Nikon Is the New Hasselblad: That’s Bad

Hasselblad is and was a photography company with a true pedigree, known for making the cameras NASA chose to use on the moon. But in the early 2010s, they seemed to have lost their way. Nikon seems to be in a similar position. Can they turn it around as Hasselblad did?

Style Over Substance

Let’s jump back to 2012 and the announcement of Hasselblad's Lunar. In case you’ve forgotten this odd bit of camera history, it was a Sony NEX-7, but retailed for about 5x the price of the Sony, thanks to the addition of a fancy leather grip. In an interview, Hasselblad’s head of business development stated: “This is a camera for both serious photographers and enthusiasts who aspire to shooting with a Hasselblad.” This was followed up by the announcement of the Stellar, which was leather covered Sony RX100, and later a Hasselblad HV, a restyled Sony A99. Put simply, Hasselblad wasn’t bringing anything new to the table, except maybe some talented leather crafts, all at an exaggerated price point.

This choice to put development and marketing efforts behind a vanity project that didn’t make use of the company’s competitive edge wasn’t a good call. Hasselblad’s more recent effort, with the X system cameras, featuring a new lens mount and Hasselblad-designed lenses, has been more of a success.

I draw the comparison with Nikon’s current situation because the announcement of the Z fc has me worried that Nikon is heading down that same path. I wasn’t a fan of the Df back at the launch, as it struck me as an expensive camera hamstrung by cost-cutting, notable only for its throwback design. Fortunately, that was a one-off… or so I thought.

Plan Z

As a Nikon user, I was very interested in the announcement of the Z system. A new mount, a serious effort at mirrorless, and rave reviews over the initial Z lenses convinced me to buy in. Getting into a new system always involves putting a bit of trust in the company’s promises, and for the most part, Nikon has delivered. The lenses that have been released have continued to uphold the standard, and new body releases have slotted in well. 

Alas, that implicit contract has shown some cracks over the last year or two. The cadence of lens releases has slowed down, with some really noticeable absences still evident, like the lack of a 200mm+ option in Z mount. Meanwhile, the lower end has been just minimally supported, with two basic DX lenses announced and a third overlapping one placed on the roadmap. 

Now, against that backdrop, Nikon has decided to create a retro-styled version of the Z 50 with a firmware update. Just like Hasselblad took a NEX-7 and put some leather on it, it’s looking like Nikon is following the same formula with some silver paint.

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with Nikon building out the lower end of their product stack; in fact, I think it’s really important. Nikon has to find a way to funnel users into the ecosystem and brand, and having a $1,500+ full-frame camera as the lowest option isn’t going to make that happen. Unfortunately, putting some leather on a Z 50 isn’t going to do that either.

Instead, create a model that fits above or below the Z 50. The D3000-series cameras sold in huge volumes for Nikon, while the D7000 and D500 users don’t have a compelling Z APS-C to move over to. When it comes to lenses, there are a lot of directions to go. Users have been eager for a range of compact primes to pair with the lightweight Z bodies, pros are still missing native mount telephotos and fast primes that aren’t one of three 50mm variations. The Z APS-C lens lineup is even more dire than that of the F mount.

The Big Picture

Beyond the specifics of this product or that product line, I’d love to see Nikon better leverage their competitive edge. They make brilliant lenses; all of the reviews of the Z mount lenses have shown that. Most of their existing offerings are an excellent value, at a time when the market has gone crazy with $6,500+ bodies and $2,500+ lenses. 

What happened to the design language of the Z lenses? Is this really just meant to be a one-off for the Z fc?

To return to the Hasselblad example, those rebranded models didn’t work because they lost sight of the fact that a camera is many things, but at its core, it’s a tool for artists. Producing a special edition is fine, but not when it’s taking the place of meaningful development.

Now, with the continued contraction and strengthening competition in the camera market, Nikon has to focus on the product. The high end has seemingly been left wide open, with missing telephotos and only the “announcement of development” of a flagship mirrorless camera presenting a poor visual heading into the Olympics in Tokyo. 

Low-end and DX ranges have continued to experience neglect and the creation of artificial limitations. Nikon, like Canon, continues to believe that the moment users need an advanced feature or lens, they’ll just upgrade right out of DX, EF-S, or M gear. That doesn’t work if you instead consider that these are users who you need advanced features to attract in the first place. If the competition is a very capable cell phone camera, your product has to bring something more to the table. Fewer features, less capable software, and worse options for connectivity aren’t going to make that an easy sell.

