NIKON INTRODUCES IT’S BEST “VLOGGING CAMERA” EVER – Z-30

THE NEW NIKON Z-30 VLOGGING CAMERA

THIS NIKON CAMERA HAS BEEN PREDICTED FOR MONTHS!

The Nikon Z30 is the company’s newest – and cheapest – mirrorless camera, but it’s targeted very specifically at vloggers, content creators and smartphone upgraders. It is not the mirrorless Nikon D3500 beginner camera replacement that many might have been hoping for.

Perhaps Nikon believes that vlogging is the new photography, and that budding vloggers are the new beginners. If that’s true, the Z30 looks pretty well judged both in features and pricing.

It will be available body, only, as a one- or two-lens kit and as a special vlogger edition, depending on retailers, and all at prices up to $200/£200 lower than the current Nikon Z50 and Z fc models. (B&H Photo has the Nikon Z50 body only selling for around $856.00)

It’s clear that Nikon is targeting new users, and while comparisons are bound to be made against other Nikon Z cameras and indeed vlogging cameras from other brands, Nikon is concentrating its efforts on smartphone upgraders.

This new Nikon Z30 is going to be pitched as a new camera for “creators” rather than photographers.

NIKON Z30 FEATURES:

Under the skin, the Nikon Z30 has a lot in common with Nikon’s other APS-C mirrorless cameras, the Nikon Z50 and Z fc, to the extent that you could consider them essentially the same camera internally. Nikon does say, however, that a steady evolution of its technologies and algorithms means there may be differences and improvements.

The sensor is the same APS-C sized 20.9-megapixel Nikon has already used in those cameras, and offers the same full-width 4K UHD video capture and 120fps full HD slow motion capability.

Stills shooters can capture images at 11fps, with autofocus and auto-exposure, and the Z30 offers full-time video AF with eye and animal detection for both stills and video.

What it does offer, though, is a fully vari-angle rear screen, as opposed to the simpler tilting mechanism on other Nikon cameras. It also has a deep grip designed for secure handling, even at arm’s length, and an automatic selfie mode that activates when the screen and the camera are turned to face you.

Many of the Z30’s most interesting (or controversial) features are in its design rather than its technology. Nikon has taken the decision to ditch the electronic viewfinder, which does make the camera smaller and cheaper and is fine for a vlogging audience, but is not great for stills photography.

Also, on the back of the camera is a lever that you can easily switch between video and photo, and there are different settings for each mode.

The new Nikon Z30 has a wonderful large grip that makes it easy to even do selfies without much problem.

The Z30’s video features are quite extensive for the price. You can record continuously for up to 35 minutes in 4K UHD, or 125 minutes for full HD. It’s possible to save separate settings for stills and video shooting, and there are 20 in-camera filter effects for both stills and video. Serious filmmakers might prefer a log mode for post-production color grading, but the Z30 is aimed at a different market which will want ready-to-use video straight from the camera.

Nikon is positioning this camera as an upgrade to a smartphone. Could this be the beginning of something new between all the camera manufactures in the near future.

The Z-30 offers 20 different in-camera image styles so that you won’t have to do “post processing” with your photos.

IMAGE STABILIZATION:

There is no in-body stabilization, however. Any optical stabilization will have to come from Nikon VR lenses. The Z30 does offer ‘electronic’ VR, and this can be very effective at steadying up video footage. However, it comes with a noticeable crop factor – and may users will find their editing software gives better and more controllable stabilization.

Other design features include a video record button placed on the top for easy access for both horizontal and vertical shooting, and USB power delivery for extended filming while streaming, for example. The supplied USB cable can both power the camera and charge the battery at the same time.

Z30 LENSES:

Nikon has not launched any new Z DX lenses with this camera, so there are no native ultra-wide lenses for ‘selfie vlogging’, and the standard 16-50mm zoom may not be wide enough to get both you, any companions and your background in the frame at the same time unless you use a long selfie stick.

