The Nikon Z7 II and Z8 in some ways seem very much the same. Both are full-frame, 45-megapixel Nikon Z cameras with similar control layouts. But in reality, they are quite different cameras. The Z7 II is an excellent all-purpose camera whereas the Z8, with its stacked CMOS sensor and state-of-the-art autofocus system, is better suited for action. Which one of these cameras is right for you?
Nikon Z7 II vs Nikon Z8 Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon Z7 II||Nikon Z8|
|Announced||October 2020||May 2023|
|Sensor Type||BSI CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Image Processor||Dual EXPEED 6||EXPEED 7|
|Resolution||45.7 MP||45.7 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.35µ||4.35µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||No|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 64||ISO 64|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 25,600||ISO 25,600|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 32-102,400||ISO 32-102,400|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||Yes||Yes|
|Pre-Shoot Burst Mode||No||Yes (JPEG only)|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/32000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||900 seconds||900 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||10 FPS||No mechanical shutter|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||10 FPS||20 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||12-bit raw at 10 FPS (14-bit raw is available at 9 FPS)||20 FPS figure is for .NEF files (full-res JPEG at 30 FPS; DX JPEG at 60 FPS; 11 megapixel JPEG at 120 FPS)|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||77 frames (10 FPS)||Over 1000 frames (20 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-4 EV||-7.5 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/200||1/200|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||8 bits||12 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||10 (12 with paid upgrade)||12 bits|
|Raw Video||No (Yes, externally, with paid upgrade)||Yes|
|8K Maximum Framerate||N/A||60 FPS|
|4K Maximum Framerate||60 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||1.08x crop at 4K 60p (4K 30p has no additional crop)||No|
|Chroma Subsampling||4:2:0, 4:2:2 (External)||4:2:2|
|Video Recording Limit||30 min||90 min|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||CFExpress Type B||CFExpress Type B|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-II)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.2 in||3.2 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||2.1 million dots||2.1 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Single Axis||Dual Axis|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3.69 million dots||3.69 million dots|
|USB Type||Type C 3.1||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||360 frames||330 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||420 frames||340 frames|
|Battery Life (Eco Mode)||440 frames||370 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||705 g (1.55 lbs.)||910 g (2.01 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||134 x 101 x 85 mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 3.3″)1||144 x 119 x 88 mm (5.7 x 4.7 x 3.5″)1|
|MSRP, Body Only||$3000 (Check Current Price)||$4000 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Nikon Z7 II Used Prices||Nikon Z8 Used Prices|
|1The Nikon Z7 II and Z8’s official dimensions do not include the depth of the protruding viewfinder. To match the typical standards today, 15mm were added to the depth measurement of the Z7 II and 5mm to the Z8 in this table.|
Summary and Recommendations
In many situations, the Z7II and Z8 will work equally well. Both are capable cameras with the same resolution, and both can use exactly the same range of Nikon’s excellent Z lenses. Yet, the one thing that sets the Z8 apart is its speed: It has a stacked sensor with all the autofocus capabilities of Nikon’s flagship Z9.
The difference in autofocus capability between the Z7 II and Z8 is fairly great, and it’s not all reflected in the spec sheet above. The Nikon Z8 has Nikon’s top-of-the-line autofocus system shared with the Nikon Z9, which we have found to be much better at tracking subjects compared to the Nikon Z7 II side-by-side. For people who photograph subjects like sports, birds in flight, and other fast-moving situations, the Z8 is a much better choice over the Z7.
The Z8 is also a much more capable video machine, with its 12-bit internal recording up to 8K 60p raw video. The Nikon Z7 II is no slouch for video; it’s more than capable for typical project. But by comparison, the Z8 is clearly ahead.
As for the other features, most of the Z8’s remaining benefits are also action-oriented. It has a bigger buffer, a pre-release burst mode, voice memos, and a higher burst rate of 20 FPS (raw). That said, the Nikon Z7 II has the substantial benefit of price – it’s much less expensive than the Z8, especially if you buy it used or on sale. If you’re not shooting fast-moving action, the Nikon Z7 II could be more than enough camera for you.
Aside from not having the 5:4 aspect ratio, how is the Z7 II better than the Z8 for landscapes or portraits? I am not sure I have seen any reports that the Z9 is inferior to the Z7 II for those two use cases and I would think the Z8 would be as good if not better than the Z7.
At lower ISOs, the Z7II is measured to have a bit more dynamic range than the Z9. So that could be one reason, though the difference is very small, and maybe not important in most scenarios.
My comment was with regard to the 5:4 aspect. IMHO that’s the only issue working against portraits and landscapes and I would have thought an easy thing to include.
Thanks for this comparison! Yes it’s clear that the Z8 is an action camera and a step up from the Z7 II in those terms. Curious to me is that the Z8 (like the Z9) does not offer the 5:4 aspect ratio which had been present on most of Nikon’s top cameras beginning with the D3x. So from that perspective the Z8 is not as landscape-photography or portrait-photography (speaking genres not physical orientation :)) friendly as the Z7 II. Yes it’s possible to crop in editing, but framing what we shoot as we shoot is so much better for composition.
In today’s digital world, aspect ratios are just software, so in theory the manufacturers could even offer us the ability to create our own. Fortunately the micro 4/3 manufacturers led the way some years ago in offering multiple aspect ratios and the big cameras smartly followed their lead.
As a side note, I am a bit disappointed at Nikon for with the way they have handled the Z7 early adopters. Once the Z7 II came out, they stopped doing firmware updates for the Z7. Many of the differences between the Z7 & Z7 II (such as the big difference in maximum shutter speed) are software based and could be possibly offered to us early adopters. Still, I am pleased with the Z7 and once of these days soon I will finally sell my old D850 and purchase a Z7 II to augment the Z7.
As an owner of the original Z6, I would very much like a firmware update also!
I’ve owned the z7 and z7ii and would have to disagree with your assessment that nikon didn’t bring the original up to the mark ii’s level of performance minus a tiny difference in low light af
Everything is better apart from battery life. This is what I wanted the z7ii to be but really it was only a z7 with an extra card slot.
Doesn’t the Z8 have a sensor screen? If so, this could save on sensor cleaning in the field, something not available on the Z7 or Z7II.
The z7 and z7ii also have a sensor protection shield. But Nikon fucked up how to work it out. If u turn off your camera and remove the battery, the sensor shield will deploy and stay closed protection your sensor. You can then swap the lens safely, plug your battery again, turn on the camera and press the shutter button and the shield will open up again. Its extra steps to achieve something that works easily on the z8/z9 but at least theres a way to do it
Z7 and Z7ii do not have a sensor protection shield. They do have a mechanical shutter that should be closed when you turn off the camera – but it is not the same thing as shield.
As Jason mentioned, mechanical shutter is not the same as sensor protection shield. You should never (and I mean never, ever) remove the batteries when the camera is on (please check the manual, it is there) – unless you willing to risk losing data, or damaging mechanical shutter or IBIS.
“Double coating and a sensor shield are adopted to protect the image sensor from dust.” Found under 4. Additional features in the official presentation.