Nikon Z5: Small system camera with full-frame sensor in the test


Ease of use, top image quality and a really good viewfinder, the Nikon Z5 will satisfy even the most demanding photographers. The new mini zoom is astonishingly small and surprisingly good in terms of image quality, it can keep up with much more expensive optics. Z5 photographers only have to compromise on two things: The continuous shooting speed is low and the Z5 does not use the entire sensor for 4K videos, but films with pixel accuracy.

Per

  • Top picture quality even in very little light
  • Very large, very detailed viewfinder
  • Small and light with the kit lens
  • High video quality
  • Faster and more accurate auto focus

Cons

  • 4K video only as an excerpt
  • Low burst speed

M.ith the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 system cameras, Nikon was able to convince in tests, but the full-frame system cameras were not affordable enough for every photographer. Time for a slightly cheaper model: The Nikon Z5 is supposed to be the new entry-level model and still score points with a lot of technology from the larger sister models. The test from COMPUTER BILD says how well this works.

The best full-frame SLR cameras

Nikon Z5 with 24 megapixels

When it comes to image electronics, the Z5 partly uses the sister model Z6: It uses the same image processor (Expeed 6) and the same autofocus with 273 measuring points, while the image sensor is based on an older SLR model, the Nikon D750. Also with 24 megapixels, but with a slightly different resolution (6016×4016 instead of 6048×4032 pixels for the Z6) and a different technology: The sensor wiring is in front of the sensor (FSI for Front Side Illumination), unlike the Z6, where the wiring is behind the sensor (BSI for Back Side Illumination). In theory, BSI is better because without wiring in front of the sensor, more light can fall on it. In practice, the Z5 is almost as good as the Z6, only with a very high ISO setting (from ISO 6400) the photos of the Z6 are a little bit more detailed. Overall, the image quality is top (see photo gallery), even in low light, photographers can expect that with a current full-frame camera.

20 images

To the picture gallery

Slightly modified housing

The housing is very similar to the sister models Z6 and Z7: The basic construction is the same, an elaborately sealed magnesium housing is supposed to keep dust and moisture out. The sensor sits in an image stabilizer that can stabilize all lenses. Nikon used the red pencil with the displays: The additional display on top of the camera has been removed, the program dial is now located there, the display on the back has a lower resolution: Like most cameras in the Z5’s price range, it shows 720×480 pixels. Nikon did not save on the viewfinder, which is identical to the Z6 and Z7 and shows with 1280×960 pixels (3.69 million pixels at the manufacturer, since the subpixels for red, green and blue are counted here) a picture in top picture quality: with a very detailed representation and very accurate color rendering. The viewfinder of the Z5 is one of the best in this price range.If you want an even better viewfinder, you have to dig deeper into your pocket and then get a higher viewfinder resolution of 1600×1200 pixels with the Canon EOS R5 or the Panasonic Lumix S1 (manufacturer specifications 5.76 million Pixel). Only the viewfinder of the Sony Alpha 7S III with 2048×1536 pixels should be even sharper (manufacturer specification 9.44 million pixels). The last change to the housing of the Z5 are the memory card slots: The Z5 has two slots for SD cards with fast UHS-II technology.

Extremely small but good zoom

Nikon is building a new standard zoom for the Z5, the Nikkor Z 24-50mm f4-6.3. Not very bright and with a tight zoom range, but very light (195 grams) and extremely compact, the zoom can be retracted when the camera is not in use. Then the zoom is only 5.1 centimeters long. In the test, the mini zoom impressed with top image quality: in terms of sharpness and detail, it reached the top level of other zoom lenses from Nikon’s Z series such as the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f4 S or the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 S Only fixed focal lengths like the Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f1.8 S deliver a slightly higher image quality. With the Nikkor Z 24-50mm f4-6.3, photographers only have to make compromises when it comes to robustness. The more expensive professional lenses from the S series are simply built more elaborately.


With the new zoom, the Nikon Z5 is a real mini despite its solid housing and large full-frame sensor, the Z5 with the zoom weighed in at just 864 grams.

Unfortunately, 4K video is only pixel-perfect

A saving assumption with the Nikon Z5: When filming in 4K, the camera reads out the image with pixel accuracy. The larger sister model, the Z6, on the other hand, uses the entire sensor width and then calculates the image down to 4K resolution (3840×2160 pixels). This narrows the image section on the Z5: a focal length of 24 millimeters becomes 38 millimeters. If you want to film with a wide-angle perspective, you have to switch to Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) or use a different lens, such as the standard zoom of the Nikon Z50, the Nikon Nikkor Z 16-50mm f3.5-6.3 DX VR or the ultra-wide-angle zoom Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S. The image quality of the videos is great. There are only a few cameras that look better, such as the Canon EOS R5, the Nikon Z6 or the Panasonic Lumix S1. Like most current cameras, the Z5 films with a maximum of 30 frames per second in 4K, which can lead to image jerks during fast pans and movements. If you don’t want that, you can simply film in Full HD and then record 60 frames per second.