The Z fc isn’t inherently a problem. Trying something new, doing a special edition, and taking a risk is all fine; the problem is that this seems to be taking the place of “real work” that needs to get done. Back in March 2021, Nikon’s CFO mentioned that 12 new lenses were to be released in the next 12 months. Since then, we have gotten the development of a few lenses announced, but they’re not “released” in any real sense, and the 105mm that was actually released came with the announcement of significant shipping delays for most buyers.

What makes this all so frustrating as someone watching the industry and using the products is that they are great. I’ve really enjoyed my Z gear, but I’m worried that missteps and a misallocation of resources are going to prevent the vision of the system from being fully realized. Just like Hasselblad returned from the leather-coated wilderness with the X1D, I’m hoping Nikon can navigate a path to consistently releasing the great Z products that photographers and enthusiasts will enjoy shooting.

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80 Comments

Matt Edwards's picture

Not sure that I would agree that the new release is style over substance. The specs are quite good, the price within reason, and some will really like the styling and the additional analog controls, which I find myself liking too.

Also a great mount with very high quality first party lens options, as you yourself said. If you are finding the Nikon's own lens selection lacking, there are great 3rd party options that fill in the field nicely, as well as good adapter options to open you up to a wealth of great older lenses that can be picked up used.

Maybe they are actually reading the market with this release better than you think. I'm not sure how you can guess this will be a failure within only the first week of release.

Also big companies like Nikon don't have one team working through a project at a time, and definitely not the same teams working on bodies and lenses. So if you feel they are wasting time on projects like this over developing new lenses, I don't believe that to be the case.

This article feels a little short sighted and reactionary, perhaps just a need to jump on the commentary wagon on a new release...

Alex Coleman's picture

The specs are essentially a Z50 with a new screen mechanism, so it’s really not adding much over that camera. You already have a Z DX camera with the same guts, but at a lower price.

As for third party, there’s not ‘that’ many Z mount options. No FTZ support for screw driven lenses, which would really be ideal for a throwback FX body anyway, plus there’s just better Z cameras if you do want to use those lenses/adapters.

It might be a short term success - I know the DF was in the first few weeks. The issue is that this instead represents a failure of strategy and priorities on the part of Nikon.

When it comes to teams, here’s a simple example: the 28mm SE pancake. It’s a special housing, coming as part of the kit. That focal length and form factor is in demand, but a significant part of the supply is going to be “stuck” in that kit. So it’s not so much an issue of teams, but how the resources are used - especially considering Nikon is already facing product shortages and delays.

Matt Rennells's picture

Screw Drive, AI, AI-S, and all old lenses seem to work pretty good with the megadap adapter. I'm sure you can put together a nice small walkaround kit with glass that may not win any MTF charts, but will still look good for online use and not break your back or wallet.

Alex Coleman's picture

I've got to check that one out.

Robert Feliciano's picture

"a failure of strategy and priorities"
The priority is to make money. They'll sell 100x as many of these as they will the Z9.

Alex Coleman's picture

Sure, but at a far lower profit margin and significantly lower customer lifetime value, in part because those customers don’t have suitable lenses to choose from or DX bodies to upgrade to.

Robert Feliciano's picture

You're misusing profit margin. I'd guess the margin (% they take home on each sale) on the Zfc is actually higher since it's mostly a rehash of a 2 year old camera, while the Z9 needs a lot of new R&D and cutting edge parts. All that R&D is divided by maybe 40-60,000 cameras (that's ever, not per year). Though the tech will trickle down into cheaper bodies.
You might mean total profit per camera.

Alex Coleman's picture

I wouldn’t be so sure - based on little bits of info, like the dealer cost of the high end gear, it’s clear that there’s a much more significant markup there than at the low end.

Nikon themselves have said that “Selection and concentration of resources on high-value-added products” is key to “Strengthening of profit structure to improve margins”.

Robert Feliciano's picture

I've been in many merchandiser/buyer/designer meetings with discussion of margin and what gets made and how many in Fortune 500 companies. Even if you were right (and I'd guess you are not), they might make 300% more margin than what's made on the Zfc.
A product doesn't get made if it is not expected to add 15% to the bottom line (though plenty of products flop). Apple clears 45% on some phones. Drug companies are a totally different realm. The Z9 will sell <5% of the volume of the Zfc.
The numbers they clear on the Z9 will never, ever add up to the Zfc.

