Nikon picked a vlogging feud with Sony when it launched the new Nikon Z30, which is now its most affordable mirrorless camera by far.
Like the Sony ZV-E10, the Nikon Z30 is a vlog-friendly touch on an existing camera (the Nikon Z50) and removes that model’s viewfinder to achieve its lower price and smaller form factor.
That means you get a 20.9MP APS-C sensor, smaller than full-frame but much larger than Micro Four Thirds or any smartphone sensor. The Z30 can record 4K/30p video or Full HD/120p slow motion clips, and instead of offering more powerful in-body image stabilization, it comes with electronic vibration reduction (e-VR) that creates a 1 .3x on your image.
Aside from the lack of a viewfinder, the main differences from the Nikon Z50 are the inclusion of a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen (instead of a tilting one), the option to power the camera via its USB-C port, and the ability to record 125 minute clips at once with no recording limits.
One of the most important features for vloggers and YouTubers is autofocus. The Nikon Z30 offers a hybrid AF system, which means it combines both phase detection and contrast AF. While you don’t get the same AF performance as the Nikon Z9, Nikon told us that the Z30’s autofocus is on a similar level to the Nikon Z6 and Z7. That means you should get a pretty sticky face and eye AF, and the animal-eye AF works on video too.
Despite weighing in at just 405g, the Nikon Z30 retains Nikon’s classic deep grip to help keep it steady during handheld shooting, and there are some video-friendly tweaks too, including a more prominent video recording button than the Z50 and a beacon light on the front so you can see when you’re recording.
The Z30’s lack of a viewfinder means it’s also cheaper than the Z50 at launch, with a body-only price tag of £699. When the camera goes on sale July 14, you’ll also be able to buy it in multiple packages. . One includes the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens (£839), while a larger vlogger kit will include that lens, the camera, an ML-L7 Remote, SmallRig tripod and SmallRig Windmuff (which collectively cost £879).
Those wanting a little more versatility will also be able to buy the Nikon Z30 with two lenses (Nikon’s 16-50mm and 50-250mm) for £1,069.
Analysis: Fun, if a little late to the party
Like Sony and Canon, Nikon knows that the most sought after feature in entry-level cameras right now is video. That means the Nikon Z30 is a sensible (albeit a bit overdue) addition to the options available to budding filmmakers.
Our guides to the best vlog cameras and the best YouTube cameras are currently dominated by Sony and Panasonic, and the Z30 already has some pretty fearsome rivals in the form of the Sony ZV-E10, Panasonic GH5 Mark II, and the new Canon EOS R10.
If your autofocus skills perform well in the real world, the Nikon Z30 could still offer a good-value alternative to these cameras. But like the Nikon Z50 and Zfc, its main Achilles heel is its lack of lenses – its 16-50mm kit zoom (which in full-frame terms gives you a 24-75mm focal length) is probably not. wide enough for some vloggers, and there are currently only two other lenses designed specifically for its APS-C sensor.
Still, there’s a 12-24mm lens in Nikon’s roadmap for their APS-C ‘DX’ mirrorless cameras, and you can also retrofit hundreds of older F-mount lenses using Nikon’s FTZ adapter. That doesn’t compare to Sony’s recent release of three new APS-C lenses, and there are growing rumors that Sony is preparing to launch a new ZV series camera for vloggers (opens in new tab) coming soon.