Cameras retros: Best retro cameras in 2023

Nikon Z fc review: old-school style meets cutting-edge tech

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Nikon Z fc is an unapologetically retro camera with all the mod cons you’d expect from a current mirrorless model. Its aluminium dials are a joy to operate and the body looks so pretty you’ll likely display the camera when it’s not in use. But the Z fc isn’t all style and no substance. Thanks to sharing the Z 50’s internals, performance and image quality are excellent, so there are few compromises to be made for the extra style. Only the slippery body shape, along with the relative shortage of DX-format native Z-mount lenses, go against the Z fc. But even with these considerations, if you dig the retro aesthetic, the Z fc is still worth every penny.

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Pros
  • +

    Gorgeous styling

  • +

    Solid specs

  • +

    Well priced

Cons
  • Compromised ergonomics

  • ‘Only’ 20.9 megapixels

  • Lack of DX Z-mount lenses

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With the likes of Fujifilm, Olympus and Leica cashing in on the retro camera style for years, the time has come (again) for Nikon to follow suit, this time in the form of the Nikon Z fc.

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We say ‘again’, as it wasn’t so long ago that Nikon tried the same thing with the Df in 2013. However, where that was a full-frame DSLR camera, the new Z fc is an APS-C Z-mount mirrorless model. The Z fc is also specced to be a better all-round camera than the Df ever was, in an effort to make it just as versatile as it’s conventionally-styled rivals, only with more visual appeal. Let’s see whether Nikon’s efforts have paid off…

  • Nikon Z fc (Silver) at Amazon for $949.95

• Read more: Nikon Z30 vs Nikon Z50 vs Nikon Z fc

Specifications

(Image credit: Future)

Sensor: 20.9MP APS-C CMOS
AF points: 209
ISO range: 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 204,800)
Stabilization: Electronic Vibraiton Reduction, video only
Max image size: 5,568 x 3,712px
Video: 4K UHD up to 30p
Viewfinder: 0. 39-in 2.36-million-dot OLED EVF
Memory card: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-I
LCD: Vari-angle touchscreen
Max burst: 11fps
Size: 134.5 x 93.5 x 43.5mm
Weight: 390g body only, 445g with battery and memory card

Key features

(Image credit: Future)

Anyone who remembers the Nikon Df will spot similar styling cues on the new Nikon Z fc. It takes the iconic and achingly handsome looks of the Nikon FM series of 1980’s 35mm film SLRs and wraps them around its latest APS-C mirrorless camera technologies. That’s not to say the Z fc’s tech is all-new though. Rather, this is actually more of a re-skin of Nikon’s existing Z 50 model, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the Z 50 is a great camera in its own right and its technology is still up to date.

The result of sharing the Z 50’s tech is the Z fc packs the same 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor with low pass filter and the same EXPEED 6 image processor. That’s around 3MP less than the 24MP sensors in most APS-C rival cameras, while the likes of Fujifilm and Canon can offer even higher megapixel counts in some of their mirrorless models. Even so, 20.9MP is still more than enough resolution, while the slightly larger individual sensor photosites should, in theory, improve the Z fc’s low light performance and dynamic range.

The Z fc also gets the Z 50’s excellent 209-point hybrid AF system, equipped with eye-detection for humans and animals. Nikon has slightly boosted its low-light performance relative to the Z 50, as the Z fc can now focus down to -4.5EV, where the Z 50’s system was sensitive to -4EV.

Both cameras share the same, highly respectable 11fps max continuous shooting speed, along with identical 4K video recording capabilities. That means the Z fc can record UHD 3840 x 2160 footage at a max 30 fps, and does so using the full width of the sensor, so your 4K footage isn’t cropped to a narrower field of view.

While the Z fc inherits the Z 50’s 0. 39-in 2.36-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, it does offer something extra when it comes to the rear LCD screen. The Z fc is equipped with a fully-articulating touchscreen display – it’s a tad smaller than the screen on the Z 50 (3-in vs 3.2-in) but massively more practical, especially for selfies and vlogging. This marks the first time Nikon has put a vari-angle screen on one of its Nikon Z mirrorless cameras, and you have to wonder why it’s taken so long.

But of course there’s one area where the Z fc is radically different to the Z fc: its controls. Most modern cameras are controlled with a mode dial, with shutter speed and ISO settings set via a digital interface. The Z fc relegates the mode dial options to a small lever under a big external ISO dial on the top plate. On the other side of the viewfinder is an equally big shutter speed dial. The only external control you don’t get is an aperture ring, but as Nikon’s Z lenses aren’t equipped with this feature, that’s a compromise you’ll have to make.

