Review camera Nikon Z30 : Nikon's first APS-C sensor series

 Following the launch of Nikon's first APS-C sensor model; Z50, Z30 become Nikon's 2nd Mirrorless camera with this sensor size.

camera Nikon Z30

This new product is aimed at vloggers and content creators looking for a portable, lightweight camera; but has better quality than Smartphone.

Despite its small size; The Z30 uses the same Lens Z mount as Nikon's much larger full-frame sensor cameras; such as the Z9, Z7 II, Z6 II and Z5, which means it can use the same Z-branded Lens FX range; although a cutoff factor of 1.5 times is applied.

In addition to the existing FX and 3 DX Z Lens mounts; Existing FTZ mount adapters released with the Z6/7 models are also fully compatible with the Z30; which means that the F-mount DSLR Lens can also be used with the new camera.

Now let's review Camera to find out how this Nikon Z30 camera is

Preliminary introduction

Key features offered by the Nikon Z30 include a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor; EXPEED 6 processor; 4K UHD video recording at 30p and 1080 Full HD up to 120p, both with no crop; along with a maximum continuous recording time of 125 minutes, stereo microphone, fully-matching touchscreen LCD, autofocus system with 209 pixels of phase-detect AF, ISO range of 100-51200 expandable to 20400, 11fps burst shooting with AF/AE tracking, Snapbridge connectivity, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and a 350g body.

Easy to use

With the introduction of the Z30 above means there are now 9 Mirrorless cameras in Nikon's camera range at the time of writing. 6 of them are full-frame FX format; and 3 are DX-format APS-C models, with the Z30 alongside the existing Z50 and Z fc crop sensor cameras.

camera Nikon Z30

For the design of the Z30, Nikon went a step further than what they did with the Z50 camera.

As for how Nikon sees the Z30, it's right at the bottom of the range below the Z50 and Z fc cameras in their place; is currently the cheapest Mirrorless camera Nikon has to offer.

Nikon is hoping to get people to upgrade from smartphones; or their entry-level Nikon DSLR to this new Z30. Especially those who are interested in vlogs and filming.
As for the design of this Z30; Nikon has gone a step further than they did with the Z50. Don't just scale down their DSLR camera blueprints; but also introduced a new design without a viewfinder; then they look more compact and sleek than Z50 and Z fc.

Not only that

Arguably its focus on video won't miss having a viewfinder; The Z30 will look like a Z50 with the top cut out.
The body weighs just 350g, 45g less than the Z50 and measures 128×73.5×59.5 (mm); it makes this a camera that can really be carried anywhere without having to mind the weight.

Nikon didn't go too far with downsizing that made the camera unusable. The lovely handgrip is still relatively deep and sturdy for such a small camera; while the rubber coating around the entire body adds a tactile quality to the Z30's entry-level price; as well as magnesium alloy construction.

Although the Z30 does not have the same level of weather resistance as other models much further away; but overall the build quality feels sturdy enough to withstand a bit of roughness and impact as well as a variety of weather conditions; if you take the necessary precautions to help protect it.

Convenient controls; just like with the Z50, almost all of the Z30's buttons are grouped on the right side of the device; makes one-handed operation easy.. 

camera Nikon Z30
Image credit: T3 / Nikon
Although the Z30 does not have the same level of weather resistance as other models much further away; but overall the build quality feels solid enough

Unlike on some higher end cameras; it doesn't have a joystick we use to move the focus points around the frame.

Instead, you have to use the slower, less precise method of using the 4 directions on the rear d-pad to move the AF point with the OK button to adjust.

It is also not possible to use the touch screen to set the AF point when shooting through the viewfinder, as on some competitor models; all of which make AF point selection less intuitive than possible.

If you came to the Z30 from a Nikon DSLR, not a Smartphone; you will immediately be very familiar with a lot of buttons; such as AE-L/AF-L, the “Info” button for quick menu access.

One of the main differences between the Z30 and Z50 is the larger-than-usual video record button; placed on top of the Z30 for easier access in both portrait and landscape orientations.

The switch located on the top of the Z50 to alternate between video recording and still photography has now been moved to the rear of the Z30; surround the Display button.

