If you have ambitions to make it as a content creator online, then you’ll need to ensure you have the right tools for the job to execute that goal.
The Nikon Z30 is a compact, mirrorless camera that offers 4K quality video, 20MP still images, along with an array of features that let you capture yourself, or the world around you.
What this solution offers, is the ability to not only capture footage in great quality, but make the workflows associated with getting that content from your camera to your computer (or mobile device) very easy.
The diversity in applications for this camera is as impressive as its spec sheet and if you’re someone who creates a variety of edited videos as well as lives streams, then this may be your new best friend.
I’ve spent the last month with this camera, so now it’s time for the full review.
The design of the camera is compact, meaning it’s small enough to take with you wherever you go and light enough to carry for longer periods of time if you need to. It has all the familiar components necessary to make great content, including a tripod mount at the bottom, a microphone mount at the top, 3.5mm jack at the side and a USB port to power the camera if you want to use it as a webcam to stream.
The design of the camera is very logical and approachable and despite having spent a lot more time with Canon cameras, I very quickly took to using the Nikon without issue. Switching between photos and video is done through a dedicated mode switch, which then leaves the shooting mode to be adjusted independently.
You can interact with the settings using the buttons on the back and top of the camera, or alternatively, tap on the foldable 3.0″ touchscreen and adjust things like the exposure level and shutter speed.
The Battery compartment also houses the SD card and there’s not a very elegant way to remove the full-sized SD card without removing the battery, so if you’re looking to transfer data, you may want to connect the camera to your laptop via a USB cable, rather than extracting the card.
One very simple feature that I found really beneficial was the USB-C port. When you’re using the camera as a webcam, the USB cable provides both power and data. When you want to take it outside and shoot photos and video, you simply disconnect the USB cable and you have a full battery.
The Nikon Z30 is a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera that is designed to be an entry-level camera for beginners who want to step up from their smartphones to a dedicated camera. It features a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor and has an ISO range of 100-51200, which should make it capable of capturing high-quality images even in low-light conditions.
The camera has a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that rotates, which is useful for shooting from different angles and also folds away during transport. The Z30 also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, which makes the process of getting photos from the camera to your phone for social uploads, where no editing is required.
The Nikon Z30 also has a single SD card slot, which is a limitation compared to some of the higher-end cameras in the Z series that have dual card slots. However, for beginners, this should not be a significant issue.
There is a range of on-board digital filters to choose from, however, I prefer to get clean images as shot from the camera (usually in RAW) and do the editing on a PC to really control the resulting image. Not everyone is like me, some want to get as they can configure at shooting time, so these will likely appeal to some photographers. These filters add style and effects to your images, often used when aiming for stylised shots.
For a camera this compact, I’m really impressed by the quality of the images that come from it. The resulting photo quality is a symptom of a couple of items, namely the lens you have attached and the image sensor, followed by any processing that occurs.
If you’re just starting out, this would be a great first camera and being mirrorless, you avoid the big mechanical clunk every time you press the shutter button. This is really a personal preference if you think this is positive or negative. Personally, I wouldn’t mind some level of force feedback although any typical feedback is done by vibration, the exact thing you don’t want when capturing a still image, so I understand it.
When it comes to the glass, Nikon has over 30 compatible lenses for the Z30. The Nikkor Z lenses (available here) offer a wide variety of options to those looking for specific outcomes. Our review unit came with the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR. This lens has a great feature where it actually contracts to be ultra-compact, great for when it’s in transport.
If you’re looking for those large zoom lenses for sporting events, Nikon has you covered. offers that with something like the NIKKOR Z 400MM F/4.5 VR S (A$5,599) but has an even more extreme lens coming soon, the NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR (A$10,498.99). I’m not sure how many people are buying lenses worth 10x the price of the body, but I think it’s great you can (mount adapter required) if money is no object.
For those content creators trying to understand what options you’ll have with this camera, it’s important to know the technical limits of the camera like:
|Effective Pixels||20.9 million (20 Megapixel)|
|Storage Media||Full size SD (Secure Digital) memory card|
|Self-timer||2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, or 3 s|
|Slowest Shutter Speed||30 sec|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/4000 sec|
|Top continuous shooting speed at full res||11 frames per second|
|Weight||405 g with battery and memory card (without lens)|
When you flick the camera into video mode (I’m guessing most who buy this camera will spend more time here), you’ll be able to capture video in 4K 30p quality.
For those chasing the buttery smooth footage at 60 frames per second, you will need to drop the resolution down to 1080p. If you need that magical 4K60, then you’ll have to look up the price point, but for most, this is likely a fine outcome.
