The Fujifilm/Nikon Duel is On

With the Zfc Nikon effectively takes a shot directly at Fujifilm (at about the X-T30 point in the Fujifilm lineup). I hope Nikon is ready for a lot of comparisons that won’t always go Nikon’s way. 

Let’s start with the pro-Zfc side (I’m making assumptions that it’ll perform at least as well as the Z50):

  • Nikon nailed the styling just a little better, in my opinion. The Fujifilm looks just a little too much like a modern interpretation of retro, while Nikon looks all-in retro to me. 
  • The Nikon can flip its LCD and look (and perhaps operate) more like a film SLR than anything else on the market.
  • Nikon has better AF (sorry Fujifilm). Not by a big margin, but enough to declare it a category winner.

But the pros for the X-T30 add up more substantially, in my view:

  • Fujifilm has a full and appropriate lens set. Nikon does not. Not today, not tomorrow, not in the foreseeable future (here we go with buzz, buzz again).
  • Fujifilm has user-preferred image styles (film simulations) that are very well chosen. Nikon’s are a little more random (“what if we juiced the saturation and contrast and called it Vivid?). 
  • Fujifilm has a 26mp image sensor, which is more state of the APS-C art than 20mp. 
  • The Fujifilm dials make a bit more sense (as do lenses with aperture rings). Of course, the Fujifilm is missing an ISO dial.
  • Fujifilm has a small ridge for finger hold on the front of the camera. Though this is “not retro”, it is welcome.
  • Fujifilm has a focus mode switch. 
  • Fujifilm includes F-Log. Nikon hasn’t brought N-Log to the DX cameras.

As I’ve noted before, much of the switching that happened from disgruntled Nikon users went to Fujifilm. So there’s the question of whether the Zfc is enough to win them back. Nope. No lenses (buzz, buzz). The Nikon users that went to Sony may be a little more likely to come home. I was surprised at a Sony Alpha Rumors poll that seemed to show strong support for Sony doing a retro camera. Sony’s designs are almost universally modern, and have been throughout the mirrorless era.

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