After much anticipation, Nikon has officially unveiled the followup to its groundbreaking flagship mirrorless—the Z8—and if you were hoping for a “baby Z9,” you got it. The opening line of Nikon’s news release (below) states it clearly: “The Z8 condenses the advanced functionality and performance of the flagship Nikon Z9 into a compact and lightweight body while also maintaining superior robustness and reliability.” Nikon says the Z8’s body is roughly 30% smaller than the Z9’s—and the Z8 is even 15% smaller than the popular D850.
That means the Z8 is built around the same 45.7MP stacked CMOS sensor and EXPEED 7 image-processing engine found in the Z9. It also inherits Nikon’s sophisticated 3D-tracking autofocus system built on deep learning technology, a fully electronic shutter, and “blackout-free” viewfinder. Like the Z9, the new model is capable of shooting 20fps RAW, 30fps full-resolution JPEGs, and 60fps cropped (DX-format) JPEGs. The Z8 also offers pre-release capture, where the buffer captures frames before the shutter is fully depressed.
On the video side, we have the ability to record 8K/60p in Nikon’s proprietary, compressed 12-bit RAW format, N-RAW, as well as up to 4K/120p from (subsampled) 8.3K capture—both of which the Z9 gained later via a firmware update. The Z8 can also capture 12-bit RAW footage as ProRes RAW 4K/60p.
The main differences between the Z8 and Z9 relate to the new model’s smaller form factor: While the Z9 has dual CFexpress Type B memory slots, the Z8 offers a single CFexpress slot and an SD card slot—though many users might prefer this configuration since they can make use of (fast) SD cards they already own. Also, the Z8 takes a EN-EL15c (2280mAh/16Wh) Li-ion battery—used by most Nikon mirrorless cameras—rather than the Z9’s larger, much more powerful EN-EL18d (3300mAh/36Wh). That means a CIPA rating of 330 shots per charge for the Z8 versus 700 for the Z9 (using the viewfinder).
Shipping from May 25th, the Z8 will retail for $4,000—a handy $1,500 less than the Z9—from retailers such as Backscatter.
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TOKYO – Nikon Corporation (Nikon) is pleased to announce the release of the full-frame/FX-format Nikon Z 8 mirrorless camera.
The Z 8 condenses the advanced functionality and performance of the flagship Nikon Z 9 into a compact and lightweight body while also maintaining superior robustness and reliability. The Z 8 is ideal for a variety of image creators who seek new possibilities for visual expression in a wide range of genres and subjects, such as landscapes, wild birds, airplanes, portraits, and weddings. Whether shooting stills or video, the excellent agility of the Z 8 enables nimble camerawork, realizing superior operability that allows users to push their creativity further. On top of this, its reliable performance allows users to capture decisive moments and achieve outstanding image depiction.
Nikon will continue to pursue a new dimension in optical performance while meeting users’ needs, contributing to the development of imaging culture, with the hope of expanding possibilities for imaging expression.
1. Comfortable operability that is ideal for diverse shooting situations
The advanced functionality and performance of the Z 9 are incorporated into a compact camera body that is approx. 30% smaller than the flagship model. The downsized body has been engineered to retain the easy-to-hold grip as well as comfortable operability. This enables agile and stable camerawork in a wide variety of shooting scenes, even with a super-telephoto lens attached. In addition, the 4-axis tilting monitor delivers high operability when shooting from high and low angles in both horizontal and vertical positions.
For video recording, the Z 8 can record 12-bit RAW and 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 HQ video in-camera, allowing users to take advantage of a minimal video recording system that does not require an external recorder. The flexible combinations of shooting equipment suit various shooting styles to streamline operations. With the MC-N10 Remote Grip (sold separately) attached, solo videographers can take advantage of having more control over how they can operate the camera — in a way that was previously difficult on their own. Furthermore, by taking advantage of the wide-ranging accessory lineup and high compatibility with products from accessory brands, users can operate the Z 8 as comfortably as if it were a dedicated video camera.
2. The capability to securely capture decisive moments
The Z 8 can record up to approx. 125 min. in 4K UHD/60p*1 and up to approx. 90 min. in 8K UHD/30p*2, which is a great benefit for a wide range of shooting situations, such as for documentaries or wedding shooting, where extended recording time is required. The same nine types of subjects are detected in stills and video as the Z 9, while also featuring a new dedicated airplane detection mode. With this subject detection mode, users have more powerful detection and tracking performance when shooting airplanes — whether near or far, in low light, or against busy backgrounds. In addition, the camera realizes high-speed, high-precision AF performance equivalent to that of the Z 9, and can also detect subjects down to the low-light limit of -9 EV*3. These features support the improvement of autofocus for subjects in dark environments, as well as the effective focus on subjects in backlit situations, by separately controlling the exposure of the live-view image and the AF image.
For still shooting, the Z 8 features Pre-Release Capture*4, which allows the capture of images up to one second before the shutter-release button is fully pressed. For example, when shooting wild birds, the exact moment a bird suddenly takes flight can be captured while only half-pressing the button — even if the user only fully pressed the shutter-release button after the bird took off.