Build and handling

(Image credit: Future)

As you’d hope for a Nikon camera designed to be a thing of beauty, the Z fc feels like a high quality product. The silver top plate is indeed metal, though the matching bottom plate is painted plastic. Twisting and turning each retro-themed dial on the top plate is satisfyingly clunky, and those who experienced the film cameras that inspired the Z fc’s controls will no doubt relish in the nostalgia. What’s more, the front and rear control dials are also comfortably large and have good click feedback with none of the sponginess of many a Fujifilm X-mount camera. The exposure compensation dial is set far enough in from the edge of the camera to prevent accidental rotation, and alongside it sits an unusual LCD display window. The sole function of this is to display the lens aperture f/stop, which gives you a good quick-reference point for lens aperture and does a good job of compensating for the lack of a dedicated lens aperture ring missing from Z-mount lenses.

(Image credit: Future)

Moving to the rear of the camera, we see a feature not present on any other Z camera: an articulating screen. Out in the field it really becomes apparent how useful this is beyond just vlogging. The ability to flip out the camera when shooting at awkward angles can’t be understated, especially when using a camera that’s suited to street photography.

The Nikon Z fc (left) offers a very similar specification to the Nikon Z50 (right) (Image credit: Future)

However, while the articulating screen and direct-access dials are ergonomic highlights, the Z fc’s flat body makes no concession to grippiness. It lacks the protruding grip present on the Z 50, making the Z fc more liable to slip out of your hands. The black leather-look texture around the body of the camera is also much less grippy than it looks, so when carrying the camera around we resorted to holding it via the lens, but would recommend using the supplied strap. It’s also worth noting that the Nikon GR-1 extension grip is available and although we haven’t tested it, it’s designed to provide a more ergonomic experience.

See also: Nikon Z fc vs Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the camera itself, there’s also the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Silver Edition lens. This is essentially the same kit lens you get with a Z 50, but with a cosmetic makeover, featuring a silver exterior design to match the Nikon Z fc. The lens is compact and lightweight, with a total length of 32mm and weighing in at just 135g, and offers a 24-75mm full-frame-equivalent zoom range.

(Image credit: Future)

The other retro lens available at launch is the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE (Special Edition). This isn’t as versatile as the Z DX 16-50mm, but it certainly feels at home attached to the Z fc. Using a prime lens on a camera that’s suited to photo walks and trips away is always a joy, because it forces you to move in search of interesting compositions. The 42mm focal length (in 35mm terms) isn’t as familiar as a 35mm or nifty fifty, but it’s still a very versatile focal length and will serve you well if you leave your other lenses at home. It’s worth noting that the Z 28mm f/2.8’s focus ring is smoother and larger than the Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and boasts a chunky rubber grip. It’s actually been designed using original blueprints, making it an attractive prospect for those wishing to shoot authentically retro on the Z fc with manual focus. It’s also a customizable control ring and can be assigned to alter aperture, exposure compensation or ISO.

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

(Image credit: Future)

There are no surprises with the Z fc’s performance, as image quality is identical to the Z 50 on which it’s based. While this means you ‘only’ get 20.9MP, the payoff is enhanced dynamic range and low-light performance thanks to the marginally larger photosites spread across the same APS-C sensor size, versus a more conventional 24MP sensor.

(Image credit: Future)

Even so, don’t expect perfectly clean shots at sky-high ISO settings. Crank the sensitivity up past ISO 3200 and noise is clearly visible when viewing at 100% image size. It can be smoothed out with the aid of high-ISO noise reduction, but fine textures like fabric weaves can be smeared in the process. But even with noise reduction disabled, grain is fine enough to not be distracting. Dynamic range is excellent, especially with Nikon’s Active D-Lighting dynamic range enhancement enabled, and the Z fc’s default matrix metering mode does a fine job of accurately exposing shots in tricky lighting scenarios.

(Image credit: Future)

While the unusually low 20.9MP sensor resolution does of course mean images are physically smaller at 5568 x 3712 pixels, that’s not a huge reduction on a typical 6000 x 4000MP shot from a 24MP sensor, and consequently the Z fc is more than capable of resolving a great deal of fine detail, albeit not quite as much as you’d get from a 24MP APS-C camera such as a Fujifilm X-T30.

(Image credit: Future)

The Z fc’s autofocus capabilities are a slight step up from those of the Z 50. The Z fc boasts additional Wide-area AF L-people and L-animals settings for both stills and video. Plus, you can now use full-time Eye AF when shooting video. In general shooting we found the AF to be extremely fast and reliable when shooting with the bundled DX 16-50mm kit zoom lens, whether that be shooting in low light or when capturing fast-moving subjects.

(Image credit: Future)

In fact, the only annoyance when shooting with the Z fc comes down to the aforementioned ergonomic shortcomings. At 575g ready to shoot, with the DX 16-50mm lens attached, the Z fc is heavy enough to make its lack of a sculpted hand grip noticeable. And with no rear thumb rest either, we found ourselves needing to support the camera with both hands for it to feel secure. That’s fine for an occasional shot, but for a solid day’s shooting, it’s enough to make the camera feel awkward to use, especially when compared to the Z 50, which sits effortlessly in one hand, with no danger of slipping.