Test results

Nikon Z5

Resolution

24.16 megapixels (6016 x 4016 pixels)

Recording sensor

23.9 x 35.9 mm (full frame)

lens

Nikkor Z 24-50mm f4-6.3

Weight / dimensions

864 grams / 13.4 x 10.1 x 11.2 cm

Memory card

2 x SD card (UHS-II)

PHOTO QUALITY

Laboratory test (daylight): level of detail / sharpness

1805/1552 line pairs

Laboratory test (daylight): noise / dynamic range / color deviation

very low (VN 1.33) / very high (8.97 f-stops) / low (DeltaE 9.2)

PHOTO QUALITY IN LOW LIGHT

Laboratory test (ISO 1600): level of detail / sharpness

1643/1290 line pairs

Laboratory test (ISO 1600): noise / dynamic range / color deviation

low (VN 1.53) / very high (8.7 f-stops) / still low (DeltaE 10.5)

Laboratory test (ISO 6400): level of detail / sharpness

1503/1070 line pairs

Laboratory test (ISO 6400): noise / dynamic range / color deviation

low (VN 2.17) / very high (6.95 f-stops) / somewhat high (DeltaE 12.5)

VIDEO

Best resolution (max. Recording time)

4K (3840 x 2160 pixels with 30 frames per second) / 30 minutes

TEMPO

Autofocus: shutter release delay in daylight / low light / very low light

0.10 seconds / 0.10 seconds / low

Autofocus: Number of selectable measuring fields / range of functions / focus tracking

very many (273) / many / exactly

Burst speed

4.5 frames per second

FURNISHING

Viewfinder: type / magnification / diopter correction

electronic (3.69 megapixels) / 0.8x / yes

Monitor: level of detail / color fidelity / image diagonal (aspect ratio) / brightness / type

1.04 megapixels / 8 cm (3: 2) / bright / folding

Image Stabilization: Type (Effectiveness Wide / Normal / Tele)

built-in (very high / very high / very high)

Manual: sharpness / aperture / time / long time / white balance / ISO

yes / yes / yes / yes / yes / yes

Exposure metering: multiple / spot / integral / special method

yes / yes / yes / lights emphasized

GPS / WLAN / Bluetooth

automatically via app / yes / yes

Connections to the camera

USB-C, HDMI, microphone, headphones, hot shoe, remote release,

Battery: type / images per battery charge / charging via USB

EN-EL15C / 772/152 minutes / yes

Fast autofocus, slow in series

The Nikon Z5 borrowed the autofocus from the sister model Z6. In practice there is hardly any difference. The Z5 focuses very quickly and accurately, useful for snapshots. Only in very little light does the Z6 focus a little faster than the Z5. The focus tracking works well for series shots, but this is partly due to the low speed of the series shots. The Z5 shoots a maximum of 4.5 frames per second, so more expensive system cameras like the Z6 or Canon EOS R6 are much faster with twelve frames per second. The automatic subject recognition of the autofocus works really well in practice, only the Canon EOS R5 and R6 are a corner faster here. For example, the Z5 automatically detects faces and then focuses on the eye facing the camera, the other can be selected using the joystick. If there are several people in the picture, the photographer can also use the joystick to determine who the Z5 should focus on. Face recognition also works with animals, but this must be set in the menu for the individual functions (function A4).
Nikon Z5 memory cards © COMPUTER BILD

When it comes to memory cards, the Nikon Z5 uses SD cards instead of super-fast CFexpress cards, unlike its larger sister models. You can also put two cards into the camera at the same time.

New battery with more power

66 applications

Edit, present, burn

Location data automatically via smartphone

Today a matter of course: The Nikon Z5 has built-in WLAN and Bluetooth. This allows the camera to be operated via smartphone or tablet with the free Snapbridge app (available for Android and Apple) Taxes. On request, Snapbridge automatically transfers a reduced version of the pictures taken to the mobile phone via Bluetooth. The pictures are 1620×1080 pixels but large enough for Facebook & Co. Whoever later wants to know where a photo was taken can simply activate the “Position data” function in the app under link options synchronize “switched on. The camera then fetches the location data from the smartphone and writes it to photo files. However, the camera and app switch the connection to sleep mode after about an hour. If you haven’t used the camera for a long time and want to have location data in your photos again, simply start the app once with the camera switched on and ready to record. The location data is then transmitted fully automatically, very conveniently and much more easily than with other manufacturers.

Z5

Ease of use, top image quality and a really good viewfinder, the Nikon Z5 will satisfy even the most demanding photographers. The new mini zoom is astonishingly small and surprisingly good in terms of image quality, it can keep up with much more expensive optics. Z5 photographers only have to compromise on two things: The continuous shooting speed is low and the Z5 does not use the entire sensor for 4K videos, but films with pixel accuracy.

  • Top picture quality even in very little light
  • Very large, very detailed viewfinder
  • Small and light with the kit lens
  • High video quality
  • Faster and more accurate auto focus
  • 4K video only as an excerpt
  • Low burst speed

* The cheapest price may be higher in the meantime.


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