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Nikon Z5 Comparison Review

The Nikon Z5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in July 2020 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.2 megapixel.

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Is the Nikon Z5 a good camera? The Z5 has a Camera Elo of 3381. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The Z5 ranks among the top 10 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the Z5 ranks among the top 20 percent.

Headline Specifications
Nikon Z5
Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses
24.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 100 - 51 200 (50 - 102 400)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots)
3.2 LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen
4.5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
470 shots per battery charge
134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Nikon Z5 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon Z5 vs credit card front
Z5 versus credit card top view
Z5 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon Z5 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon Z5 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 470 Y Jul 2020 1,399 i
 
Canon R6 138 mm 98 mm 88 mm 680 g 360 Y Jul 2020 2,499 i
 
Fujifilm X-T4 135 mm 93 mm 64 mm 607 g 500 Y Feb 2020 1,699 i
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Nikon Z7 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Nikon D7500 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i
 
Olympus E-M1 III 134 mm 91 mm 69 mm 580 g 420 Y Feb 2020 1,799 i
 
Olympus E-M5 III 125 mm 85 mm 50 mm 414 g 310 Y Oct 2019 1,199 i
 
Panasonic G9 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A6600 120 mm 67 mm 69 mm 503 g 810 Y Aug 2019 1,399 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon Z5 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,399. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Nikon Z5:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Nikon Z5 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon Z5 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Nikon Z5 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon Z5 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40164K/30p........
 
Canon R6 Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484k/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-T4 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/60p........
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
 
Nikon D7500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
 
Olympus E-M1 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Olympus E-M5 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884k/24p........
 
Panasonic G9 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p........
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
 
Sony A6600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p23.813.4149782

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Z5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the Z5 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z5 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3690k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.80x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Nikon Z5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon Z53690 n 3.2 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 4.5 n Y
 
Canon R65760 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Fujifilm X-T43690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 15.0 n Y
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Nikon D7500optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-M1 III2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-M5 III2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Panasonic G93680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A66002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 n Y

One feature that differentiates the Z5 from many other cameras is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Z5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while cameras without IBIS have to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Z5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon Z5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
 
Canon R6YmonomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
 
Fujifilm X-T4YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon D7500YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-Y
 
Olympus E-M1 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Olympus E-M5 IIIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Panasonic G9YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-Y
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A6600YstereomonoYYYES2.0YYY

It is notable that the Z5 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Z5. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon Z5.......... Jul 2020 1,399 i
 
Canon R6.......... Jul 2020 2,499 i
 
Fujifilm X-T4+ +..5/5..5/5 Feb 2020 1,699 i
 
Nikon Z6....4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Nikon Z7+89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Nikon D7500+ +86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i
 
Olympus E-M1 III..83/1004.5/5..4/5 Feb 2020 1,799 i
 
Olympus E-M5 III+82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2019 1,199 i
 
Panasonic G9+ +85/1005/55/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i
 
Sony A9 II....5/5..5/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A6600+83/1004.5/5..4/5 Aug 2019 1,399 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon Z5 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the Z5.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the Z5?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Nikon equipped the Z5 with the EXPEED 6 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Z5?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon Z5?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 200 000 actuations for the Z5. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the Z5 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Nikon Z5?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Nikon Z5 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Nikon Z5?

The Z5 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Nikon Z5 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The Z5's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Nikon Z5 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards, which provide for data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s, in both of its card slots.

Which battery does the Z5 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL15c, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the Z5?

Yes, Nikon offers the MB-N10 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon Z5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2020
    Launch Price USD 1 399
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 858 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 016 x 4 016 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.95 μm
    Pixel Density 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51 200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102 400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 6
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15c power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 675 g (23.8 oz)

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