(Image credit: Future)

Lab data

For our lab data comparison, we compared the Z fc to two of its main retro-styled mirrorless camera rivals: the Fujifilm X-T30 and Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. And if you’re prepared to sacrifice looks, there’s always the APS-C Sony Alpha A6400 that can be had for a similar price as the Z fc.

Resolution:

(Image credit: Future)

Resolution is measured using standardized text charts which give results in line widths / picture height, which is independent of sensor size.

The relatively low 20.9MP pixel count of the Z fc means that in spite of its APS-C sensor size, it roughly matches the Micro Four Thirds Olympus E-M10 IV when it comes to resolving fine detail. Meanwhile, the 24.2MP Sony a6400 and 26.1MP Fujifilm X-T30 capture marginally more detail at lower sensitivities than the Z fc, but at ISO 3200, the difference is much more noticeable.

Dynamic range:

(Image credit: Future)

Dynamic range is a measure of a camera’s ability to record extreme brightness ranges and still retain detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the scene. It’s measured in EV (exposure values, or ‘stops’).

The Zfc, E-M10 IV and A6400 are all closely matched in terms of dynamic range. The Nikon isn’t quite class-leading at lower sensitivities, but it performs strongly at higher ISOs.

Signal to noise ratio:

(Image credit: Future)

This test compares the amount of random noise generated by the camera at different ISO settings as a proportion of the actual image information (the ‘signal’). Higher values are better and we expect to see the signal to ratio fall as the ISO is increased.

Usually a lower megapixel count helps reduce image noise by virtue of larger sensor photosites being more light-sensitive. However, Nikon’s 20.9MP sensor is a relatively old design now, debuting in the Nikon D500 DSLR back in early 2016. The Z fc therefore generates more image noise than the X-Trans 4 sensor in the Fujifilm X-T30, though the gap narrows at higher sensitivities.

Verdict

(Image credit: Future)

The Nikon Z fc is everything the Nikon Df should have been. It’s an unapologetically retro camera with all the mod cons you’d expect from a current mirrorless camera. The aluminium dials are a joy to operate and the body looks so pretty you’ll likely display the camera when it’s not in use. The fully articulating screen won’t just please vloggers – there’s an argument all future Nikon Z cameras would benefit from having one. It’s a pity the Z fc lacks an in-built flash, especially when one is present in the cheaper Z 50, but that would have likely compromised the gorgeous looks, and there’s still a hot shoe for mounting a separate flashgun.

Style doesn’t come cheap, and the Z fc was always going to cost more than the Z 50 on which it’s based, but the price difference is actually not as painful as we’d first expected, and is unlikely to be a deal-breaker. What is harder to live with are the Z fc’s compromised ergonomics from its slippery body shape, along with the relative shortage of DX-format native Z-mount lenses when compared to the far more comprehensive Fujifilm X-mount system.

But even with these considerations, the Nikon Z fc is a camera oozing with both style as well as substance. If you dig the retro aesthetic, it’s worth every penny.

Read more:

• Best Nikon cameras
• Best Nikon Z lenses
• Best cameras for video
• Best mirrorless cameras

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Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he’s in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He’s also the team’s man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he’s a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys. 

Olympus PEN E-P7 review | Digital Camera World

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Olympus PEN E-P7 is a fantastic return to form for the PEN series, and a triumph for OM Digital Solutions’ first product. So stylish that you can take it anywhere, so simple that beginners can use it, and so capable that experts can get sensational results from it. Perfect for stills, with IBIS that makes video a breeze, this is an ideal take-anywhere, shoot-anything camera that packs the power of an OM-D into your pocket.

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Why you can trust Digital Camera World
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Olympus PEN E-P7 is a surprising camera in more ways than one. With the world watching what OM Digital Solutions, new steward of the Olympus brand, would do with its first ever product, nobody predicted that it would resurrect the E-P series of PEN cameras. 

• Read more: Best retro cameras

In doing so, however, it has not only breathed new life into the pedestrian PEN line, but also shown that it isn’t afraid to shake things up – or to revisit and reimagine the unique concepts of the best Olympus cameras from the past. 

There hasn’t been an entry in this series since 2013’s Olympus PEN E-P5, which has remained a cult classic among Micro Four Thirds users. The Olympus PEN E-P7 combines the finesse and form factor of its predecessor, the Profile Control switch inspired by the fan favorite Olympus PEN-F, and the features and functionality of the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV.  

The result is the best non-OM-D camera we’ve seen since the PEN-F, as well as one of the best travel cameras, best cameras for street photography, best cameras for beginners and even best vlogging cameras for quick and clean content creation.

