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Nikon Z5 Entry Level Full-Frame Mirrorless First Impression (35mm F1.8 S & 50mm F1.8 S)

Recently, I have added the Nikon Z5 entry level full frame mirrorless camera to my line-up since I might have more Nikon Z lenses review in the future. I chose the Z5 instead of Z6 because of the following reasons:

  1. Two SD cards - save money on the memory cards and I don't need the speed of CF express card right now.

  2. Nikon Z Camera Ergonomics is great! I think both Nikon and Canon mirrorless have the best Ergonomics. It just feels very comfortable. Z5 has the similar form factor as Z6.

  3. I don't need the top screen display. One of the feature Z6 has is the top screen showing the camera settings. I don't need that. I will check the back screen for camera settings instead.

  4. Affordability - the Z5 price to quality ratio is very nice. The price is affordable and image quality is the same as my previous Z6 rental that I shot last year. In addition, the body and lenses were on sale during the holiday season. Amazon has $100 off Z5 holiday deal at the moment: NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S with $153 off: I saved money buying Z5 and 2 lenses instead of buying a more expensive Z6.

My First Portrait Photoshoot using Z5

Even though I shot the 35mm F1.8 S lens before, I still wanted to start my photoshoot with the 35mm. Below is my previous video using z6 35mm F1.8 S:

35mm F1.8 S Street Style Portraits

Whenever I use the Nikon 35mm F1.8 S, I am consciously seeking the right background for the composition. Because at F1.8 wide open, the s lens is very sharp. The amount of bokeh is just right for environment context.

Below is my first shot using the 35mm, I asked Kaylin to stand in between those two neon signs so that the portrait is framed by the background context. "Italian Goods" and other words are still visible under the 35mm F1.8 bokeh.

ISO 100, 1/320s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/320s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane

For the next two photos, I used the door as the context. The lines from the door create contrast with the lines on the steps. Also, the door is about few steps from the model, and under the F1.8 context, the door texture is still visible with the right amount of bokeh. The transition from the in focus body to the door is very smooth as well.

ISO 100, 1/160s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/160s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
ISO 100, 1/160s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/160s, 35mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane

50mm F1.8 S Backlight

Next, I want to see how the camera performs under the straight sunlight for backlit portraits. I used the 50mm F1.8 S lens for some variety of the focal length.

ISO 100, 1/250s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/250s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane

I am impressed with how the backlight rendering turned out. The flare from the sun is very smooth when the sunlight directly hit the lens. Almost reminded me the characteristic of the Fujifilm XF lenses on handling flare. The transition again from the focused body to the background is smooth as well.

ISO 100, 1/250s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/200s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
ISO 100, 1/320s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/320s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane

Color Rendering

Next, I am going to test how the Nikon Z5 handles the color rendering. We walked to a colorful mural walls with rich colors. The color rendering of the image is very nice, and I like how the Nikon renders the red as well.

ISO 100, 1/160s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/160s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
ISO 100, 1/200s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane
Nikon Z5 - ISO 100, 1/200s, 50mm F1.8 | @kaylinnjane

In summary, Nikon Z5 is a very good entry level full frame camera. I was having fun shooting portraits with it. The Ergonomics is outstanding and price/quality ratio is great. For those of you considering the entry level full frame or wanted to try out full frame as rental, I recommend this camera.

Thanks for reading :) More photos will be uploaded in my Instagram account: @caliallstaring.

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