Melville, NY—Positioned as “The Perfect Follow-Up to the Z 9. True Successor to the D850,” the anticipated Nikon Z 8 full-frame mirrorless camera was introduced.
Nikon developed the Z 8 interchangeable-lens camera to meet the needs of imaging professionals, serious photographers, videographers and advanced creators. Consequently, it features the company’s latest innovations and the speed inherited from the flagship mirrorless Z 9. However, it does so in a lighter, more compact form factor.
“We continue to rapidly expand the entire mirrorless ecosystem to support users. And with every Z series camera added to the line, the advantages of the next-generation Z mount become clearly apparent,” said Jay Vannatter, executive vice president, Nikon Inc.
“As Nikon continues to roll out more Z series cameras and Nikkor Z lenses, we push forward and continue to break new ground in optical and technological innovation.”
Nikon Z 8 Key Features
Along with its high tech, the Z 8 offers user-focused features. Moreover, it provides high-resolution images and video up to 8K 60p with detail, sharpness and precise color. Further, Nikon engineered the ILC to be nimble. It’s approximately 30% smaller than the Nikon Z 9 and 15% smaller than the venerable Nikon D850.
The new ILC employs an Expeed 7 image-processing engine and a full-frame (FX-format) 45.7-megapixel BSI stacked CMOS sensor. It achieves a scan rate so fast that Nikon didn’t need to include a mechanical shutter. High-speed calculations are made at up to 120 cycles, even in low light with minimal noise.
The combo also provides an enhanced dynamic range. Burst speeds range from 20-fps, full-resolution RAW+JPEG; 30-fps, full-res JPEG; 60-fps DX-format JPEG; as well as 120 fps as 11MP JPEGs with high-speed frame capture +.
What’s more, the camera can operate completely silent and has virtually no rolling shutter distortion. In addition, the removal of moving parts reduces wear and tear.
Other favorite flagship 9 features include the blackout-free real-live viewfinder and internal 12-bit RAW video recording in various formats and frame rates. It also offers new features for portrait photographers.
Like the Z 9, this new iteration integrates Nikon’s most powerful and precise AF system. It was developed with deep learning technology. The focus system offers a range of functions from fully auto-area AF and 3D tracking to fully customizable wide-area AF. Moreover, these modes take advantage of the enhanced subject-detection capability for photo and video. It recognizes humans, pets, birds, trains, cars, motorbikes and bicycles—and now various types of aircraft.
Video Features and Functions
In addition, the Z 8 is a solution for a mix of productions. That’s because it’s built to enhance the process from capture to post by providing cleaner files from a variety of frame rates and resolutions.
Further, because of its reduced body size and internal recording, it is an option for gimbal use. It also performs as an A-cam for extended events and weddings, corporate clients, documentaries or even independent cinema.
The camera provides the high resolution as well as freedom of 8K 60p (N-RAW) and 8K 30p video capture. As a result, it offers the ability in postproduction to crop and pan. Plus, it includes 4K UHD video options for when the look you’re going for is anywhere from cinematic to slow motion—ranging from oversampled 24p/30p to 120p with sound.
Additionally, the Z 8 can record up to 125 minutes in 4K UHD/60p and up to 90 minutes in 8K UHD/30p2.
What’s more, videographers can capture its internal 12-bit RAW footage as ProRes RAW 4K60p, or up to 8K60p in N-RAW. Nikon’s RAW video format, N-RAW is approximately a 50% smaller file size that also creates a 1080p proxy file for easier editing.
For more latitude with color, footage can be captured internally in 10-bit ProRes 4:2:2 HQ. Other profile options are available in-camera, including an enhanced N-Log, HLG (HDR) as well as the easily gradable flat color profile.
More Useful Video Features
Other useful video features are the inclusion of two USB-C ports dedicated to charging (PD) and communication for accessories. The ILC also utilizes a full-size HDMI, minimizing the use of adapters.
The camera also focuses on videographer-centric features, including those added to the Z 9 in firmware updates. They include the hi-res zoom function for 4K (depending on codec); a visible red recording frame indicator; focus peaking; zebras; waveform; linear focus capability on many Nikkor Z lenses; fine ISO control; customizable AF speed tracking; timecode sync (accessories needed); as well as 24-bit stereo audio.
Other High-Tech Niceties
With the Z 8, users now have the option to shoot a 10-bit HEIF image file. This is a superior file format to JPEG that’s approximately equal in size yet offers one billion more colors.
The camera also has settings specifically for portrait photographers. For example, there is the portrait impression balance function for control of skin tone accuracy. This is in addition to a new skin softening function and improved white balance.
It also features a blackout free Quad-VGA viewfinder, which provides a clear picture, especially when shooting at 120 fps. In addition, it has the same 3.2-inch, horizontal/vertical tilting, 4-axis touchscreen LCD as the Z 9.
Plus, Nikon enhanced its vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization system with synchro VR. As a result, the Z 8 achieve up to 6.0 stops of compensation with compatible lenses.
Nikon will also add other features in planned firmware updates. They will include an auto capture function that allows photographer to automatically trigger a remote camera on user-set parameters. An update will also extend the base ISO down to 200 when shooting video footage with N-Log enabled.
Like all pro-caliber Nikon cameras, the Z 8 is fully sealed and gasketed. In fact, it exceeds the durability of the D850. Nikon also built it with maximum consideration for dust and drip resistance. Further, it can operate down to 14°F.
Moreover, Nikon used a new pro-grade carbon fiber composite and magnesium alloy in the construction to reduce weight and enhance durability. And to resist dust, the optical filter includes a dual coating to repel dust in front of the sensor. There is also a sensor shield that protects the sensor when the camera is turned off.
The Z 8 also makes it easier to capture in low-light environments, with illuminated buttons, a warm display color option and low viewfinder brightness adjustments. In addition, Nikon included a starlight view function that enables focusing down to -9 EV.
The camera also integrates dual card slots with one CF Express Type B/XQD and SD.
Additionally, Nikon is making available the MB-N12 battery grip as an optional accessory. It provides approximately 1.8x more battery life. It also adds a vertical grip and vertical shutter button/controls.
The grip is weather resistant to the same level as the camera. And it permits photographers to hot swap batteries. The MB-N12 battery grip will be available in May for a suggested retail price of $349.95.
The Nikon Z 8 will reach retail May 25, 2023. It will have an SRP of $3,999.95.