Nikon just announced their long-awaited Z8 mirrorless camera, which aims to essentially mirror the flagship Z9 in a substantially smaller and less expensive body, just $4000. With the Z8, more than just a few features are trickling down – it has essentially the same specs as (arguably) the best mirrorless camera ever, yet costs $1500 less.
Nikon Z8 Specifications
- Camera Type: Mirrorless (Nikon Z System)
- Sensor Type: Stacked CMOS
- Processor: EXPEED 7
- Resolution: 45.7 megapixels
- Image Size: 8256 x 5504 pixels
- Sensor Dimensions: 35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)
- Pixel Pitch: 4.35µm
- Low-Pass Filter: No
- In-Body Image Stabilization: Yes
- ISO Range: 64-25,600 (Extended to 32-102,400)
- High-Res Sensor Shift: No
- Focus Stack Shooting: Yes
- Shutter Speeds: 1/32000-900 + Bulb/Time modes
- Mechanical Shutter: No
- Frame Rate: 20 FPS (raw); 30 FPS (JPEG); 60 FPS (DX JPEG); 120 FPS (11 megapixel JPEG)
- Buffer Capacity: Over 1000 frames (20 FPS raw)
- Autofocus System: Hybrid PDAF with 493 points; dedicated subject detection including airplane mode
- AF Detection Range: -5.5 to 20.5 EV; -7.5 to 20.5 EV when Starlight View AF is enabled
- Flash Sync Speed: 1/200
- Max Video Features: Internal 8K raw recording up to 60 FPS
- 4K Video: Up to 120 FPS
- 1080p Video: Up to 120 FPS
- Video Recording Limit: 90 minutes
- Card Slots: 2 (1x CFExpress Type B, 1x SD UHS-II)
- Monitor Type: 3.2″ dual-axis tilting touchscreen, 2.1 million dots
- EVF Specs: 0.8x magnification, 3.69 million dots, 100% coverage
- Voice Memo: Yes
- WiFi: Yes,
- Bluetooth: Yes, Version 5.0
- Ethernet: No
- GPS: No
- USB: Two Type C 3.2 Gen 2 ports
- Battery: EN-EL15c
- Battery Life: 330 shots (EVF); 340 shots (rear LCD); 340 shots (EVF, eco mode); 370 shots (rear LCD, eco mode)
- Weight: 910 grams (2.0 lbs)
- Size (L x W x D) Including Protruding Viewfinder: 144 x 119 x 98 mm (5.7 x 4.7 x 3.9″)
- Price: $4000 at launch (pre-order here)
If you’re familiar with the Nikon Z9, a lot of these specs will look familiar – very familiar. The biggest differences compared to the Z9 are of course the size, weight, and price. Some other differences (which likely stem from the smaller size) are a shorter battery life, shorter recording limit, lack of internal GPS, and lack of ethernet port. Otherwise, we’re practically looking at a Z9. (See Nasim’s full Z8 vs Z9 comparison here.)
Here are the photos that Nikon supplied of the Nikon Z8 from various angles:
You can see that the Nikon Z8’s design features are a combination of the Nikon Z9 layout and the more basic design found in the Z5/Z6/Z7 series cameras. In particular, the top control panel is reminiscent of the Z9, thanks to the lack of a traditional Mode dial (which has been replaced with a Mode button, bracketing button, white balance button, and burst button). It’s not visible in the two photos above (you can see it in the photo below), but the Z8 also borrows the Z9’s AF mode button on the front bottom left of the camera, which is a welcome sight.
Meanwhile, the back panel’s buttons are in the same place as on the Z5/Z6/Z7 cameras, with a couple of exceptions. The review button is now at the bottom right instead of the top left, and the photo lock button has taken its place.
Nikon also supplied the following image of the Z8’s weather sealing capacity, which looks to be at a similar level as the Nikon Z9:
Even though the Nikon Z8 doesn’t add a lot of new features compared to the Nikon Z9, it will definitely have more widespread appeal considering the price and size. I find it very impressive that Nikon managed to maintain almost everything that makes the Z9 such a good camera, while shaving off so much weight and expense.
Meanwhile, Nikon probably sees the camera a bit differently, calling the Z8 the “true successor” of the D850 in its press release. All things considered, that’s a fair characterization too – the Z8 can be seen as a smaller and lighter version of the D850 with a better autofocus system and some high-end features like 8K video recording.