Alex Coleman's picture

Just keep moving those goal posts. Nikon itself recognizes that they have to move the product mix up market, for both margins and gross profit reasons. Introducing a niche, low end camera without any support or clear upgrade path isn’t going to accomplish that goal.

Robert Feliciano's picture

I didn't move the goal posts. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, yet still show that your argument is wrong (a failure of strategy and priorities), even though I know you're wrong on margin, e.g. do you think runway show dresses make money? Hell no, they are a halo product to sell more jeans, t-shirts and belts, that's where the real money is. 2/3 of the items on the runway never even make it to market. Do you think flagship stores in Times Square or on Fifth Ave make money? Hell no, it costs just 10-20% more to have a store than to have a billboard, so you may as well have a store, grab some tourist attention and hopefully make them a customer for life. When they shop again back home, that store actually pays for itself.
One idea is to sell them lenses that they can use on full frame bodies, that's an upgrade path that not all brands, e.g. Fuji or Canon, have.
I'm sure you know plenty about photography or video, but you don't know much about selling products.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

Z9 would be the same as D6 for F mount. The idea of such high end model is not to make major share of profits selling it but to accomplish several other goals like draw professionals into the system, increase prestige and thus better brand recognition, increase sale of high end lenses and accessories, etc.
Nikon is in a very serious financial situation right now and a lot of people do not realize that. Their accounting division came up with "brilliant" idea of balancing books by liquidating many assets which are crucial in keeping production and supply on adequate level. To put it simply, Nikon sold many factories just to patch up financial losses in their books but now has very limited supply capabilities. It does not matter if Zfc has potential to make them significant profit (I say it doesn't) because Nikon will not be able to supply enough of this product. In fact, they already announced shortages. Few days after product announcement.

Gil Aegerter's picture

Any Zfc that a customer buys is a Fuji XT-30 or Sony A6400 that the same customer doesn't buy. It's also a customer who might buy a 50-250mm or a 24-200mm or an 18-140mm. More (Zfc) of these customers is better than fewer (Z9).

Matt Edwards's picture

How are you so readily able to say it is a "failure of strategies and priorities on the part of Nikon" when you have no idea if it is a success of failure yet?

Nikons goal is to sell equipment, not to fit the needs of every user. It may be a "failure" to fit what you think is important in your usage case to fill out their catalog, but so far this model seems to largely be receiving a warm reception from reviewers and public opinion, and I expect will also sell well with people new to photography or who just want something nicer than their phone camera because they will walk into a shop and it will catch their eye. Its an aesthetically pleasing object, its cool - retro, and its priced well under other more aesthetic options like Fuji. In short I see this selling well to the general public.

You are jumping the gun because frankly you have no idea if this will be a failure for the company or not. No one does until sales numbers start coming out.

Maybe this article would be more aptly titled "Why I THINK Nikon MAY BE the new Hassalblad, and why that MAY BE a bad thing"

MAURO STUCCHI's picture

who took the picture of Nikon ? the reflection is so off LOL

Alex Coleman's picture

Ha ha, you caught me. Just some quick Photoshop to match it up with other product photo!

Paul Samson's picture

The D3000 market place era has changed somewhat I think; but thanks for the article

Matt Rennells's picture

Would you rather they have done the "retro" treatment to the Z5? At least the Z50 is a fairly capable camera while just being APS-C. The existence of a Z5 better fits your "no development" narrative. I'm sure the pandemic took a toll on Nikon and that they're behind on getting parts and testing - so this makes perfect sense. Proven camera, proven parts (which probably already exist primarily), new package. Personally I like it. I'd be more likely to go for a Zfc as a backup/walkaround/vlog camera than any of the FF offerings because of it's size.

Alex Coleman's picture

Honestly, I'd have skipped the retro thing all together. If it's just a Z50 II, go with that.

As for the shortage of parts, splitting things across like 6 colors, two different lens kits, and even bifurcating stock of that 28mm pancake into "normal" and "SE" doesn't seem like a good call from a inventory management and supply chain perspective.

