There’s a new camera on the way, but it looks less like something new, and more like something old. And that’s very, very cool.
Designing the next big camera mightn’t come from a design from the future, but rather that of the past, back during the heyday of cameras, when they were metal and classic and very well built. From the 60s to the 80s, cameras were a totally different beast from what they are today, offering lots of controls on the top, bodies built to survive, and a look that could be seen as timeless.
It’s here that Nikon is channeling its latest effort, joining the retro train for a new mirrorless camera coming in the Nikon Z fc, a model that looks more like an old film camera than a digital camera, which is what we think the “fc” might stand for.
Based on the Nikon FM2 film camera from the 1980s, the Nikon Z Fc looks like a digital equivalent to that body, complete with a textured leather material on a silver body, several control dials, an obvious shutter button, and a design more like that classic camera from yesteryear.
The Nikon Z Fc isn’t a film camera, mind you, supporting the Nikon Z lenses seen on the Z6, Z7, and Z50, but with a smaller APS-C style sensor, something Nikon calls the DX sensor. That means the Z Fc isn’t a full-frame camera, not like the Nikon Z7 we checked out at back in 2018, though it’s one that will come with the fixings.
You’ll find a 20.9 megapixel sensor in the Nikon Z Fc, offering support for RAW and JPEG on one SD card slot, 4K UHD video capture, and wireless control, handy if you want to capture shots using your phone. Low-light sensitivity on the Nikon Z Fc is handled from ISO 100 to 51,200, though it can be stepped up to 204,800 if you need all the light on offer, and there’s a vari-angle touchscreen LCD on the back, too.
For connections, you’ll find a Type C connector to charge the camera and move things across, with WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, and an 3.5mm headset jack, too.
All in all, it seems to be a featured camera that looks more like something retrolicuously old school, though that look may well be driving the love.
Controls on each side handle shutter speed and ISO, not to mention a little screen to tell you the F-stop you’re using when checking your aperture. There’s no cable release point on the shutter, but the rest of the top of the camera looks positively old school, with Nikon clearly borrowing from the history books for the Z fc.
Granted, Nikon isn’t the only company trying on the retro look, with Fujifilm regularly channeling retro cameras for its own bodies, however Nikon is even throwing in choices for different colour leather textures, allowing you to personalise this retro camera just that little bit more.
“We wanted to pay homage to our cherished history of iconic cameras and to expand our line-ups with today’s latest digital innovations,” said Horie Masahiro, Managing Director of Nikon in Singapore.
“A simple and intuitive accessory, the Z fc is a step up to support photography lovers with that dash of magic, as they slow down and take in life’s simple moments. Be it young entrepreneurs, budding photographers or social media enthusiasts, it’s for users looking to grow their personal style on what makes life colourful with the contemporary design suitable for their lifestyles and personalities.”
One thing Nikon Australia hasn’t revealed yet is pricing, though it’s something we invariably don’t see from Nikon’s local arm. Rather, it’s typically left to the dealers, though we have some semblance of pricing thanks to those. As such, it looks as though the Nikon Z Fc is set to land in the coming months, priced in Australia around the $1500 mark body only, or a little more with a lens.