The Nikon Z5 is officially the new "entry-level" full-frame mirrorless camera from the camera giant, sitting below the now slightly aged Nikon Z6 and Z7 from 2018.
But Where exactly has the new Z5 cut the angle to help it attract full-frame newcomers? After all, on paper it has a lot in common with the Nikon Z6.
The two cameras share the same in-body image stabilization system (IBIS), a 3,69 million-dot electronic viewfinder and a 273-point hybrid AF system, not to mention nearly identical body designs.
However, take a closer look at their data sheets, and you'll find small but important differences between the cameras that reveal their different target audiences. As we'll see, the Nikon Z5 appears to be a more affordable camera catering primarily to still photographers, rather than a true photo/video "hybrid" like its Z6 sibling.
Tabla de contenido
At first sight, you can assume that the Nikon Z5 and Z6 share the same sensor; after all, they both offer a resolution of around 24 MP.
However their sensors differ slightly. The Nikon Z6 features a 24.5 MP BSI (back-illuminated) full-frame CMOS sensor, which we've always been huge fans of. It has excellent dynamic range and performs well throughout its native ISO 100-5,200 sensitivity range.
The Nikon Z5's sensor, meanwhile, is more of an unknown quantity, as it is a new chip. The main difference is that it's not backlit, which is generally more of an issue with smaller sensors, but we're excited to see how that affects real-world performance. It also has a native ISO range of 100-51,200 and is paired with the same Expeed 6 processor than the Z6.
Cput the Nikon Z5 and Z6 side by side and it's hard to tell the difference at first. Both cameras are more compact than their DSLR cousins and should fit comfortably in your hand thanks to their large handles.
They are also weather resistant and have a solid magnesium alloy construction. The main difference between the two cameras is that the Nikon Z5 does not have the top plate LCD screen of the Z6 to check and change the exposure settings. Considering the Z5 is aimed at the less professional photographer, this shouldn't be missed by most potential buyers.
Another area in which the Nikon Z5 has cut corners is its rear LCD screen, which only has a resolution of 1.1 million points, compared to the 2.1 million dot resolution of the Z6's monitor. . The fact that the Z5 has the same 3.69 million dot EVF as its sibling adds weight to the feeling that it is aimed more at the stills photographer, as opposed to the Z6 "hybrid" approach.
3. Burst shooting
One of the clearest differences between the Z5 and Z6 is their relative burst shooting power., a feature especially useful for sports and wildlife.
The Nikon Z6 weighs in with an impressive 12fps maximum burst speed, which is still a competitive rate despite its relatively modest buffer bottleneck. But the Nikon Z5 can only shoot at 4.5fps, a figure that would have been disappointing five years ago.
It's important to clarify that burst speeds aren't everything when it comes to shooting autofocus can be just as critical when it comes to nailing shots of moving objects, and la Nikon Z5 has the same hybrid AF system (with eye-detection AF and animal-detection AF) as the Z6. But it's a spec worth keeping in mind if your photography regimen is heavily action- or wildlife-focused.
4. Video skills
Burst shot to the side, this is the other big area where the Nikon Z6 trumps the new Z5 (at least on paper). Compared to his older brother (and many of his mirrorless rivals), hea Nikon Z5 has various restrictions when it comes to shooting videos.
To begin with, its 4K video mode comes with a pretty hefty 1.7x crop. This is especially important if you plan to record or shoot video on camera, as it can make it difficult to fit subjects into the frame.
The Nikon Z5 does not have any 120p slow-motion video mode or the ability to record 10-bit video externally via its HDMI output., making it less appealing to those who like to change the color and appearance of their video devices in post-production.
Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of The Z5's video credentials is the lack of a fully articulating screen, an option you will find in cheaper full frame cameras like the Canon EOS RP and that it's ideal for solo filmmakers who want to check their framing while shooting on camera.
5. Card slots
Here's an interesting difference between these two Z-series cameras: The camera that is supposed to be less professional and amateur-oriented (the Z5) has two card slots, while the pro-leaning model (the Z6) has two card slots. Just one card slot.
Of course, It's not as simple as "more is better". The Z6 has only one XQD card slot, Nikon would like to point out that the chances of one of these new cards failing are considerably less than SD cards, which justifies the lack of a save option.
Still, the Nikon Z5's two UHS-II SD card slots are certainly a plus considering Nikon's approach to the Z6 and Z7, and give it an edge over the Canon EOS RP and EOS R (they have only one card slot).
A small but noticeable difference between the Nikon Z5 and the Z6 is that the former uses a new battery called EN-EL 15C.
This allows the Z5 to be powered by USB while you're still using it, which is useful if you want to shoot time-lapse video or take longer shots. You can still use EN-EL 15B batteries in the Z5, you just won't get the USB charging feature.
For those who want the peace of mind of having two extra batteries on hand, the Z5 is also compatible with the existing MB-N10 battery grip.
7. Purpose of the kit
One of the most revealing features of the Nikon Z5 is not part of the camera itself, but its new lens kit.. It launches as a bundle with the new Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3, which Nikon says is "the shortest and lightest full frameless zoom lens on the market".
This lens kit was designed to be an ideal walking option for those who don't particularly want the weight or hassle of carrying large lenses. In the meantime, the Nikon Z6 will continue to be sold with the 24-70mm f/4 lens, a lens that weighs almost as much as the Z6 itself at 500g.
What's particularly telling is that at launch you won't be able to buy the Nikon Z5 body alone or buy the Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens on its own. They were designed as a set, which can be good news or bad depending on if it's your type of lens. However, Nikon has stated that the Z5 will be available for sale in the body only in the future, but we don't know when that will be yet.
Since the Nikon Z5 is currently only available for purchase as a single bundle, along with the new Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens mentioned above, it is a bit difficult to directly compare price or value. This set of Z5 kit lenses will set you back €1,719 (approximately €2,175 / AU$3,100) when it goes on sale in late summer 2020 (around August/September in Australia and New Zealand).
It seems a bit pricey when you consider that it's possible to get a body-only Nikon Z6 for around $1,799 / €1,595 / AU$2,999. Obviously, adding a lens takes that price well beyond the Nikon Z5, but it will be interesting to see what the price of the Z5-only body is when it's finally available in that form. Hopefully, it could end up equaling or even surpassing the excellent value the Canon EOS RP offers.