Matt Rennells's picture

It honestly depends where in the supply chain shortages are. The Z50/Zfc is essentially using all "off the shelf" parts with the exception of the exterior. Sensor is from a D500, processor is used in many other cameras, so the "chip" shortage shouldn't really affect this camera. Better to take components you have and get a product out the door than just sit and wait for new components to arrive.

And yeah, I'm looking at it as a smaller Z50 with better autofocus. My use case is to pair with a bigger Z camera as a BTSvideo/backup/walkaround role once I make the full on switch from F mount to Z mount. Retro is great and all, but I could have even done without the dials on the top if it made the camera even smaller overall.

Krzysztof Kurzaj's picture

The answer to your question is everywhere. Nikon has shortages everywhere because they sold off a big part of their production and supply chain.

N Natan's picture

Of course, Hassy was essentially dead in 2011/12 and didn't start making cameras again until it was acquired by the Chinese drone company in 2015 (minority) and 2017 (majority). Remains to be seen whether they would remain a viable MF company with Fuji in the market already outselling them. Might just be a brand on some phones and drones.

Simon Miller's picture

Well not quite. The X series was devved by Hass and its investment group several years before DJI bought a majority share - they still do not own the full Co - However this must be seen to be a good thing - DJI have filed several Hass related patents - flip screen 100mpx sensor etc - so th e X series will see some longevity - the CFV back on my 907x has its flaws but it is still a great machine - and compliments my other Nikon cameras well on weddings and social portraiture events

Glem Let's picture

Alex,
Why bash Nikon...?
Have you got/tried the camera..?

Did you bash Sony back in the day when they had almost no lenses..?
Did you bash Fujifilm for abandoning dslr’s and ‘going retro’..?

Why would a fixed lens Fujifilm X100 be ‘cool’ and a retro Nikon be naff..?

And the comparison to Hassy.... it’s just click bait on your part, shame on you.
For those that don’t know, Hasselblad rebadged an already dated point and shoot made by Sony, put a wooden handle on it, trebled the price and tried to sell it as a prestige brand camera.... but it wasn’t.
Nikon know their stuff, they already make the best DSLR ever in the D850, so why not try and get a foothold in both the mirrorless and retro market...?

I’ve ordered mine, and so will thousands of others, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it..

lexpaul's picture

Click bait

Paul C's picture

'Can they turn it around as Hasselblad did?"

I wouldn't wish that on Nikon Alex - in early 2000’s, Hasselblad was on its knees and was bought by Imacon, a film scanner company. They couldn't make it work and have now sold it to DJ, the Chinese drone camera company.

For many of us with decades of Nikon investment, there is a need to see the continuity of a workhorse system. The ability of the Z-system to adapt any Nikon lens since the first F model was needed by Nikon a long time ago, but this may be too little, too late to retain their loyal mass market buyers.

While Pentax retained the ability to use its legacy lenses in its switch to digital 20 years ago, with at least manual focus and TTL metering on every digital SLR combined with every pentax lens, Nikon pretty much forced its loyal users to buy all their lenses again with those early D40, 70, 100 ...ranges with their crippled mounts. How many gave up the brand then?

It would be an irony if Nikon was to follow Olympus and Hasslebad into buyouts, while the Pentax-Ricoh-Hoya combine still kept on!

Alex Coleman's picture

Part of the issue is that the Z already represents at least a partial break with that continuity, as there isn't a first party AF-D capable adapter. The Z cameras are clearly meant to be used with Z lenses, and to a lesser extent newish AF-S lenses.

If you're looking for a workhorse product, do you stick with the D850 and D6, which still don't have an equal in Z years on? Do you jump to the Z7 and the Z9 (whenever that's released)?

Matt Williams's picture

While an AF-D adapter would be great, I think people on internet forums vastly overestimate how many actual users have a plethora of AF-D lenses that they just have to be able to use. Professionals especially haven't used AF-D lenses for years, aside from maybe a few lenses, but a vast majority of their kit will be newer AF-S lenses.

Most of the old AF-D lenses don't even compete with their AF-S counterparts in terms of IQ and are certainly nowhere near Z lenses. Also, things like eye-AF and continuous AF tracking and whatnot don't play friendly with screwdrive lenses.

I never expected Nikon's adapter to support AF-D lenses and I'm surprised so many people did.

