Nikon Z9 is a mirrorless digital camera and the first flagship camera in Nikon’s lineup that is just going to blow your mind. It’s a high-end sports photography camera with a combination of speed, high ISO, and image quality.
I’ve always preferred Canon cameras but it really was different to work with the Z9 than any other camera that I’ve used before. It just was the speed of the tracks that really surprised me.
I want to tell you a little bit more about the pros and cons because there is so much information about Nikon Z9 after Nikon released it but also Sony released Sony A1 and Canon released EOS R3.
So before we get to the specs it’s really important what you’re looking for or what you’re more interested the Sony A1 or the Canon R3.
We have cameras without the mirror and mechanical shutter with a whole list of specs and see does Z9 can compare between the Sony A1 Canon R3 and Canon R5.
Nikon announced the Z9 saying that this full-frame flagship mirrorless camera will be a giant leap in technology and development. And there is a lot of information on the Z9 I’m going to talk about in this review about the Z9 all video capabilities.
I’ll be reviewing Z9 in this blog and looking at its autofocus and different aspects of it for stills photography from a point of view does Z9 fits in what it does with previous models like Nikon D5, Nikon D6 even Nikon D500 or D850. And I gotta say side by side having them in either hand the Z9 feels better built and the speed is just ridiculous.
After I tested this camera and did my first hands-on the Z9 it surprised me with its performance compared to the previous versions like mirrorless or DSLR cameras the main feature of this camera is its sensor with a quality of 45 megapixels.
This mirrorless camera is a professional sports photographer’s camera the speed was unreal it’s about 20 frames per second at full resolution with a buffer of over a thousand frames.
Nikon Z9 is a beast of a camera this is the best camera going into 2022 and this is my comprehensive Nikon Z9 review besides that the Z9 comes only with an electronic shutter and has no mechanical shutter.
So if we talk about the previous version Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 they’re all good cameras. After I spend a couple of hours and shot in nature to get some images they came out fantastic in my experience the best cameras I’ve ever shot.
After Sony released Sony Alpha A1 and so many professionals say that it’s a great camera I think the Z9 is going to blow the A1 because it’s a decent camera but you’re going to see that after you pick up the Z9.
Nikon Z9 will be a new flagship camera because this day’s Sony and Canon are competing in terms of technology in mirrorless cameras, lenses, and a lot of staff.
So, the specs of the Z9 and everything like the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 II of their lineup series is perfect. Nikon is the third brand company to build a pro-grade mirrorless camera around a fast readout.
Nikon has been working great and improved things like faster autofocus, great eye detect birds in flight, autofocus lots of animals and things like that all even motorsports.
But Z9 is coming with verticle crip just like Canon EOS R3 but Nikon Z9 is capable of 16 Bit Raw option and if you want to shoot at 16 bit you can enable 16 bit Raw.
The Z9 is the most customizable camera you can customize what tools are shown in the LCD and viewfinder you have complete control over everything displayed.
There are two types of virtual horizons, Type A with the customizable i-Menu, a total of 14 customizable buttons, and a dedicated voice memo button.
Table of Contents
1. Nikon Z9 Performance
Nikon Z9 specifications are really high so, if you want a perfect camera for your proper work Z9 is a great choice because many photographers moved from Z6, Z6 II, and Z7 II into Z9 for their style of work and shooting professional portraiture because of one of the new features like the four-axis tilting screen, built-in grip the LCD, and the image quality.
the Nikon Z9 can shoot 8k up to 30 frames per second the full pixel readout straight out of the box. There will be a firmware update which will be available for free to shoot 8k 60 frames. So, 30 frames per second it’s double what the Nikon D500 shoots but the price point for D500 is cheaper than Z9 and comes around $1500 and for Z9 is $5500.
It can also shoot 4K at 120 frames per second. So, a lot of these new cameras even the Sony A7S III and the Canon R5 can shoot 4K at 120 frames per second. The Nikon Z9 compares against the Canon R3 the Canon R5 and the Sony Alpha A1.
