Nikon Z50 price, specs and release date: All the facts about Nikon’s incoming Z Series camera
Nikon hasn’t announced the Nikon Z50 yet, but we are almost certain it is an APS-C accompaniment to the full-frame Nikon cameras that have dominated its recent releases – namely, the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7.
Its job is to offer an alternative to the Sony a6400, for those with Nikon lenses. And, hopefully, a few who don’t own any Nikon glass and fancy a powerful and fairly compact travel camera.
Here’s what we know about the Nikon Z50 so far.
Related: Best mirrorless camera
Nikon Z50 price and release date – When is it out and how much will it cost?
The Nikon Z50 is expected to launch on October 10, along with a couple of lenses made specifically for the APS-C format. These are the Z-Nikkor 16-55mm f/3.5-6.3 and Z-Nikkor 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3.
Naturally, the first will be the standard kit lens. The telephoto may be bundled as part of dual lens packages, or bought as an add-on. Neither is hugely high-spec, so should be relatively affordable.
Nikon is also expected to announce the retail release of the 58mm lens f/0.95 at the same time. This is a very high end lens that Nikon has talked about since early 2019. It’s an obvious choice for portraiture, but is primarily for Nikon’s full-frame cameras as it’ll cost many times the price of the Z50.
The Nikon Z50 is expected to cost around $1,000, body-only. This may seem to suggest a UK price of £800, but Nikon may take this opportunity to steel itself against further drops in the value of sterling by increasing the UK price to £900 or above.
Given the Sony A6400 costs £999 body-only, a price of around £1,000 does not seem instantly problematic.
Nikon Z50 design – What will it look like and what screen will it have?
The Nikon Z50 is in an unusual position. Most new cameras are part of established ranges, with a predecessor to base their design on.
This camera is Nikon’s first mirrorless model with an APS-C sensor, so there’s no like-for-like frame of reference for the design. We’re unlikely to see anything too dramatic, though.
I expect the Nikon Z50 will look a little like the full-frame Nikon Z6, with perhaps a few millimetres shaved off in each dimension to capitalise on the smaller sensor.
There’s just a smattering of rumours that touch on the design. The Nikon Z50 is likely to have a single SD card slot, which is predictable given the Nikon Z6 and Z7 do too.
What kind of slot this will be is the important question. Nikon’s full-frame cameras use the new XQD format. It’s very fast, with SSD-like writes of 400MB/s, but means your pile of SD cards is now more-or-less useless.
It seems more likely that Nikon will stick with the SD format for the Z50, as to do otherwise is to ask buyers to spend 10-15% of the cost of the camera on a memory card. XQD cards aren’t cheap, at around £80 for 32GB. You can find decent 32GB SD cards for under £10 these days.
We also know the Nikon Z50 will likely have a “pivoted” screen. This may mean it’s a flip-out screen that can also flip up, to act as a vlog display.
This, in turn, suggests the camera does not have a large EVF mound that would otherwise block such a screen. Or perhaps it will have a more dynamic screen mechanism like that seen on the FujiFilm X-T3.
Related: Nikon Z6 review
Nikon Z50 sensor and features – Which sensor will it have and will it have an EVF?
The Nikon Z50 is likely to use a 20-megapixel sensor, and many rumours claim it will be the same one used in the Nikon D500. That’s a camera released more than two years ago, back in 2017.
Rivals also use higher-resolution, newer sensor hardware. The Sony A6400 has a 24-megapixel sensor, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II a 32.5-megapixel sensor. Nikon’s Z50 is at risk of seeming slightly behind the time as soon as it arrives unless it also has some pretty remarkable low light/high ISO chops to show off.
The comparison to the Canon EOS M6 Mark II raises another question – will the Nikon Z50 have an electronic viewfinder? APS-C mirrorless cameras are cheaper alternatives to full-frame ones, but they also tend to be smaller, and leaving out an EVF lets a manufacturer max-out this appeal.
However, the rumour mill seems to think the Nikon Z50 will have an EVF. This makes it closer to the Sony A6400 than the Canon, and this is probably a sensible move.
While I barely use the EVF on my own FujiFilm X-T20, partly as the camera tends to be mounted to a tripod sat at an awkward position, there remains a pervasive sense that cameras without any kind of viewfinder are in some way “flimsy” or not serious (Canon does sell an EVF attachment for the M6 II).
The Nikon Z50 is not expected to feature IBIS, in-body image stabilisation, though. This is not a great surprise. The Canon M6 II is not stabilised and neither is the Sony A6400, even though mirrorless stabilisation is something of a Sony calling card.
Burst performance is likely to top out at 11fps. This matches the Sony, and sits in-between the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, the Nikon Z50’s full-frame siblings. Canon has the upper hand here, though, as the EOS M6 II manages 14fps. All these cameras are easily fast enough for casual sports photography.
And for video? While there do not appear to have been specific leaks of these specs, the basics are all but guaranteed. The Nikon Z50 will have 4K video capture, but at 30fps rather than 60fps.
Finer points like external mic connections and “flat” video formats for manual colour grading are not known yet. But if the Nikon Z50 does have a vlog-friendly rear screen, the video side could give the camera an important edge over the Sony A6400.
Nikon Z50 – First Impressions
The Nikon Z50 is an important part of the Nikon mirrorless expansion. It’s the first APS-C entry in the series, and brings the price of entry down a substantial amount.
Nikon does not seem to be doing anything too radical here, though, and its worth rests on how it compares to cameras like the Sony A6400. Its use of what seems to be a fairly old 20-megapixel sensor means you should definitely check the reviews carefully before bringing the credit card out.
We’ll bring you our first impressions as soon as we get official news of the Nikon Z50.