As much as photography purists don’t like, vlogging and streaming is not just a real desire, the demand for cameras in this segment is considerable. After seeing the success of the Sony ZV-E10, Nikon wanted a piece of that pie and the goal was to get it with the Z30.
The recently announced Nikon Z30 is a 20 megapixel (MP) APS-C mirrorless camera designed entirely with vulgar and content makers in mind.
The 710 Nikon’s almost pocketable camera contains almost everything known to existing DX users, however, the system has placed most of its emphasis on self-shot (selfie) stills and videos that can be created individually. For example, Nikon has offered this camera as part of a bundle with a “Creator Kit” with a microphone, tripod grip and Bluetooth remote.
I was able to get a hands-on demo with the camera last week and thought about it after that experience.
While Nikon has previous generation APS-C cameras like the Z50 and Z fc that were aimed at more enthusiastic and content creator markets, the Z30 takes things a bit further with some subtle and very subtle changes to the system design. The camera has two stereo mics (with an optional “fuzzy” wind noise reducer) as well as things like a “recording in progress” tally lamp on the front of the camera. This latter feature is actually more common on larger Pro camcorders, so its inclusion here is both unexpected and welcome.
Nikon has decided to remove the electronic viewfinder, forcing users to treat the system like a point-and-shoot where you do everything via a pivoting touch screen display. While many of these changes make the camera smaller, more affordable, and more user-friendly for vloggers, there are some things I’ve noticed missing.
Initially, the lack of a headphone jack felt like a big miss. With this same line of thought, there is some discomfort with self-portrait mode. In its current state, to check your audio levels you need to turn off that mode once you turn it on and the camera is recording you can’t keep tabs on the audio. Hopefully, this can be changed by a simple firmware update down the road.
Users already familiar with Z Mirrorless cameras will feel right at home because the camera is in the same position as the menu of buttons and all the previous models on the back. It also has front and rear jug dials, which I really didn’t expect to make it into such a small camera design.
With the firmware currently on camera, Face / Eye Autofocus works to your expectations and includes following the subject while moving around the camera, a great feature for anyone to take pictures of themselves, freeing them from worries about missing camera focus. For a complete shot without a 2nd pair eyes.
The camera itself, complete with the manufacturer’s accessory kit attached, weighs quite a bit, and except for the mic, it’s quite discreet, making it ideal for creators who want to shoot content on the street without going too far or creating too many scenes. .
Despite the missing EVF, the camera’s ergonomics are very familiar and it has a very comfortable grip with well-placed function buttons on the front (I was also surprised that these tiny bodies were included). It is noteworthy that the system has only one memory card slot. While for many it’s not a big deal for everyone, I’ve reached a point where I’ve always liked it and I feel much better when I have a backup slot available. I don’t even want support for high-end CFexpress cards. Even if it’s just a dual SD card slot, I’d rather have it and not need it, but need it and don’t have it.
What the system gets right compared to the Z50 is the ability to record video for longer periods of time and the choice to go with a “very-angle” screen. These two features alone should entice manufacturers in the vlogging market, which is Nikon’s goal with this camera. For now, I believe Nikon is at least going in the right direction with a camera like this for its intended audience. I think for those who are thinking of entering the world of blogging, or are already doing it with a large / clunky system, it might actually be a good choice for a “creator” to invest.
We will take a closer look at the camera in a full review of the future. For now, make sure you don’t miss the full coverage of our camera here.