The Z9 could shoot 4k 10-bit, 4K 60p internally, ProRes 422 HQ is supported which was never before seen in stills cameras just like Canon EOS R5 and Sony A1.
the Z9 only has an electronic shutter which means the sensor can be exposed to the elements because the new sensor has the fastest scanning speeds that you’re going to have dramatically minimized rolling shutter and motion distortion which is perfect for a fast-moving.
the Nikon Z9 has high continuous shooting modes thanks to the brand new xspeed 7 processor. It has 20 frames per second in raw with a buffer of a thousand frames. It allows you to shoot in 30 frames per second in jpeg or 120 frames per second in jpeg at 11 megapixels.
Z9 body is blazing fast the focus is fast, the reaction time is fast, the shooting is rapidly fast.
2. Nikon Z9 Body
let’s start getting into some of the details around what this camera looks like
Nikon made a great body on Z9 with an LCD screen on the top with no buttons directly on top of the camera as we have with Canon R3 or Sony A1 because all the sony’s have buttons all over the top but on Z9 we have the buttons right around.
The layout looks pretty intuitive it is a durable magnesium alloy chassis with a beautiful graphic shape it has dust and moisture resistance as you would expect from a D5 and a D6. Z9 body is similar to Nikon D6 or a Canon EOS 1dx Mark III combined with Canon EOS R5 imaging, Sony A9 II AF.
Z9 has a great layout, and a great collection of buttons it also has illuminated buttons for the first time on the Z series that you can use in low-light situations.
Z9 has a larger screen than the D6 and the D6 uses a larger screen than the Sony A1. Z9 is described as a Nikon D6 body combined with Canon EOS R5, Sony A9 II autofocus, and a blackout-free EVF. it’s lighter and a bit smaller.
Z9 has a very solid body and well-built custom buttons, and 5-axis IBIS 1/5s is easily handing holdable than D5 and D6 because their vertical grips just weren’t always that deep on D5 and D6 but the price point of D6 is $6500 I think 6500 pricepoint is traditional for this format and Z9 costs $5500 only for the body.
The top of the mode dial has four buttons, there’s a dedicated joystick front/rear dials, ISO button, and customizable buttons for vertical shooting.
- more comfortable than a D6 and D5
- much easier to hold in the hand compared to D5 and D6
- much easier camera to shoot than D5 and D6
Z9 has dual CF express type B slots that give you much faster speed this is Kensington lock compatible one button multi-setting custom arrangements it supports voice memo, built-in GNSS also supports XQD.
Z9 also supports a 1000 base t-wired lawn connection so this is going to be faster than the D6. So if you are a photographer that needs to use FTP in a wired type configuration this is going to support a much faster transfer rate. Z9 also has a faster startup time 2.5 times faster than any of the z cameras according to Nikon.
Sony A1 also has two xqd cf express type b card slots and these cards are insanely so fast with incredible capacities on this and they’re not too expensive and this allows the camera to do so much more.
There’s the flash sync and 10-pin terminals on the side, there’s the ethernet, mic jack headphone jack, full-size HDMI, and USB-C ports.
Z9 has an integrated vertical grip for vertical orientation great for heat dissipation which allows the camera to shoot 8k for up to 2 hours and 5 minutes. And if you actually go into portrait mode or in photo mode the text on the screen will rotate.
If you think that Z9 is not for you because it’s sizeable and aggressive for some photographers you can check Sony A1. But it’s just a smart move from Nikon to make this camera more available to more photographers.
3. Nikon Z9 Batteries
in terms of the battery life, it’s a newer higher capacity battery that it’s incredibly good, from what I know the battery is huge you’re not gonna have too many issues the new battery that comes with the Z9 just blew my mind. It should give even better battery life.
