Nikon is adding another camera to its vaunted Z mirrorless full-frame lineup in the Z 8, a shooter it says delivers the best balance for photos and video. Nikon largely based the Z 8 on the previous Z 9, borrowing heavily on the body and components, yet adding some key features that clarify just how much of a hybrid the camera is designed to be.
Nikon’s focus has long been on still photography, but it’s easy to gauge an equal focus on video here based on the Z 8’s ability to shoot N-RAW video at 8K resolution and 60fps, as well as ProRes. It is, perhaps Nikon’s most ambitious attempt at finding a way to offer the best of both worlds, especially if you shoot both photos and video on a regular basis.
Nikon Z 8 details
One noticeable difference off the bat is the Z 8 is smaller than the Z 9, making it easier to hold, though also harder to record video for longer periods in 8K or 4K because it can get too hot. The smaller size also means a smaller battery, so you will have to keep that in mind when out in the field. A second backup battery might be in order if you plan to shoot a lot on any given day.
Many of the same specs stick around here, like the 45-megapixel image sensor and 20fps burst shooting. The Nikon Z 9 doesn’t have a mechanical shutter, leaving only an electronic shutter well suited to burst shooting in RAW, so the camera wouldn’t be out of place capturing wildlife or sports. The higher resolution also makes cropping in more flexible if you’re shooting from further away.
There’s in-body image stabilization and autofocus largely remains unchanged as well. Subject detection is very much the same when honing in on faces and eyes for humans, as well as cats, dogs, birds, cars, motorcycles, trains, bicycles and airplanes.
Dual memory card slots let you use both CFExpress and UHS-II SD cards, and interestingly, there are two USB-C ports. This is great if you need to plug in to keep the battery charged, while also tethering to a laptop while shooting. Don’t worry too much about where you can take it because it’s just as dust and water-resistant as the Z 9 is.
A hybrid shooter
The smaller body is more conducive to taking this out for any kind of shoot and will certainly fit gimbals a lot easier than its larger sibling would. The one challenge is the rear LCD screen only tilts. It doesn’t flip out, so if you’re thinking of this as a vlogging camera, you’ll have to do it without being able to see yourself. If you are looking to use it with a monitor, there is a full-sized HDMI port here, so you do have an alternative, if necessary.
Video is a factor because you have real options. You can shoot in 4K at up to 120fps for high-quality slow-motion footage to go along with 4K at various other framerates. The one challenge is time, meaning you will have to be careful about leaving the camera on too long. It’s designed to stop after 90 minutes of 8K at 30fps and two hours at 4K at 60fps.
The new Nikon Z 8 will become available in May 2023, and you can pre-order yours now. Check out all the Nikon lenses and gear already available now.