It’s understandable why Canon and Sony have sucked all the oxygen out of the room in 2020. The Canon R5 and R6 were groundbreaking cameras that told the photography community that Canon finally “gets it.” The Sony a7s III was finally released and continued Sony’s push to expand the boundaries of what’s possible in a hybrid camera.

But there’s one camera that’s been completely lost in the shuffle, introduced with little fanfare and few reviews. That’s a shame, because it’s proven to be a truly excellent photographer’s camera in my experience. What is that camera? Read on!

We are in an era of photography where we expect a camera to do everything

We’ve heard it before. “I need 60fps in 4K!” “It’s gotta have dual native ISO in pics and video!” “I need two memory card slots!” “It needs eye detect AF!” “I need animal eye AF too!” “It needs to be clean all the way to ISO 400,000!”

As photographers, we’re a spoiled bunch these days, but can you blame them? I don’t. When I look around at the current photography/hybrid landscape, it’s obvious camera companies are trying very hard to give their customers one camera that can literally do everything.

What’s usually ended up happening is we have cameras with a lot of compromises as result. What I mean is, you’ll have a mirrorless camera that’s great at video, but is only “meh” at photos. Or you’ll have an excellent stills camera that’s only so-so at video. Maybe the autofocus is only contrast detect instead of phase detect, etc.

There’s no perfect camera, but if you want a photographer’s camera, consider this one

I’m a photographer first. Though it is true, I’ve been expanding into video out of competitive necessity. But when I really need a stills camera, I want a camera that is ergonomically simple and doesn’t get in my way of taking pictures.

For me, that camera is the Nikon Z 5.

It’s true, there is no perfect camera. As much as I love the Z 5, it doesn’t have a flippy screen — clearly, this camera is aimed at legacy Nikon photographers.

I’ve been a fan of the aging Nikon D750 since it was introduced in 2014, and it was time for a replacement. The Z 5 (B&H | Amazon) is everything I loved about the D750, but in mirrorless form. Ergonomically speaking, everything is in the right place. The viewfinder is bright and clear, and rear screen is large and has some touch screen functions. There’s also a joystick which makes the Z 5 a joy to use.

The Z 5 is all about ergonomics, everything from a joystick to a large touch screen to a great viewfinder

Nikon’s FTZ adapter (B&H | Amazon) allows me to use legacy Nikon DSLR glass and third-party lenses seamlessly. The on-sensor phase detect AF is startlingly accurate, even with adapted lenses — native and third-party — and wide-open at f/1.4 or f/2 depending on the lens. Most importantly image quality from the Z 5 is simply sublime! It’s been a full blown love affair!

The FTZ adapter makes using both legacy and third-party lenses a breeze with the Z 5. It works seamlessly and with regard to AF performance, which is faster and more accurate in my experience.

The important stuff

I’ll save the best part of the Z 5 for last — the price. It’s a steal! With Black Friday deals just around the corner, if you want an outstanding stills camera at an insanely great value price, then get a Z 5!

Sample images