Tech

Nikon Z30 review

Two minute review

Three years later and Nikon’s APS-C mirrorless camera system has now been cleaned up with the arrival of the Nikon Z30. That’s now a total of three cameras and three lenses, but is three the magic number?

Little has changed on the inside. gave Nikon Z50 2019 introduced a 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor plus cropless 4K/30p and HD/120p video recording – all Nikon ZFC And now the Z30 in 2022.

Processor power and overall build quality are also largely the same, so we now also have three APS-C cameras that cater to beginners. So what’s really different?

You just need to. Watch Take a look at the cameras to see what’s really different – ​​each has its own design. Three flavors are ripe and the Z30 is set to be one of them. Best cameras for blogging, promising better quality and creative flexibility on a smartphone. If video and affordability are your priorities, it’s also a contender for the title. Best beginner mirrorless camera.

Nikon Z30

(Image credit: Future)

Given that we’ve already covered the performance and image quality of the Z30’s siblings. Nikon Z50 review And Nikon ZFC Review – Information that mostly applies to the Z30 – The bulk of this review looks at the design element. After all, the Z30 isn’t Only Likewise for vlogging as the Z50 and Zfc are capable vlogging cameras. (Also, those optional vlogging accessories work for all three cameras.)

It must be said that three for three represents a poor ratio of lenses in cameras and we need to see more glass for Nikon’s system. In fairness, the 16-50mm is an excellent kit lens – and how many beginners actually buy extra lenses? There’s also a slew of well-equipped compact and compatible full-frame lenses like the 40mm f/2 and 28mm f/2.8 (and an F to Z mount adapter if you’re really stretching).

Canon EOS R7 Specifications

Sensor: 20.9MP APS-C (DX)
AF Points: 209 point array
video: 4K/30p
Viewfinder: N/A
Memory Cards: SD UHS-I
LCD: 3-inch variable-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots.
Maximum Burst: 11fps boosted.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Size: 128×73.5×59.5mm
Weight: 405 grams (with card and battery)

The lens roadmap adds a 12-28mm DX lens to the rumor mill mix that could be a great option for vlogging, as well as a 24mm DX lens. But as things stand, there is no native ultra-wide-angle lens for the Z30 and global supply issues remain after the pandemic when the new one arrives.

Nikon’s position with the Z30 isn’t exactly helped by the fact that rivals Sony ZV-E10 There’s already a slew of excellent APS-C lenses available, including a trio of recently announced compact, fast-aperture prime lenses especially suited for blogging.

Lens selection aside, let’s refresh the Z30’s features and image quality and dive into its new design.

Nikon Z30 closeup showing the name, recording light, and touch screen capture.

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon Z30 Release Date and Price

  • $707 / £699 (body only, not available in AU)
  • $847 / £839 / AU$1,299 (16-50mm kit)
  • $1,197 / £1,069 (twin lens kit, not available in AU)
  • $995 / £879 (vlogger kit, TBC in AU)

The Nikon Z30 is available to buy for $707 / £699 body only, or $847 / £839 / AU$1,299 with the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens, and $1,197 / £1,069 for the twin lenses. Also included is the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens. There’s also a Vlogger Kit option which costs $995 / £879 and includes a 16-50mm lens, a SmallRig Tripod Grip and a SmallRig Wind Muff. Inside the magnetic recess of the grip is the ML-L7 remote (included).

Aside from the viewfinder, Nikon has managed to make its cheapest mirrorless camera yet with sensible kit options. Given that Nikon cameras were already competitively priced and the 16-50mm kit lens’ good quality, by all accounts the Z30 is the best value.

The back of the Nikon Z30 has a docked touchscreen with menu screens

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon Z30 Review: Design

  • Large and comfortable grip
  • Wide-angle 3in touchscreen, but no viewfinder.
  • USB-C charging and connectivity
  • In-camera stereo mic and mic input, but no headphone jack.

Think of the Z30’s design as video-centric, the Z50 as photo-centric, and the Z fc as nostalgia-centric. In the Z30 we have a camera with a striking resemblance to the Sony ZV-E10. It’s the larger of the two and has a more defined handgrip, yet it still measures up as Nikon’s smallest APS-C or full-frame mirrorless camera.

More grips should be like this – it gives a great hold for shooting stills, but also for turning the camera around with easy access to that big shiny red button.

Video shooters, including vloggers, compose through the screen and have little need for a viewfinder (although you may miss one when shooting stills). Omitting the viewfinder has helped Nikon make not only its smallest APS-C mirrorless camera, but also its cheapest. Currently, there is no optional EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) available.

The side angle of the Nikon Z30 shows how slim and compact it is.

(Image credit: Future)

For its obvious blogging purpose, the Z30 is really well designed. That 3-inch variable-angle screen does a charming job, with the full range of touch functions including focus, playback and menu navigation at hand. A red border indicates video mode, while a tail lamp lets you know the camera is recording video – simple things not found in the Z50 or Z fc.

Nikon’s 16-50mm kit lens reduces vibration for stills, while in-camera Electronic Vibration Reduction (E-VR) for video gives you extra stability for handheld shooting, although this 120p slow-motion video Not available for The game has a 1.3x crop with E-VR which isn’t ideal if you need to shoot wide-angle. Serious run-and-gun bloggers may want to invest in a gimbal and keep the E-VR locked away.