To the left of the Lens mount are 2 customizable function buttons that are useful for assigning frequently used settings. The Lens release button is found to the right of the mount. 

camera Nikon Z30

One of the main differences between the Z30 and Z50 is the larger-than-usual video record button; placed on top of the Z30 for easier access in both portrait and landscape orientations.
Move to the top of the Z30
You will see another familiarity in the form of the mode dial. From here, you can switch between the different shooting modes the Z30 has to offer; includes M/A/S/P as well as fully automatic.

There is space for 3 different groups of custom settings marked U1, U2, and U3, which is useful if you often find yourself shooting in a particular type of situation; such as low light or fast-moving subjects.

There are no buttons in the center of the dial that must be pressed before you can rotate the dial; as on the Z6 or Z7 models. In fact, though, the dial is proven to be tough enough to prevent accidental mode changes when the camera is stored in a bag.

Dual electronic watch faces occupy the top right of the Z30; again very reminiscent of using a Nikon DSLR like the D7300 or D5600.

They can be used together to adjust shutter speed and aperture; depending on the specific shooting mode you are currently using.

They can also be used to adjust other settings while holding down other buttons. For example, while holding down the ISO button, the rear dial adjusts the speed sensitivity; while the front dial turns Auto ISO on and off.

As well as the ISO button, next to the on/off button you'll also find a dedicated exposure compensation button. The Z30 offers better video recording than the Z50; and is definitely a camera worth buying if you are a videographer.

At the highest quality setting,
The Z30 can record 4K UHD video at 30p in 8-bit. Although it would be nice to record 4K/60p or even 10 bit; but the Z30 at least doesn't apply any cropping in 4K. Something that its main competitor, the Sony ZV-E10, cannot match. (it applies 1.23x crop in 4k/30p mode)

There is also a built-in time lapse and timer; and can record Full HD slow motion movies at up to 120fps with sound.

Speaking of audio, the Z30 has a stereo microphone located on its top with the option to fit over the windscreen (not supplied as standard) and the option to attach an external microphone. It also offers onboard wind noise reduction.

However, disappointingly, Nikon also found no room for a dedicated headset microphone; something that the Sony ZV-E10 offers. So you cannot monitor the sound in the field other than the sound level indicators on the screen.

One of the key improvements to the Z30 is the much longer recording time; up to 125 minutes on the Z30 compared to 30 minutes on the Z50; although the Z30 can really only shoot about 35 minutes for 4K/30p.

Although there is no in-body image stabilization on this camera; Nikon's Electronic Stabilization is available to help keep your footage nice and steady.

Battery EN-EL25
The Z30's EN-EL25 battery has a battery life of 300 shots, according to CIPA. That doesn't sound like much; but it is important to remember that the large power consumption of the standard CIPA test is unlikely to be repeated by the average user. 

Image quality


The Nikon Z30's base sensitivity is ISO 100. At the other end of the scale, the highest native sensitivity is ISO 51200; but there are also two enhancement settings available, ISO 102400 and ISO 204800.

File quality

File quality settings available on the Nikon Z30 include Basic, Normal, and Fine for JPEG, and the camera can also shoot NEF 12; or 14-bit (Nikon proprietary raw file format).

Night shot

The Nikon Z30 lets you dial in shutter speeds up to 30 seconds; and has a Bulb mode and exposure times of practically any length; This is very good news if you are really interested in night photography.

There is an optional long exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when using extremely slow shutter speeds.

Active D Illumination (ADL)

D-Lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimization tool; Try to include the full dynamic range of the sensor in the JPEG image. Active D-Lighting works “on the fly”; before the in-camera processor converts the raw image data to JPEG. The available settings are Off, Low, Normal, High, and Extra High, along with Auto mode.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

In HDR mode, the Nikon Z30 combines 3 images taken at slightly different exposures into a single image with greater dynamic range. 4 different HDR settings are available – Auto, 1EV, 2EV and 3 EV, with the latter being the strongest.

Image control

Nikon's extensive range of 1-shot controls is a preset combination of sharpness, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue. All 28 different Picture Controls can be adjusted to your liking; then saved and transferred to other cameras.


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