The Nikon Z9 is compatible with EN-EL18 series batteries which is the same battery slot as the Nikon D5 and Nikon D6 that allows USB charging with a little more capacity and is a reason for people to look at Z9 instead of the Sony A1.
the Z9 will come with the EN-EL 18d which is rated for 700 frames per charge and is probably going to be the next step up on the el 18 series. Nikon has developed a new battery that has a higher milliamp lifespan you can shoot thousands of photos and you will have still over half a battery left on this camera system.
the battery life seems to last longest than expected I realized that inside the Z9 seems to be even more battery efficient it’s rated for a longer lifespan per charge.
Only when I do video the battery doesn’t last at all for me I needed to charge or to change batteries on these at least once.
Z9 battery is a lot larger and it’s not quite as big as the Nikon D5 or Nikon D6 it’s a little bit smaller but still ergonomically.
4. Nikon Z9 Autofocus
the Z9 autofocusing is very confidence inspiring it’s clearly the fastest autofocus tracking of any Nikon to date for me its a big departure from the Z6 and Z7.
The latest autofocus updates for the Nikon AF are a lot better and the Z9 takes that step even further which Nikon has impellent with some kind of intelligent autofocus AI system that can it determine whether it’s a human or a vehicle.
the Autofocus is quite fast it means twice better as the Canon EOS R3 and it has the same resolution as the Nikon D850 and the Nikon Z7 II and has lower ISO noise when shooting in low light.
Z9 is a mirrorless camera that supports some kind of object recognition it has 9 types of subject detection including people, animals, vehicles, and motorbikes. So the camera will recognize when you’re shooting an animal a human or a vehicle.
Nikon Z9 Autofocus Specs
- Phase detect
- Multi area center
- Selective single point tracking
- Face detection
- Live View
When comparing it against other cameras that are currently out there the autofocus is amazing also the capability overall. Nikon is the first company to create a camera that does really high megapixels at really high continuous shooting with really good low light.
Z9 has 10 times the processing power better from Z6 and even a dual-processor on Z7 II.
In terms of wildlife photography, the focus system allows the eye-tracking system to track the eyes of animals, birds, and even cars.
there’s a lot of nuances of this camera that will be quite new for some of the photographers that use Nikon mirrorless cameras because this camera is designed for high-speed photography the eye-tracking is fantastic for me Z9 is a lot better than shooting with the Z7 2 and the Z6 2.
the eye detection is advanced in the Z9 it has the ability to recognize a smaller eye in the frame and still detect it and keep it in sharp focus.
I tried the focus system on different types of animals and I found that the performance was outstanding even on birds the speeds of the focus system reacting to moving targets were amazing.
I realized that when the focus point was on the first eye there is also a secondary focus point on the second eye so if the eyes are not visible, the camera will succeed in determining the head of the subject accurately.
Nikon Z9 is going to be like a new images processor designed specifically for 8k video capability with improved autofocus better than Nikon D6, object detection with two card slots, cf express type b, and xqd card slot, ISO range from 64 to 25600 iso and also with better noise performance and dynamic range.
However, Z9 has better autofocus than Nikon Z6 Ii and Nikon Z7 II and more autofocus points than Nikon D5 and Nikon D6 really powerful what’s going on behind the scenes.
5. Z9 Image Quality
the image quality for years Nikon has some of the best color science out of any mirrorless camera system the image quality coming out of Z9 is beautiful even at higher iso. So even when you crank up the shutter speed the images are clean a lot of the resolutions are full pixel readouts in Z9.
so the image quality is amazing and when you go downsample to 4K the full pixel readout is going to give them excellent image quality christy.
Nikon D850 has absolutely insane image quality but now Z9 has increased its image quality which is going to be pretty amazing.
6. Z9 Dynamic Range
Nikon is known for its dynamic range and picture highlights so I think Nikon leads the field in dynamic range side by side so in the past Sony A7S III was one of the best dynamic range cameras with large pixels.
But after the Sony A1 came out destroys it with more megapixels and now the Sony A74 has a better dynamic range than both cameras.
