Nikon’s Z line of mirrorless cameras now has a pro-focused flagship. The Z 9 delivers a significant boost to autofocus performance, offers up to 30 frames per second continuous shooting, and can record long video sessions at 8K resolution.
We’ve known it was in the works for a while, and now Nikon has revealed the Z 9 full-frame mirrorless flagship in full.
“The Z 9 is the complete package, offering an unprecedented balance of speed, resolution, reliability and performance that will exceed expectations for any type of shoot, including fast action sports, commercial fashion, low light, landscapes and more,” said Nikon Executive VP, Jay Vannatter. “The Z 9 looks to the future, with innovations and features that give all types of imaging professionals and content creators the advantage when it matters most and the confidence to create in nearly any conditions.”
The Z 9 is built around a full-frame (35.9 x 23.9-mm) 45.7-megapixel back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor that’s paired with an Expeed 7 processing engine. This means a native ISO range of 64 to 25,600, which can be expanded down to 32 and up to 102,400 for low-light shooting, and full resolution JPEG bursts at up to 30 frames per second (fps), but nudging that down to 11-MP images can bump the possible frame rate up to 120 fps. Either way, that’s with full autofocus and auto exposure “without skipping or repeating frames in the viewfinder.” That 0.5-inch OLED viewfinder rocks 3,690k-dot resolution and 3,000-nit brightness.
The camera comes with massive buffer potential for press and hold action photography. With recommended ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B 2.0 Cobalt 1700R in the slots, a buffer capacity of more than 1,000 full resolution RAW or JPEG frames at 20 fps is available.
A hybrid phase-detection/contrast autofocus makes 493 focus points available, and the Z 9 comes with subject detection built on deep learning technology that’s partnered with 3D-tracking AF from Nikon’s DSLRs to enable the camera to automatically zero in on humans, cats, dogs, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains and airplanes in stills and video. Meanwhile Eye AF can detect and focus on the eye of a subject farther away, and a new “starlight” mode helps the camera focus in light conditions right down to -8.5 EV.
A new Synchro VR image stabilization system combines the camera’s own 5-axis vibration reduction prowess with the capabilities of compatible lenses to offer up to six stops of shake compensation.
There’s no mechanical shutter in play here, but the electronic shutter can be made to sound like one (or run silent). Thanks to a zippy image scan rate that results in “the world’s most minimal rolling-shutter distortion,” the electronic shutter is reckoned to be more than a performance match for a mechanical one, with speeds of up to 1/32,000 available.
The Z 9 looks like something of a video recording beast too. The camera offers 8K UHD (7,680 x 4,320) at 24/30p, with a long recording time of up to around 125 minutes possible when using CFexpress Type B media. And an upcoming firmware upgrade will enable 8K/60p in 12-bit N-RAW and 12-bit ProRes RAW.
Full HD resolution is also on the table at up to 120 fps, and 4K UHD in included at up to 60 fps. Compression choices include 10-bit ProRes 422 HQ, 8-bit H.264, and 8- or 10-bit H.265. As well as a flat color profile, Nikon has thrown in 10-bit N-Log and Hybrid Log-Gamma too. And there’s also support for 24-bit linear PCM audio recording.
Elsewhere, the camera features a 3.2-inch four-axis tilting LCD touchscreen panel for shoot versatility, USB-C and HDMI ports, audio in and out jacks, and an Ethernet LAN port. Wireless connectivity shapes up as Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The dual media slots are designed to take CFexpress cards, but can also accommodate XQD-type memory.
The Z 9 full-frame mirrorless camera will go on sale before the close of 2021 for a body-only suggested retail price of US$5,499.95. The video below has more.
Nikon Z 9 Product Tour
Product page: Z 9
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