Nikon Nikon Z fc Talk

dermaus

Regular
Location
Pacific Northwest
Real Name
Jeff
Matt, when did you order your Z fc/28 kit? I pre-ordered a day after announcement, June 29, and then received the delay notice from Nikon July 27. I'm in the US; I wonder if European pre-orders received priority.

A couple of observations after my inital exploration and use of the Z fc with 28mm SE:
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Matt, when did you order your Z fc/28 kit? I pre-ordered a day after announcement, June 29, and then received the delay notice from Nikon July 27. I'm in the US; I wonder if European pre-orders received priority.
I ordered a couple of days after the announcement - probably July 3 or so. I suspected from the get-go that the different markets were handled independently - and I seem to have been right, at least in part: As I said, I got lucky - the kit I now own is the only one to reach my dealer (out of ten or so they pre-ordered - of which seven were already reserved for customers). So, the delay is a global one, but Nikon try to honour at least a few pre-orders, it seems.

M.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
A little addendum regarding the Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE): Yesterday, I took the lens out on the Z 6 to check how well it fared on FX/full frame. And I think it did very well - it's a well-behaved lens, with good sharpness (not as bitingly sharp as other Z lenses, but good - better than the non-S zooms, at any rate), very nice transitions, good bokeh. Its only visible vice is moderate pincushion distortion (yes, not barrel!) at close focusing distances; it's easy to correct, but obviously, the Z 6 doesn't yet support the lens or recognises its profile. It's not really an issue - but it's there. I find the performance very respectable for a small, affordable lens like this! I actually wouldn't hesitate to recommend the lens as a general purpose 28mm.

But something else was less satisfying - or at least unexpected: I was hoping for a notable difference in handling since it's obviously much smaller than other Z primes; in practice, I found it didn't make a decisive difference on the Z 6 - of course, you can put the combo into smaller bags, but in the hand, the 28mm SE doesn't make the Z 6 feel praticularily light or small. Now, please don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the Z 6 is a substantial camera for its size and class; after all, you get all the benefits the great build quality entails. I just expected the small lens to make more of an impact on the feel of the combo in the hand - but it didn't. To be honest, I actually prefer the bigger Z 35mm f/1.8 S on the Z 6. The 28mm SE works great on the Z fc for which it appears an ideal fit - and it's a viable option for the Z 6, just don't expect it to transform the experience.

Still, looking forward to the 40mm f/2 - because that's a better focal length for the way I see. And it *was* nice to be able to put the Z 6 into my small daily bag (and to know that I could do the same thing with the Z 7 II). That said, I still find the Z fc better for that purpose as well - and it's definitely more fun to use than then Z 50, too, and I still like that camera, too.

All in all, all this makes me even happier that I decided to get the Z fc.

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
I just got an email from the local camera store. They were on the phone with Nikon this morning. Appears Nikon is not just backed up on the Zfc, but on a lot of items.
They are trying to clear the pre orders as quickly as possible as they see the holiday season looming closer and closer and know they need to gear up for that.

oddly, the Z50 is now getting harder to get. The Zfc are coming and it looks like it might be early September for mine. Hey, it’s a nice to have and not a necessity, so I just keep telling myself to be patient.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
It's the same across the board; electronics and everything related are really hard to come by. I was browsing the web for small desktops (ultra slim form factor - for a colleague, not myself) - hardly anything is in stock, a lot of stuff is delayed for up to half a year! Crazy ...

Anyhow, I'm not trying to brag or gloat when I'm telling you that the Z fc is growing on me rather quickly - it's a very nice camera in use, and it delivers. Sure, it has its foibles (which it mostly shares with the Z 50, btw.), but it's an overall solid performer. You'll enjoy yours, Andrew. Just give yourself some time to figure out how it works best for you - I think it deserves its own set of routines. It's a true hybrid in terms of handling - you can treat it like any Z body (with the two modern control wheels) or use the dedicated controls - or mix paradigms (that's what I'm doing). After some regular use, I find that as long as you don't actually compare the Z fc with the FE directly, it's a sufficiently substantial camera, not at all flimsy (I was feeling a bit unnerved at the start because it felt "too light" in comparison, but that feeling's gone).

For me personally, the 28mm kit hits the spot; I haven't felt any reason to reach for my Fujifilm kit since the arrival of the Z fc - and the Z 50 had already taken over some of the use cases for that system anyway. I'm only a couple of lenses away from being entirely happy with the Z system, and the most important one is already on the horizon: the 40mm f/2 - a lens I can see myself using on the Z fc as well. Good times for Nikonites ... patient ones, anyway.