*1 H.265 8-bit (MOV), [Extended oversampling]: [OFF], [Auto temperature cutout]: [Standard], at 25°C/77°F, using a Nikon MC-CF660G memory card and external power source.
*2 H.265 8-bit (MOV), [Auto temperature cutout]: [High], at 25°C/77°F, using a Nikon MC-CF660G memory card and external power source.
*3With Starlight view. Photo mode, single AF servo (AF-S), ISO 100, f/1.2 lens used, at 20°C/68°F.
*4 Pre-Release Capture can be set only when shooting in High-Speed Frame Capture+, which enables continuous shooting at the frame rate of 120 fps.
3. Superior image depiction that enhances users’ expression in both still and video shooting
The Z 8 supports the HEIF format, which records high-quality still images while reducing the amount of file data. This file format enables the impressive expression of scenes that have rich tones, such as sunrises and sunsets, as well as scenes that feature highly illuminated subjects, such as nighttime parades, by utilizing 10-bit rich tonal gradation. In addition, when shooting HEIF images (via live view) or playing the images back, the user can get a good idea of how those images will look on an HDR (HLG)-compatible monitor with the camera’s 3000cd/m2 compatible EVF and 900cd/m2 high-luminance image monitor.
The Z 8 can record in various types of video formats depending on the purposes or workflow of the shoot, including high-definition 4K UHD/60p*, 50p*, and 30p oversampled from 8K, providing the opportunity to shoot in high-definition video that can be enjoyed on a large screen. Furthermore, with portrait shooting, the camera helps achieve the intended result with the portrait impression balance function, as well as a newly added skin-softening function. Additionally, in order to maximize the potential of fast NIKKOR Z lenses, a combination of ISO 64 and 1/32000 sec. shutter speed can be used.
*Supported when [Extended oversampling] in the video recording menu is [ON], image area is [FX], and frame size/frame rate is 3840×2160 60p/50p. Note that battery power consumption increases when [ON] is selected.
4. Additional features
- 45.7 effective megapixels deliver outstanding resolution maximizing the superior performance of NIKKOR Z lenses.
- Real-Live Viewfinder continuously displays the actual motion of a subject without blackout or skipped/repeated frames.
- 3D-tracking keeps the target subject in focus even if it moves rapidly or erratically.
- Custom wide-area AF supports various autofocus area patterns.
- Synchro VR*1 achieves powerful vibration reduction up to approx. 6.0 stops*2
- Supportive functions for shooting in dark locations, such as starlight view and illuminated buttons are equipped.
- Vertical-orientation playback of images/display of the i menu during playback efficiently support vertical shooting.
- Hi-Res Zoom*3 allows zooming in high definition during video recording — even when using a prime lens.
- Timecode synchronization facilitates the operation of synchronizing video footage from multiple cameras and audio data from audio recorders, which is immensely beneficial for video editing*4.
- Durability for operation in freezing conditions down to -10°C/14°F supports professional shooting in extreme environments.
- Elimination of the mechanical shutter enables shooting without worrying about shutter wear.
- Double coating and a sensor shield are adopted to protect the image sensor from dust.
- Two USB terminals, one for power charge/supply and the other for communication, allow communication while charging/supplying power.
- Adoption of magnesium alloy and a new professional-grade carbon-fiber composite material realizes superior robustness and reliability.
- NX Studio ver. 1.4.0 displays HDR*5, which enables display and editing of stills taken in HLG tone mode. It also supports portrait impression balance customization and the skin-softening function.
*1 When combined with lenses compatible with Synchro VR.
*2 Based on CIPA Standards. When using the telephoto end of the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S with NORMAL mode.
*3 Hi-Res Zoom is available only with video recording in the following codecs: at ProRes 422 HQ 10-bit (MOV), H.265 10-bit (MOV), H.265 8-bit (MOV), or H.264 8-bit (MP4) — with image area set to FX (36 x 24). Restrictions apply to some camera features.
*4 Dedicated accessories are required.
*5 For system requirements, please refer to the guide manual for system preferences.
Primary features of the MB-N12 Power Battery Pack
The MB-N12 Power Battery Pack is an optional power battery pack for the Z 8 that enhances vertical shooting operation while extending* the battery endurance by approx. 1.8x. Concentrating on vertical shooting becomes effortless with the easy-to-hold grip. Excellent drip- and dust-resistance enables operation in temperatures as low as -10°C/14°F, allowing users to rely on the grip as much as the camera. The MB-N12 Power Battery Pack also supports hot swapping, in which the power supply continues uninterrupted even when one of the two batteries is removed, as long as the other still has remaining charge. In addition, it allows the batteries to be charged inside even when not attached to the camera body. All of these features are ideal for extended recording, such as when shooting weddings or time-lapse videos of landscapes.
*Actual endurance varies with such factors as the condition of the battery, the interval between shots, and the options selected in the camera menus.
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