When you flip the camera to video mode (using the hardware switch at the back), you’ll have all the same shooting modes available, auto, portrait, sport etc. While the camera is certainly light enough to run and gun, the best footage when moving will be obtained using a hardware stabilizing solution like the DJI RS3 Mini.
If you’re into capturing slow-motion footage, the Z30 offers a pretty great 120p slow-motion option, allowing you to shoot at 120 frames, which when played back at normal speeds, extends the length of time the action plays out, therefore slowing the motion in your frames. This can be really effective in creating drama in your videos, however it it a shame this isn’t possible at 4K quality.
Naturally shooting vertical video is possible, just grab a decent tripod, or even the content creator’s Joby tripod allows you to mount the camera on the tripod mount, but then rotate it 90 degrees. This is great for those looking to create content for YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and yes, TikTok.
One of the key requirements for a camera to be viable as a streaming solution is to get a clear frame out. This means when you connect it to your computer or capture device, you’ll get a video feed that contains just the video that’s being captured, not the camera’s information layer you see on the rear screen.
Thankfully the Z30 does offer this, making it easy to connect to your computer via a USB-C cable and then use a tool like OBS to then stream to your favourite streaming service. I was hoping this would have basic webcam support included, so it could be easily used in Teams meetings, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You could certainly engineer it to do so but would require something like an Elgato CamLink 4K, which adds another A$229 to the setup.
The touchscreen on the back of the device features a lot of icons representing different settings of the camera. Some of these you can tap to adjust, while others can’t which is confusing for the user. I think this interface needs a rethink.
With a camera so focused on delivering what a modern content creator needs, I think there’s a real opportunity to move past the complex array of buttons on the back of the device, increase the touchscreen size and let more of the settings be controlled via the screen.
In years gone by the justification for these physical buttons was that they allowed experienced photographers to rapidly switch between shooting modes as the environment changed in front of them and required that.
Today, I feel this is a lot less valid. content creators are regularly setting up the camera to stream at their desks or set up the camera on a trip to shoot TikTok videos. These use cases really require the camera to be configured once and ultimately left on that setting for days or even weeks.
While the camera features 3 User Settings on the top dial, these are not respectful of the master parent mode of the camera, i.e. Photos or Video. What I’d like to see is User Modes which would centre around the modality that the user wants.
An example of this would be:
- User Setting 1 – Streaming Mode (video, single-point AF)
- User Setting 2 – Podcast mode (video, manual focus length, check external mic is connected etc)
- User Setting 3 – Timelapse (photo, AF, time between frames, total duration, filter etc)
- User Setting 4 – TikTok (video, vertical, full AF, wide for multiple people)
- User Setting 5 – Handheld indoor (video, stabilized, AF, exposure settings etc)
Having these modes would allow the user to set it up once, then rapidly switch between these contexts, allowing you to grab the camera and go at any time, with an easy selection between these user settings. A simple tap to move between the user modes and you could avoid setting the camera each time. With the digitisation of these user settings, you shouldn’t be limited to 3 on the dial, but potentially dozens to suit each user. Even better would be to sync these settings to your Nikon account and they’d come with you between cameras.
Price and Availability
The Nikon Z30 is available now and with a 16-50mm lens, can be yours for A$1,349. While it’s certainly not the cheapest camera on the market, it offers a great set of features, great quality and ease of use that makes this mirrorless camera perfect for content creators.
Nikon offers a Content Creator’s Kit to allow you to create an all-in-one solution (at least for the hardware side) to create higher-quality content.
The essential accessories kit for content creators and bloggers contains:
- RØDE VideoMicro Microphone
- Joby Gorilla Pod
This kit is really affordable at A$149.00.
What’s great about adding the external microphone to the camera is that you actually get live audio levels displayed on the rear screen, helping to ensure you’re within acceptable limits and audio isn’t too soft, or clipping.
Overall, the Nikon Z30 is a really compelling offering for those seeking a camera that can be used for multiple purposes. For those looking for a great camera to get their photography career or hobby started, it’s a great camera for that. For those looking to start a YouTube channel, it’s a great camera for that. If you’re more interested in live streaming, just grab OBS and this camera will be great.
Overall I think the reason you buy the camera, is less about outright image quality, but rather the versatility in applications afforded by the camera.
It’s compact size and lightweight design make it easy to carry around, which is exactly what you want, when you’re goal is to create great content, often.
If you’re looking for a great camera for an affordable price, then you should definitely add the Nikon Z30 to your short list and I’d highly recommend grabbing that Content Creator kit, it adds so much utility to the camera for very little money.