Fuji X vs Nikon Z

SONY DSC-RX100M4 (18.3mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO400)

After 8 years with only one camera system, the Fuji X, I’m back to two. After the first couple of shootings it’s time for a first comparison.

I will compare the two cameras systems, and their lenses and the reason why I finally decided to have two cameras systems again. Here we go.

First things first: I think it is obvious why I kept the Fuji X-Pro2 plus my favourite small primes when you look at the pictures. No matter the lens you put on it the Nikon Z8 will never be a small and lightweight camera. The Nikon Z8 doesn’t even look like a mirrorless camera but more like a DSLR. But that’s a good thing. I have rather large hands and the grip of the Z8 perfectly fits my hand. No additional grip needed but I would not complain if the Z8 would be a little lighter.

The pictures show the Z8 with the Z 14-24/2.8 S and the X-Pro2 with the XF 14/2.8 R. The difference in size is striking but before I finally decided to get into Nikon Z I looked at the lenses very carefully with a surprising result.

Standard lenses first: I got the Nikon Z 24-120/4 S and this lens is even slightly lighter than the XF 16-55/2.8 WR from Fuji. The Nikon lens has the better range (120mm vs 83mm), slightly better subject isolation and its quality is fantastic too.

Then I looked at the tele zoom options: of course the Nikon Z 70-200/2.8 S would be perfect but what I will most likely get is the Nikon 70-180/2.8 or better the G2 version from Tamron because of size and weight. This lens is slightly shorter (180mm vs 210mm), has the same f2.8 aperture and because of the larger sensor a much better subject isolation and best of all it is much lighter than the Fuji XF 50-140/2.8 WR.

Wide angle zooms: The Z 14-24/2.8 S is heavier and bigger than the XF 10-24/4 OIS but this is not the lens it should be compared with. The comparable lens from Fuji is the XF 8-16/2.8 WR. I considered to get this lens for its range and quality but again it is much heavier (about 170g) than the lens from Nikon.

I also got two prime lenses. First the Nikon Z 40/2.0. This is a pancake like the Fuji XF27/2.8 that I really enjoyed. The Nikon is one stop faster on a bigger sensor so subject isolation is much better. Weight is about the same and it’s cheaper than the Fuji lens.

The second prime I got is the Viltrox AF 28/1.8 Z. Yes this is a third party lens from China but the image quality is really good, AF is fast and there even is a lens profile for Lightroom. It’s not weather sealed but beside that it matches the XF 18/1.4 WR from Fuji. It’s roughly the same weight and size but it costs less than half of the Fuji.

SONY DSC-RX100M4 (14.7mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO125)

So regarding the fast zoom lenses I even save some weight compared to Fuji. It’s mainly because Fuji decided to make no-compromise f2.8 zooms. As a result those lenses are rather big and heavy and don’t take full advantage of a smaller sensor. I get why Fuji went this route but I think they have to consider to use alternative materials and to compromise on vignetting in order to make their pro lenses lighter.

As mentioned above the Nikon Z 14-24/2.8 S is 170g lighter than the Fuji XF 8-16/2.8 WR and the new 70-200/2.8s from Canon and Sony are about the same weight as the Fuji XF 50-140/2.8 WR but those are full frame lenses. The Tamron 70-180/2.8 is substantially lighter than the Fuji lens. If my camera would be the X-H2S and if I would have chosen the Nikon Z6III instead of the Z8 I would have ended up with a much lighter camera bag! But originally I switched to Fuji in order to have a smaller and lighter camera system.


Now back to the camera: Why did I choose the Z8 over the Z6III? Here is why:

  • No mechanical shutter
  • sensor shield
  • fantastic EVF with no blackout
  • two axis tilt display
  • no PSAM dial
  • 45MP

A short list but with very strong points. The fact that there is no mechanical shutter is great for two reasons: First there is no blackout in the viewfinder which has to be experienced first hand. This changes everything for any type of action and for shooting in general. The second reason of course is that there is no mechanical element that wears out over time and could eventually fail. I have no doubt that the electronic shutter is the future for all higher end cameras. And then there is the quality of the super bright EVF with its fast refresh rate. It looks like an optical viewfinder! And the sensor shield that gives me some piece of mind when I change lenses in a dusty environment.

The LCD-monitor simply works the way it should work for photography and the fact that there is no stupid PSAM-dial but a shoulder display shows that Nikon understands photography. I live in aperture mode and switch to manual if necessary. So a PSAM-dial would be useless most of the time. The Nikon solution let me not only change from A to M quickly but also change the frame rate or WB.

And finally the Z8 is fast, really fast. I’m not only talking about frame rate or AF-tracking. This camera feels snappy. Turn on time is zero, no lag when you put the camera to your eye – ┬áthe EVF is already on. The sensor shield comes down the second you turn off the camera. No need to wait when changing lenses. This camera feels faster than the fastest camera I ever owned: the Nikon D2H. It has better high ISO than the best high ISO camera I ever owned: the Canon 6D. And it has better resolution than the best high resolution camera I ever owned: the Sony A7R. The only thing it can’t quite match is the unique simplicity of my Fuji X-Pro2.

That’s why I kept my X-Pro2 plus 14/2.8, 23/2 and 35/1.4. There is some magic to use this camera together with a small prime. In my opinion this is where Fuji shines. Another area where I think Fuji X would be the better choice is for bird- and wildlife photography if you are on a budget because of the built in 1.5 teleconverter (APS-C sensor). All lenses are longer when you are on an APS-C sensor.

There are very strong reasons to use Fuji X and there are very strong reasons to shoot Nikon Z. And you can also find a reason to shoot both.

SONY DSC-RX100M4 (14.9mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO125)