I still wish that Nikon had taken the opportunity to differentiate the Z8 more with some features we haven’t seen before in the Z series, like high-resolution pixel shift or a raw pre-release burst. Still, Nikon clearly had a goal in mind with the Z8, and they executed it well: making the lightest, least expensive version of the Z9 that doesn’t cut any major features.
Shipping and Pre-Order
The Nikon Z8 will start shipping soon, on May 25. Nikon appears to be putting effort into minimizing supply disruptions and shipping the Z8 more quickly than the Z9, but I still recommend pre-ordering the camera if you’re interested – I still expect some backordering:
ULTIMATE HYBRID PERFORMANCE. AGILITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE.
THIS IS THE NIKON Z 8.
The Perfect Follow-Up to the Z 9. True Successor to D850.
MELVILLE, NY (May 10, 2023) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the highly anticipated Nikon Z 8, a full frame mirrorless camera made to meet the needs of imaging professionals, serious photographers, videographers and advanced creators. The Z 8 defines the concept of versatile agility, featuring the latest innovations and speed inherited from the flagship mirrorless Z 9, in a lighter, more compact form-factor that’s ready for action in the field, the studio, the ceremony, the street or on-set.
The Z 8 is packed with massive technology and user-focused features, providing impressive high-resolution images and video up to 8K 60p with overwhelming detail, sharpness and precise color. Engineered to be nimble, it’s approximately 30% smaller than the Nikon Z 9, and 15% smaller than the venerable Nikon D850 to which it is the true successor. As the final word in workflow efficiency, the Z 8 gives professionals the confidence to capture without boundaries while yielding stellar files and uncompromising Nikon color science that can minimize time needed for post-production or editing.
“We continue to rapidly expand the entire mirrorless ecosystem to support users, and with every Z series camera added to the line, the advantages of the next-generation Z mount become clearly apparent,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “As Nikon continues to roll out more Z series cameras and NIKKOR Z lenses, we push forward and continue to break new ground in optical and technological innovation.”
Ready for Action
Like the flagship Nikon Z 9, the Z 8 is at the industry apex of speed and versatility. At its core, Nikon’s powerful EXPEED 7 image processing engine has been combined with the proven full-frame (FX-format) 45.7-megapixel BSI stacked sensor with a scan rate so fast that no mechanical shutter is needed. This configuration can be completely silent and has virtually no rolling shutter distortion, while the removal of moving parts reduces wear and tear. Other favorite flagship features include the truly blackout-free Real-live viewfinder, internal 12-bit RAW video recording in a variety of formats and frame rates, along with additional new features for portrait photographers.
The Z 8 brings together speed and precision like no other, embracing the extremes to create a camera that can focus in candlelight during a first dance, yet is fast enough to freeze a falcon in flight. Like the Z 9, this new camera uses Nikon’s most powerful and precise AF system, which has been developed with deep learning technology. The focus is immediately responsive and reliable, offering a range of functions from fully Auto-Area AF, Nikon’s acclaimed 3D tracking and a fully customizable Wide Area AF. These modes take advantage of the enhanced Subject Detection capability for photo and video that recognizes humans, pets, birds, trains, cars, motorbikes and bicycles, and now various types of airplanes.
Ready for Production
The Z 8 is an extremely capable video camera for a diverse mix of productions, enhancing the process from capture to post by providing cleaner files from a variety of frame rates and resolutions. Because of its reduced body size and internal recording, it’s ideal for gimbal use, but also suitable as an A-cam for extended events and weddings, corporate clients, documentaries or even independent cinema. Benefits don’t stop at image quality, as users will appreciate the Nikon colors and consideration for the modern multimedia professional’s workflow.
- Experience the intense resolution and freedom provided by 8K60p (N-RAW) and 8K30p video capture, and the ability that this massive resolution gives in post to crop and pan. Expansive 4K UHD video options for when the look you’re going for is anywhere from cinematic to slow motion, ranging from oversampled1 24p/30p, all the way to 120p with sound.
