An APS-C Nikon Z30 could give Nikon the shot in the arm it needs

The Nikon Z30 will likely replace the aging Z50 as its entry-level camera, and it might come just at the right time.

After spending a while focusing on cameras like the Z6 II, Z7 II and the mighty Z9, Nikon — like many other manufacturers in 2022 — is now turning its attention back to APS-C cameras. If a post over at Nikon Rumors is accurate, we could see an APS-C Nikon Z30 very soon.

Nikon’s current lineup of APS-C cameras is OK but could be better. The Z50 is a good camera; however, it’s now a little tired. The Zfc is certainly a looker (read our review), but it appeals to a niche market. We’re also far from seeing a mirrorless replacement for the D500, even though we want to see it soon. Still, a Nikon Z30 could do very well and should appeal to many consumers.

The Nikon Z30

Unfortunately, there’s not much information about the Nikon Z30 — which could be announced at the end of June. However, there has been speculation about an EVF-less Nikon mirrorless camera for some time. I think that the Z30 could be this camera.

Giving the camera a model number beneath the Z50 suggests that the Nikon Z30 could be a bare-bones APS-C camera designed for the masses. Whether or not it will be the mirrorless successor to the D3XXX DSLR line remains to be seen. Still, I imagine this could be the case. In all honesty, this would be a great time to introduce such a camera. Many consumers are starting to look for more than their smartphone cameras can offer.

One interesting snippet of information is that Nikon could be about to ditch 24-megapixel sensors. Whether or not this means their APS-C cameras will continue to use the 20.9-megapixel sensor that’s currently in use or move to a higher megapixel sensor is unknown. Word on the street is that Nikon has been playing with 36-megapixel and 46-megapixel sensors for APS-C and full-frame cameras. Still, I would not be surprised if the upcoming Nikon Z30 uses the same sensor as the Z50 and Zfc.

What we’d like to see

The 20.9-megapixel sensor in the Zfc (pictured) and the Z50 is a low-light monster.

Technology has come so far from the days of the entry-level Nikon DSLRs. One thing is for sure, though, these entry-level mirrorless cameras could run rings around the old DLSR cameras. I’m not sure we will see the same low prices the DSLRs had. Still, If Nikon can keep the price of the Z30 between $700-$800, the camera stands a chance. If the Z30 omits the EVF, there will be some cost savings, so that will help. Of course, we would like this think that Nikon would introduce a hot shoe mountable EVF as an extra for those that want one.

The current 20.9-megapixel sensor found in the Z50 and the Zfc is solid. In fact, it remains the best performing APS-C sensor I have ever used when it comes to high ISO performance. So I wouldn’t be too sad if the potential Nikon Z30 sticks with this sensor. Still, it would be nice to see Nikon making progress in sensor technology.

Keep the Z30 simple

The fully-articulating screen on the Zfc is nice, but we’d prefer to see the flip-down screen from the z50 on the Nikon Z30.

With the Canon EOS R10 sitting at 24-megapixels, it would make sense for the Nikon Z30 to at least meet that number. However, it would be better to exceed that number. Canon shocked us when they launched the EOS M6 II with its 32.5-megapixel sensor and priced it at $849. So there’s hope for a higher megapixel Nikon Z30 APS-C camera that’s still relatively affordable.

A flip-down screen would make the camera appeal to vloggers and selfie-lovers. A single UHS-II card slot will suffice, and USB-C charging should be a no-brainer. We would like to see an improved EXPEED processor and an autofocus system that eclipses those found in Nikons’ current APS-C cameras. Nikon needs to keep the Z30 simple so that it appeals to as many people as possible.

The Nikon Z30 could be the perfect gateway camera to the larger world of Z mount cameras. If Nikon can get this camera to market and get it front and center in big-box retail stores, they will be well on their way to reclaiming some of the APS-C market share.

So, what would you like to see in the Nikon Z30? Would you pick one up as a gateway camera to Nikons’ Z mount if it’s priced right? Let us know in the comment section below.

Brett Day

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