M.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
I’m curious. Aside from the aesthetics, how is the Zfc different from the z50?
It has ...
  • ... the flip screen with an updated, better panel; best of all, you can tuck it away - or you can use it at many more angles than any screen in the Z series so far (though I've read the upcoming Z 9 will top it all, and then some); I don't much care about the selfie thing, but that's also easier - and it's definitely the best vlogging device in the Z series so far (not that I am a vlogger ...);
  • ... more dedicated, but less customisable buttons; reviewing your images is now a two-handed affair, like it is on the FX bodies;
  • ... the newest AF features, as first seen in the Z 6 II and Z 7 II; frankly, I'm a single-point guy, so I rarely use all that, but tracking is clearly more confident than on the Z 50;
  • ... USB-C charging, and USB-C powered operation while charging; together with other features, it gives the little camera a whole lot of stamina if you care to carry a power bank;
  • ... an overhauled menu; the differences aren't huge, though, but there are new features and possibilities to set things up.
However, what I find more interesting is that the camera allows you do set it up in a known, *mostly visible* state before you switch it on; if you remember the aperture you last set it on, you can control it fully, you know exactly where you're going to be once you switch it on. Sunny 16 is possible, but so is quick street shooting (the camera powers on very quickly for a mirrorless - it's as good as the Z 6 in that respect). I find it an intuitive, fluid camera to work with, but also one that invites you to think while you're shooting. In other words, my kind of camera, quick, unobstrusive, unassuming in spite of its looks - and really nice to use.

Negatives so far include the shutter - it's noisier than the Z 50's (no doubt because of body shape; it's the same unit) - and a tendency to miss focus when I'm trying to focus on small details; that said, the pinpoint AF usually solves that, and AF/MF implementation is really good, especially if you use magnification - this camera has a dedicated button for that that is easy to reach, and I have also set up the video button to do 1:1 ... Besides, the AF thing isn't an issue that's unique to the Z fc, on the contrary, most AF cameras have it; I'd just like it not to be there - that's what working with a rangefinder does to you, I guess (you can focus *specifically* on small details, very accurately - if you take your time; oh, wait ...).

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
For those interested in a Z fc grip, Smallrig has theirs for pre order, shipping Sept 6 for $34
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
For those interested in a Z fc grip, Smallrig has theirs for pre order, shipping Sept 6 for $34
Not sure if I order yet, but these sure are nicely made and well thought-out (I own a couple); thanks for the heads-up!

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
Not sure if I order yet, but these sure are nicely made and well thought-out (I own a couple); thanks for the heads-up!

M.

I did pre order. Not even really for the grip, but for protecting the bottom plate. My Df and my Oly EM5.2 all suffered from some “brassing” on the bottom plate because of how I carry the cameras on the Black Rapid strap. The bottom plates run against my belt or coat and over time rubbed some paint off.

I generally don’t baby my gear, but at the same time I see no need to allow this kind of wear to occur if it can be prevented.

I got the small rig l plate for my Z6. It makes the setup heavier, but I really like how well thought out the plate is and the extra room at the bottom it gives me for my pinkie finger.

I’m not holding my breathe, the camera stores message was that my camera was in, but hoping that means that they got the kit with the 28mm lens. No big deal if they didn’t, but the 28mm prime is the last Z prime I was really excited about. That will give me the 28,35,50.

I just woke from an excellent nights sleep, but still have 3 hours left before the store opens.
 
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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
The Z fc is now officially my "favourite" camera - considering the fact that I reach for it (instead of the Z 50) when unthinkingly picking a camera for my EDC bag. However, I think that this is just as much thanks to the lens - the 28mm SE is a very nice performer and very, very versatile, mostly due to the fact that it's equally good at close and far distances, and I also do like the rendering.

That said, I'd be in hog heaven if this was a 24mm lens ... I'll sell the X-E3 without a second thought if such a lens ever becomes available. I'm thinking about reaching out to Nikon to contemplate a 24mm f/2.8 - heck, I'd even buy a f/3.5 lens if it was the same size as the 28mm SE and had a 15cm (0.5ft.) MFD ... The 16-50mm can be used at 22.5mm at f/4 and performs well at that setting, but its MFD is 30cm ... and its bokeh is just acceptable (not a bad performance, but nothing that'd make me long for it).

As for the camera, the "hollowness" some have pointed out and that I initially also noticed has sort of evaporated - it's nothing more than an impression; the camera feels well made and sufficiently hefty - with two caveats: The bottom plate is plastic and feels less sturdy than the rest of the body (@gryphon1911 I think you're onto something by protecting it), and the "leatherette" simply isn't - it's just structured plastic. But that's it for gripes - I've quickly found ways to make handling straightforward, so much so that I'm thinking about setting up my Z 50 the same way, forgoing the User (U) settings - in fact, I could do so without losing those, so it's likely I'll try that anyway.