- The Z 8 can record up to approx. 125 min. in 4K UHD/60p1 and up to approx. 90 min. in 8K UHD/30p
- Internal 12-bit RAW footage can be captured as ProRes RAW 4K60p, or up to 8K60p in N-RAW, Nikon’s RAW video format that is approximately a 50% smaller file size. N-RAW also creates a 1080p proxy file for easier editing. Capturing RAW footage allows for the most image data and highest bit rate for maximum range and flexibility.
- For more latitude with color, footage can be captured internally in 10-bit ProRes 4:2:2 HQ, while other profile options are available in-camera, including an enhanced N-Log, HLG as well as the easily gradable Flat color profile.
- The camera features two USB-C ports which are dedicated to charging (PD) and communication for accessories, further opening options for a truly modular configuration to fit any production. It also utilizes a full-size HDMI, minimizing the use of adaptors.
- The camera focuses on videographer centric features, including those added to the Z 9 in subsequent firmware updates. These include Hi-res zoom3 function for 4K, highly visible red REC Frame Indicator, focus peaking, zebras, waveform, linear focus capability on many NIKKOR Z lenses, fine ISO control, Customizable AF speed tracking, timecode sync4, 24-bit stereo audio and more.
Ready to Capture the Impossible
The Z 8 enables users with a powerful combination of the latest hardware and curated features implemented to help make the most challenging creative vision a reality.
- The 45.7-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor combined with the EXPEED 7 Imaging engine can render incredible image quality, stellar colors, fantastic dynamic range and high-speed calculations up to 120 cycles, even in low light with minimal noise.
- Users now have the option to shoot in a 10-bit HEIF image file, a superior file format to JPEG that is approximately equal in size yet offers approximately one billion more colors.
- 14-bit RAW image file formats include the proven high-efficiency RAW format, plus a new HLG RAW option for use on compatible devices.
- The Z 8 features settings specifically for portrait photographers, including the Portrait Impression Balancefunction for precise control of skin tone accuracy, in addition to a new Skin Softening function and improved white balance.
- Burst speeds range from 20 fps full res RAW+JPEG, 30 fps full-res JPEG, 60 fps DX-format JPEG, or up to 120 fps as 11 mp JPEG with High-speed frame capture +. Pre-Release Capture5 is also available to capture the moment in the camera’s buffer before the shutter is even depressed fully.
- Get a wide and bright view with the truly blackout free Quad-VGA viewfinder, which provides a clear picture, especially when shooting at 120 fps. The same 3.2” horizontal and vertical tilting 4-axis touchscreen LCD from the Z 9 is also used, enabling creative composition from any angle.
- Vibration Reduction image stabilization has been enhanced with Synchro VR to achieve up to 6.0 stops of compensation with compatible lenses.6
- Upcoming features will be added in planned firmware updates, including an Auto Capture function, which will allow a photographer to automatically trigger a remote camera on user-set parameters. An update will also allow for the base ISO to be extended down to 200 when shooting video footage with N-Log enabled.
Ready to Impress
Like all pro-caliber Nikon cameras, the Z 8 has a robust build quality, further reinforcing the company’s ethos of usability and reliability as a paramount consideration. When asking professionals why they choose Nikon, ergonomics and reliability are always top answers.
- The Z 8 is fully sealed and gasketed, exceeding the durability of the D850 and built with maximum consideration for dust and drip resistance, while it can also be operated down to -10°C/14°F. Materials including a new pro-grade carbon fiber composite and magnesium alloy are used in the construction to reduce weight and enhance durability.
- Exceptional handling with thoughtfully laid out functions and buttons that are customizable.
- To resist dust, the optical filter includes a dual coating to repel dust in front of the sensor, in addition to a sensor shield that protects the sensor when the camera is turned off.
- The Z 8 makes it easier to capture in low light environments, with illuminated buttons, warm display color option, low viewfinder brightness adjustments, and Starlight View which enables focusing down to -9 EV.7
- Dual card slots with one CF Express Type B / XQD and SD balance speed and widespread availability.
- The MB-N12 battery grip will be an optional accessory that provides approximately 1.8x more battery life8, while adding a vertical grip and vertical shutter button /controls. The grip is also weather resistant to the same level as the camera and allows for hot-swapping batteries.
Price and Availability
The new Nikon Z 8 will be available on May 25, 2023 for a suggested retail price of $3,999.95.* The MB-N12 battery grip will be available in May for an SRP of $349.95.* For more information about the latest Nikon products, including the vast collection of NIKKOR Z lenses and the entire collection of Z series cameras, please visit nikonusa.com.
Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and technologies for photo and video capture; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enables visual storytelling and content creation. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional Z Series mirrorless cameras, digital SLR cameras, a vast array of NIKKOR and NIKKOR Z lenses, Speedlights and system accessories, Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras and Nikon software products. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers and visual storytellers to the Web’s most comprehensive learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram,TikTok, Vimeo and Flickr.
# # #
Specifications, equipment, and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
Trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.
- Supported when [Extended oversampling] in the video recording menu is [ON], image area is [FX], and frame size/frame rate is 3840×2160 60p/50p. Note that battery power consumption increases when [ON] is selected.
- H.265 8-bit (MOV), [Extended oversampling]: [OFF], [Auto temperature cutout]: [Standard], at 25°C/77°F, using a Nikon MC-CF660G memory card and external power source. H.265 8-bit (MOV), [Auto temperature cutout]: [High], at 25°C/77°F, using a Nikon MC-CF660G memory card and external power source.
- Hi-Res Zoom is available only with video recording in the following codecs: at ProRes 422 HQ 10-bit (MOV), H.265 10-bit (MOV), H.265 8-bit (MOV), or H.264 8-bit (MP4) — with image area set to FX (36 x 24). Restrictions apply to some camera features.
- Dedicated accessories are required.
- Pre-Release Capture can be set only when shooting in High-Speed Frame Capture+, which enables continuous shooting at the frame rate of up to 120 fps.
- Based on CIPA Standards. When using the telephoto end of the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S with NORMAL mode.
7. Disclaimer: *3 Still image mode, single AF servo (AF-S) focus position center, ISO 100, f/1.2 lens used, at 20°C/68℉.
8. Actual endurance varies with such factors as the condition of the battery, the interval between shots, and the options selected in the camera menus.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
At the risk of sounding greedy, which I am…I am very happy with my Z9 as I await my Z8, but I’m curious what the next iteration of Z9/Z8 firmware updates will offer. Where to from here?
I prefer to call the Z8 the love child of the Z9 and D850.
This might not matter that much in the grand scheme of things, but if you are someone who shoots wildlife or sports and needs to use the second card as backup then you will certainly run into some limitations with the SD card slot on the Z8 vs. the CF Express on the Z9 in terms of max buffer capacity. This was demonstrated in one of Matt Grainger’s videos. The SD card slot could also be an issue if you’re concerned about potential over heating especially in shooting 8K video.
Does the Z9 and Z8 work any better compared to the Z7 and Z6 when using F-mount Nikor lenses via the adapter? If I could get some further use out of my fast F mount Nikors it wouldn’t be such a big outlay
Yes, the AF will be significantly better.
Not in the market for a $4000 camera body period. That is before I consider how I might need to upgrade my current Nikon lenses (only two of which has a wider aperture than f4) to take advantage of the capabilities the Z8 offers.
I was ready to move to Canon or Sony or Panasonic since the Z6 III still seems a long way off and because Nikon has not improved the quality of its autofocus to match the Canon or Sony systems. (No improvement by Z8?!?)
But the Z8 is putting downward pricing pressure on Canon and Sony and the trickle down effect of that is a good thing. (Canon R6 Mk ii was marked down to 1999.99 yesterday at a major online retailer; if you are eligible for Canon’s loyalty program, an R5 can be had for around $3.0K even). So no Z6 III but perhaps lower prices on its main competitors so a win in a sense
Have you tried the AF system on the Z9 to say that Nikon has not improved the quality of the AF system to match Canon and Sony? I have used pretty much every camera on the market, including high-end systems from Canon and Sony, and I can honestly say that the Nikon AF is on par, and in some situations even better than the competition.
The Nikon Z8 has the same AF system as the Z9.
Imprecise language. I was referring to the reports that the Z8 has the same autofocus system as the Z9 and does not represent a significant improvement over the Z9.
Well, don’t forget that the Z9 has had numerous firmware updates and except for bug fixes, the A1 none.
So the Z9 has not been static.
