Nikon Entices Creators with the Z30 Mirrorless Camera

06/29/2022Link19

Joining the vlogging party, Nikon has just announced the Z30 mirrorless camera: a decidedly compact and connected camera built for creators looking to record and share their everyday adventures. This DX-format cam borrows specs and capabilities from other Z cameras, including their renowned image quality and advanced autofocus performance, but sports an all-new design and purpose-built handling that prioritizes video and single-shooter productions. 

In addition to today’s Z30 camera announcement, Nikon is also releasing the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens, a compact super-telephoto prime lens perfect for wildlife and sports shooting. Learn more about that lens here.

Z30 Mirrorless Camera

Z30 Mirrorless Camera

Z30 Video Performance

Specifically designed for video content creators, the Z30’s video capabilities are impressive, considering the intended uses for the camera, namely online sharing and livestreaming. UHD 4K recording at up to 30p is the top spec recording format, along with Full HD at 120p for slow-motion playback. The recording limit is more than 2 hours for those situations where a long continuous take is required, such as when recording performances or events. If using the camera as a webcam, then FHD at up to 60p is possible, or 4K at 30p, and constant power delivery is available through the USB Type-C port.

Image Quality

Akin to Nikon’s other DX-format mirrorless bodies, the Z30 sports a 20.8MP sensor, which suits 4K video recording, as well as benefiting any day-to-day photo needs you have, including shooting your promo shots, thumbnails, or even for photographing fast-moving action at up to 11 fps. The large sensor size helps produce imagery with a high degree of clarity and can create blurred backgrounds to highlight your main subject. The sensor and image processing also enable useful low-light performance, with sensitivity up to ISO 25600 for video, or up to ISO 51200 for stills, and digital image stabilization, e-VR, also permits recording in low light by stabilizing any wobbly footage. Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that the Z30 can record time-lapse sequences with in-camera processing and there is a series of in-camera effects and filters for producing ready-to-share footage straight from the camera.

Autofocus and Subject Detection

A key addition to Nikon’s mirrorless lineup, the Z30 inherits many of the AF capabilities of its big brothers, most importantly the eye  and face detection that automatically recognize people, dogs, and cats, locks onto them, and then tracks the subject around the scene. For vlogging situations when you’re highlighting a product, there is also Auto Area AF that quickly and naturally shifts focus for close-up shots in the middle of recording.

Vlogging Design

As mentioned above, some of the real standout features of the Z30 relate to its design and how it has been specifically updated to match the needs of a vlogger. The body is compact and weighs just over 12 oz, meaning the camera can travel with you all day, every day, and it features a rear 3.0" 10.4m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD that closes against the body to protect against fingerprints or scratches. This vari-angle design also means that front-facing selfie shooting is natural and a series of selfie controls, like AF position, exposure, and self-timer settings, can also be managed from the touchscreen. There is also a red tally lamp on the front of the camera, so you’ll always know when it’s recording.

Another key ingredient to a successful video is good audio, and the Z30 is cognizant of this with the inclusion of a built-in stereo mic on the top of the camera, along with support for optional 3.5mm-connected external microphones. The top mic is also compatible with the dedicated Wind Muff to cut down on unwanted wind noise.

Among other physical details, the Z30 is also meant to be easy and intuitive to operate. You can customize the i menu to make the settings you need accessible at the touch of a button. There’s also an Auto Mode if you prefer to let the camera make the decisions for you, depending on your shooting situation. And if you’re trying to just become more familiar with all the functions and features, there’s also a ? button that provides a short explanation of what each camera setting does.

Lastly, as a connected camera, the Z30’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity pairs with the Snapbridge app on your mobile device for transferring footage and photos or for remotely controlling the camera. And for saving files in-camera, the Z30 features a single SD memory card slot.

Kits and Accessories

The Z30 is available as just the camera or can be bundled in a one-lens kit with the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, or in a two-lens kit, including the body, 16-50mm lens, and the NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens.

Nikon is also releasing the Creator’s Accessory Kit for the Z30, which includes the RØDE VideMicro external microphone, the dedicated SmallRig Tripod Grip, and the Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth Remote, which fits into the tripod grip for wireless and balanced camera control.

Creator’s Accessory Kit

Creator’s Accessory Kit

Additionally, SmallRig is also releasing a trio of additional accessories for the Z30: a dedicated Arca-compatible Baseplate; a form-fitting Cage, which features ¼"-20 and 3/8"-16 mounts plus an Arca-compatible plate; and a Wind Muff to help improve onboard audio quality while preserving the accessory shoe design.

What are your thoughts on Nikon’s latest mirrorless camera and its first vlogging-specific camera? Are you happy to see Nikon enter the content-creator realm with a purpose-built model? Let us know your thoughts on the Z30 and vlogging cameras in general in the Comments section, below.

Comments

19 Comments

Z30 overheats and shuts down in about 30 minutes, not 125 minutes, when shooting 4K or HD/120. I just got shut down at 33 minutes shooting 4K/30 in an air conditioned studio with my brand-new Z30.

Page 593 of the manual actually confirms this: High Quality (video) "Approx. 28 min".

Really bummed out by this! Longer running time is one of the reasons I bought the camera.