So, Nikon increased the dynamic range on Z9 which is a 16-bit raw file so this is a big improvement for Nikon in its stacked CMOS which sony was the first one to really do stack CMOS sensors in Sony Alpha A9.
7. Z9 Video Specs
the video quality is excellent so this is a great feature on the Z9 that shoots 8k 30 frames per second and 4K at up to 120 frames per second. Something great you can shoot at 30 frames per second same as the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A1 and Canon R3 they are both capable of 30 frames per second so the focus of the video system on Z9 is very good it shoots at h265 10 bits.
So, many professional photographers say the Z7 II is one of the best image quality cameras on the market when we look at the dynamic range, and resolution and the Z9 has the same resolution it’s 45 megapixels.
But after I took some shots with Z9 for a short period of time when I was making some images I think they blew me away. So most of the shots I shot in raw jpeg files was so crisp and clean because of the dynamic range.
I thought honestly the Z7 II is an amazing camera but Z9 takes a step higher and the detail from those images was so incredibly sharp with amazing looking.
Z9 boasts 8k video internally it has a new updated autofocus system with 493 focus points and 3D detection with subject tracking.
With video features for Z9, you’re gonna get 8k 30 frames per second 10-bit internal end log and hlg raw formats. In comparison, the Nikon Z7 II gives you 8-bit internal and the Nikon Z6 2 gives you around 12-bit.
8. Nikon Z9 Electronic Shutter
Z9 is the first camera in this class to abandon the mechanical shutter entirely, particularly the Z9 appears to be Nikon’s answer to a mirrorless high-end camera equivalent of the Nikon D6.
The Z9 electronic shutter covers a range from 900 seconds to 1/32000 the Z9 controls the rolling shutter better in photos than in the video.
Nikon Z9 Specs
- full HDMI port
- mic port
- headphone port
- 10 pin port for Nikon accessories
- USB 3.2 Gen1 connection ethernet
- pc sync
- Lens Mount – Nikon Z
- Focal Length Mult 1X
- 4-Axis vertical/horizontal tilting Touchscreen monitor
- Articulated LCD Size 3.2″ Resolution 2,100,000 Dot
- Format H.264, H.265
- Storage Types N/A
- Two XQD/CFX Type B memory card slots
- Nikon Battery EN-EL18X
- Gbit lan, USB-C, WI-FI, GPS
9. Nikon Z9 Sensor
After I did a bunch of different tests this camera has the world’s fastest sensor readout Z9 is a 45.7 mp full-frame pro which is really different from the Canon R3 it’s only about 24 megapixels.
So, if you are a Nikon D6 user which is a 20 megapixel it’s going to be a really smart move to upgrade to the Z9 because this camera is good for sports photography, landscapes, studio work, and wildlife it’s the first camera on the Z series from Nikon that has a sensor shield.
Z9 has a high-speed 8k shooting with BSI stacked CMOS sensor just like in the A9, the A9 II, and now in the Sony A1. All of those cameras have stack sensors like Sony A7R IV, Sony A7 IV is out also Sony A7 III is here canon came out with Canon R5 and Canon R6 and they’re going to have a stacked sensor.
Z9 has a brand new processor the xspeed 7 which is 10 times faster than in the previous cameras and the readout of the sensor is up to 12 times faster than previous cameras the dual xspeed 6 in a Z6 II and also in Z7 II. The Z9 has the same resolution as the Nikon Z7 II but double the price the sensor is completely new stacked.
Design data processing is 12x faster data readout than the acclaimed Nikon Z7 II and absolutely spectacular image quality in stills and 8K videos, which enables 4K 120p and 10-bit with zero cropping.
Nikon Z9 sensor is designed by Nikon itself especially to bring ultra-high-resolution image quality to high-speed shooting and with its 45mp sensor, this camera is going to perform better in higher iso and low light situations.