Alex Coleman's picture

I think people’s expectation for it was born from the legacy of support for the F mount that was carried since like the 50’s, but honestly I don’t mind it not existing. What I didn’t state in that comment was if Nikon is intending users to switch full-heartedly into Z, there needs to be D850, D6, telephotos, etc. Not a cosmetic variation of a 28mm f/2.8.

Matt Williams's picture

Oh I don't think the expectation/hope for it was unreasonable. I just didn't assume personally that it would happen.

What exactly do you mean by your last statement? Do you mean a Z equivalent of D850 (which would the Z7) and D6 and telephoto primes/zooms? The upcoming Z8 or Z9 (I forget which it was they announced) will be the D6 equivalent. And I agree about telephotos - they're coming soon. Especially excited for the 100-400 as I have Tamron's 100-400 and love it. I'm not much for primes over 135mm, I don't really understand how people use fixed focal length lenses that are 400 and 600mm. Seems really limiting.... like what do you do if the bird you're photographing moves too close? Or the football player gets too close to you? I dunno, I'm not the audience for it lol.

And the 28/2.8 compact is a highly desired lens based on internet comments. Lots of people are really looking forward to it and the compact 40 f/2. The cosmetic part is just for this camera, but you can still buy it separately for $300 and there will be a regular version soon after.

Kyriacos Sakkas's picture

This was the first time my wife not just approved but urged me to get some camera gear. It felt like a cool little everyday camera for all the family, even before I saw the promo videos.
This will sell and I believe it fills a real gap in Nikon's line up, a well styled reasonably good camera, with a relatively reasonable price.
And the lens looks good too, if the tactile sensation is also close to the older lenses, then it will be perfect.

Stephen Strangways's picture

With Nikon boasting about how incredibly lightweight the new 28mm is, thanks to the extensive use of plastic, I don't have much hope.

Rob Pul's picture

So, if Nikon do one retro-style camera to add to its line-up of functional design ones and give something different to customers it's style over substance, but Fuji have been doing only retro for years and that's fine.

Then, this line of thinking is leveraged at the n-th level to compare a U$4.6bn company and major player in the FF and APSC ICL market with a niche US$34m medium-format company.

Wonder what's so cool about double standards Nikon bashing that's taken over the internet in the last couple of years on everything Nikon do.

Matt Williams's picture

Agreed. It's a cool little retro camera to appeal to folks who like those things.

Comments across half a dozen sites I've read have been overwhelmingly positive about the Z Fc. The biggest complaint, not unfairly, is that it's an APS-C camera, which doesn't fit quite as well into the throwback to film-era Nikons idea.

Stephen Strangways's picture

Fuji are all-in on retro, not one body and one cosmetically-redesigned lens. They're also doing it right: physical dials that indicate what everything is set to. Nikon is doing physical dials that may or may not indicate what everything is set to, depending on what mode and digital/touchscreen setting may have overridden them. It's half-analog, half-digital, and all confusing.

Karsten Qvist's picture

Does Nikon have the ressources needed to pull through?
I fear that is the main question.. 🤔

Jorge Andrés Miraglia's picture

Another hater with nothing to say. Perhaps the camera it´s just not made for your suits or needs, but for some someone else. There is people who buy things based on design, and are not needing superb capabilities. The camera was presented yesterday, and you deem it as a failure already, which is, to say the least, irresponsible (from the journalistic point of view), as you don´t actually have any data to support your words. In fact, nothing in this article is supported by data, but is just a bunch of opinions barely holding together. What is the production cost?, what is the amount of sales expected for the trimester? in which markets will it be positioned? what is the commercial strategy for each of those? how long is the product supposed to take for generating the desired revenue?. Do you have that data? Have you even talked to someone who has this data?.
I took the time to write this comment just in case an editor sees this, as this is exactly the type of article nobody wants in this page. When I say nobody, although it is a generalization, it is based on actually reading this page and the comments, and observing that some things are always repeating themselves, as people complaining for this lame click-bait pseudo-articles.
Remember, you cannot have your name out there if you have nothing to contribute with. The article sucked and the image that came with it was irresponsibly quickly made and with errors. Remember you are in a site with people with some visual culture. If you cant fit, first educate yourself. If you are going to seek for exposure, think of the things your name is going to be attached to, as it is how people is going to remember it. I certainly won´t forget Coleman now, as I write this. The topic was interesting enough, with some work it could have done well, but it lacked work and effort spent on it. It is rushed, and people sees it and values it.
This is not a hate message. It intends to be educational and to mark a standpoint. Take it as such.
Have a lovely day.

