Nikon has announced the Nikon Z8, a pro-spec full-frame mirrorless camera that places practically the same feature set as the flagship Nikon Z9 into a smaller, lighter and lower-priced body. The firm is billing the new camera as the true successor to the D850 DSLR, and as such it’s aimed at professional and serious enthusiast users pursuing subjects as diverse as portraits, weddings, events, wildlife, and landscapes, while shooting both still images and video.

Externally, the Z8 looks very much like the Z9, just without a vertical grip. As a result, it weighs 910g, compared to 1340g for the Z9. The trade-off is that it’s powered by the smaller EN-EL15-type battery. Internally, the Z8 employs all the same core components and technologies as the Z9. Highlights include a 45.7MP full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, Expeed 7 processor, intelligent subject-recognition autofocus, and 8K 60p video recording. It promises pro build quality, including extensive weathersealing and illuminated buttons for shooting on low light.

Nikon Z8 back view

Nikon Z8 back view. Credit: Nikon

Like the Z9, the Nikon Z8 is built without a mechanical shutter. Instead it relies entirely on an ultra-fast, silent electronic shutter that promises minimal subject distortion, along with speeds as fast as 1/32,000sec. This also enables blackout-free viewing during continuous shooting, with the camera capable of 20 frames per second in raw, with a buffer of over 1000 frames. Full-resolution JPEGs can be recorded at 30fps, and 11MP files at a staggering 120fps. All this while tracking focus on the selected subject, with the camera capable of recognising people, animals (including cats, dogs, and birds), and vehicles (cars, motorbikes, bicycles, trains and airplanes).

Video specs are every bit as impressive as for stills. Nikon claims the Z8 can record in 8K resolution at 30fps for 90 minutes, or in 4K 60p for 2 hours, without overheating. There’s a wide choice of video formats, with the camera capable of recording in 10-bit colour using either the H.265 or Apple ProRes 422 HQ codecs, with both Hybrid Log Gamma and N-Log on hand for colour grading in post-production. For even higher quality, it supports ProRes RAW and N-RAW, both with 12-bit colour. Stereo audio is recorded in 24-bit depth at 48kHz.

Nikon Z8 top view

Nikon Z8 top view. Credit: Nikon

In terms of control layout, the Nikon Z8 is near identical to the Z9, just without the extra buttons on the vertical grip. It also employs the same the same viewfinder and 3-way tilting screen. One noteworthy difference, though, is that while there are still two card slots, only one takes CFExpress Type B (or XQD), while the other accepts cheaper UHS-II SD media. In a first for Nikon, there are dual USB-C sockets, one for charging the camera or powering the camera, and the other for connectivity, either to a computer or the ethernet by USB-LAN.

The Nikon Z8 is due to go on sale on 25th May for $3999 / £3999 body-only.

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From Nikon:


Nikon Z8 with 24-120mm lens

Nikon Z8 with 24-120mm lens. Credit: Nikon

London, United Kingdom, 10th May, 2023: Today, Nikon adds the powerful and agile Z 8 to its range of professional Z series mirrorless cameras. Packing a host of Z 9 features into a lightweight body, the all-new Z 8 gives hybrid video/stills creators astounding flexibility with which to bring their vision to life.

With its incredible blend of class-leading performance and compact build, the Z 8 is an exciting follow up to the Z 9 and a true creative successor to the D850. Weighing just 910 g (approx.), the Z 8 body is 30 % smaller than the Z 9 and 15 % smaller than the D850. It’s the perfect hybrid camera for creators who want a lighter body for shooting handheld or a full-frame camera that will balance perfectly on any rig, including most gimbals.

A veritable video and stills powerhouse, the Z 8’s 45.7 megapixel stills resolution and 8.3K native video resolution open so many possibilities. The same stacked CMOS sensor and EXPEED 7 processor as the Z 9 ensure spectacular image quality straight out of the camera, giving creators maximum flexibility to adjust to anyworkflow. Video can be recorded in an array of frame rates and codecs, including in-camera 12-bit RAW for video up to 8.3K/60p or 4.1K/120p. Stills shooters can work with an array of file sizes and burst speeds, including an astounding 120 fps. For HDR content creators, the camera records 10-bit HEIF stills and 10-bit HLG video.

The smaller, lighter body doesn’t sacrifice reliability: the Z 8 boasts pro-grade weather sealing, and the same cold tolerance as Nikon’s flagship D6 and Z 9 cameras, ensuring reliable performance in low temperatures. The Z 8 is also the first Nikon mirrorless camera to feature two USB-C ports, which makes it possible to transfer files quickly while charging. Beyond the camera, there’s a NIKKOR Z lens for every idea and budget, and partner accessories from gimbals to mics and more.

Dirk Jasper, Product Manager, Nikon Europe, says: “The Z 8 brings a whole new level of agility to our professional line-up. Its powerful and flexible video and stills capabilities make it a true hybrid workhorse while its compact body answers the needs of a wide range of shooters. The camera does so much, you’ll be able to meet any creative challenge with ease.”

Summary of key features: Z 8

Video: records pristine 8K or 4K video and boasts numerous space-saving, time-saving features. Users can shoot 12-bit RAW footage in-camera and work with Nikon’s N-RAW files, which are half the size of a ProRes RAW HQ file. In-camera Full-HD proxy files are created when shooting internal 8.3K N-RAW or 4.1K ProRes RAW HQ.

Stills: captures exquisite 45.7 MP stills with stunning dynamic range, and boasts flexible burst speeds up to an insanely fast 120 fps with full AF/AE and no viewfinder blackout. Dedicated portrait features let photographers fine-tune hue and brightness, or soften the look of skin.

Stacked 45.7 MP full-frame CMOS sensor: designed by Nikon to deliver ultra-high-resolution image quality. Achieves the world’s fastest scanning speed, which combines with the electronic shutter to virtually eliminate rolling shutter distortion. (1)

EXPEED 7: powers the camera’s lightning-fast focusing, smooth video, and high burst speeds. Handles complex AF and AE calculations at unprecedented speed, and separately processes dual-streamed data from the stacked image sensor.

Deep-learning AF: precision detection and tracking for people, dogs, cats, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, and planes. Subject detection and AF work down to -9 EV for video and stills. Eyes stay in focus, even if a subject is moving fast and upside down. Faces will be in sharp focus even if the scene is strongly backlit.

Real-live viewfinder and tilting monitor: smooth blackout-free viewfinder thanks to dual-stream technology. Bright, 4-axis tilting touchscreen monitor.

HDR content ready: shoots 10-bit HEIF stills and 10-bit HLG video. Content is instantly viewable on HDR screens, no editing necessary.
Two USB-C ports and dual card slots: separate USB power and communication terminals for quick transfers while charging. Dual card slots for flexible shooting and storage.

Handling: deep, comfortable grip. Separate display interfaces for video and stills. Menus rotate if shooting vertically.

Light and tough: weighs just 910 g (approx.), and high-performance weather sealing keeps out dust, dirt, and moisture (2). The same cold tolerance as Nikon’s flagship D6 and Z 9 cameras means you can shoot reliably in temperatures down to -10°C/14°F.

Optional vertical battery grip: Nikon’s new Power Battery Pack MB-N12 can be used as a grip for vertical shooting, or to counterbalance telephoto lenses, as well as for extended all-day shooting.

(1) Among mirrorless cameras incorporating an image sensor with 30 megapixels or larger as of May 2023, based on Nikon research.
(2) The camera is not guaranteed to be dust- and drip-resistant in all situations and under all conditions.