Nikon Z F Review

I was set loose with the full-frame Nikon Z f camera with a NIKKOR Z 40mm lens earlier this year. I took the opportunity to spend a week exploring cities around the south-west of England and Wales, trying out the Nikon Z f on the streets of Bristol, Cardiff, and Bath. Although the weather was firmly against us for a lot of the week, I took the camera out and got a good grasp of its features. 

Did I want to give it back? No. By the end of the week, I wanted to keep it, and I think you would absolutely agree with me.

Bath, taken on Nikon Z f 1/500 seconds, ISO 160, f/4

Bath, 1/500 seconds, ISO 160, f/4

Black and White is a Dream to Shoot

The Nikon Z f’s dedicated black and white mode was a dream to use, allowing you to quickly switch in and out of the mode and capture images in the style best suited to that situation. If you are like me and have a special place in your heart for a nice black-and-white photo, you might find yourself shooting in primarily black and white when using this camera. The camera makes it so easy to access the black and white profile with a simple flick of a switch, no need to search through a long menu with hidden sub-menus. This fast transition was perfect for those moments when I wanted to switch between them. There is a beautiful amount of contrast with black and white architectural photography, but I will admit that there are moments when a burst of colour brings life into a city. 

Shooting in RAW will allow you to switch between black/white and colour later in post-production, while the JPEG format will have a set colour profile. There is still something about visualising the final image in the camera, so I would recommend switching between the two image profiles while shooting with the camera. Several photos I took with the Nikon Z f suited black and white over colour and being able to see that in the camera helped pull the composition together in camera.

    • Bath, taken on Nikon Z f 1/500 seconds, ISO 320, f/8
    • Bath, taken on Nikon Z f 1/500 seconds, ISO 320, f/8
  • Bath, 1/500 seconds, ISO 320, f/8
    • Bath, 1/500 seconds, ISO 320, f/8

Classic Film Aesthetic

Even though it’s digital there is undoubtedly a classic film feel to the camera body. It provides you with an analogue camera's tactile moments and sensations while capturing amazingly detailed digital images. The classic film aesthetic subconsciously made me treat the Nikon Z f more like a film camera than a digital camera. It made me want to slow down and consider things like the composition and exposure and resulted in me taking far more intentional images.

Bath, taken on Nikon Z f 1/1000 Seconds, ISO 400, f/3.5Bath, 1/1000 Seconds, ISO 400, f/3.5

Glide Through The Camera Settings

The dials located on the top of the camera provide you with an incredibly tactile experience. The dials are easy to feel your way around, after a few moments of getting used to the camera I was able to make quick adjustments without looking away from the shot. I would suggest standing still while doing this, stepping into unmentionable material is not advised. I’m still not entirely sure what was stuck to my shoe and I’d honestly rather not think about it. But being able to glide through the settings and get some beautifully detailed images did help to take my mind off it afterwards.

Top view of Nikon Z f Body

Nikon Z f Camera Body

Keep up with Demanding Situations

The Nikon Z f has been designed with an EXPEED 7 processor, and a 24.5MP CMOS sensor, and features 273 AF focus points with 3D tracking, allowing it to keep up with a faster shooting style. It gives you the option to shoot at your own pace safe in the knowledge that the Zf will easily keep up with any demanding situation. As anyone who shoots street photography regularly will tell you, there could be anything around the corner. Being ready to grab a quick photo is a combination of your quick observation skills and how responsive your camera can be at a moment's notice. 

    • Bristol, taken on Nikon Z f 1/500 Seconds, ISO 500, f/6.3
    • Cardiff, Taken on Nikon Z f 1/2000 Seconds, ISO 640, f/4

Bristol, 1/500 Seconds, ISO 500, f/6.3                                                                                                Cardiff, 1/2000 Seconds, ISO 640, f/4

Well-Balanced Camera Body 

The Nikon Z f is dust and drip-resistant allowing you to capture an incredible amount of crisp, clear detail, even on days with less than favourable weather conditions. I used the Nikon Z f as a hand-held camera for the entire week, weighing 710g the camera was easy to handle and manoeuvre in my hands. Heavier than its crop sensor Nikon Z fc counterpart, the added weight and magnesium alloy body provided a much more stable shooting experience thanks to its well-balanced camera body. However, the camera did become more noticeable while I had it hanging around my neck.

Bristol, Taken on Nikon Z f 1/60 Seconds, ISO 320, f/5Bristol, 1/60 Seconds, ISO 320, f/5

Crisp, Clear Detail 

An impressive 8-stop 5-axis VR system allows you to take amazing photos even in duller light situations, the vibration reduction helps to limit the effect of handshake that might occur at slower shutter speeds. The Nikon Zf was able to keep up with me as I darted in out of different markets and dimly lit streets. The ISO range of 100-64000, allows you to push the sensor with very little noise being introduced into the image thanks to its EXPEED 7 processor

Bath, taken on 1/500 Seconds, ISO 800, f/2Bath, 1/500 Seconds, ISO 800, f/2

Impressive Video Capabilities

I did not get a chance to test out the Nikon Z f’s video capabilities, however, this camera can really be called a workhorse of a camera body with the ability to record 10-bit H.265 video as well as slow-motion FHD at up to 120p. I have to ask myself is there nothing this camera can’t do? The Nikon Z F is a fantastic option for content creators and filmmakers who often find themselves switching between video and photography formats.

Bristol, takn on Nikon Z f 1/1000 Seconds, ISO 200, f/2Bristol, 1/1000 Seconds, ISO 200, f/2

Fantastic Battery Life

I was pleasantly surprised by the battery life of the Nikon Zf. I was able to get an entire day and a half of shooting on one battery before I had to charge the camera. I used the USB-C charging cable to charge the camera and it was charged and ready to go in the time it took me to sit down with a coffee. I was quite glad to sit in a warm coffee shop for a few moments and go through a few of the photos I’d previously taken, especially with the dramatic downpour drenching the street outside. 

Cardiff, taken on Nikon Z f 1/250 Seconds, ISO 100, f/3.5Cardiff, 1/250 Seconds, ISO 100, f/3.5

Dual SD Card Slot

The Nikon Z f has a dual SD card slot, allowing you to use a MicroSD memory card or a standard SD Memory Card. If you prefer using your mobile to edit your photos when you are travelling, having the option to use a MicroSD card allows you to import and edit uncompressed images straight on your mobile device. The images can be transferred to your device via a USB-C cable, however, I found this seemed to drain my mobile very quickly. This was easily rectified thanks to my portable power bank, but there was a slight moment of panic when I realised my train tickets were on my (now dead) phone.

Bristol, taken on Nikon Z f, 1/4000 Seconds, ISO 800, f/2Bristol, 1/4000 Seconds, ISO 800, f/2

Fall in Love with Photography Again

The Nikon Z F’s capabilities and aesthetic fit so well into my own way of shooting that I genuinely felt a little sad when I had to give the camera back. It perfectly blends the tactile feel of analogue and film with the outstanding quality of a modern full-frame mirrorless camera. It is undeniable that the camera is built for people in love with the process and adventure of photography and content creation. Whatever, whenever and wherever the Nikon Z f camera captures stunning images that make you want to quit your 9-5 and run off and go exploring for a week (or longer). 

I had so much fun and joy while using the camera, the feel, the sounds and the final results all blended together and just seemed to cocoon around me. While all the big problems in the world faded away into the background, it was just me and my camera standing on a street in a city taking a photo.

Convinced yet?

Dive deeper into the Nikon Z f Camera body >

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  • By Emma Lawson
  • 19 Apr 2024

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