Olympus PEN E-P7: Video review

Watch video: Olympus PEN E-P7 video review

Olympus PEN E-P7: Specifications

Sensor: 20.3MP 4/3″ Live MOS
Lens type: Micro Four Thirds
Image processor: TruePic VIII
AF points: 121-point contrast-detect
ISO range: 200-25,600 (expandable to Low (approx 100))
Stabilization: 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 4.5 stops
Max image size: 5184 x 3888
Video: 4K at 30 / 25 / 24p; 1080p at 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 / 24p; 720p at 120fps (no audio)
Viewfinder: N/A
LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen (80° up, 180° down), 1. 037k dots
Memory card: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-II compatible
Shutter speeds: Mech 1/4,000-60 sec, elec 1/16,000-60 sec, bulb up to 30 mins
Max burst: Mech 8.7fps (up to card capacity), elec 15fps (42 RAW / 49 JPG)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro HDMI, Micro USB 2.0
Size: 118.3 x 68.5 x 38.1mm
Weight: 337g body only, including battery and memory card

Image 1 of 8

The Olympus PEN E-P7 features a Profile Control switch on the front (inspired by the PEN-F) for creative color and mono modes (Image credit: James Artaius)A pop-up flash offers a kiss of key or fill when you don’t have supplemental lights available (Image credit: James Artaius)The micro USB port enables charging via power banks or other outlets (Image credit: James Artaius)(Image credit: James Artaius)(Image credit: James Artaius)(Image credit: James Artaius)Between the dual exposure dials, mode dial and power switch, the top panel is a little cramped (Image credit: James Artaius)Like the E-PL cameras, the E-P7 has a 180° flipping selfie screen for selfies and vlogging (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7: Key features

While the PEN E-P series has been dormant since 2013, the PEN E-PL (“PEN Lite”) line has been a disappointing rinse and refresh for the past few years. Indeed, the Olympus PEN E-PL10 and Olympus PEN E-PL9 were both lumbered with the outdated 16MP image sensor and 3-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that were holdovers from the original, 7-year-old OM-D E-M10. 

By contrast, the E-P7 takes its technological cues from the latest E-M10 Mark IV. It packs the same 20.3MP sensor with improved AF performance (though it is still contrast-detect), the same 5-axis IBIS that’s good for 4.5 stops of stabilization, and the same 4K 30p video that benefits from the silky smooth IBIS in a way that larger APS-C and full-frame sensors can only dream of. 

However, the E-P7 doesn’t abandon the E-PL signatures entirely; it retains the 180° tilting selfie screen that made the PEN Lites such a success with bloggers and vloggers, along with the integrated pop-up flash for when you need a hit of light. 

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake (@ 25mm, 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO200, Pop Art I filter) (Image credit: James Artaius)

It takes cues from the venerable PEN-F, too, namely in the form of the Profile Control switch.  Like the Creative Dial on the PEN-F, enables you to summon a host of bespoke mono and color profiles – including the much-loved Mono 2, which is unofficially a Tri-X film simulation, along with other profiles that give a similar feel to classic film stocks like Ektachrome and Portra.  

It also features USB charging carried over from the latest OM-D cameras, albeit via a micro USB connection. Interestingly, the E-P7 doesn’t come with a battery charger in the box – instead it features a USB passthrough connection to recharge the battery in-camera. So if you’re going to get a spare battery, you’ll need to power it up via the body – not ideal, if you want to use the camera while your backup is on charge.

Also returning is the Advanced Photo mode, selectable from the mode dial, which enables beginners to take images using advanced techniques – without having to know the advanced techniques. From long exposures and keystone compensation to HDR and focus bracketing, this puts powerful photography at the fingertips of even complete newcomers.

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 (1/2000 sec, f/1.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7: Build & handling

The Olympus PEN E-P7 is slightly larger than its E-PL siblings, and slightly smaller than the PEN-F – yet it’s lighter than them both at just 337g. However, while it largely combines the form of the former with the function of the latter, it does take significant style and substance cues from the PEN-F. 

The E-P7 eschews the E-PL series’ more modern look and two-tone grip for a vintage-inspired design and textured leatherette finish. It likewise ditches the single exposure dial for dual control dials, making it a much more comprehensive manual photographic tool. 

While the PEN-F’s Creative Dial offered five shooting profile options, the sheer amount of choice made it difficult to use without peering at the front to see which one you’d selected. The E-P7’s Profile Control, by contrast, is a simple toggle switch that summons the color / mono shooting modes – from here, a new pop-up menu button on the top enables you to pick, choose and customize profiles on the fly.

Speaking of new controls, the traditional recessed ‘pinhole’ style power button of the E-PL cameras is gone, replaced by a separate new power dial on the right-hand side. In one respect, it’s great to have a proper power switch instead of a fiddly button; on the other, that means there are four dials crammed onto the top panel – and the power one is situated so close to the mode dial that switching between modes often leads to inadvertently knocking the power off. 

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 (1/250 sec, f/1.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7: Performance

Purely in terms of the images it produces, the E-P7 delivers results on par with the PEN-F or the E-M10 Mark IV. Photographs are rich, detailed and defined no matter what lenses you’re using. The body is obviously tailor-made for the M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake lens, and it squeezes every last ounce of resolution out of that overperforming slice of wonderglass. 