A stereo mic is on board and provides decent sound quality for when you’re caught without an external microphone. It’s an improvement over regular in-camera mics, plus there’s a wind reduction function and you can attach an optional dead cat to the stereo mics that are placed on either side of the hot shoe.

Nikon Z30 hot shoe with microphones on both sides.

(Image credit: Future)

Those stereo mics are fine in quiet spaces, but we’d still recommend an external microphone for blogging to ensure the best possible quality. As the video industry says, bad visuals are forgivable, bad audio is not.

To that extent, it’s a real shame that there’s no headphone jack in addition to a mic input for monitoring audio. On-screen audio levels aren’t the same as listening in Live or checking a recording on capture after location, and we couldn’t find a way to display those audio levels when the Z30 is in selfie mode. The last thing a videographer wants is to return from a shoot to find only unusable audio.

Battery life is average, if a little mediocre, and there’s no dedicated battery charger supplied with the camera, just a USB-C cable. However, a major advantage of the Z30 is that it can be charged via its USB-C port at home, on the go and even when the camera is in use. Yes, USB-C charging works during live streaming and video recording. Big win.

Nikon Z30 control wheel

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon Z30 Review: Features and Performance

  • 4K/30p and HD 120p without cropping
  • Fixed subject tracking AF
  • The trusted Nikon Webcam Utility and Nikon Snapbridge apps
  • Up to 11fps

Virtually all modern cameras offer 4K video, but the quality of 4K varies. For example, the Z30’s 4K (and indeed its HD 120p slow-motion setting) is captured across the full width of the sensor, meaning there’s no cropping. This is a godsend for blogging given the lack of wide-angle APS-C mirrorless lenses – you can retain the entire field of view of a 16-50mm lens.

The Z30 also has unlimited video record times, unlike the Z50, Z fc and many others that are limited to 30 minutes. We say unlimited – ultimately it’s up to the card’s capacity, and Nikon quotes in the region of 120 minutes.

Undoubtedly one of the most important camera features for blogging is the reliable continuous autofocus and face detection AF. Overall, the Z30’s 209-point phase/contrast detection AF (also found in the Z fc and Z50) doesn’t match the Sony ZV-E10’s autofocus performance and versatility, but it’s good enough for self-tracking. . – Shooter

With a wide-angle screen front-facing, the camera switches to selfie mode and recognizes your face and tracking AF reliably sticks to it. For other subjects, especially when the screen is facing backwards, AF tracking is still respectable, though can be a bit less reliable. Dedicated AF modes with vlogging in mind, like Sony’s ‘Product Showcase’ mode, would also be welcome.

Be sure to share your experience connecting the Z30 to the Nikon SnapBridge app (Android version) for camera remote control and image uploads, plus the Nikon webcam utility for live streaming. In short, the Z30 provides a largely trouble-free and reliable connection to SnapBridge – something that shouldn’t be underestimated or taken for granted because not every system (ahem, Sony) can say that.

Photographers can shoot high-speed sequences up to 11fps in ‘Extended’ mode with continuous autofocus and auto exposure. In this mode, we were able to offload 30 raw and JPEG images to a high-performance UHS-I SD card before the camera froze and there was a short wait to regain full-speed operation.

Continuous High mode is slower at 5fps where you can sustain a burst for longer, with a short wait to shoot at full capacity again. It’s the kind of performance we’d expect from a good entry-level camera, suited for immediate action.

  • Features and performance score: 4/5

Nikon Z30: Photo and Video Quality

All of Nikon’s APS-C mirrorless cameras use the same 20.9MP CMOS sensor. And as we mentioned in our reviews of the Z50 and Z fc, the Z30 will give you clean and dynamic images up to ISO 6,400 in a variety of shooting scenarios. If possible, avoid using ISO 12,800 and 25,600 if you want to avoid the negative effects of noise.

There is a color profile for most flavors. ‘Vivid’ makes colors pop, while ‘Flat’ is the ideal profile for video shooters who want to get the most out of the camera’s dynamic range (and who don’t mind color grading afterwards). Flat is the closest you get to a log profile and is easy to grade, which makes a lot of sense for such an entry-level camera.

We like how photo and video color profiles can be kept separate and the camera remembers settings – for example, you can set photo to Vivid and video to Flat, Or you can select ‘Same as photo settings’ option.

Nikon has a proven color offering for photos and video. One thing worth keeping in mind is how autofocus affects white balance. For example, the Z30 prioritizes subject detection for its color display. You can shoot the same scene and get a completely different white balance based on whether the autofocus has tracked and locked on a person.

The 16-50mm kit lens is appreciably sharp, while some full-frame Z mirrorless lenses like the 40mm f/2 and 28mm f/2.8 Z30 are a good physical fit with the camera and are still sharp.

But at the risk of repetition, there is a distinct lack of APS-C lenses, and not a single prime. We’re wary of camera systems with unhealthy camera-to-lens ratios – here it’s three for three, which is worrying. More APS-C mirrorless lenses please, Nikon. Oh and for blogging, one that gets a little broader.

  • Picture and Video Quality Score: 4.5/5

Should I buy the Nikon Z30?

Nikon Z30

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

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If our Nikon Z30 review has you thinking about alternatives, here are three competitors to consider…

Testing Scorecard

Canon EOS R7
Attributes Notes Classification
Price Nikon’s cheapest mirrorless camera ever 4.5/5
Design Small, comfortable, easy to use 4/5
Features/Performance Aged out by the Sony ZV-E10 4/5
Image/Video Quality Straight out of the box, video and picture quality are affected. 4.5/5

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