Nikon Z5 arrives for beginners with world’s smallest full-frame zoom lens

Nikon Z5
(Image credit: Nikon)

The long-rumored Nikon Z5 has finally been revealed as the junior, full-frame sibling of the model that currently tops our best cameras list, the Nikon Z6.

A 24.3MP full-frame mirrorless camera compatible with Nikon's Z series lenses, the Nikon Z5 has much in common with our favorite all-round camera, including the same in-body image stabilization system, 273-point hybrid AF system and 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder.

Aimed at full-frame beginners or owners of Nikon DX DSLRs (which have smaller APS-C sensors), the Nikon Z5 has arrived with a new Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 kit lens, which is apparently "the shortest and lightest full-frame mirrorless zoom lens around".

While there are naturally limitations compared to the Nikon Z6 (to read more about these, check out our Nikon Z5 vs Z6: 8 key differences you need to know feature), the new camera certainly has lots of appeal for stills photographers.

Unlike the Nikon Z6 and Z7, it has two card slots (both of which support UHS-II SD format), rather than a single XQD slot. The Nikon Z5 can also be powered by USB, which is handy if you fancy shooting long timelapses.

Naturally, the Z5 is lacking compared to its more senior siblings in two main areas. The main one is video – the Z5's 4K video comes with a 1.7x crop, and it also lacks a 120p slo-mo mode. 

The new camera is also inferior to the Z6 and Z7 when it comes to burst shooting. While the Nikon Z6 can shoot action or wildlife scenes at up to 12fps, the Z5 can only manage a maximum of 4.5fps. That's pretty low by today's standards.

Glass act

Still, the Nikon Z5 is otherwise shaping up to be a promising option for hobbyists looking to move to full-frame. It has a magnesium alloy build with weather-sealing, an autofocus system with both Eye-Detection and Animal-Detection AF, and a tilting touchscreen (albeit not a fully articulating one, like the Canon EOS RP).

While we haven't yet taken the new Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens for a spin, it does look impressively compact for a full-frame zoom. This is largely thanks to its retractable design, which means you need to rotate its zoom ring to extend it out and get shooting. But Nikon claims that the lens has a decent close-focusing distance of 35cm and also offers near-silent focusing for shooting video.

Nikon also says that it'll be bolstering the Nikon Z system lens collection later this year with the announcement of the Nikkor Z 14-24 f/2.8S, which will complete a 'holy trinity' of zooms alongside the 70-200mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8.

Our main disappointment with the Nikon Z5 is that it isn't quite as affordable as we'd hoped. Its body-only price will be $1,399 / AU$2,599, or £1,589 in the UK with an FTZ adaptor that lets you use it with F-mount lenses. You'll also be able buy it from "late summer 2020" with the new kit zoom lens for $1,699 / £1,719 / AU$3,099.

That bundle is more expensive than a body-only Nikon Z6 and significantly pricier than a body-only Canon EOS RP with an EF-EOS R adaptor, which means it's still quite a big investment for full-frame beginners. We'll bring you our full review very soon.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.