Nikon ZF – The Retro Camera You’ve Wanted!

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Nikon has introduced the brand-new ZF cam. It's a retro styled, 24 megapixel electronic camera with the processor and autofocus system from the Nikon Z8. While this is not a speed electronic camera, it is an incredibly priced and well rounded video camera that you will enjoy shooting on.

The image quality on the is outstanding and I think simply from an image quality standpoint this is the very best sensing unit Nikon camera released in the Z series. It's not the greatest resolution, but it is great.

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  1. Thanks Ted. A great review. I think those who are looking for a modern / retro camera, will inevitably put this up against the Fujifilm XT5 and pending X-Pro4 whenever it comes. I’d love to see a comparison video from you on those cameras! Thank you.

  2. This Nikon looks so good, makes me want to switch back. Imagine if Canon decided to make an RF-Mount version of the F-1/AE-1 or Sony digging through the archives of Konica/Minolta for an E-Mount retro styled camera.

    1. I’ve been waiting for a long time for Canon to see the light and make a MILC version of the A-1. I’m still waiting… In the meantime, with the Zf, I have found my next Christmas purchase…

    2. Canon’s never really had a history of doing “nostalgia cameras”. I doubt they see much incentive in starting that now, considering they’ve always been forward leaning with their designs. Ever since late FD/early EOS, Canons have always had that signature curvy look to them (I personally think they’re really ugly).

    3. ​@Onkar Indurkar Sigma is coming to canon…

      And if u are that third party stick to Sony…

      Canon is Canon for a reason….

  3. I’ve been waiting for them to make a camera like this. I just wish they could make it with f mount.

    1. But you have the FTZ adapter for your f mount lenses, and from all accounts you don’t much in either IQ or focus speed.

  4. Totally agree about your feelings about the SLRs of old. I started with the FM, FM2 and F3 and I missed that interface and simple approach pared things down to the basics: ISO, Aperture and Shutter controls. I fell for the Df (I have a silver one and a limited release Japanese black/gold one) and shoot with them to this day. At the time the Df was panned by people who did not understand what Tetsuro Goto was getting at: that the limitations of the camera: no video, limited focal points, and single card slot were reminiscent of the very cameras I cut my professional teeth on. But it has a brilliant sensor tweaked from the D4 for exceptional low light performance.
    For me, it turns taking a photo into an occasion, where the process itself is to be savoured. Just like my step-daughter’s first boyfriend who asked why I had a turntable and vinyl – because you don’t just program it, you select the record, the track and gently place the stylus to get the full, uncompressed gamut of sound.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have stayed up to the moment with my cameras, especially for work, but now I am retired, I take things a bit slower, shoot what makes my eyes smile and don’t need to please clients, and never did chase likes! It’s very liberating.

  5. Wow, just wow. This is really living up to the hopes of many of us for a real Nikon brick. Really the only wish I have would have been the Fuji style screen articulation. With other cameras it would be a deal breaker but this one will un-break that deal. Thanks.

  6. Thanks a lot for your preview/review on this awesome camera. That could make me switch from Fuji back to Nikon. It looks much like my FM2 that I still love to use, and I did a review of it recently, and that would be awesome to have that kind of look and feel in a digital camera. Although I also use (actually primarily) Hasselblad X2D, I am aware that I dont always need the 100mpx images, 24 is usually enough, so this could be my second choice instead of the crop sensor Fujis.

  7. Thanks for the review.
    To me personally the main goal of these retro cameras is to have as much physical controls as possible in contrast to modern touch screen operation. I remember to be very excited when Df was about to come out. They released a series of teasers with a moto “It’s in my hands again”. As I was not happy with Nikon camera controls after D700, I was really waiting to try this new camera with the controls similar to my favorite FE. And the camera turned out to be a very serious let down to me in terms of both performance and controls. The picked fast but low res sensor from D4 or D5 (not sure) and combined it with slow and unreliable D600 AF system. Even the build quality was not comparable to FE (which was middle-range camera of its time). Retro cotrols turned out to be a total mess. Shutter speed dial that will work only in certain positions of PSAM dial. 1/3 step position that turns off the shutter dial in favor of rear digital dial. And of course not having aperture dial with “A” position on the contemporary lenses. I don’t blame engineers. They tried to please everyone working with what they had. Df ended out to be a white crow in the lineup of PSAM cameras. As I was already not happy with Nikon at the time the release of Df turned out to be a trigger for me to sell my all AF Nikon gear, switch to Fujifilm and never seriously to look back. As Fuji was developing retro control camera and lenses from the start, their cotrol system was always straitforward. Actually PSAM cameras like X-S1 are now white crows in Fuji lineup. I’ve checked out the ZFc in a store once but it was like a bummer. It instanly reminded me of the China or Thaiwan made cheap FM10.
    And now we finally get this ZF. From your review I get that Nikon learned the lesson that they should not comprise the quality of this type of camera. It is aimed for nostalgic working professionals rather than unexperienced photographers who just want a fancy retro camera. Controls are somewhat better arranged, but still not as straitforward Fujifilm or real manual focus cameras. It’s probaply the best you can do with the current lens lineup though. Unfortunately the camera does not offer any other physical switches for AF, metering or drive. Not even a thumb nubbin. Thus it does not really deliver in the field of physical controls to me.
    In conclusion I see positive dynamics which is always good, but the product is still far from perfect.

