Who knew? Nikon's old-looking camera appeals to a new, young audience

Nikon Zf camera held in hands
(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

It's no surprise that Nikon's latest retro camera, the Nikon Zf, has been a big success.  However, what may come as a surprise is who it has been a success with: the younger audience. 

In an interview with PhileWeb (which honored the Zf along with the Nikon Z8 and a slew of Nikon lenses in its DGP Imaging Awards), Nikon's director and executive officer director of marketing headquarters, Tsuji Takuhide, gave an insight into Nikon's thoughts, plans, and observations with the Zf. 

"Although quantitative data is not yet available, the Touch & Try event held at Nikon Plaza prior to the launch attracted young customers in their 20s and 30s, as well as those visiting Nikon Plaza for the first time," said Tsuji

Nikon Zf (Image credit: Nikon)

"Many customers came to visit us, and we could feel the change firsthand, thinking, 'This is a slightly different demographic than our usual customer base.'"

Due to the popularity of the Zf with younger photographers, Nikon changed its marketing strategy to account for the new target market. It made special efforts to create campaigns for both its official website and social media platforms, which the company has said was key to the success of the camera. 

I wrote about one of the campaigns recently, where several photographers were tasked to photograph "timeless images" to replicate the camera's aesthetic and take advantage of its black-and-white profiles, showcasing its capabilities. 

Nikon FM2 (Image credit: Nikon)

When asked about the targeted marketing approach to young people, Tsuji commented, "I feel that one of the main reasons why Zf has been able to gain so much popularity is that we were able to properly deliver our message to places that we could not reach before, such as being able to spread the word."

I think another reason for the popularity among young people is the blend of the vintage and modern. Modeled on the classic Nikon FM2, the Zf looks like a film camera but has all the features and tech of a modern one. 

Film photography is having a resurgence, especially among younger people, and I feel like Nikon fills the gap of young people wanting the aesthetics of shooting film, without the time-consuming nature of it (developing, printing, scanning and so on). A smart move by Nikon, and one that has seemed to pay off.

Take a look at the best lenses for the Nikon Zf as well as the best lenses for the Nikon Z fc, its APS-C little brother.

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.