Nikon Z 30 review: Social media and video creator camera

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The Nikon Z 30 is the cheapest mirrorless shooter from the camera maker to date, and it’s designed with social media and video creators in mind.

Nikon’s mirrorless lineup continues to grow as the company has officially halted future development of its DSLR line. The Z 30 sits at the bottom of the group, which makes it attractive to beginners while also catering to online social videos.

This is Nikon’s third APS-C camera, which comes below the Z 50 and Z fc. The former is more similar with some improvements and the latter will take on a more retro look.

Aside from taking great photos, this is great for content creators who have no cover for video capture and no cropping on video and exposure adjustment during autoplay. Let’s see why this camera shines.

Nikon Z 30 – Key Specifications

Inside the Nikon Z 30 is a 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. They use Nikon’s line of Z DX lenses that are designed to be lighter and more compact than full Z-mount lenses.

20.9 MP APS-C Sensor

20.9 MP APS-C Sensor

When taking photos, they can be shot at 11 frames per second. It is capable of capturing full 4K video at 30 fps as well as 1080p video at 120 fps.

The Nikon Exped 6 processor powers the camera, making system navigation quick and easy.

Selfie video shooting

Selfie video shooting

Nikon uses a hybrid AF system here with 209 focus points. It can track the target in video and photo modes and includes an eye detection mode.

Nikon Z 30 – Design

The Nikon Z 30 camera features a magnesium alloy metal body. It has a sturdy and compact construction that feels comfortable in the hand. The screen has a plastic back that eliminates the solid feel when closed.

ports

Nikon Z 30 . ports

Down the left side is the port assembly. You’ll find a USB-C port, a micro HDMI output, and a microphone input. Unfortunately, there is no headphone output to monitor sound levels.

Battery and SD card slot

Battery and SD card slot

The battery is inside the handle via a bottom-mounted door. Next to the EN-EL25 battery is one SD card slot. It can use SD cards, SDHC cards, or SDXC cards.

We highly recommend using an SDXC card because it can be of higher capacity and faster.

adjustable screen

adjustable screen

On the back, you’ll find a fully articulated 3-inch touchscreen display. This TFT screen has 1,040,000 pixels, such as Z 50 and Z fc. Since the Z 50 has a 3.2-inch screen gives the Z 30 a higher pixel density.

It’s still not as sharp as the high-end Nikon models but it certainly fits.

Also on the back is a set of buttons that will feel familiar to any previous Nikon user. There is a toggle for photo and video mode, menu and info buttons, as well as a directional panel.

Some elements have been changed to make it easier for video creators such as placing the video record button on the top instead of the back. Transitioning from an older Nikon can take some time to relearn muscle memory.

Mode dial on the Z 30

Mode dial on the Z 30

At the top is a mode dial with auto, program, preferred aperture, manual, shutter priority mode, and two user-customized modes. There’s also a shutter, video recording button, ISO control, and exposure compensation.

Many mirrorless cameras do not have an auto mode but it is useful for this entry form. The Z 30 is unique in the ability to adjust exposure compensation in automatic mode.

Then novice users can rely on the camera to do the heavy lifting while still controlling the lighting in the shot.

The Z 30 does not specifically have an electronic viewfinder. The lack of an EVF would certainly be polarizing although there isn’t much of an issue with it. The Z 50 includes an electronic viewfinder if necessary.

Stereo microphones

Stereo microphones

Although it lacks an electronic viewfinder, it still comes with a hot shoe for connecting various accessories such as external microphones or flash. On either side of the hot shoe is a microphone grille for stereo audio recording.

Unlike the Sony ZV-E10, Nikon does not include windscreens in the box. Not everyone will use it, but it is a low-cost accessory that Nikon should not require users to purchase separately.

Finally, the front has a small recording light to indicate when a video is actively being recorded.

Nikon Z 30 – Lenses

The Nikon Z series is still fairly new in the grand scheme of things, but its Z DX lenses are still somewhat out of date. There are three APS-C cameras to use with Z DX lenses and there are three lenses to match.

We used the Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens in our review and found it to be more than capable. The AZ DX 18-140mm VR and Z DX 59-250mm VR are also available if you want something with a bit more zoom.

