Nikon’s mirrorless Z30 is an affordable, lightweight vlogging camera

Nikon has introduced the 20.9 megapixel APS-C Z30, the smallest and lightest Z-series camera to date. Designed for vloggers and creators, it offers a fold-out display, 4K 30p video and a long video recording time of 125 minutes when plugged in – but it lacks an electronic viewfinder.

The Z30 is Nikon’s third mirrorless APS-C (DX) camera, following the Z50 and Zfc. It uses the same giant Z mount as the company’s full-frame models, effectively dominating the relatively small body. It has simple but effective controls with a mode dial on top, front and rear dials to adjust exposure, a photo/video selector, and buttons for ISO, exposure compensation, AF lock, and capture mode. A new feature over the other DX models is an indicator light on the front so vloggers can see when they’re recording.

Nikon's lightweight Z30 APS-C mirrorless camera is aimed at content creators


The handgrip is deep for such a small camera, but due to the large mount there isn’t much room for your fingers between the lens. As mentioned, it has a fully articulated 3.0-inch screen that activates self-portrait mode when unfolded, allowing you to adjust key controls like exposure compensation with the camera at arm’s length. Other key features include onboard stereo microphones, a mic-in jack, and a single UHS-I SD memory card slot. Unfortunately, there is no headphone jack, which is a negative for video creators.

Competing with Sony’s ZV-E10 vlogging camera, the Z30 has an edge over its rival. It can shoot 4K at up to 30fps using the full width of the sensor, with Sony’s model having a 1.23x crop at 30fps. This is pretty important for vlogging as a crop makes it harder to put yourself in the shot. It can also record 1080p at up to 120fps for slow-mo, but unlike the ZV-E10, it doesn’t support log recording – just a ‘flat’ profile. Like its Sony rival, the Z30 doesn’t have built-in IBS – just electronic stabilization.

Nikon promises reliably fast and sharp hybrid phase-detection autofocus with face, eye and animal AI detection. It’s probably similar to the AF on the Z50 and Z fc models, which are decent but lag behind Sony’s APS-C cameras in terms of AF speed and accuracy. It offers a scene-dependent image control auto function and 20 creative profiles. However, there’s no one-click “product presentation” or bokeh options like Sony offers on the ZV-E10.

It has a relatively small battery (the same as the other two DX models), giving it a CIPA rating of 330 shots. Unlike the Z50 and Zfc, which were limited to 30 minutes, the Z30 can record up to 125 minutes of 1080p video and around 35 minutes of 4K. However, to get these numbers, you need to connect the camera’s USB-C port to power.

Nikon Z30 APS-C mirrorless camera


Nikon also promises good photo performance, but without an electronic viewfinder it is already behind the 8-Ball in this area. Still, you get capture speeds of up to 11fps (mechanical shutter, JPEG/RAW), Hybrid Phase Detection AF, and even the ability to take a photo while recording video.

The Z30 arrives in mid-July for $710 for the body only, $850 with a Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, or $1,200 with the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f /4.5-6.3 lens. Another option available in November is the 14-140mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for $1,150. Nikon will also offer a $150 Creators Accessory Kit that includes a SmallRig tripod grip, a Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth remote control, and a Rode VideoMicro microphone.

Along with the camera, Nikon also introduced a new full-frame Z-mount lens, the Z400mm f/4.5 VR S. Nikon says it’s the lightest lens in its class at 2.55 pounds, is dust and splash resistant, and has a Focus provides -Breathing compensation function for video recording. It arrives in July 2022 for $3,250.

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