After my purchase of the XA, I was feeling pretty satisfied with my camera collection.
However, when I was preparing for the California trip that Holly and I had taken back in October, I was somewhat frustrated with my choices for bringing a digital camera. My choices at the time were my hefty Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and my small Olympus TG-5. Because of its size, I opted against the Canon and brought my Olympus TG-5 and one film camera, my Minolta X-700. I ended up mainly using the X-700.
I came to realize that I would like something not as big as the Mark IV but bigger than the TG-5, something easier to carry around and travel with that had more functionality than the TG-5.
I actually took my time and researched my options before deciding on getting a Nikon Z fc. I had been leaning toward the Fujifilm XT-4 but eventually went with the Z fc partly because of the cost (it’s nearly a thousand dollars less expensive) and because it is a little smaller.
The Z fc has 2 options for lenses, and I went with the NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 SE Lens. The other option is a NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens. One of the appeals of the Z fc is the selection of available Z-mount lenses. Many of those are rather high end but there are some choices that aren’t quite as expensive. Instead of the DX 16-50mm lens, I decided to get a NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens, which, obviously has a greater range.
I bought the camera, lenses, spare battery, and memory card all from B&H Photo from where I routinely buy my film.
Although I had decided on this camera, I had thought about waiting until March to buy it. Since it’s winter, we haven’t been going for many walks so I thought I’d just wait for the weather to get better before getting it. Also, I’m getting some money from my tax return (the only upside to paying alimony all year) so I’d have a little extra cash. March is also the 1 year anniversary of my buying the Olympus XA so there was something symbolic about waiting a full year before buying another camera.
When the Z fc first came out there had been some supply issues due to chip shortages which seemed to have gotten resolved. However, I read somewhere that there may be more chip shortages in the near future. I saw that the camera and lenses were readily available and decided to get it in case there are any future issues.
The camera showed up late one afternoon so I didn’t have much of an opportunity to use it, but I did set up my light box to take some photos of it with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Since then, I’ve taken some test shots out our apartment window.
Holly and I also took a walk the Sunday after I got the camera. It was cold (mid-30s) but sunny without any significant wind so it wasn’t a bad day for a walk. We wanted to see a new sculpture outside city hall, Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom by Wofford Sculpture Studio. It’s a temporary exhibit which is moving on to different cities to represent Tubman’s travels to help free enslaved people. Because of Tubman’s connection to Philadelphia, the sculpture will be here through Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday.
I took a few other photos during this walk but didn’t want to take too many until I got a chance to see how these turned out and make sure I knew what I was doing.
So far, I have found the Z fc very easy to use and have been pleased with the results. All the photos I shared above were taken with the 18-140mm lens which is about a 28-224 mm full frame equivalent. The Z fc does not have any image stabilization but the lens has Vibration Reduction image stabilization which seems to work quite well.
I’ve only noticed a couple of drawbacks. One is there is a programable button on the front of the camera which I find easy to accidentally press while holding it. By default, it brings up a display for white balance adjustment. Luckily, all the button does is bring up the display and doesn’t make any changes so it’s annoying but harmless.
The other drawback which I notice in some test photos that I haven’t shared is that the images start looking a little noisy at ISO 1600 which is quite different than my Mark IV which does well up through 6400. That’s not a big problem for me since I mainly shoot outdoors during the day and then to first rely on opening the aperture and adjusting the shutter before upping the ISO, but it was a little disappointing to see some noise at that ISO.
Overall, I am quite pleased with my decision. The Nikon Z fc seems to meet my desire to have a camera that in its size and functionality sits somewhere between my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and my Olympus TG-5.