However, mount a high-end optic like the M. Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 or M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and this delivers truly next-level results worthy of the more expensive OM-D cameras. 

Without retreading the well-worn Micro Four Thirds debate, the 20.3MP image sensor may be conservative next to the mid-20 megapixels of APS-C cameras, let alone the much higher resolution of full-frame bodies, but it captures a stunning amount of detail and data – more than enough for medium-sized prints, not to mention double-page magazine spreads (as have been published in our sister print titles on numerous occasions). So if you’re wondering whether 20.3MP is only good for social media – no, it’s good enough for most things. 

The E-P7 features the same new autofocus system as the E-M10 Mark IV – it’s still a contrast-based AF system, but is night and day better than that of the PEN-F or any of the preceding E-PL cameras. Of course it’s not as supernatural as the phase detect system of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, but the face and eye detect are very reliable in both stills and video shooting.  

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake (@ 14mm, 1/15 sec, f/8, ISO200, Mono 2 profile) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Indeed, the improved AF is particularly noticeable when recording video; gone is the hunting and pulsing of Olympus’ older contrast AF system, with much more honest autofocus that makes this a realistic proposition for straightforward content creation and filming vlogs up to 4K 30p.

Certainly the Panasonic GH5 II is a superior vlogging and video camera, but it requires you to know a lot about video to get the most out of it – and Panasonic’s creaky contrast AF system is far too unreliable for solo shooting. If you want to start shooting video, but don’t know your bitrate from your B-roll, the E-P7 is a fantastic point-and-shoot 4K camera that delivers crisp footage with absolutely sublime stabilization – even without needing a gimbal… though the lack of microphone jack means that you’ll need to rely on standalone mics (or the camera’s in-built ones).

While it’s never going to be a sports camera, the burst shooting speeds are still impressive – the mechanical shutter is rated at 8.7fps (we managed to squeeze 9fps out of it) and with the electric shutter you can get up to 15fps. Depending on the subject the AF keeps up very well, but don’t expect to use this for birding. 

Our only real complaint with the E-P7 is the LCD screen, which displays certain hues – especially skintones – far too hot. When shooting caucasian subjects this makes it difficult to know whether the camera’s color rendition is overaggressive, but you have to trust your settings and keep shooting; get your images into a computer or your phone and the skin is just fine. 

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake (@ 42mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7: Lab results

For our lab data comparison, we compared the PEN E-P7 against three other crop-sensor beginner-friendly mirrorless cameras: the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, Fujifilm X-S10 and Sony A6100.

Resolution:

(Image credit: Future)

Resolution is measured using standardized text charts which give results in line widths / picture height, which is independent of sensor size.

Inevitably, with ‘only’ 20.3MP on tap, the E-P7 can’t match the 24MP+ competition when it comes to resolving fine detail. The real world difference isn’t vast, but it is noticeable under close scrutiny.

Dynamic range:

(Image credit: Future)

Dynamic range is a measure of a camera’s ability to record extreme brightness ranges and still retain detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the scene. It’s measured in EV (exposure values, or ‘stops’).

Recent Olympus cameras have traditionally been strong for dynamic range, and the E-P7 is no exception. The Fujifilm X-S10 is still the benchmark in this sector at higher ISOs, but the PEN still beats the competition from Canon and Sony.

Signal to noise ratio:

(Image credit: Future)

This test compares the amount of random noise generated by the camera at different ISO settings as a proportion of the actual image information (the ‘signal’). Higher values are better and we expect to see the signal to ratio fall as the ISO is increased.

The E-P7, X-S10 and EOS M50 Mark II are all closely matched in this test, generating similarly clean images with low noise levels. The aging sensor design in the A6100 produces noticeably noisier images than the other three cameras.

Olympus PEN E-P7: Verdict

We know that many people were hoping for a PEN-F Mark II, and may feel disappointed that this isn’t that camera. Here’s the truth, though: the Olympus PEN E-P7 combines the style and shooting modes of the PEN-F with the tiny form factor of the E-PL bodies and the fresh technology of the E-M10 Mark IV – and, in so doing, is a far more interesting proposition than a PEN-F Mark II would have been. 

This camera finally catches the PEN line up with the power of the OM-D bodies – putting a stunning stills camera in your pocket, for one of the best travel and take-anywhere systems we’ve used. The E-M10 Mark IV is technologically similar and actually cheaper, plus you get the benefit of an electronic viewfinder. However, the E-P7 is a superior creative tool thanks to the mono and color modes offered by the Profile Control dial – and it’s a beautiful camera both to look at and use. 

The OM Digital Solutions era is off to a great start. 

Olympus PEN E-P7: Sample images and video

Watch video: Olympus PEN E-P7 sample video

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 (1/2000 sec, f/1.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 (1/40 sec, f/8, ISO200, Mono 2 profile) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake (@ 27mm, 1/20 sec, f/4.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Olympus PEN E-P7 + M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ Pancake (@ 20mm, 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Pre-order the Olympus PEN E-P7 at Olympus (UK)
Pre-order the Olympus PEN E-P7 at Wex (UK)

Read more:

Best Olympus cameras
Best Micro Four Thirds lenses
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III review
Olympus PEN-F review
Olympus PEN E-PL10 review

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L’Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera Magazine, PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, Digital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.

