If you’ve given up looking at the Nikon Z8 – a camera that’s been debated for over two years and is poised to be one of the most exciting pro cameras of 2023 – then there’s maybe have some hope.
Although not yet confirmed, Nikon Rumors suggests that the Nikon Z8 is “production ready”. In fact, it might have been on the shelves by now if component shortages hadn’t held back so many releases in recent years.
However, there are no official teasers online yet, so we had to get a little creative to preview what we can expect inside the Nikon Z8. Below are our predictions for the most exciting features we’re likely to see.
Nikon Z8: release date and price
Last year, it was suggested that the Nikon Z8 would be unveiled at CES in January. This does not happen. The February CP+ show is another candidate for an announcement. However, Nikon Rumors suggests a March announcement with a May release as the most likely outcome.
It’s expected to be a direct competitor to the Sony A7R V which was announced in October 2022 and will cost $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900. This gives you a very rough guide to what to expect from a Nikon Z8 – luckily it should cost a lot less than the Nikon Z9.
(Image credit: Nikon Rumors)
Nikon Z8: Design
We expect the Nikon Z8 to be the true successor to 2017’s excellent Nikon D850. That means it’s a high-performance camera with top-notch capabilities, but without the battery grip. “Pro” style of the Nikon Z9.
While the ability of a vertical grip to extend battery life and improve handling of huge lenses is undisputed, a shape like the Nikon Z7 II is more accessible to a wider audience, and there could be have an optional battery grip that increases endurance and form factor for pro-Level raging.
The Nikon Z8 will have a full-frame sensor, so its dimensions should be somewhat similar to the Nikon Z7 II. And we can expect the same excellent waterproofing offered in this model.
Nikon Z8 mockups also show a similar control layout to existing models, though these images are mostly fan creations and not leaks.
(Image credit: future)
Nikon Z8: sensor
The Nikon Z8 is expected to have a 61.2MP sensor, a much higher pixel count than the 45.7MP Z7 II and Z9, and the highest resolution camera the company has ever had.
It’s a less dramatic move when you step back and consider that the Sony A7R V has a 61-megapixel sensor, just like the A7R IV before it. Ultra-high-resolution chips may be new to Nikon full-frame mirrorless cameras, but not to the category in general.
The high resolution will be a test of Nikon’s IBIS system when shooting handheld. Nikon claims five levels of stabilization effectiveness for the Nikon Z7 II and six levels for the Nikon Z9. That’s below the 8 stops of some Sony cameras, although that number includes a mirrorless lens plus in-body stabilization.
Nikon could also develop a pixel shift mode. Here, the IBIS engine slightly tilts the sensor between multiple exposures, allowing the end result when fused to emulate that of a high-resolution sensor – in Sony’s case, a 240-megapixel sensor. It is at the forefront of this technology in mirrorless cameras.
However, Pixel Shift is one of those “nice for the feature list, not always very useful in real life” modes. It’s useless for handheld shooting, and it took Sony five years to make it more user-friendly with a processing mode that avoids ugly artifacts when objects in the frame move during shooting.
(Image credit: future)
Nikon Z8: screen and electronic viewfinder
The Nikon Z8 is said to use a movable screen on the back, which is a bit different from the tilting screen of the Nikon Z7 II.
One possible result is a multi-hinged display like the Nikon Z9. The back of this camera’s rear screen folds out and folds away from the body to allow viewing from an awkward angle. It takes some getting used to, but it works.
Nikon’s flagship Z9 has a super-bright EVF that peaks at 3,000 nits, but its 3.69 million-dot resolution seems pretty low next to the Sony A7R V’s 5.76 million dots and 9.44 million dots. of the A7S III. Expressed in pixels, 3.69 million dots correspond to 1280 × 960, 5.76 million dots to 1600 × 1200, 9.44 million dots to 2048 × 1536 pixels. Going from low to high can be likened to going from a Full HD TV to a 4K TV – a big deal for some, not so much for others.
The Nikon Z8 would be more comfortable among its peers with an EVF of 5.76 million dots. But can it realistically offer higher base specs than the Nikon Z9, which has yet to be replaced? You must pay attention to this.
(Image credit: future)
Nikon Z8: videos
Video capture is an opportunity for Nikon to leapfrog some of its rivals, but again the question is how close the Nikon Z8 can get to the Z9.
Nikon’s flagship mirrorless camera is stunning in this regard. The Nikon Z9 can internally record 8.3K 12-bit video at 60 fps using a proprietary RAW format. And there is no harvesting involved.
This is possible because no oversampling is necessary. Maximum video resolution is 38 megapixels of data per frame, and that’s the full resolution of the sensor minus the top and bottom sections, which are left out for widescreen shots.
The Nikon Z8, with a rumored 61.2-megapixel sensor, would be a whole different story. Shooting without CPU-intensive oversampling requires around 1.24x crop, like the Sony A7R V.
There won’t be full-screen 8K at 60fps here. Cropped 8K can certainly do that. The question is whether Nikon could still beat Sony by keeping 8K 60p footage. This is offered in the Canon EOS R5 C, although for 60fps shooting with this camera you’ll need to use external power instead of the camera’s battery.
The EOS R5 C, Sony A7R V and Nikon Z7 II all have batteries with a capacity of around 16 Wh. At least battery life will be an issue in such a high-end mode. Still, the Nikon Z9 proves the Exspeed 7 processor has what it takes to handle 8K at 60fps.
(Image credit: future)
Nikon Z8: Memory card support
There’s speculation that the Nikon Z8 will switch to using two CFExpress Type-B cards – these are larger and faster than Sony’s preferred Type-A style – and market it as a larger camera. professional than the Z7 II, which has one excellent CFExpress slot and one SD slot.
This kind of move only makes sense if Nikon wants to move forward with the Z8 as an uncompromising pro camera.
Sony’s Type A slots can be used as SD or CFExpress cards, while Type B CFExpress slots can also accommodate XQD card readers, but neither type is particularly affordable per gigabyte. If you lose SD support, you lose some occasional advantage that some will appreciate.
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