Does it have a record time limit? Can you power it with plug or external batter? Does it overheat - How long can you continuously record?

 

Nikon lists the recording limit as 125 minutes, but recording times may be shorter depending on memory, battery life, or heat. There's always a chance for a camera to overheat depending on the situation in which you're recording, but 125 minutes sounds like the realistic limit with this camera. And you can power the camera via the USB Type-C port; you'll need to use a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable for this (a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable, for example, won't work for powering the camera).

No - shooting 4K the camera overheats and shuts down much quicker. This is documented in the Nikon manual (on p. 593), which says the limit is Approx. 28 minutes. I was able to go 33 minutes max before getting shut down with the overheat warning. It shut down sooner shooting outside in the sun. The good news is that the camera saved my footage up to the point where it started flashing the warning.

Good point; the 125-minute recording limit that Nikon specifies seems to apply to Full HD recording and is a hard imposed limit, whereas the manual gives 28 min for 4K and 141 min for FHD figures as approximate limits depending on shooting conditions and card type.

Isn't ZV E10 better in every way? Maybe for $600 with kit will be reasonable.

The two cameras are very comparable to one another and, unless there's some Sony or Nikon-specific feature you care a lot about, it really depends on which system, physical design, and interface design you feel most comfortable with. If you already have a Z7 or Z6 or Z9 or something and want a smaller "everyday carry" type of camera, this would be a good option to keep within the Z system of lenses. If you're starting from scratch and deciding between Sony and Nikon, it ends up being a personal preference type of comparison and weighing the attributes that are more valuable to what you're looking for in camera system.

The Z mount lens selection is pretty limited. Their DX zooms are all plastic and mostly f/6.3 at the long end and their full frame glass is so expensive. $600 for a nifty 50mm f/1.8? No 70-300mm for budget-minded sports shooters. No 70-200mm f/4. No Sigma trio yet. The 28mm and 40mm are full frame budget primes, that's about it. Really discouraging otherwise.

It's definitely a growing system at the moment, and there are some holes in regard to higher end DX lenses for sure. The Z30, Z50, and Zfc would all certainly be benefitted by some wider DX-specific zooms or primes, and hopefully they'll come in time since it looks like Nikon is committed to the DX-format cameras. The current 50mm f/1.8 is in a pretty different class than the past "nifty fifties" that were more known for being bargain lenses than something optically impressive; this Z 50mm f/1.8 is part of the higher tier S-Series and is one of Nikon's best 50mm lenses of all time. All that said, you're right- there's a lot of room for the Z system to grow, but it's still a relatively new system and their roadmap points to a lot more lenses coming over time.

The Nikon Z30 does not appear to have a built-in flash, which would be convenient in trying to keep this new camera compact and lightweight. Adding an external flash defeats that purpose. Is this camera/video designed not need a flash, except in relatively dark situations? I do not see any discussions about the flash or no flash.

Since the camera is more aimed at those working primarily with video and occasionally shooting stills, I think the lack of built-in flash is deliberate in order to keep the body size down. Nikon sees the smaller body design as a more valuable attribute than including a built-in flash. There's still a top hot shoe for using an external flash (which will give more exposure control and light output than any built-in flash), which, like you said, does bump up the size and weight, but that's the case with any camera. If you're primarily looking for a camera to use with flash or for low-light shooting, the Z30 is probably not the top candidate for those purposes. It's really more of a vlogging (video) and everyday carry/casual shooting type of camera.

Thank you so much for your excellent explanation. Many years ago, I bought my Nikon D300 from B&H which I love, except I wanted to treat myself to an upgrade. However, I have been waiting since early 2019 for a newer still camera, which included video (especially better than a smartphone). Nikon kept delaying and I thought this camera was it. However, I am interested in still photos first and video second. So good lighting is important to me and I wanted to avoid also schlepping an external flash. True, this camera is much lighter in weight than my D300, which does not even have video. I also bought from B&H my Panasonic HD HC-V750 camcorder which is easy to use, compact, and lightweight, but also in need of an upgrade. I liked the idea of only one camera that had both great video and still quality, as well as being easy to use and lightweight. For my use, a built-in flash would be important. PS: I apologise for my typo in my question above.

In your situation, the Nikon Z50 definitely sounds like the camera you're looking for. It's very similar to this new Z30 specs-wise, but it has a more photography-oriented design as it has both an electronic viewfinder and a built-in flash.

Thank you very much. I will look into it. 

It looks like, try to get some market from Fuji, Style is the same.

It looks to be a really great little camera, especially for those who dabble in both photo and video. Hope you get a chance to pick one up!

As an OM System (Olympus) user who's heavily invested in their lenses, Nikon's Z cameras are interesting mostly for better performance in low light and possibly for video.  I do suspect that the Z mount is enabling excellent lenses.  The Z30's small size, low price, and the availability of reasonably compact lenses make it a plausible carry-around camera.

This camera, especially, looks to be a great competitor to OM SYSTEM and Micro Four Thirds cameras in general. The body size is very similarly compact but you get the advantage of the larger DX/APS-C sensor. And I think you're right, Nikon has mentioned that the wider Z mount helps them improve their optical designs, and the current Z lenses seem to prove that.