Top 10 Retro Cameras – Best Choice in 2023

Are you interested in checking out the best retro cameras? You’ll definitely want to check out our list of the top 10 retro cameras of 2023 that are the perfect blend of performance and style.

Modern photographic technology has made incredible progress over the years. With new cameras being released every day with larger sensors and more processing power, the design and style of most cameras began to seem similar and uniform.

Many photographers are now looking for cameras with bold and personal designs, and this is where retro style cameras are starting to find their niche. Retro style is all about nostalgia and a celebration of bygone days. This trend will continue, whether it’s clothing, cars, vinyl records, or even the resurgence of retro cameras.

Retro cameras take us back to the days of old school family photography and the beginnings of a love of photography. Having a retro style camera is a great way to connect with the nostalgic feel of using these rugged metal body cameras.

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There’s no reason why a high performance camera can’t look beautiful at the same time. Today, we have the luxury of owning retro-style cameras with all-digital features.

Here are the top 10 retro cameras we recommend for their exquisite looks and competitive performance:

1. Olympus PEN E-PL6

Although not the newest model in the lineup, the Olympus PEN E-PL6 is still one of the best retro compact cameras on the market. The main attraction of this vintage-style digital device lies in the incredible image quality it is capable of producing thanks to the built-in 16-megapixel MOS sensor. It is also equipped with a touch screen for a modern interpretation, which increases its potential.

It has a shutter speed of 1/4000 second and can produce eight frames per second in continuous shooting mode. Its durable SD card can store up to 64GB of data, making the Olympus PEN E-PL6 the perfect old-fashioned camera to take on vacation or any other special occasion. It sells for just under 900 dollars, but that’s a price worth paying.

Pros Cons
8.1 fps burst shooting JPG waters are a bit harsh by default.
LC Hinged Touchscreen Excludes Wi-Fi.
Art filters in camera No built-in viewfinder
Extremely affordable No built-in flash

2. Leica MD (Type 262)

Leica is a historic name among the pioneers of vintage film cameras, and the design of their digital MD (Typ 262) is proof of that. If it wasn’t for the lack of a cocking lever and film door, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this little gem isn’t a vintage device. To keep the authentic retro feel, it does not have an integrated LCD screen.

Instead, the camera is equipped with a nifty manual ISO selection dial in Leica’s famous number font. As such, it’s the ideal photo equipment for those who want to keep the overall feel and spirit of the good old days without sacrificing the latest technology to improve image quality.

Pros Cons
24MP full frame image sensor No LCD
Superior Image Quality Excludes Auto ISO
Interchangeable lenses No video recording

3. Canon PowerShot G9 X

Canon’s reputation as a manufacturer of SLR cameras is notorious in photography. However, the brand also makes retro-styled compact devices, and the Canon PowerShot G9The X Mark II is a perfect example. Looking at the list of its characteristics, it may seem that it is similar to any other modern camera.

It has 20.1-megapixel , one inch high sensitivity CMOS sensor 3x optical zoom and f / 2-4.9 lens equivalent to 35mm. It can record in Full HD and has a built-in touch monitor for convenience. But if you opt for the silver version with beautifully textured brown grips, you’ll feel like you’re holding a device from another decade.

Pros Cons
Touch LCD Limited manual control 90 036
Built-in Wi-Fi No 60fps video option
8.1 frame image capture per second No weather protection
Compact size Short zoom

4. Fujifilm X100F

When it comes to retro style digital cameras with a stylish and vintage design, the Fujifilm X100F is perhaps the quintessential device. Recommended by professionals and amateurs alike, and with good reason. With its 16MP sensor, images are stunning in quality, but you can’t tell just by looking at them.

The

Fujifilm X100F features a classic rangefinder design plus a variety of dials and buttons for that authentic vintage aesthetic. It features an advanced hybrid viewfinder and intuitive analog controls that fit perfectly with the overall look of the camera. Moreover, his The ‘s 3-inch LCD screen surprisingly doesn’t knock everything out, which is a huge plus.

900 33 Video limited to 1080p

Pros Cons
1/4,000 second leaf shutter
Bright aperture f/2 Limited zoom range (23mm)
Large APS-C sensor Relatively slow autofocus
Great manual control Higher price

iconic rangefinder design. However, it does not have front windows or viewports. This subtle touch gives the device a unique personality that makes it a worthy investment. The silver-coloured model is particularly eye-catching thanks to the sturdy, contrasting handle.

