Nikon USA just released a very impressive hybrid camera with their new Z8 full frame (FX) mirrorless camera. Essentially, Nikon took their flagship Z9 camera and put everything into a smaller body. This is great news for professionals looking for pro grade cameras that are easier to carry and operate. The best part about this is that Nikon’s Z9 is considered to be one of the best cameras on the market, so naturally, we are excited for a first look at the Z8 hybrid and all that this new camera can do.
Nikon users who are hands on and accustomed to Nikon cameras will be thrilled to know that the Z8 feels more like the Nikon D850 but with stronger professional grade carbon fiber composite and magnesium alloy. In fact, the Nikon Z8 is an impressive 30% smaller than the Nikon Z9 and 15% smaller than the Nikon D850 which is quite impressive considering that the Z8 at it’s core mirrors the Z9.
The power the Z8 inherited from the Z9 includes a Full Frame (FX format) 45.7 megapixel BSI stacked CMOS sensor powered by Nikon’s EXPEED 7 image processing engine which enables insanely fast scan rates of up to 120 cycles (even in low light environments). The Z8 operates at such a fast rate that it doesn’t even need a mechanical shutter. Operations are silent with no rolling shutter distortion and there is a blackout free real live viewfinder so you can see what your doing whether it’s really bright or very dark. Besides the stunning high resolution image quality for stills capture and video recording, pros will find the variety of internal 12-bit RAW video recording formats and frame rates quite useful.
The buzz on the street is that the Z8 has the best autofocus from any camera because of it’s speed and accuracy, even in poor lighting conditions. The Z8 uses the same Auto Focusing system as the Z9 which is calculated by AI deep learning algorithms. Sharing the same high end EXPEED7 processor as the Z9,the Z8 offers an expanded variety of AF functions that leverage the enhanced subject detection abilities of the Z8’s AF power, including Nikon’s 3D tracking and fully customizable Wide Area Auto Focus.
Nikon has professionals in mind when it comes to offering outstanding specs and production formats.
45.7MP Stacked CMOS sensor with no need for a mechanical shutter thanks to its less than 1/280 second high speed scanning rate
Continuous shooting up to 20fps with RAW, 30fps full frame or 60fps APS-C for JPEG images with pre burst modes up to 120 fps for 11MP crops (just like the Z9)
Option for 10-bit HEIF files (equal in size to JPEG but offers about 1 billion more colors)
14-bit RAW image file formats available in high efficiency RAW format and HLG RAW for HDR when using compatible devices like the HLG curve
Enhanced subject recognition with multiple AF and 3D tracking modes
New Portrait Impression Balance function has been added for portrait photographers which enables advanced control over skin tone, plus a new skin softening function and improved white balance
Quad VGA viewfinder housed by the same 4 axis touchscreen LCD found on the Z9 provides stability and clear viewing from any angle even at 120 fps (3.68M dot EVF with dedicated low-lag sensor feed & 2.1M dot touchscreen
Synchro VR provides in-body enhanced vibration reduction image stabilization with up to 6.0 stops of compensation when using compatible lenses
More to come with future firmware updates like Auto Capture Function and base ISO to begin at 200 for video recording in N-Log vs ISO 800
Videographers will have a plethora of dynamic range shooting modes, resolutions, and formats to choose from so you can make the production you envision.The Z8 captures 8K/30p video in the ProRes 422 HQ, H.265 or H.264 formats and 8K/60p in N-RAW. 4K video can be recorded up to 120 fps when subsampling or when oversampling from 8K/60p.
8K60p (N-RAW) and 8K30p video recording with 4K UHD video options for modes like cinematic and slow motion ranging from oversampled 24p/30p to 120p with audio
Internal 12-bit RAW video can be recorded in ProRes RAW 4K60p or up to 9K60p in N-RAW is made possible because Nikon’s RAW video format is 50% smaller size. 1080p proxy files are created along with N-RAW files for editing convenience
Internal 10-bit ProRes 4:2:2 HQ video capture with options for enhanced N-Log, HLG, and gradable flat color profile
Z8 records up to 125 minutes in 4K UHD/60pl or up to 90 minutes in 8K UHD/30p2 of full video. This is slightly less record time than the Z9, however with the Z8’s smaller body this makes sense and will protect the camera from overheating
Z8 showcases videography features that are included or will be included in future firmware updates such as Hi-resolution zoom3 function for 4K, noticeable red REC frame indicator, focus peaking, zebras, waveform, linear focus ability for many NIKKOR Z mount lenses, advanced ISO control, customizable AF speed tracking, timecode sync4, and 24-bit stereo audio.
Nikon’s Z8 hybrid full frame mirrorless camera is built tough with fully sealed and gasketed parts to withstand harsh conditions while protecting from dust, dirt, and is drip resistant. The Z8 can perform in as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit and is built from a new pro grade carbon fiber and magnesium alloy to reduce the weight and increase durability. The optical filter has a dual coating and the sensor has a shield that closes the when the camera is off. Remember, the Z8 has no mechanical electronic shutter so the sensor shield is warranted to keep the camera dust free when not in use or when changing lenses. For those pros who need a bit more battery life, Nikon will be releasing a new MB-N12 battery grip which gives 1.8x more battery life and includes a vertical grip and shutter speed buttons/controls. The weather resistant MB-N12 battery grip should be available sometime in May and possibly available for preorder. The Z8 has 2 USB-C ports dedicated for charging (PD) and communication for accessories. It also uses full HDMI which alleviates the need for adapters. The Z8 also has dual SD card slots, one for CF Express Type B / XQD, one UHS II SD slot. Connectivity through ethernet (not supplied) can be done through a USB-C port.
Nikon’s new Z8 does it all. Between the lightning fast and silent operations inherited from the Z9, taking quality images and video camera recordings using the Z8’s 45.7 pixel count sensor and mighty AF/AE features has never been easier, even in extreme lighting conditions. Small details show quality in craftsmanship as you can note the buttons will even light up in the dark so you can see what you’re doing. The Z8’s produces stills of superb image quality and videos that are immersive and lifelike. The Z8 is one of the best cameras we got a chance to work with and easily beats out competing DSLR and mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A1, Nikon Z7 II, and Canon EOS R5 making it the perfect choice for any professional photographer or filmmaker. The smaller size of the Z8 also makes it perfect for use with a gimbal or A-cam setup for event jobs, documentaries, or independent cinema.
The Z8 is available as camera body only or in a combo which includes a very capable Nikkor Z mount lens kit.