  8. Back in 2017 I sold my entire camera kit (D4, D500), except for my X100S. Mainly because I stopped shooting professionally. I’ve been using the X100V which I bought at the peak of pandemic (no stock issues back then…), but I was seriously eyeing a Nikon Z a while back. Now I’m considering this.

  9. Thank you for pointing out that this takes on the FE look and NOT the FM2 that every other YouTuber is saying. For those of us who used those cameras for ages, it is frustrating that Nikon reps are telling reviewers this. The Zfc is understandable but the Zf is clearly FE inspired.
    I for one have waited 12 years for this camera to come out, and in that time [for my mirrorless needs] I had to settle for Fuji… not anymore! 
    Selling off the rest of my Fujis now that my dream mirrorless camera is now a reality.
    Looking forward to your full review.

  10. As soon as I saw it, all I could think of was I found a match for my Voigtlander lenses outside of my a7RV. I like the a7Cii, but the retro look and performance that was just presented won me over. Besides, its always great to learn a new system to enhance my knowledge of camera gear. Thank for the simple but great review.

    1. Outside of Leica, this is probably the best match for Voigtlander glass.

  11. Thanks Ted, great review. As someone that is only into photography, it is really refreshing that Nikon designed a simple, functional and powerful camera for that purpose. One day, would you consider comparing this camera to the Lumix G9Mkii? Many thanks, Peter.

  12. Thanks Ted. As a Fuji shooter and a very recent convert to Nikon Film cameras and vintage glass…very appreciative of the vintage lens segment. Looking forward to more thoughts and samples that you might have when you get the camera for a full review…and then perhaps some comparison thoughts around switching from a Fuji XT-5 for primarily photography and some video.

  13. I used the F3 for many years, eventually alongside the F4 and F5. [The new tiny aperture LCD looks just like the “ADR” of the F3. Very cool.] The new body is interesting as a second, lighter, walk around camera to a Z8 or Z9 kit, replacing the Fuji XT bodies and thus the need for Fuji lenses in addition to the Nikon lenses. The inclusion of the MicroSD slot is great as an alternative to single SD card worries. It’s been frustrating that Fuji seems to have forgotten their X-Pro line in addition to making the X100 unobtainable. Looks like Nikon may successfully nibble away at some of that retro style market, and with a well-priced full frame body.

  14. Thanks for the great overview. So cool Nikon is making cameras like this for all of us that appreciate the aesthetics of vintage cameras!

  15. Nikon would have converted a lot more Fuji users if they had released this with lenses that had marked aperture dials. As a Fuji shooter i am considering this camera purely for adapting vintage lenses and getting the native field of view with a camera that’s closer to the film cameras I learned on.

    1. This is exactly where I am, I am interested in this camera because I have a number of great vintage LTM lenses that I’d like to adapt to a full-frame mirrorless camera. For me, the autofocus speed and accuracy is kind of unimportant and I imagine that sort of technology does contribute to this camera being priced higher than most modern Fujis. It’s almost too much camera for what it is, but it does seem like a very powerful mirrorless option for people who don’t want to buy a $4000 camera

  16. Good review Ted. I always like your perspective – especially for a camera like this. Love your choice of the 58mm Noct for testing the Zf. I picked up the Kodak and Fuji preset pack as a way to support you and your work.

  17. I love the camera! Would like to go for it. However, Nikon should produce more compact lenses, that would keep the package small. I don’t see that coming, though.

  18. That feature with the face detect in manual focus is actually a GAME CHANGER for me. That’s incredible!! Now does it work with non Z mount/native lenses i.e my voigtlander 50 APO?

  19. Nice first look review. It does look like a gem cosmetically and the specs are pretty good too. Looks well built. Reminds me of my FM (I found a pristine one a couple of years ago) and I owned several black FM2s. It’s gonna be hard resisting this.

  20. Considering that the Z mount is the most adaptable one, I think this is a winner for using vintage glass.

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