Pros Cons
4K video recording No built-in flash
24-75mm f/1. 7-2.8 fast lens Sensor resolution limits detail
Burst shooting at 11.3 fps Slow auto focus
Built-in Wi-Fi High price

6. Pentax Silver KP

The Pentax Silver KP is a beautiful DSLR that already sets it apart from the compact models on this list. However, its modern movement does not mean that its design cannot be exquisitely inspired by photographs of past decades. Its bold metal nameplate and hardware-inspired aesthetic make it a worthy addition to your camera arsenal.

Pros Cons
AF system with 27 AF points. Very small raw buffer
7fps continuous shooting No built-in flash
24MP APS-C sensor No 4K video recording capability
High resolution image sensor Battery life could be better

7.

Sony RX1R II

Returning to the world of compact cameras, it’s time to thank Sony. The company’s compact RX1R II device is definitely a luxury item due to its $3,300 price tag. However, if you are passionate about this art, it is well worth it. It has a 35mm lens and an adjacent sensor capable of capturing images at 43.6 megapixel quality.

Together with the variable design without filters, the resulting images will be stunning in terms of color, clarity and detail. This makes it a suitable device for street photography, so if you are passionate about this industry, the investment will be even more meaningful.

Pros Cons
Compact size Does not include external charger 9003 6
Full frame 42 megapixel image sensor Non-touch
Excellent video quality Lens exhibits some barrel distortion
Built-in pop-up EVF Inconvenient focus select switch

8.

Hasselblad X1D-50c

The Hasselblad X1D-50c paved the way for medium format mirrorless cameras and earned its place on this list. If you want to celebrate the art of film photography with a device that is predominantly digital, this is the way to go. You will definitely fall in love with its elegant and graceful design with engraving and other delicate details.

9003 3 1.7 fps slow burst

Pros Cons
50 MP high resolution sensor Cannot send images via Wi-Fi
Fast autofocus system
Incredible 16-bit raw image No built-in image stabilization
USB tethering Relatively short battery life

9. Nikon 1 J5

Nikon is another brand valued by professional photographers for its wide range of high quality digital SLR cameras. However, it also manages to produce decent compact devices, and the retro-inspired Nikon 1 J5 is a great example of this, especially if you opt for white. There is something about its elegant design with metal inserts that is sure to grab your attention.

Pros Cons
Multiple shooting modes Limited lens choices
Incredible fast focus and burst shooting at 60fps Lens distorts a lot when shooting in raw format
Quality images Poor low light performance
Includes compact zoom lens No mechanical shutter

10 Sigma SD Quattro H

If you’re willing to shell out $1,000 for a camera, the Sigma sd Quattro H is the perfect fit for you. It shoots at 45 megapixels at 3.8 fps , and it has a built-in APS-H Foveon X3 Quattro CMOS sensor. If you’re looking for a stylish device that’s also full of features, why not give it a try?

90 033 Superb image quality
Pros Cons
Large APS-H image sensor Slow start and autofocus
Universal lens system No built-in image stabilization
User interface not intuitive
Optional available battery grip Bulky design

Conclusions

The market is teeming with amazing retro digital camera options. While most of them are compact models, strange SLR cameras appear from time to time, which changes the offer a lot. So, which of these bad guys do you really want to add to your collection? Any of the ten options above will serve you well.

Note: We do not receive any affiliate commissions for the above referrals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the old style cameras called?

Old style cameras usually refer to film cameras. Unlike digital cameras, older motion picture cameras store images on special film that must be developed in a dark room to produce final photographs.

Which camera makes photos vintage?

The Olympus Pen E-PL6 and Leica MD (Typ26) are some of the best cameras for capturing vintage style photos. These are modern digital cameras that make photos look vintage.

What are the best aesthetic cameras?

It depends on what kind of aesthetic you are looking for. Modern digital cameras can produce a wide range of effects with the right settings, lenses, and lighting. The editing software can also be used to create any retro vintage aesthetic picture you want.

Is there a digital camera like film?

The Fujifilm X100 series, Olympus Pen F and Nikon 1 J5 are great digital cameras that take photos that look like they were shot on film.

For connoisseurs of retro. Nikon Z fс camera review!

For connoisseurs of retro. Nikon Z fс camera review!

In the modern world of photography, everyone has long been accustomed to this type of camera – the standard black color, streamlined shapes, the classic arrangement of controls on the sides of the body.

Hello everyone, Stas is with you, and we have a new camera Nikon Z fс , made entirely in retro design. The model has a crop matrix 20 MP , processor Expeed 6 , ISO with extension from 100 to 51 200 , and burst shooting up to 11fps .

We will be testing this new product with the 16-50mm kit lens, which was made in the design of the camera.

To get the most out of the Nikon Z fc , we decided to test it indoors, specifically in the library in the music room.

Well, let’s get started with the camera!

1. Design

A bit of history. If you are a fan of the Nikon , then I think the design of the camera will seem familiar to you. And no, I’m not talking about a full-frame DSLR now Nikon DF, which was introduced by on November 5, 2013 We are talking about the progenitor, the legendary camera Nikon FM2, , which was released already in 1982 and became a turning point in the history of Nikon .