Matt Williams's picture

Love you, Alex, but this one really misses the mark.

1) HUGE difference between the Lunar or Stellar and the Z Fc. The Z Fc is not just a Z50 with a firmware update and some pretty changes. It is a camera that appeals to a different audience - much like those who love Fuji cameras - and based on the reactions across the internet, a lot of people love the concept of the camera. Also, the Lunar and Stellar were MASSIVELY marked up. This is like $100 more than the Z50 was. Plus it's Nikon making a Nikon, not Hasselblad rehousing a Sony.

2) "Nikon has to find a way to funnel users into the ecosystem and brand, and having a $1,500+ full-frame camera as the lowest option isn’t going to make that happen."

Huh? The Z5 is $1000. It's the cheapest full frame camera you can get, except maybe the Canon Rp I don't know what that costs these days. But it's nowhere near the level of the Z5, which is basically a Z6 with just a few features stripped out. Plus Canon has almost no affordable RF lens so that negates the point of buying a cheap body.

Nikon did this once before with the Df. That didn't suddenly make them like Hasselblad used to be, nor will it this time.

Also, the title is a bit misleading because you're talking about a Hasselblad that existed a decade ago. That hasn't been what they are for a long time now.

Alex Coleman's picture

The comparison to the Lunar isn’t literal, but it was too evocative to pass up. You have a company that can clearly make quality cameras and lenses, foregoing that to introduce a cosmetic variation of an existing camera that is meant to harken back to their glory days - sound familiar?

As for the $1500 comment, you’re leaving out a key part of that line: “To be clear, I don’t have a problem with Nikon building out the lower end of their product stack; in fact, I think it’s really important.” I’m acknowledging they need a lower end - Z5, Z50, a Z 30, and DX lenses are all important parts of that funnel. The problem is that this announcement doesn’t represent significant progress in that part of the market.

Matt Williams's picture

I understood what you meant, I was saying they already have a sub $1500 camera. It is and was hugely popular and an affordable way into FF mirrorless.

I don't think I agree so much with focusing as much on the low end. We've known for a while now that it isn't the low end that drives the market anymore. Those people have gone the way of the smartphone.

Now, I do agree they need a Z30, but I really think what they need is a D500 equivalent Z camera. A pro level APS-C camera.

But based on all the comments I've read on DP Review, Nikon Rumors, Sony Alpha Rumors, this site, Petapixel, etc.... people are receiving this camera quite well and a lot of them intend to buy it. Way way better reception than I thought it would receive. I think this is going to end up being a great seller for Nikon. Kind of the opposite of the Df, which was severely overpriced.

Alex Coleman's picture

It might sell well, even the DF did at the start. The problem is what do you do with those sales? You don’t have many APS C lenses to sell those users, they don’t have a APSC camera to upgrade to, the design and control language on all the other bodies is different from this one-off, etc. I just don’t see that the market, especially with Nikon’s current place in it, will support an expansive, unfocused product line.

Matt Williams's picture

Well the lack of expansive DX lenses is absolutely nothing new. Only Fuji offers that. Sony has a terrible APS-C line. Nikon and Canon DSLRs never had a great line of APS-C lenses. But it hasn't stopped any of them from successful APS-C body sales.

Plus, APS-C is seen as a gateway drug to get users to eventually move up to full-frame. Which to be fair is what a lot of photographers want anyway, given that the low-end has bottomed out.

Yeah this is a one-off. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Or they could update it in the future with a new sensor, IBIS, etc. Or, possibly, make a full-frame version after they gauge the success of this one. Which I think might be their plan.

T Jacobs's picture

Perhaps you should write articles for another industry or is it enjoyable intentionally slinging mud for the sake of engagement. Do you get paid per click?

You do realize that the majority of Nikon sales are entry-level DSLRs and by a significant margin? Most users buy their entry-level camera in a kit with either 1 or 2 lenses and nothing more. Surely you must know this?

While Nikon's DX line of lenses for Z mount is currently lacking, they are only 3 years into development. And, for any user that buys into the entry-level with the intent of upgrading, they are almost better off buying FX lenses so they don't have to start from scratch when the time comes. The Z lenses are optically superior to F glass so the argument that DX performs better doesn't have the same weight it once did.

