It’s fair to say that Nikon was a little late to the mirrorless party, but since the launch of its first full-frame mirrorless cameras (the Z6 and Z7) in August 2018, the brand has worked hard to play catch up, launching the full-frame Z5, the updated Z6/Z7 II and the crop-sensor Z50.
However, Nikon’s mirrorless game is set to step up a level after the brand officially announced the development of a new flagship camera – the Nikon Z9. Even better, it looks like photographers won’t have to wait too long to get their hands on the cameras as Nikon has explained that it is scheduled to arrive this year.
So, what can photographers expect from the new flagship Z9? Well, first up let’s talk about the shape of the camera and rather than the typical mirrorless shape like the lightweight and compact Z7 or Z6, the Z9 features a integrated grip, making the camera’s form factor much closer to that of the Nikon D6, which also may suggest this is a model that may focus on the professional sports and wildlife photography sector. The integrated grip should also serve to dramatically increase the battery life of the camera and enable photographers to shoot for longer without needing to swap over power sources. Plus, with a secondary shutter button, it will make taking photos in vertical, portrait format much easier too.
Although the majority of the specs are yet to arrive, Nikon has lifted the lid on a few nuggets of information explaining; ‘The Z 9 brings together Nikon’s groundbreaking technologies to deliver the best still and video performance in Nikon history, meeting the advanced needs of professionals across a wide range of genres.’ Nikon’s press release also stated the Z9 will feature a ‘newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor and new image-processing engine.’
What is clear is that the Z9 should be a true hybrid camera for both stills and video, and this is because Nikon has confirmed the Z9 will be able to capture ultra high-quality 8K video with Nikon saying; ‘ In response to the growing needs of professionals, advanced enthusiasts and cinematographers, it includes support for 8K video recording as well as various other video specifications that fulfil diverse needs and workflows.’
When it does launch later this year, the Z9 will arrive to some stiff competition, with a number of other brands already bringing 8k shooting pro-centric cameras to the market, such as Sony with the 50-megapixel Alpha 1 and Canon with the impressive R5.