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Nikon Z9 – Nikon’s back

Nikon Z9 Features and Specifications

Nikon has officially revealed the Nikon Z9 – the mirrorless successor to the Nikon D6. But perhaps the most surprising thing about the Nikon Z9 is the complete absence of a physical shutter.

But the headlines don’t stop there as the Nikon Z9 can record 8K video at 30 frames per second for more than two hours – obliterating any other camera. As for photos, the Z9 takes it to the Sony A1 shooting 45.7-megapixel 14-bit losslessly compressed raw files at 20fps with zero blackouts. So what else is there, lets take a look


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Nikon Z9 – 6 Best Features

45.7 megapixel stacked CMOS sensor

For a long time, a camera’s image sensor was all about image quality. But today, in the land of machine-learned autofocus, high-resolution video, and computational photography, read-out speed is king.

In fact, the sensor inside the Nikon Z9 reads off an entire image 12 times faster than the Nikon Z7II. This is so fast that the effect of the Z9’s rolling shutter is so marginal that Nikon ditched the physical shutter.

But like the Z7II, the Z9 produces glorious 45.7-megapixel stills and shares the same low native ISO of 64. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the Z9 will produce comparable image quality to the Z7 – one of the best in the game.

20 frames per second at maximum resolution

As mentioned in the introduction, the Nikon Z9 can capture 14-Bit lossless raw files at 20 frames per second.

If that’s not enough, you can grab 33-megapixel stills from the Z9s 8K30p video or drop the Z9 to 11 megapixels and shoot at an insane 120 frames per second with full autofocus.

Whether the focus motor in your lens can keep up is another matter but I’m excited anyway.

8K 30p Video

Whilst the Canon R5 got there first, its overheating issues meant the whole camera would shut down in less than 30 minutes. On the other hand, Nikon says the Nikon Z9 will record 8K30p for up to 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Naturally, the Z9 shoots 4K and at speeds up to 60fps. For all you slow motion fans, you can shoot 1080p at 120p

Zero-blackout viewfinder

Fast continuous shooting is nice so long as you can see what you are doing. Unlike older cameras, the Nikon Z9’s viewfinder presents an uninterrupted view of the scene whether you’re taking photos or not.

This is critical for sports photography since any delay makes it difficult to frame a fast subject – especially with telephoto lenses.

Connectivity

Along with all the usual sockets, you can power the Nikon Z9 via its USB, find yourself with its in-built GPS, and submit your photos electronically via Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

Price

At US$5470, the Nikon Z9 is the cheapest camera in its class.

Nikon Z9 -Thing to improve

Weight

The Z9 is only marginally lighter than a Nikon D6 and heavier than a Sony A1 and Canon R3. Then again, you might prefer it that way particularly if you use larger, heavier lenses.

Rear Screen

Unlike the Canon R3, the Nikon Z9’s screen cannot be made to face forward. Instead, Nikon has given it a rather complex-looking horizontal tilt mechanism with a vertical flip functionally similar to that of the Fuji X-T3. This means the Z9 has was it takes to capture high and low angles in both portrait and landscape orientation.

On the flip-side (geddit!), the Nikon Z9 will be truly awful for selfies and vlogging. But seriously, you were not going to use the Z9 for selfies. Right?

Electronic Viewfinder

I was blown away when I first looked through the Nikon Z6’s 3.67K dot viewfinder so the fact the Z9 shares the same screen is hardly a disaster.

However, it only refreshes at 60Hz, and rivals such as the Sony A1 feature vastly superior resolution. On the plus side and unlike other models, the Z9’s EVF maintains full resolution throughout autofocus and capture.

Nikon Z9 Specifications

The Nikon Z9 is the fastest camera Nikon has ever made and the best for video.

Sensor and Image Quality

Sensor SizeFull Frame (35mm)
Sensor TypeStacked CMOS
Megapixels45.7
ISO Range64-25600
Image StabilizedUp to 6 Stops

Autofocus

AF TypeHybrid Phase/Contrast Detect
AF Focus Points493
AF Sensitivity– 6EV to + 19EV

Shutter

Max Shutter SpeedN/A
Electronic ShutterYes
Max E-Shutter Speed1/32000
Max E-Shutter FPS120 FPS
Max E-Shutter FPS at full resolution20 FPS
Silent ShootingYes
Flash Sync1/250th

Video

8KYes – 30, 25, 24p
4KYes – 24, 25, 30, 50, 60p
HD 1080pYes – 24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, 120p
Max. Recording Time2 hours 5 minutes
FormatMOV, MP4
Output over HDMIYes
Video Compression
Apple ProRes 422 HQYes – 10 Bit
H.265 HEVCYes – 8/10 Bit
H.264 AVCYes – 8 Bit
Time LapseYes

Storage

Card Slot 1CF Express (Type B) + XQD
Card Slot 2CF Express (Type B) + XQD

View Finder

TypeElectronic OLED
Resolution3690K Dots
Refresh Rate60Hz
MagnificationApprox 0.8x
DiopterYes
Eye SensorYes
BlackoutZero

Rear Screen

Size3.2 Inch
Resolution2100K Dots
Touch SensitiveYes
ArticulationVertical and Horizontal

Connectivity

Video-OutHDMI A
Audio In (mic)3.5mm Audio Jack
Audio Out3.5mm Audio Jack
DataUSB-C
PowerUSB-C
Ethernet PortYes
WiFiYes
BluetoothYes
Internal GPSYes

Power

BatteryEN-EL18 Series
Battery LifeApprox: 740 Shots
Video Record Time170 Minutes

Weight and Dimensions

Width5.9 in (149mm)
Height5.9 in (149.5mm)
Depth3.6 in (90.5mm)
Weight1340g (2lb 15.3 oz)

Nikon Z9 Price

The Nikon Z9 costs US$5496

Nikon Z9 Release Date

The Nikon Z9 is due for release in Winter 2021

Conclusion

Over the last few years, some have been predicting the demise of Nikon. When Nikon released the solid but iterative Z6ii and Z7ii, some believed Nikon no longer had the resources to innovate.

Now we have the Nikon Z9 – a mirrorless powerhouse that in many ways sets the pace for others to chase. Along with Sony’s A1, the Z9 blends high-resolution photography with pro-grade speed to deliver uncompromised performance.

Of course, to a lesser extent, Nikon has done this before with the Nikon D850. But unlike that camera, the Z9 is a formidable video camera. And unlike any camera, the Z9 records 8K30p video without breaking a sweat.

Yet, the Nikon Z9 is too expensive and heavy to be everyone’s cup of tea. But what the Z9 does show is that Nikon remains at the top of the game and that the Z-mount is truly a contemporary system. Best of all, the Z9 gives us a glimpse of what we can expect from future lower-end Z cameras. Will the Z7iii be similar to a Z9 in the same way the D700 was to a D3? Let’s hope so.

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