First look: Nikon Z fc is old meets new

First look: Nikon Z fc is old meets new

If you are old enough to have seen or even own a Nikon FM2 film SLR camera, you will know its place in photography as one of the fan favourites due to its timeless design and tactile dials.

And Nikon has fused that timeless design with modern technology to give photographers the Z fc – an APS-C interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. We are lucky enough to be given a brief hands-on to a pre-production unit of the Z fc.

The Nikon Z fc with the equally swoon-worthy Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) lens. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

On first look, the Z fc is a doppelgänger of the FM2. It just oozes nostalgic and retro goodness for those who have lived through the film age.

There is a “pentaprism” to house the 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder, even though it is a mirrorless camera. Nikon uses the same font of FM2 to engrave the Nikon logo here as well. Nice touch.

But of course, with its 21-megapixel APS-C image sensor, there are no need for film advance lever on the top right or the film rewind knob (hah, memories) on the top left of the camera. Only the shutter speed dial on the top right remains.

Retro dials being re-engineered for modern needs. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Instead, the rewind knob is now the ISO dial with the shooting mode selector below it in Z fc. The film advance lever is now the exposure compensation dial.

Beside the exposure compensation dial, there is a tiny display that shows the current aperture setting. And beside the shutter release button, there is a dedicated video recording button. There are also command dials on the front and rear of the camera.

Most of the controls are on the top right of the Z fc. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

On its rear, you will find a tiltable touchscreen display that can be flipped out and rotated 180 degrees to take selfies. On the right of the rear, there are the usual direction pad, OK and menu buttons.

Beneath the compartment on its left, you can find a HDMI port, a USB-C port (for both charging and transfer) and a microphone jack. At the bottom, the SD card slot is found in the battery compartment.

There is a HDMI port, a USB-C port and a microphone jack on its left. (Photo: Trevor Tan)
The SD card slot is beside the battery in the bottom battery compartment. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Overall, the controls are well positioned for modern needs. And the Z fc feels great in your hands and certainly will bring you down memory lane. In terms of specs, it is almost identical to Nikon Z50. So, I don’t think we will see much difference in terms of image quality (which is good).

Apart from the usual black and silver model, there will be six other colour variants ranging from pink to white. And all these colours will be available in Singapore. But my personal preference will always be the original black and silver model.

There are 6 different colour variants of the Z fc. (Photo: Nikon)

My only complaint so far? The Z fc should have been a full-frame mirrorless camera to pay real homage to the film SLR.

Local pricing and availability of the Z fc will be announced at a later date.

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Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.