The Z5 Samples

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Nov 3, 2018
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To write a new book Nikon Z5 A Complete Guide, I bought a Z5 with a 24-50mm kit lens. The Z5 is a more affordable version of the Z6. The Z5 shoots only 5 fps, but otherwise it is very similar to the big brothers Z6/Z7. The menu user-interface hierarchy is almost identical to that offered in the Z6/Z7. I have been using my Z5 for the past 2 weeks. Here are some sample shots. Very impressed by this tiny 24-50mm lens. The ghosts and flare are very well controlled even when I shoot directly into the sun -- superb surface coating. The silent shutter scan seems rather slow with a heavy rolling distortion (silent off and on). The in-camera VR works good (1/2 sec hand-held). The mechanical shutter curtain diffraction (I talked about some time ago here) was very well controlled (removed) in the Z5 (do not know how they did it). So, there is no recognizable vertical line from the sun even when the lens is wide open (I used SILDENT in my sample shot below nonetheless). All sample shots below are JPEG straight from the camera.

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I just took the same ceiling fan picture with my Z7 (same 1/2000 sec. at 50mm as my previous shots by the Z5). It is clear that the Z5's rolling distortion is worse than that of the Z7. That is, the "scan" speed of the Z5's silent shutter is slower than the Z7's. I do not have the Z6 model, but I can say that the best is Z6, then Z7, then Z5 in this order.

Also, the horizontal lines appearing on the ceiling is due to the LED light I have in the ceiling light. So, judging from the number of lines (between the Z7 and the Z5), it seems like the Z7 (even with its 46MP) is twice as fast as the Z5 in terms of their silent shutter "scan" speed. So my rough guess is, in order to scan the frame from top to bottom, it takes 1/30 sec, 1/15 sec, 1/8 sec, respectively for the Z6, Z7, and Z5. So for the Z5, Nikon is using a very-slow-refreshing sensor.

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My conclusion after using this Z5 intensively for the past 3 weeks is that the Z5 is a slightly reduced version of the Z6, both in functionality and price, but only slightly. So, I do not see anything particularly noteworthy about this camera. Some people may like the Z5's dual slots. I did not like the SILENT shutter scan slowness (the Z6 is much faster). I would buy the Z6 over the Z5, or better yet, the Z6II. I do not see a clear marketing position of this camera except Nikon produced a bit affordable camera by cutting some corners. That being said, the Z5 is a good, solid camera, like the Z6/Z7. Also, I was very much impressed by this companion lens 24-50mm f/4-6.3. I am constantly being reminded how much the optical lens design is improving every time a new lens hits the market. This 24-50mm is no exception. Looking at the rear end of the lens, you can see a huge glass almost sticking out of the Z mount. As you recall, this is where the reflex mirror used to be sitting and occupying the space in the long-gone DSLR era! The benefit derived from the short flange distance of the mirrorless and the larger Z mount diameter is undeniable.
 
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My conclusion after using this Z5 intensively for the past 3 weeks is that the Z5 is a slightly reduced version of the Z6, both in functionality and price, but only slightly. So, I do not see anything particularly noteworthy about this camera. Some people may like the Z5's dual slots. I did not like the SILENT shutter scan slowness (the Z6 is much faster). I would buy the Z6 over the Z5, or better yet, the Z6II. I do not see a clear marketing position of this camera except Nikon produced a bit affordable camera by cutting some corners. That being said, the Z5 is a good, solid camera, like the Z6/Z7. Also, I was very much impressed by this companion lens 24-50mm f/4-6.3. I am constantly being reminded how much the optical lens design is improving every time a new lens hits the market. This 24-50mm is no exception. Looking at the rear end of the lens, you can see a huge glass almost sticking out of the Z mount. As you recall, this is where the reflex mirror used to be sitting and occupying the space in the long-gone DSLR era! The benefit derived from the short flange distance of the mirrorless and the larger Z mount diameter is undeniable.
Thanks for this information. I have a Z6 and a Z50, so I'm not interested in owning a Z5. However, if I were just moving into full-frame mirrorless now, I would be very interested in a Z5. If we consider the Z6 to be a mirrorless D750, then the Z5 appears to be a mirrorless D610.

I am also encouraged by your comments on the 24-50 lens. It seems to correspond with my experience with the 16-50 that came with my Z50. I am constantly surprised by how sharp it is.
 
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The silent shutter "scan" speed from top-to-bottom of the frame is just my guess. But I do see horizontal lines on my ceiling fan shots. I can count them. They are 6 (?) for the Z7 and 12 for the Z5. So if you know the oscillation frequency of the regular LED lamp, I suppose you can deduce the silent shutter "curtain scan" speed. My internet search says the generic LED lighting operates at 50-90 Hz. So let's use 90 Hz here. If the Z7 captures 6 of the lines, the scan speed is 6/90 = 1/15 sec. The Z5 captures 12, so 12/90 = 1/8 sec. So the Z5 is twice as slow because it is a cheaper sensor. My guess is that the Z6's sensor is faster since it has less pixels than the Z7.

By the way, the reason we talk about this silent shutter "scan" seed is to assess the effect of a rolling distortion. If I use the "Electronic front-curtain shutter", on both the Z5 and Z7, there is no rolling distortion of the same ceiling fan (just like the very first picture I posted above using the mechanical focal-plane shutter). This is to be expected theoretically because the small distortion the EFCS has is exactly the same as the mechanical shutter. Incidentally, the mechanical shutter "scan" speed (EFCS too), for comparison purpose, is 1/250 sec.
 
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