In terms of sales of the Z fc, I'm hearing and reading from dealers that the volume of pre-orders has been completely unexpected; I believe the white version is already sold out on the Nikon site as you can no longer pre-order it.

For what it's worth the Z fc is worth buying over the Z50 just for the upgraded AF modes and the fact it has USB-C and allows the battery to be charged in-camera. I suppose that's subjective, but given the fact the single most important aspect of a camera these days is being able to capture birds in flight, one would assume that alone would be worth the upgrade. Or, have we moved on from the birds in flight narrative to comparing retro designs and who did it first. Hint, Nikon did before Fuji decades ago.

Cameras are tools. Every single tool has limitations. Every single tool needs a craftsman to operate it with precision. If you're blaming gear in 2021 then you're not a craftsman, you're simply a tool.

Photography is a creative art, be creative instead of simple. </rant>

Kurt Pas's picture

To photograph we have: Light, Subject, Lens, Diaphragm, Shutter and the Recording Media. If a photographer understand the basics of the last 3 and master the 1st, it really does not matter were a camera brand is going. Photographers can be very successful with simple tools. You do not need a Phase One sensor for that.
But of course, gear is an easy way to create content. Only, it does not matter much.

Lawrence S's picture

Is this article sarcastic? Or course it's style over substance. That's the whole point of offering a retro styled version with physical controls, of a current product. The comparison of the Hasselblad version of the Sony NeX-7 is completely bonkers. It's not even their own camera, it offered no additional ergonomics and controls and it did not aim at the popular retro design fans. At all.

Richard Chen's picture

I don't quite agree with you that the fc is as in the same category of style over substance like what hasselblad did with the Lunar, Stella and the HV.

But I do agree with you that the DF was a bit of a meh because they took a D4 and made it worse, it's a camera that people who use the D4 and D800 would mostly shrug off, and it was really expensive when it first came out.

A power users, won't be impressed by fc. It feels like it's the last camera that we want - especially when the management tells us that they're gonna release a number of lenses but all we're getting is just an entry body camera with 6 colours and two funky kit lenses.

But I think it's quite brilliant that Nikon has put out the fc and not a moment too soon - which looks good, and has a reasonable amount of megapixels that doesn't explode your mac, good performance shooting everyday things, people, dogs, kids running around, and also has an articulating screen for great for vloggers and social media influenzas, and is $1000 US, great spousal approval too. Going to sell a lot, hopefully.

The Fc works out as a sort of an entry drug to the Nikon Z system which I think it is a good idea - at a time where you want as many people to get into the camera system as possible, so that power users and pros like us would get treated to a camera system that has longevity and variety.

Modern, premium quality lenses are way harder to design and manufacture these days because they are much more complex then the older lenses, but let's hope they come out in time. The Fc with the smaller sensor would be easier to stamp out in bulk and sold at a good profit. Hopefully it keeps the company afloat long enough.

Paul McBride's picture

"But I do agree with you that the DF was a bit of a meh because they took a D4 and made it worse, it's a camera that people who use the D4 and D800 would mostly shrug off, and it was really expensive when it first came out."

Well, yes and no.

Another way of looking at that would be: they took the d4 and made it much cheaper for shooters who wanted access to the d4's class-leading sensor and imaging performance but didn't need all of the bells and whistles (incredible framerate, built in grip, etc) and also the downsides of that pro-grade build and performance (size, weight, price).

Sure, the Df was expensive, but if you weren't a sports/action shooter, it allowed you to get a D4 - the sensor, the incredible low-light performance - at less than half the cost.

Richard Chen's picture

Well, that is a new way to look at it, the DF being a D4 sensor in a casual and retro body, however, the number of people who could casually spend half the price of a D4 are really quite few (and the card slots would have discouraged people with a pile of CF cards back then, and people mostly went with the D800 instead).

Forrest M.'s picture

I’m one of those people! But I waited to get it used for even cheaper. The Df is awesome. I can shoot all my old F mount lenses on an incredible sensor and have manual controls. The only problem I have with it is the clunky design. Had it been as svelte as an FM, it would have been far more popular.

Forrest M.'s picture

I love the design of the Zfc, but the lack of fast DX primes to go with it makes no sense. Give us a wide, normal, and short tele at f 1.8 or so, and I would be all in.

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