Will We Ever See a Full Frame Nikon Zf Camera?

Every now and again, I’ll look at our archives of camera reviews. And every time that I see the Nikon ZFc, I think about how disappointed our staff was. Nikon made a small attempt at something that could’ve been a million times better than what came out. I mean, why make a Nikon Z50 and then give it retro ergonomics that feel very plasticky? So with that in mind, I still wonder if the Nikon Zf will one day appear in the market. And here’s what I think Nikon needs to do.

Take Inspiration From the Higher End Nikon F Cameras

When you look at photographers that own vintage Nikon cameras, what do they own? Are they going for the cheaper, more plasticky cameras? Or are they reaching for the ones that have a bit more heft and reliability? Take a look on Instagram or anywhere else and you’ll find that everyone reaches for the higher-end cameras. Nikon F cameras have skyrocketed in price over the years because of demand. They’re in the hands of many happy photographers that love shooting with the camera. More importantly, it’s often paired with equally appealing lenses and nice film. 

When Nikon came out with the ZFc, it took inspiration from a camera that isn’t really considered one of the more iconic ones. But just have a look around the web: photographers want something akin to the Nikon F. And more importantly, Nikon is aware of this. Back in 2018, they literally did sponsored content with GQ around the Nikon F. But that didn’t happen with the Nikon ZFc. Why? It puzzles me. 

A higher-end Nikon Zf camera should be modeled after the Nikon F. With that said, it should have some of the things that make the Nikon F such an iconic and great camera.

Use Solid Materials in the Nikon Zf

Yes, I’m talking about metal. The Nikon F has extremely rugged durability to it, and it’s also not electronic. I’m not saying that they should go that far. Anyone that says that they wouldn’t buy it is probably from Gen X or too old. But there’s something to be said about the fact that photographers often feel left out of the conversations these days. Creating a metal camera with a bit of heft to it as a bespoke product for photographers would get them buying the Nikon Zf in droves if they can produce enough. 

Please understand though, that I’m not necessarily asking for a heavy camera. Cameras can be heavy, but how they distribute the weight is a pretty key part to all of this. If the Nikon F doesn’t need a grip of some sort, why would a modern Nikon Zf?

What comes to mind with a full-frame Nikon Zf is brass first and foremost. More importantly, make it patina over time. 

And get this, I don’t necessarily want them to make it cheap. I’d want them to make it pricier so that it’s a sustainable product for their future.

Don’t Skimp on the Weather Resistance

The Nikon ZFc doesn’t have weather resistance that’s worth talking about. But the Nikon ZF should build it into the camera! Weather resistance doesn’t necessarily have to do with taking a camera out into the rain. Instead, it’s all about long-term durability. How long will the camera last? A few years at least. Even if you never change the lens on the camera, the durability and the reliability will be quite profound.

Take the Z5, Z6 II, or Z7 II’s Internals

Do we need to say more about this? I think Nikon has recycled older cameras in one way or another. And if they don’t care enough about the ZF then they could just recycle said parts. No one will buy the Nikon ZF for innovation; and the consumers know that. They’d buy it for the experience and feeling.

But if they were trying to make it innovative, then they’d have to give it the Nikon Z9’s autofocus. I’d hope at least that they keep a physical shutter for the overall experience.

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