10. Nikon Z9 Weight
In terms of the body weight, Z9 comes in at 1.1 kilograms without the battery if you include the battery this camera will weigh up to 1.4 kilograms. 1 340 grams which I found to be heavier than the R3 and the Sony A1. Its strong and solid camera it’s really heavy it’s within range of the Nikon D6 about 60 grams lighter.
11. Nikon Z9 Viewfinder
It’s got a round viewfinder with 3.69 million dots, the resolution is outclassed by some of its peers it’s super bright though, reaching 3000 nits.
it’s definitely has a well-built screen the previous models D6s and D5s never had a flip-out screen like this before. It can actually feel blinding when indoors but it’s awesome to use under bright sunlight.
The screen is not changed much either, it’s the same basic screen as the Nikon Z6 2 and Nikon Z7 2 being a 3.2 inch 2.1 million dot display but in comparison far more than the 3 inch 1million dot of the Sony A1.
- not the highest resolution viewfinder
- the world’s brightest electronic viewfinder
- three times brighter than any other viewfinder from any other manufacturer
but not up to the 3.2 inches 4.1 million dots of the R3 however while the A1 display is only tiltable up and down and the Nikon R3 is hinged fully articulating.
the Z9 is fitted with a 4-axis screen basically it’s a bracket fitted onto a bracket it can tilt up and down just like the Sony A1.
On the back is just like the Nikon D6 and still 2.1M dots. With the Z9 tilt screen you can tilt it up, down, and upwards like Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 is when using vertically the top screen is bigger than on the Z6 and Z7.
Also, you can flip it into portrait mode or you can vary the angle like you can on the Nikon D850 and Nikon D500.
for people who shoot some video and would want to choose between the Canon R3 with its much more versatile flip screen but the difference between them is the R3 doesn’t shoot 8K.
The Sony Alpha A1 has 30 frames per second and 50 megapixels and shoots 8k at 30 frames per second 50 percent more frames per second than the Nikon Z9.
So, Sony has a huge advantage over Z9 in this feature but Sony A1 only has a tilt screen whereas the Z9 has a two-way tilting screen.
These cameras produce very similar results but at very different price points. The R5 is better for hybrid shooters and shoots 8K at a measly 30 frames per second while the Nikon Z9 advertises 60 frames per second.
Or if you want to go with the cheapest camera like Panasonic Lumix G7, Sony A7R II, or Sony A7R III.
12. Nikon Z9 Price
Nikon has come in at this killer price from this monster of $5500 a ridiculous price so if you can’t wait to get one I will be sharing a link it’s not an affiliate I don’t do affiliates for now.
is it worth the price difference is the Z9 a killer video camera I think that It outshines from a capability standpoint definitely we have got a really killer video camera Z9 has a flip screen rather than a tilt screen.
If you are one of them who expect the price range of this camera to be around $5500 with improved noise levels and better dynamic range.
If we compare Canon R3 has a 24-megapixel sensor and Z9 has 45.7 mp they are different in price Canon R3 comes around $6000 and Z9 comes around $5500.
So what Nikon has done especially at this price point because Nikon released a camera that Z9 exceeds the abilities of the current Z6 and the Z7 II and represents a true step-up to the previous cameras that we’ve seen in the Z mirrorless lineup.
13. Nikon Z9 Release Date
According to sources inside Nikon, the Z9 is expected to be released at the end of 2021 probably in between November and December.
- 3D tracking with subject detection
- Word’s Fastest scanning speed
- everything on Z9 is incredibly fast
- High resolution blackout free EVF
- Object detection AF
- The USB-C port supports power delivery
- Autofocus can detect eyes on distant faces and tracks fast action from far to near
- Ability to detect 9 different subject types
- 8K UHD Video lets you catch every subject
- no 30 min limit when shooting in 8K
- Electronic Shutter with longest exposure time of 1sec
- Expeed processor
- High continuous shooting modes
- Readout time of CMOS second with rolling shutter
- