Is Nikon's Z 5 the Affordable Full Frame Mirrorless Camera for You?

There is no doubt that mirrorless is the future, and while all the major manufacturers have been producing some mightily impressive cameras, not all of us need those top-shelf features, nor do we all want to spend money on expensive bodies. Nikon's Z 5 offers photographers full frame mirrorless and some of the latest features and capabilities at an affordable price, and this great video review takes a look at the performance and image quality you can expect from it. 

Coming to you from Jacek Sopotnicki, this excellent video review takes a look at the Nikon Z 5. At $1,296, the Z 5 offers an affordable entry point into full frame mirrorless with a modern sensor, making it a good option for a lot of shooters. It still comes with a variety of useful features, including:

  • 24.3-megapixel resolution
  • ISO range of 100-51,200
  • 4K video (30 fps)
  • Continuous burst rate of 4.5 fps
  • 273 autofocus points
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.6 million dots of resolution
  • 3.2-inch tilting rear LCD touchscreen with 1.04 million dots of resolution
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Weather-sealed and dust-sealed magnesium alloy body
  • 5-axis sensor-shift Vibration Reduction offering up to five stops of compensation
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots

Altogether, the Z 5 looks like a well balanced camera for the price. Check out the video above for Sopotnicki's full thoughts on it.

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Deleted Account's picture

I recently moved to a sub-tropical area, and need to do something about weather sealing (wet season and rainforests). Although I'll probably just upgrade to weather sealed lenses (already having weather sealed bodies) and carry on, the Z5 is under consideration.

Leon Kolenda's picture

I wish people would quit saying that Mirrorless is the future! It's already here! With many pros using mirrorless cameras and lenses!

Rachel Bellenoit's picture

It's the future because not all of us are professional photographers and many find it hard to leave the DSLR system, not to mention, many can't afford them.

Robert Feliciano's picture

The Z5 will be $999 starting this Friday, early BF/CM deal.

Deleted Account's picture

Thumbs up. I liked it. He has a pleasant way of presenting.

Steve Powell's picture

I thought about it, but the 4.5fps was a deal breaker.

Donald Schwartz's picture

I have one. I'm a studio photographer, and find that I like my D850 much better. Not because the resolution, it's just a better camera for shooting tethered in the studio. I like the Z5 outdoors doing landscape or shooting slow on a tripod. Still using old lenses with the FTZ adapter, so really no quality gains there.
It was meant as a cheap way to see if I wanted to make the jump to mirrorless, and I found out I'm good with dslr's at the moment.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Do you have any of the Z lenses? If so...have you compared them to the non Z lenses? I am most curious about this as I am considering the Z5 for serious use. Most my work is landscape and documentary. Some of the docs call for the use of greater speed captures, but the main thrust of the work is the slowed down, relaxing? landscapes. If you have any feedback it is appreciated. Thank you sir.

Vlad F's picture

Uncropped FF4k30, at least 8fps (mechanical and electronic) and 1080p120 should be standard in 2021. No reason not to offer these on a 1299$ camera when 899$ cameras had them 3 years ago.
Also, i see no reason buying an entry level camera when there aren't many entry level S lenses. So for me, as a hobbyist, i slowly went from wanting a Z6 to Z5 then to another brand(apsc).

Deleted Account's picture

That's a really interesting comment to create an account for. You clearly feel strongly about it.

I can't help but think if you want video, you buy the Z6 (assuming you want Nikon) - for my money, I never shoot video, and therefore it can be omitted from any product I'm using; rephrased, I'm the market for this product, not you.

FYI, the S line lenses are their premium line.

Vlad F's picture

Yeah, just now created cause was too lazy to do it when i wanted to comment on other topics, no need to be salty if you disagree with what i say.

And sorry, i meant Z lenses.

Also, it is my opinion and i stand by it. It doesn't make much sense to buy the entry level and then be stuck to buying either slow lenses or top of the line 1x to 2x the price of that same camera per lens.

As a second camera, sure, if you already own Nikon glass.

Since i'm not making any money of my gear, i downgraded from an A7III with a Tamron 28-75 and Sony 50 1.8 to a Fuji X-T30 with 15-45, Viltrox 33 1.4 and 56 1.4 for a total of 1056$. Thats 4k30, 120fps, usable ES with up to 30fps, ok-ish AF and two 1.4s for 1000$.

So yeah, i stand by my opinion.

Later edit: Z6 uses XQD cards, which again, spending 150$ as a hobbyist for 64GB of storage is expensive and unnecessary. Too bad as the camera itself sells for less than 1000$ used around here.

Deleted Account's picture

No, it's totally cool. I'm not salty (I have no emotional investment in the system); I just think it's a really strange thing to go to the effort for.

JEREMY MOORE's picture

Every wildlife and sports photographer is shooting with lenses more expensive than the body they're shooting with.

Vlad F's picture

Sure, it's just that the Z5 isn't exactly a wildlife or sports photographer's dream, not with an ok AF, not with 4.5fps mechanical and 2.5fps electronic.

Also, look at it this way, try to compare the A7C with a third party f2.8 zoom with the Z5 and a 2.8 zoom.

After buying the 24-70 you'd almost have equal prices for both cameras, and this is after adding only one lens, imagine also adding some 1.4s. Oh, you'd also have better AF, 10fps, better 4k, 120fps, better battery life and access to more cheap and fast lenses as well as more pro lenses.

