Nikon Z30 First Impressions: A Camera with a Clear Target User


As much as photography purists don’t like it, vlogging and streaming are not only a real desire, the demand for cameras in this segment is considerable. After seeing the success of the Sony ZV-E10, Nikon wanted a piece of that pie and aims to get it with the Z30.

The recently announced Nikon Z30 is a 20 megapixel (MP) APS-C mirrorless camera designed entirely with vloggers and content creators in mind.

The $710 nearly pocketable camera from Nikon has almost everything existing DX users are familiar with, however, this system has put most of its emphasis on self-shot (selfie) stills and videos that can be produced solo. Nikon offers this camera in a package that includes a tripod grip, microphone and a Bluetooth remote.

I was able get an experience with the camera and had a few ideas afterward.

While there have been previous generations of APS-C cameras from Nikon like the Z50 and Z fc that were targeted towards the more enthusiast and content creator markets, the Z30 takes things a bit further with some subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the system’s design. Things like the addition of two stereo mics built into the camera (with optional “fuzzy” wind noise reducers) as well as the “recording in progress” tally lamp built into the front of the camera. That latter feature is actually more common on large pro camcorders, so its inclusion here is both unexpected and welcome.

Nikon opted to remove the electronic viewfinder, pushing users to treat the system like that of a point-and-shoot where you do everything through the pivoting touch screen display. Although the changes made to the camera make it smaller and easier for bloggers, I still noticed a few missing features.

Primarily, the lack of a headphone jack feels like a big miss. The self-portrait mode is also a bit wonky. You will need to disable the self-portrait mode to monitor your audio. Once it is enabled, you can’t keep track of audio. This can hopefully be fixed by an easy firmware upgrade. Those who are already comfortable with Z mirrorless cameras, such as will be at ease as menus and buttons for the back of the camera work almost in the exact same places as in older models. This also includes the front and rear jog dials, which I honestly wouldn’t have expected to even make it onto the design of a camera this small.

With the firmware currently on the camera, the Face/Eye autofocus works as well as you would expect, and this includes following the subject while moving around on camera, a great feature for someone filming themselves, freeing them from worrying about the camera missing focus for an entire shot without a 2nd pair of eyes.

The camera itself, with the entire creator’s accessory kit attached, is quite lightweight, and other than the mic, is quite discreet, making it ideal for creators looking to shoot content in the streets without getting in anyone’s way or causing too much of a scene.

Despite the missing EVF, the ergonomics of the camera are very familiar and it has a very comfortable grip with well-placed function buttons on the front (I was also surprised those were included on this tiny body). The system only has one memory card slot. It’s worth noting. Although this may not be a major issue for most people, it is something I find myself wanting to do more with my backup slots. I am not even asking for support for higher-end CFexpress cards. Even if there are only two SD card slots available, it’s still better to have it than not.

What the system does get right compared to the Z50 is the ability to record video for longer and the choice to go with the “vari-angle” screen. This camera is designed to appeal to vloggers, and these two features should be enough for them. For now, I believe Nikon is at least moving in the right direction with a camera like this, at least for its intended audience. I think for people thinking of getting into the vlogging world, or already doing so with bigger/clunkier systems, this might actually be a good choice of a “creator” to invest in.

We’ll be taking a much closer look at the camera in a future full review. For now, make sure you don’t miss our full coverage of the camera here.