It’s Hard to Not Think the Nikon ZFC Is a Fuji Rip Off, But Check This Out

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The Nikon ZFc has been accused by a few folks of basically being a Fujifilm rip-off. But that’s not the case. Actually, the Nikon ZFC is the company’s modernization of the Nikon Df (you can catch up on all our coverage of the Nikon ZFc here). They’ve desperately needed a retro style camera body. Plus the Nikon ZFc can come in a bunch of awesome and cool colors. Fujifilm doesn’t do that at all. So we went into a deeper thinking session on what differentiates the cameras.

The Sensor in the Nikon ZFc Is Totally Different

First off, the Nikon ZFc has a 20MP APS-C sensor. Anything in a modern Fujifilm camera is at least a 26.1MP sensor. So, we can’t really expect the Nikon ZFc to deliver images as sharp as Fuji’s sensors can. Fujifilm cameras also use an X Trans Sensor. This helps give the sensor better high ISO output and makes the colors generally better. But as the megapixels go up, the usefulness for the sensor goes down. That’s why Fujifilm doesn’t use 100MP X Trans sensors.

Combine this sensor difference with the fact that Nikon treats their color profiles like a stepchild, and you’ll see Fujifilm can clearly have the advantage for the retro ergonomic camera lover. I don’t know many folks who’d want to buy the ZFc and then spend a year and a day in post-production. Honestly, you’re buying the camera to use it and to enjoy the experience: post-production shouldn’t really even be a concern. As it is, Nikon doesn’t let you apply their excellent color profiles to the RAW files except in their own software. It’s a shame that you can’t do it with Capture One.

Perhaps more importantly, Nikon now has a decent step-up camera. You can use all the full frame Z mount lenses on this camera. And when they finally make a full-frame Nikon ZF, you’ll still be able to use the same lenses. Later on, the Nikon ZFc could be your second camera body or your backup.

The Nikon ZFc completely removes image stabilization. Why? I’m truly not sure. I think this might be a big mistake for Nikon. Fujifilm has it in a few of their camera bodies. But, Nikon is a few hundred bucks cheaper.

The Nikon ZFc Might Have Class Leading High ISO Output

The Nikon ZFc has the same sensor as the Nikon Z50. We found that sensor to have the best high ISO output of any APS-C sensor we’ve tested. So we’re expecting the Nikon ZFc to do a fantastic job here. 

With that said, I have to interject with my own opinions. The beautiful thing about the Fujifilm system is the film simulations. If you don’t like the high ISO image quality, you just apply a new simulation and embrace the look. Plus you can add film grain to it. Nikon can’t do that. 

Autofocus

For the record, both Fujifilm and Nikon have frustrating and weird autofocus systems. But more often than not, the Fujifilm system can get focus. The Nikon system is good enough to use for photojournalism and those applications, but it’s not so great for sports. The Fujifilm system has really improved for both sports and street photography. Further, I’m not sure how fast the Nikon ZFc can become. It’s bound to get firmware updates. But it will also most likely be treated like a lesser citizen because it’s an APS-C camera. 

Hopefully, Nikon will do what Sony does and give their APS-C cameras the same autofocus as their full frame sensor cameras. And with that said, I hope that Nikon improves their autofocus a whole lot more.

Aperture Control with the Nikon ZFc

Look at the dials on the Fujifilm XT4 and the Nikon ZFc. Admittedly, they look almost completely similar. Fujifilm gets rid of the D-pad, and Nikon gets rid of the joystick. Fujifilm has a dedicated aperture ring around its lenses. Nikon has a little window on the top of the camera for you to see the aperture setting. Nikon lenses are meant to feel retro, but there aren’t lots of lenses with an actual, dedicated aperture ring. 

We’ve spoken about a Nikon Z Classic lineup of lenses before. And these could be wonderful additions here.

Chris Gampat

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