  • Top

The main thing to note right away is the layout of the controls.

As in the old film times, there is a separate exposure ring on the carcass. Pay attention to the highlighted mark “1/3 step”. When choosing this mode, we switch to a more familiar control scheme, where the shutter speed selection ring is under our finger.

Shutter speed ring

There is also an ISO and exposure compensation ring that has marks and allows you to quickly set the desired parameter. The ISO ring has a mode switch from “M” to “A”, and the shutter speed ring has a photo / video mode switch.

ISO ring

Exposure compensation ring

Nearby we have a small window that used to show how many frames were captured on film. Now it is an LCD screen with an aperture value display.

LCD screen with aperture value display

Camera on/off lever, shutter release and video record button are also located here.

Video recording button

The camera does not have its own flash, but it is possible to install any flash Nikon on the hot shoe.

Hot shoe

  • Front

At the front, we are met by the already familiar Z mount of the series, which will allow you to put on not only mirrorless optics, but also a mirror one through an FTZ adapter.

Z-mount

for additional functionality.

Multi-function ring

Button for additional functionality

900 02

To the left of the mount, there is a lens release button and an AF assist lamp in low light.

Lens release button

  • Rear

A surprise awaits us behind us. First time at Z series we now have swivel screen. I don’t think I need to explain how convenient it is.

Swivel screen

Although our camera does not have a pentaprism, the viewfinder on the outside is made according to the old model, while all the electronic filling comes from new cameras.

Electronic Viewfinder

The right side contains the shutter speed ring and standard control buttons.

Shutter speed ring

On the left are the buttons for viewing, deleting and switching between the screen and the viewfinder.

View button

  • Left side

On the left side of the camera we have connectors for micro HDMI, Usb type C and a 3.5mm microphone jack.

Connectors

  • Right and bottom

We have nothing on the right.

You ask: “Stas, where is the slot for memory cards?” And I will answer you: “He is from below in the battery compartment.” There is only one slot and supports UHS Type I SD cards.

Tripod thread

, now let’s see what the camera is capable of in real conditions!

Our library is quite dark. This is a great opportunity to test the for noise. I will increase the ISO value until the noise in the frame is not very noticeable.

9No noise up to 9000 25 400. Small noise appears in the range from 400 to 800 . Strong noise that catches the eye occurs at a value of 1600 and higher.

That’s pretty good for a crop sensor camera, don’t you think?

3. Auto focus test

Now let’s evaluate its autofocus. Focus is fast when shooting in a dark room. Let’s complicate the task – let’s try to change the position of model right in the frame. Everything is fine here too. There are slight delays, but this is quite forgivable, given the light in the room and the class of the camera.

4. Continuous shooting

Are there reportage photographers among us? Now I will check how quickly the Nikon Z fc buffer fills up. To do this, I’ll set the camera to burst mode.

026 our camera lasted 6 seconds , and in JPEG – approximately, 11.5 seconds.

5. Presets

If you are into creative photography, you will be interested in the presets in Picture Profile. Let’s try them too!

In the camera, in addition to the standard settings such as: “Standard”, “Portrait”, “Neutral” , etc., there are also “vintage” presets: “Sleep”, “Morning”, “Pop”,
“Sunday” and others. I think it turned out very old school!

Watch photos in our video review coming soon

You can also shoot in RAW and process photos the way you want.

6. Video mode

Since our hero is an actor, we decided to record him on video. The camera allows you to shoot in 4k 30 frames per second. With the Full HD , the is much more capable. We will set the video settings to Full HD 120 fps, to shoot a short clip in Slow mo. And also included Flat profile to further colorize the video.

A small life hack – By default, when switching to video mode, we have ISO locked to “Auto”. To make it work manually, Go to “My Menu”, select “add items”

onward “Dir. Video filming.

We find the item “settings sensitive. ISO” and select “Auto ISO control (M mode).

video filming.

Check out the autofocus – it works just as well in video mode, thanks to the ‘s eye tracking and even when the subject changes.

Subject changes position in video mode

Video

Example video

And if the actor were a cat, then the camera would do a great job here too! Because added animal detection when taking photos and videos.

7. Application

The actor asked me to send him the photos. The camera has WI-FI and Bluetooth to connect with a smartphone.

We will transfer photos and videos through a proprietary application SnapBridge.

The application also supports Webcam Utility, allowing you to use the Nikon Z fc as a webcam.

Conclusion

Our photo session is over. What can I say in summary?

There can be no complaints about the camera body itself. In my hand, it lies well, even taking into account the lack of a grip like in modern cameras.

Despite the fact that the camera is not “professional”, its assembly is excellent, does not creak or play anything, and the use of aperture wheels evokes that pleasant nostalgic feeling.

The camera incorporates modern developments from Nikon, , and inspiration from the past allowed us to fit all this into the classic old school body that will appeal not only to the fan Nikon , but also for those who appreciate style and strive to reach a new level in photography.