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  • Lars Jameson

Back To The Basics

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Happy New Year! With the end of the year, as we all seem to find ourselves doing, I was reflecting on the past and thinking about my journey as a photographer. I specifically was considering the effort I made to take photography seriously back when I was shooting on a Nikon D3100. That camera was unforgiving in comparison to what I grew into, and definitely challenged me while I learned how to rely on manual composition.

The first landscape photo I took with the NIkon z30

Eventually I graduated to some wonderful bodies, like the Nikon D850, Nikon Z6 II, and Fujifilm XT-4. I learned so much with all of these cameras and really started to find my creative groove. As I reflected on this journey, I thought to myself, “What kind of results can you get using today’s entry level options?”

And so, enter the Nikon Z30. The Z30 is Nikons most budget mirrorless option. It is essentially the modern equivalent to the old D3xxx lineup. With that considered, I was not expecting much. I did, however, decide it would be a fun challenge to use one of them and see what my experience and years of technological advancements could make such a camera produce.

The dynamic range of the z30 is incredibe for a budget offering.

And I’m shook.

The Z30 is insane for an entry level camera. It is feature rich. 11 frames per second, excellent dynamic range, in body timelapse video, a kit lens with VR, Color profiles that inspire loads of creativity, and basically everything I came to love about my other, far more expensive Nikons. And what I love the most? The full manual controls, where the old D3100 didn’t have a front command dial for aperture.

The only downside I can think of is the fact there is no EVF, or view finder of any sort. I was warned not to use it for stills because of this, but that was not going to stop me. I use a Sony RX1 all the time which has the screen brightness of a black hole, so I figured this would not be a major hurdle at all.

I was looking for something small and discreet, which the Z30 certainly is. It is almost as small as that RX1, though it has far superior ergonomics. The RX1 packs a full frame sensor, which is impressive, but the 20 MP DX sensor in the Z30 is fine for a daily driver, and definitely punches above its weight.

With 2023 now here, I have decided to spend January pushing limits with this camera and seeing what I can squeeze out of it. I am also looking forward to the relief of carrying less expensive equipment in situations that would normally cause anxiety. I think its size makes it an excellent contender for my street adventures. Based off my testing yesterday I suspect it will do well with landscapes as well.

And yes, at its core, this is most certainly a video centered body, so I’m going to take a leap of faith here that I’ve wanted to take for some time. In the earlier part of this year I intend to shoot a lot more video content, and start my own YouTube channel. I am still coming up with my plans, but I am excited to chart my personal unknown territory.

I can’t promise that it will be good, but I hope you will join me on this adventure, and we can learn a thing or two together. Every month for 2023 will be a different challenge via self-imposed limitations. For January I will be focusing on what I can squeeze out of this entry level body, but I also have many ideas for the coming months that will be fun and entertaining challenges. I look forward to sharing this with you.

Thank you for all of your interest and support, I love you all.

Happy New Year.

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