Why the Nikon ZFc Is an APS-C Sensor Camera. Is Full Frame Coming?

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I believe the Nikon ZFc will be looked at in multiple ways. First, this is a brave step for Nikon. The Nikon ZFc is smaller and lighter than the FM2 while it includes weather resistance. Of course, it’s also a nod to the Nikon Df. And to do that, they needed to use an APS-C sensor. In fact, it’s the same sensor as the Z50. On the other hand, it’s hard to not feel like Nikon continues to shoot themselves in the foot. I, like many of you, wanted a full-frame Nikon ZF camera. I honestly think that it’s still coming. And if that’s the case, Nikon should’ve put their best foot forward and launched that first. However, there are some pretty cool things about the Nikon ZFc.

Nikon ZfC Specs

  • Nikon Zfc
  • APS-C 20.9 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
  • Expeed 6
  • Designed to be like the DF
  • Tactile Dials are made of aluminum.
  • They tried to emphasize the compact size
  • Smaller, slimmer, and lighter than the Z50
  • Same battery
  • ISO 100 – 51,200
  • Eye AF is in this for video and stills
  • 20 creative profiles
  • 4K no crop video
  • Single SD card slot
  • Full-time Eye AFD
  • USB power
  • Timelapse in 4k up to 8 hours
  • 3 Inch Vari-angle touch screen
  • Weather resistance
  • Magnesium alloy
  • Lighter than an fm2
  • No IBIS
  • 390 grams
  • There will be seven colors, and the US will carry all of them.
  • The colors will be sold through the Nikon USA website
  • Coming to stores at the end of July with except for the 28mm will be in the fall in the USA alone. Other countries might differ.

Why the Nikon ZFc Is APS-C, and Why There Has to Be a Full Frame Version

The Nikon ZFc was made with an APS-C sensor so that they could make accommodations. First off, this is a super small camera, from my understanding. And it’s using the Z mount, which is pretty large. For them to make it as small as possible, it seems like this is why they went for an APS-C sensor. At least, during our briefing with Nikon, that’s the message they seemed to convey. Personally speaking, I think that’s a bit of hogwash: Nikon could’ve found a way to do it.

However, I’m actually excited for the Nikon ZFc. It doesn’t seem like a straight Fujifilm XT4 clone in any way. The ZFc is much more affordable. But, it doesn’t boast image stabilization. Plus, you can’t apply the creative profiles to the RAW files in Capture One (still a major bummer). 

So, where does the Nikon ZFc excel?

  • Lots of cool, fashionable colors. I’m very excited about this. I love the idea of owning a brown leatherette camera. Or a green one! Or a Pinkish one! I know folks who’d fawn over the white one too!
  • You can use Nikon’s good Z mount lenses. And hopefully, if Nikon makes the Nikon Zf, they’ll be able to use them.
  • Nikon has pretty solid weather sealing, but I’m not sure about the new 28mm f2.8 as it won’t have a rubber ring on the back of the lens. But this lens is being pushed as a kit option, and it’s a full-frame lens.
  • If this has the Z50’s sensor, then it will have the best high ISO output of any APS-C sensor camera we’ve tested.

I still don’t know yet. I’m hoping the autofocus is excellent and that there is at least a full-frame option coming before the holidays of 2021. If so, then it will be the only full-frame camera with retro aesthetics on the market besides Leica M cameras. And quite honestly, that’s what we need more than anything. 

I talked this over with some of the staff. Hillary and Feroz both shoot Nikon. This feels like typical Nikon playing catch up. Their products are good, but there’s no major reason to buy them over their competitors. I just hope the ZFc is a different beast. And I also hope Nikon gives us a full-frame version very soon. 

Nikon ZFc Sample Images

All of these images were provided by Nikon.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.