Gear Photography

Five star! Nikon adds the affordable Z 5 to its mirrorless range

It looks like Nikon’s latest mirrorless body has something for everyone

Nikon has added a new full-frame body to its mirrorless Z Series range – the Z 5. This entry level camera has a 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, an EXPEED 6 processor, an ISO range of 100-51200, expandable to 50-102,400, and it shoots 4K UHD video at up to 30p. 

With a body size and shape that’s virtually identical to the previous Z 6 and Z 7 cameras, the Z 5 should handle very well.

Streamlined and lightweight, but promising weather-sealed build quality and assured handling, it comes bundled with a retractable standard zoom lens in the form of the Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3. Altogether it looks an appealingly mobile and well-featured full-frame body. 

Every camera range needs an entry level model. And Nikon’s Z Series is no different. This camera has been a while coming, but it’s where upgraders and switchers can get a foothold in the Z Series. Comparison is obviously tricky, but imagine the Z 5 to be a bit like the D610, as the Z 6 and Z 7 are to the D780 and D850. The Z 5 is less specialised and defined as sitting below the Z 6 and Z 7, and it offers a more general appeal for enthusiast photographers – but it could also be a nice second body for users of the existing cameras. 

Top plate wise, it’s got the Nikon DNA for sure. Unlike the Z 6 and Z 7, there’s no LCD status screen up there however.

The Z 5 measures 134×100.5×69.5mm, making it almost the same size as the Z 6 and Z 7 – and at 675g with a battery and cards it weighs the same, too. It doesn’t have a top-plate LCD, like its predecessors, but there’s no shortage of inputs with front and rear control dials, as well as lots of customisable buttons on the front and rear. Add to that a large, sculpted handgrip and you’ve got a camera that should handle very well. There’s no built-in flash, but that’s the same as the other full frame cameras in the series.

A large 3.2in touchscreen dominates the rear, but there are plenty of manual inputs, too.

On the rear there’s a 3.2in 1040k-dot tilting touchscreen, and the EVF has a 3690k-dot resolution. Nikon says it’s on a par with the EVFs in the Z 6 and Z 7, and those were very well received, so it’s good news. The Z 5 also features twin SD card slots instead of the single XQD / CFexpress card as on those previous full-frame Z bodies. This’ll be a good thing for some, and it chimes well with the target market who may not want to invest heavily in new cards as well as a new camera. 

Although the Z 5’s video options aren’t quite up there with the Z 6, it’s got a mic port and a headphone out.

The Z 5 doesn’t skimp on AF options, with a 273-point hybrid system offering edge-to-edge coverage and lots of automated tracking modes. These include Nikon’s eye and face-detection AF modes, and it also includes an Animal AF option, picking out the eyes of cats and dogs. There’s also 5-stop in-body Vibration Reduction image stabilisation, which works with both stills and video. Shooting speed is limited to 4.5fps, but as a general purpose or entry level camera, that’s plenty of pace.

The Z 5’s EVF promises to be just as good as those on the Z 6 and Z 7, which is a welcome thing indeed.

As well as the top-line 4K/30p video setting it’s worth noting that this comes with a 1.7x crop. You can get a full sensor view and up to 60p at the 1080 resolution, however. Another plus side sees inputs for a mic and a headphone out. So while it’s not up there with the Z 6 in terms of video, it still provides some good options. 

Like the Z 6 and Z 7, there’s no pop-up flash, so you’ll need to add one, like this SB-500.

The Z 5 is being bundled with a kit lens in the shape of the Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 standard zoom. This is a really tiny and travel friendly model, with a retractable barrel, much like the Z DX 16-50 VR that came with the Nikon Z 50. Retracted, it measures only 51mm and takes 52mm filters, saving even more space in your kit bag. 

The Z 5 will be available in late summer, initially in kit form with the Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens and in another kit with the lens and Nikon FTZ adapter. The SRP is £1719 and £1859 respectively.  

The Z 5 comes with a new battery, the EN-EL15c, which promises improved shooting life, but you can also fit the same MB-N10 battery pack, as is compatible with the Z 6 and Z 7. And it can be run off its USB port.