The Nikon Z8 has formally been introduced, with the Japanese digital camera maker calling it the true successor to the Nikon D850 and a ‘child Z9’ – the brand new digital camera packs nearly the entire options as its bigger sibling, however prices over 25% much less, with a £3,999 record value within the UK and a launch date of Could 25 (we do not at the moment have US or Australia pricing).
That’s thrilling stuff. The Nikon Z9 received our 2022 digital camera of the yr award, and that was earlier than Nikon lavished two main firmware updates that launched important enhancements throughout the board – and the Z8 successfully picks up the place the Z9 is now, on firmware model 3.0.
So it’s a smaller, lower-cost, improved model of the Z9, and all the things factors to the brand new Nikon Z8 being probably the greatest mirrorless cameras in 2023. So why am I no more enthusiastic about it?
Z9 heritage and extra
The Nikon Z8’s characteristic record makes for spectacular studying – it’s a child Z9 in any case.
Photographers can benefit from the 45.7MP full-frame stacked sensor, with the quickest sensor readout speeds that nearly remove the results of rolling shutter, and make it attainable for Nikon to put off the mechanical shutter altogether. There’s a 20fps steady drive mode with auto publicity and focusing and a 1,000-shot (uncooked) buffer, plus a blisteringly quick 120fps possibility, and the complete complement of in-camera taking pictures modes like intervalometer and focus stacking.
Nikon has additionally applied HEIF picture format, which affords superior high quality to JPEG with out a rise in file measurement. It is just like the distinction between 10-bit and 8-bit video, and also you get tons extra colour data with HEIF.
The video spec is maybe much more spectacular. The Z9 was launched with 8K/30p video recording, with ProRes uncooked 12-bit out there, which that was upgraded to 8K/60p through a firmware replace, and the Z8 affords the latter improved efficiency. Impressively, 8K video recording will last as long as 90 minutes with no overheating – we’re undecided who would wish to file 8K for that lengthy, however it’s claimed to be attainable.
The entire Z9’s deep-learning subject-tracking AF and 3D monitoring in stills mode is right here, and extra, with monitoring for folks, animals, autos and now birds.
You additionally get wonderful picture stabilization, and a incredible construct high quality that Nikon says is on the similar stage because the D850, plus a neat 4-axis touchscreen and illuminated buttons. The EVF stays the identical, with a 3.69m-dot decision that doesn’t match rivals just like the Sony A7R V – that’s one space for future enchancment.
After which there’s the dimensions. The Z8 is 30% lighter than the Z9, at round 910g. It’s nonetheless larger and bigger than rivals just like the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R V – you could find out extra about how these three cameras evaluate in our Z8 versus the Canon EOS R5 and Sony A7R V article.
For most individuals the Z8 makes extra sense than the Z9. It is going to have a brand new optionally available vertical grip (value TBC) that may maintain two extra EN-EL15 batteries to enhance its inferior battery life, and bulk it out for many who like a much bigger digital camera. Which means this digital camera is successfully modular – you’ll be able to select to bulk it out or hold it small, whereas the Z9 is gargantuan on daily basis of the week.
In a single respect I am extra excited concerning the Z8 than I used to be concerning the Z9 once I first reviewed it – if I used to be to purchase considered one of these cameras it could definitely be the smaller of the 2. However on the similar time there’s all the things and nothing to say concerning the Nikon Z8. I’ve seen this digital camera earlier than – it’s mainly a child Z9 that prices much less, and that’s it.
Nikon says there are photographers on the market who need the bigger, heavier physique and superlative battery life that the Z9 affords – occasions and sports activities photographers particularly will rock cameras with this way issue. However then there’s the problem of simply how huge the Z9 is – it is a lot larger and heavier than equally high-performing rivals just like the Canon EOS R3 and Sony A1. It does moderately really feel just like the Z9 kind issue was a hangover from the nice previous DSLR days and we’ve moved on from then.
And simply as Canon launched the video-centric EOS R5C following the fallout from the EOS R5 and its overheating points in video recording, there’s a way in fact correction right here. I can’t actually see a smart cause to get the Z9 now that the Z8 exists. The bigger of the 2 does have a superior battery life (much less so if the Z8 is paired with its grip, to not point out the truth that the Z8 has twin USB-C ports, with on-the-go charging attainable), and its video recording occasions are longer, presumably all the way down to the bodily bigger physique than can disperse warmth extra effectively.
Nonetheless, the Z9 additionally prices over 25% greater than the Z8, with the saving you may make by selecting the latter digital camera being sufficient for an excellent mid-range piece of Z-glass, plus that optionally available vertical grip and extra batteries.
I’ve but to truly get my arms on the Nikon Z8, so maybe my emotions will change. However for now, say howdy to what is going to probably be one of many outright finest cameras in 2023.
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