The Z9 will be Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless camera to record 8K video.
Nikon is jumping into 8K after announcing the development of the Z9, its first flagship mirrorless camera that will join the popular Z7 II and Z6 II cameras.
Based on the news, the camera will have a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor and a new image-processing engine. The Z9 is said to support 8K video and "other video specifications that fulfill diverse needs and workflows."
From that information, the sensor is most likely based on the Sony Alpha 1 chip and image-processing engine as it's the only known stacked CMOS sensor in the market today with those specs. What will be interesting to find out is how Nikon will use the sensor.
The Sony Alpha 1 has 50.1 megapixels and can record 8K 30p at 10-bit 4:2:0 from an 8.6K oversample. Its 4K tops out at 10-bit 4:2:2 at 120fps. Video is captured without pixel binning and recorded internally. What Sony has going for them are their autofocus and low light performance. If Nikon can bring all those hefty specs into a camera that's cheaper than the Sony Alpha 1, it would make for a great option. Nikon's 10-bit N-Log is great for video, and if they make ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW available externally, even better.
However, considering it's being called a "flagship," we might see a price point near Sony's $6,500, which might not make sense for dedicated video shooters as the a7S III, FX6, Canon C70 are cheaper and more tuned to video workflows.
While Nikon says the finished Z9 may look different than the photo, it reminds us of the Canon EOS-1 DX Mark III. To us, the Sony Alpha 1 is more of a competitor to the EOS-1 DX Mark III than something like the a7s III. The Z9 body has a similar form factor and grip for high-end still shooters capturing sporting events, wildlife, and weddings.
We'd expect Nikon to further improve the real-time AF performance for humans and animals on the Z9 as well pack in all the familiar features including dual memory card slots, an articulating screen, customizable buttons, and optional battery grip.
The Z9 has no specific release date, but Nikon is aiming to get it into shooters' hands by the end of 2021.
What are you hoping is in the Z9? Let us know in the comments below.
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8K? No surprise there. Those marketing folks... why not go one small step forward and make the first 8.1K camera.
March 9, 2021 at 11:31PM
Ugh, an integrated vertical grip? Really?
March 10, 2021 at 8:29AM