There is a Nikon Z DX 12-28mm zoom (18-42mm equivalent) on the Nikon Z lens roadmap, but not indication yet as to when that might appear. The alternative is to get the Nikon FTZ II adapter, sold separately, and use one of Nikon’s older F-mount ultra-wide DX zooms.

The Nikon Z30 will come as body only OR with the 16-50mm lens, OR as a 2 lens kit with the additional 50-250 zoom lens.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY:

The Nikon Z30 will be available to buy from July 14, and will cost just $707/£699 body only (body-only option currently not available in Australia), $847/£839/AU$1,299 with the standard Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR kit zoom, and $1,197/£1,069  as a twin-zoom kit with the Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR (about AU$1,889 but availability TBC for Australia). 

Nikon will also be selling a Z30 vlogger kit with the 16-50mm lens, ML-L7 Remote, SmallRig Tripod and SmallRig Windmuff for $995/£879 (about AU$1,550 but also currently not announced for Australian customers).

Those prices will make the Z30 significantly cheaper than the other two cameras in Nikon’s APS-C mirrorless range, the Z50 and the Z fc, and a good way towards the low entry price point of Nikon’s long-standing beginner DSLR, the Nikon D3500.

This article originally written by DIGITAL CAMERA WORLD, Authored by: Rod Lawton

USE YOUR DSLR AS A “WEBCAM”:

woman in white long sleeve shirt vlogging
Photo by Alena Darmel on Pexels.com

You might be wondering why you’d use a DSLR camera in place of your webcam. The answer is simple enough. You’ll likely have a better lens and capture quality on that camera than any standard webcam you can purchase.  

An HDMI capture card like the Cam Link 4K also allows you to make the most of your camera’s video capabilities. Where most webcams can only manage 720p, the Cam Link allows up to 4K at 30FPS. So with the right lighting, your video will be much more professional, crisp and satisfying too. 

Use your DSLR or mirrorless camera as your webcam, and change the quality of your videos by a huge margin.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO MAKE THAT CHANGE?

A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera provides a more accurate view of what you’re photographing, as the viewfinder displays exactly what is in front of the lens. DSLRs have been used for years – since replacing traditional SLR cameras – for professional photography. While they’re slowly succumbing to the march of technology and the new generation of mirrorless cameras, for many the DSLR is the perfect marriage of old school photography and the digital era.

A webcam, in contrast, is more compact, with a small lens, smaller CMOS sensor, and lower resolution. They’re optimized for sending data through wires rather than direct to a memory card, which means that webcams are more efficient, but the result can be, you guessed it, pixelated.

DSLR cameras can replace webcams for streaming video over Zoom, Skype, or whatever video conferencing software you’re using. If you’ve ever watched live streams on YouTube with stunning picture quality, the chances are the streamer was using a DSLR.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO START USING YOUR DSLR AS A WEBCAM:

To use your DSLR camera as a webcam, ensure you have:

  • A tripod that suits your camera.
  • A high-capacity battery or mains power solution. Mains power supplies for DSLRs typically feature a dummy battery that slips into the battery compartment. This then connects to an adapter to power the camera.
  • The micro-USB cable that shipped with your camera, or a mini-HDMI cable.
  • Optional: LED ring or other lighting, microphone.

Ensure you have these items and have them connected or set up before proceeding.

Another reason to use your DSLR camera or mirrorless camera today, is the resolution is now so much higher than ever. Panasonic Lumix cameras and Nikon, Canon, Fuji Film, are now primed to shoot their video in 6K or even 8K!!! Yeah, you want super good quality, you should consider these cameras for your WEBCAM work. Get in to the higher quality images and see what will be the difference to your viewers who will notice you are a serious “videographer” now.

IS WEBCAM FUNCTION AVAILABLE ON DSLR CAMERAS?

Some digital cameras include a webcam function, and this includes some DSLRs.

So, before proceeding, check the driver disc that shipped with your camera, along with the menus on the device. If there is a webcam setting you can use, you’re free to proceed with connecting the device to your computer, webcam mode enabled. The camera should then be detected as a standard USB webcam, ready to be used with your video chat software. Note that if this is an option for you, the resolution will be lower than usual, limited by the constraints of the USB cable.

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