Deleted Account's picture

I'm so confused right now.

Vlad F's picture

Why is that?

Deleted Account's picture

Because you're all over the place.

How about you just drop a link to your photography instead?

Vlad F's picture

As i already said, i'm a hobbyist, i use my gear for social media and memories. But if you have good arguments against what i wrote, be my guest, how much of a photographer i am or not is just smoke meant to disaprove without arguments.

Have a great day!

Deleted Account's picture

That's what I thought.

OK, here's my argument. You should sell your gear and use your phone, and if you must have zoom then get something in the class of the RX100, or even MFT (which is excellent) - you simply don't need more.


- you traded down from the A7III because it was too much camera, and bought into Fuji.
- but the Z5 doesn't do high end video
- and something about a f/4 lens simply not being good enough; it must be a 2.8 zoom.
- and third party lenses are cheaper.
- but you have no need of any of that, because you just do memories and social media.

Vlad F's picture

Wow, just as i thought, you're salty cause you're an old Nikon shooter that can't bring any good arguments to the table of why a beginner should get into Nikon over anything else.

Here's my advice to you, grow up, not old.

Also, your 3 followers must be in ecstasy whenever you post a photo of a leaf taken with your high end full frame camera. LOL.

Deleted Account's picture

You went to the effort of looking at my gear list, and didn't notice I also shoot Sony? And my "high end full frame camera" was produced in 2008.

You apparently missed where I said you should get a Sony, Panasonic, or OM. While we're at it, I recommended Sony to my wife.

So, before you disappear back to wherever you came from, would you like to have another crack at trying to get under my skin?

Vlad F's picture

I don't care about getting under your skin, actually, i don't care about talking to someone that cannot use logic or arguments. Also, i did not miss anything, you edited your post after i wrote.

Yeah, i traded my A7III because i carry the camera on enduro rides and snowboarding, the Sony kit was too big, too heavy, had IBIS which doesn't play good with falls and was to expensive in case i fall with it in my backpack.

btw: since you brought 2008 into the discussion, i shot my first wedding then. Also i don't have "a portofolio" because i'm not into paid photography or in need of some stranger's validation.

I won't be wasting my time with a nonsense offtopic conversation with you anymore. Good day!

Deleted Account's picture

You wanted to make it personal, big guy.

And your argument is still all over the place; I didn't advance an argument in response to you, beyond saying you don't need as much camera as you have.

Edit: you previously asserted you just do memories and post to social media, but now it's you don't have a portfolio because you don't require the validation of strangers.

If you are going to get into written arguments, it helps to be consistent.

Vlad F's picture

Oh god, my social media profiles are private so i only shoot for myself and my friends, so yeah, no need for some stranger's validation.

And yet again, you lack any common sense, saying that "i don't need as much camera" is personal, you're not debating my point, you're implying other things. So you're the one that actually made it personal. Oh, and you say this while having no ideea what i use my gear for. Told you, grow up, not old.

This is why i don't carry the Sony anymore. And that was my last response to you.

Deleted Account's picture

Quote: "I won't be wasting my time with a nonsense offtopic conversation with you anymore. Good day!"

Issues of your self-esteem notwithstanding, you don't get to make it personal, then complain about implications.

Timothy Gasper's picture

The statement that he can't bring an argument of why a beginner should get into a Nikon over something else doesn't make much sense. No one but you know what your needs and wants are. The only thing which can be brought to your or anyone elses attention would be the features of the camera in question, the handling, image quality and any other qualities of the camera. Ultimately you have to make the decision of which camera to choose. That's where study and research come in. Relying on others to argue about one camera over another is just an opinion. It doesn't speak to what YOU want or what YOUR needs are.

David Jenkins's picture

The Z5 is an awesome little mirrorless camera, and the $1000 sale is crazy good. I personally really liked it but as with many others found the autofocus for stills not as confident as my old DSLR and that's my primary use case. But as an inexpensive full frame hybrid for 1080p and stills combined, I think it will attract a lot of new blood.

charles hoffman's picture

This camera is now on sale at BH for 1k flat
Throw in a 50mm f2 for 200
For a total of 1200, you're playing in big leagues...

John Lynn's picture

Thanks for the review.

Rachel Bellenoit's picture

Wow. Lots of opinions here and all from different kinds of photographers. I'm not professional but I do shoot professional looking shots. Bird photography, landscapes, street photography, artistic is what I mainly do. I have a Nikon D7100 which I will never part with. With the Nikon 200-500VR and the image set at 1.3 I can get great shots of birds without disturbing them. I was thinking of getting the D850 but instead decided to go for the Nikon Z5 body. All my Nikon lenses are full frame so I can use them on the Z5 with the adaptor. Yes, I bought the entry level on purpose not having the funds right now to go right to the Z7. In over 20 years of photographing I've never had an issue about starting with an entry level camera body. You can always trade it in. The glass is more important than the body. I'm learning the Z5 and eventually will keep it as a 2nd body and then purchase the most updated body. You can get cheaper glass from other manufacturers. But over the years I've found that Nikon glass is the best so I stick with it. Nikon will catch up with their Z lenses. The black and white shots were converted in PS and Topaz B&W using the infrared plugins.