I honestly wonder where this “Nikon has not improved the quality of its AF to match Canon or Sony systems” nonsense comes from because I’ve also tried the Z9 to the Sony A1 and Canon R5 and I seriously can’t tell the difference. Some of it is cope from Nikon skeptics but also much of it seems to be regurgitated by YouTube influencers who go out of their way to manipulate the results when testing different cameras to the Z9. If you want honest and non-biased analysis I would highly recommend you all to watch Matt Granger’s channel where he does real life field tests. Matt Granger does not get paid or sponsored by Nikon and hasn’t shied away from criticizing the company in the past.
There are many different ways to test auto focus capability; some deal with taking photos of static subjects; others with fast moving objects (such as birds or mountain bike racing or pro basketball games); others with moving objects (such as humans coming towards or away from the camera); and yet others dealing with the cameras ability to handle “distractions” (e.g. someone walking across the frame in front of the subject or the ability to stay on your chosen subject when others are nearby).
Separately, some cameras handle some of these situations in a top-notch fashion IF you have the camera set to the right mix of autofocus settings. Others seem to excel at having a single setting that allows the camera to perform in a top-notch fashion in several if not all of the situations described above.
Does the Z9 equal or better its competitors near its price point? Don’t know. Does the Z8 equal or better is competitors? Don’t know.
Does the autofocus of the Z6 II or the Z7 II or the Z5 or Z50 equal or better their respective competitors? The reviews I have seen say no (with a few exceptions such as the RP).
It’s almost exactly the same price as the D850 was at launch when you account for inflation. Those seemed to have sold very well.
Does the Z8 support recording to an external SSD drive over its USB-C connection? I believe the Panasonic S5 IIx offers this feature which should provide very fast recording speeds for 6K and even 8K resolutions (I know, the S5 IIx doesn’t offer 8K)
I haven’t seen any references to this. Once we get a copy of the Z8, we will test it out and see if it can do it.
I suspect not or Nikon would have announced it. But it will be interesting to see what future firmware updates offer
I wish it was 60mp, why give sony all the running at high resolution..
Jonathan, that’s probably not going to happen until Nikon Z7 III. To be honest, I personally wouldn’t want a sports camera with too much resolution. If you look at the track record of all top-of-the-line bodies like D3, D4, D5 and D6, none of them had high-res sensors. The Z9 was the first of its kind in that regard, and the Z8 follows suit. Nikon’s next jump is probably going to be higher than 60 MP.
A 60MP body comes a few compromises. I have no doubt it will come in a Z7iii body, probably non-stacked sensor, to keep the price down and target it more to landscape shooters. Just my humble opinion.
“7-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor”, “Synchro VR to achieve up to 0 stops of compensation”. Yikes. Nikon needs to hire a more competent employee in Melville.
For whatever reason, when I copied the press release directly from the press kit I received, those two lines did not paste properly. Looks like DPR had the same issue copying/pasting from their press kit too! Very strange. Anyway, I’m glad you noticed – I just fixed it above.
I think the new grip is goofy looking. It doesn’t appear to match the lines of the Z8.
I would say that if one needs that grip, they are better off getting the Z9… Every grip I ever bought for my cameras (D300, D700, etc) ended up staying in my closet. Over the years shooting professionally, I realized I was more comfortable getting a bunch of Nikon batteries with me than bother with a grip. Grips made my cameras bigger and heavier, which didn’t work out too well with my carpal tunnel. Obviously everyone’s needs and budgets are different :)
That Z8 is quite the workhorse, but I’ll never understand why camera companies still split recording media types. The Z9 uses two CFexpress cards – PERFECT for the video/cinema world, but HEAVY. The Lumix S5 II uses two SDXC cards and is dynamite for both photo and video, and in each case, one card can be a backup of the other with no lag due to media type differences. Congratulations to Nikon for getting the message on providing a night (red) mode. Lumix has been offering this for at least 5 years.
Willy, I think part of that reason is to provide a “bridge” for those who shoot with other cameras that have SD card slots. It also reduces the pain of expensive CFe storage…
For my needs, Nasim, I want two of the same media; either two SDXC cards or two CFexpress cards. As a rule, I store to both cards simultaneously. (You know, the belt and suspenders approach to ensure that at least one gets through unscathed.) Since I’m a still photographer, I’m delighted to have two SDXC cards on my G9.
I wish it had gone for twin CF Express cards myself, but I’m not heavily invested in SD cards so I just want the high performance option.
Maybe in 2-3 years when there’s a Z8ii?