All three lenses include VR as the Nikon Z 30 doesn’t include any sensor-level stabilization, so VR has to come from the lens itself.

Nikon Z DX 18-50mm Lens

Nikon Z DX 18-50mm Lens

Users can use any of the larger Z series lenses with the Z 30 even though it is larger, heavier and larger. The converter from F to Z can be attached to the old lenses if it is worse.

Nikon Z 30 – Smart Connect

Like other modern Nikon cameras, the Z 30 can be connected to a camera Iphone or IPAD Via the Snapbridge app.

Remote capture via Snapbridge

Remote capture via Snapbridge

When connected, you can shoot with the camera as well as transfer photos.

Camera control allows you to make multiple adjustments including what’s in focus, exposure, and more. To transfer photos, you can choose small 2MP photos for proofs or you can download them in their original quality.

Taking Pictures with Nikon Z 30

We took the Z 30 with us to several locations. We relaxed on the lake, visited a lighthouse, and attended a high school football game.

The camera was ideal for travel thanks to its small and compact size. We found ourselves trying to use the viewfinder at first as our other cameras, but that disappeared after a few days.

The autofocus system did a great job, keeping track of people, objects, and pets as they moved in the frame. We can move really fast and the autofocus system has been able to keep up.

Preview photos on the Z 30

Nikon says you can take about 330 shots on a single charge and that was very conservative based on our experience. We were able to nearly double the number of shots before the camera died.

Even if the battery didn’t last long, the USB-C port was very handy. We’ve never bothered taking the battery out of the camera, but instead being charged on the go via USB-C.

We just plugged the camera into a USB-C battery pack with Power Delivery support and it stayed on top at all times.

Nikon Z 30 – Video Capture

The Z 30 is built on a great processor and a great sensor. Although exceptional for taking photos, it has a clear video focus.

fixed frame sample

A still frame sample from a Z 30 . video

For one, there is no crop when shooting video, regardless of resolution. Some of its biggest competitors crop video depending on the resolution you’re shooting at.

This is critical for video creators shooting handheld videos when you need a wide shot to fit everything in the frame.

Still image from a video

Still image from a video

It also ditched the artificial video capture limit of 30 minutes. You can shoot until the camera gets too hot or the battery dies. In most cases, this will be around 75 minutes.

Frame from Nikon Z 30 video

Fixed frame from a Nikon Z 30 video

Several video modes are available including 120 fps in 1080p and 30 and 24 fps in 4K and more. The devices can broadcast live at up to 60 frames per second in 1080p.

In our testing, the video was sharp and clear, and the AF system tracked our subjects perfectly. We found the record button to be a little hard to press when facing the camera towards us.

More shooting with this camera will make this more natural.

The sound sounded great, even though there were no wind caps in the box. If you want to raise the bar for sound quality, you can get an external microphone or a build kit that includes a tripod, remote control, and Rode microphone.

Should you buy a Nikon Z 30?

We’re fans of the Z 30. It lacks a headphone jack and EVF but has a Steller sensor with crisp photos, autofocus, and plenty of video-focused features.

Nikon Z 30

Nikon Z 30

It has just about everything a mobile builder could need. Uncut 4K video, great sound quality, and one-handed ease of use.

There are times when we miss some features but we know they are available on many models above the Z 30. Think electronic viewfinder, headphone jack, or sensor mount.

Nikon Z 30 with Tripod and Microphone

Nikon Z 30 with Tripod and Microphone

Whether you want an affordable and reliable mirrorless camera or you want to start capturing video for sharing online, the Nikon Z 30 is sure to be considered.

Features of Nikon Z 30

  • reasonable price
  • Great picture quality, including in low light
  • Stereo audio capture
  • I will not cut the video at any resolution
  • The hinged touch screen can be protected when not in use
  • Better battery life than promised
  • USB-C charging
  • APP connection and remote control
  • Streaming support for 1080P, 60fps

Cons of the Nikon Z 30

  • No electronic viewfinder or headphone jack
  • Not a whole lot of lenses yet
  • Wind caps not included

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where do I buy?

All these retailers carry the Z30:

More sample shots

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