I've rarely found a camera/lens setup that worked so well for me - it reminds me of two blissful years with the Olympus E-PM1 and Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, but with much, much better system performance in every way.

I'll do a couple of comparisons (handling, not IQ) next week, most notably with the Fujifilm X-E3 and 23mm f/2 and the Z 50 with 16-50mm (the latter's just to check if the handling paradigm can be replicated). But I think that as long as the weather allows for it, there won't be a single day I'll not take the Z fc with me.

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
I was giving some thought to the leatherette versus the structured plastic. Given that we have 3-4 months over very hot and humid weather here, I had some issues with the rubberized panels on my Df and with the rubberized thumb pad on my PEN-F.

both lost their adhesive and I had to have them repaired.

there should be no such issue with the Zfc because it is an all plastic panel. In a way, I do like that. One less thing for me to have to worry about.

I did get a chance to go out today and shoot with the Zfc and 16-50. That lens balances well, and there was sufficient sun today that I took most my shots at f/8. I’ve not had a chance to get them off camera yet, so I still need to scrutinize over them.

I will say that I took to the control scheme rather quickly into using it, and this is my first full day of use. I think there is something to be said about a well thought out control scheme and I think Nikon had a winner in the old FM bodies and I think they have a great one here in the Zfc.

as much as I love the Fuji x100v, I’ve not really been using it and it might be the next camera to go, along with the WCL and TCL. I have the XPRO-2 and primes if I want that Fuji feeling and if I want small,pocketable I can put the Panasonic 20/1.7 onto the EM5.2 and have that.

another thing I noticed today is that the Zfc feels like I could use it like I do the Z6 and then hit the “retro” vibe without missing a beat. When I use the XPRO2, it feels the opposite. Like it was just meant to be used retro and I would have a more difficult time trying to use it like a DSLR type shooter. What I’m trying to say is that I would find the transition of controlling the XPRO2 like a modern DSLR more jarring and would take more time to get used to. Not sure why that is. Could be psychological. I just immediately associate the Fuji with old school manual controls where as I don’t see the Zfc like that.

I found the viewfinder better than expected as well. I like that they put the EVF sensor underneath the EVF and not to the side. I find that I do not get those weird “false negatives” where the camera thinks that the viewfinder is not up to my eye. I used to get those a lot with the Fuji XE series cameras. It was those bodies that had me get into the habit of wearing a hat when I shoot with the cameras now.
Might be able to rethink that need now.
 
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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Well, well, well. That was highly instructive: I took out the X-E3 alongside the Z fc today - and things turned out rather unexpected.

First and foremost, while Fuji has played the vintage game for a while now, Nikon has done a great job - I personally find handling the Z fc at least as satisfying as the X-E3, and I enjoy shooting with it more. The Z fc does a couple of things much better than the X-E3 (I'm aware that this is a last-generation camera - newer Fujifilm cameras may do better): It's quicker in most respects, and more straightforward whenever you need to adjust settings. The EVF is miles ahead of the X-E3's smaller and (something I hadn't noticed before) rather dim and overly contrasty unit. All things considered, shooting with the Z fc feels more natural, faster, less restricted by the behaviour of the camera - more confidence-enspiring, less cluttered. This surprised me quite a bit - because on paper, the X-E3 has a control scheme that should suit me better, but this doesn't bear out in use. The two cameras are different enough to make a direct comparison somewhat tricky, but I clearly preferred the Z fc over the X-E3 this time around. I dare say that the Z fc, while clearly a mid-range camera (maybe even entry-level in some respects), performs just as reliably and fluidly as its more ambitious FX stable mates - something that the Z 50 does almost as well, yet the Z fc is a tad swifter still. The X-E3 is a good performer - but no match for this kind of high-octane responsiveness.

The X-E3 shines at one thing - albeit an important one: The images you can get from its (older!) sensor are really, really appealing; I find Fujifilm's colour science way better than Nikon's. This doesn't mean that with some work, I couldn't get similar results - but if attractive images are required with minimal work, the files from the X-E3 are (for me at least) a clearly more desirable starting point. That said, you mostly see the differences if you evaluate similar images side by side - when all I have are files from the Z fc, I am happy enough with them and can get pleasing results with acceptable effort; and high ISO shots from the Z fc (and Z 50) are basically better from ISO 1600 onwards. However, considering once more the fact that the X-E3 is a couple of years old already and newer Fujifilm cameras will beat *it* in most respects (maybe except high ISO capability, though), the advantage of having access to such gorgeous files is considerable.

