duties, a handful of helpful shortcut buttons, and a further customisable command dial.
There’s nothing old school about the internals, which are headlined by Nikon’s 24.5MP full-frame sensor and Expeed 7 image processor. The latter made the Nikon Z9 something of a speed demon, and we’re promised equally rapid 30fps continuous shooting with electronic shutter here.
One full-size SD card slot and a second microSD slot handle storage, which is an interesting combo.
Five-axis in-body image stabilisation is good for eight stops of light correction, and 3D tracking autofocus should keep even the most erratic of subjects locked in the frame. Video modes include 4K, 10-bit recording at 60fps (if you don’t mind a cropped sensor) with subject-tracking AF.
The Z F will be compatible with FX format lenses, although only the 28mm f/2.8 and 40mm f/2 actually match its vintage look – everything else will break the illusion a bit.
It’s available for pre-order now, directly from Nikon, and will go on general sale in October. Expect to pay $2000 / £2299 / €2599 for the body-only, putting it up there with the similarly retro Fujifilm X-T5 and just as compact Sony A7C II.