The comparison of the two lenses I took - the 28mm SE and the 23mm f/2 - was very interesting and somewhat revealing as well. Long story short: The 28mm holds its own against Fujifilm's venerable 23mm; what's more, it's clearly better at closer distances, at any aperture - sharper, with less aberrations. At medium to far distances, the quality difference is negligible, though, and by f/5.6, the Fujifilm performs as well as ever. Its biggest weakness is the wide-open performance near its minimum focus distance - the Nikon dominates that contest with ease, while allowing me to get even closer. I still find framing with the 23mm easier (I'm a 35mm FoV guy), but the slightly narrower perspective of the 42mm-e is very useful, too - and this obviously is a matter of taste and shooting opportunity. All in all, what Nikon has delivered optically is extremely impressive; obviously, when it comes to build quality, the Fujifilm lens remains clearly superior in every respect, and as the incurable traditionalist that I am, I prefer its physical aperture ring. That said, the 28mm gives Fujifilms 27mm f/2.8 a run for its money - yes, that lens is smaller, but its AF motor is less confident and clearly noisier, and while no slouch, it can't compete optically. So, while I still see the 23mm's distinctive, if diminishing value, the 27mm f/2.8's size remains its only real asset ...

Where does this leave me? Well, depending on how the market develops - especially as far as third-party lenses for the Z mount are concerned -, I can see myself selling the X-E3 sooner rather than later. I have thought about this for a long time already; in spite of the many good points of the camera and the mature system it belongs to, I don't think I would miss it (much) - and that is true now; it may get even more obvious once a couple more small primes for the Z fc become available. I have been looking into the Viltrox f/1.4 lenses, but am not quite sure I want to go there - from what I can see, they're good, but clearly not as good as Fujifilm's offerings - and those are beaten by the rather pedestrian 28mm SE already in many respects ...

Maybe I should take a page out of Andrew's book and try the Z 35mm f/1.8 S ... that lens works wonderfully on the Z 50, anyway, so I know what to expext (at the very least!).

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
So, I intended to take the Zfc to the Zoo today and did. I get there, fully intending to see how it would work with the FTZ and Nikon 70-300 AF-P.

stupid me forgot to update the FTZ firmware from 1.00 to 1.10. Get message on Zfc screen that I can’t use the adapter until I updated the firmware. Thankfully, I brought the Z6 with me and used it for the long shots.

the other reason I brought the Z6 was due to the lack of spare batteries for the Zfc. Didn’t want to get out there and run out of battery.

I hear there may be more coming later this month or October.

I will say that the battery has been great, and I’ve charged it once since getting the camera and it still is showing full. I guesstimate I’ve taken probably 300-350 shots with it. Impressive.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
So, I intended to take the Zfc to the Zoo today and did. I get there, fully intending to see how it would work with the FTZ and Nikon 70-300 AF-P.

stupid me forgot to update the FTZ firmware from 1.00 to 1.10. Get message on Zfc screen that I can’t use the adapter until I updated the firmware. Thankfully, I brought the Z6 with me and used it for the long shots.

the other reason I brought the Z6 was due to the lack of spare batteries for the Zfc. Didn’t want to get out there and run out of battery.

I hear there may be more coming later this month or October.

I will say that the battery has been great, and I’ve charged it once since getting the camera and it still is showing full. I guesstimate I’ve taken probably 300-350 shots with it. Impressive.
Two things:

I've used the 70-300mm AF-P (FX) on the Z 50 - and I loved the shots as well as the handling, but am not sure how the Z fc will behave because it's such a differently shaped body; the results should be nice, though, and you can always basically support the FTZ or the lens while shooting (you'd do that anyway, so, no problem at all).

And as for the battery, while I own three (one in the Z 50, one in the Z fc, one spare), I've never had any real issues with battery life so far; you estimate sounds about right - though it pays to keep an eye on the gauge; the first time around, I literally forgot about charging the Z 50's battery and ended up worrying during an hour or so of photowalking - but I needn't have, it stayed alive (though I saw the symbol blinking red a couple of times). No shots lost, clocked up several hundered shots over the course of more than two weeks ... Can't complain about that, I guess. That said, the Z 6's battery life is even more impressive, and so, it seems, is the Z 7 II's ... it's almost uncanny, feels close to DSLR performance (I know it isn't, but I really won't bother any more).

M.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
I have some handling concerns with the bigger lenses on the Zfc, but I have the Smallrig grip coming so think that will eliminate that risk. Should start shipping this week sometime, which is exciting.
 
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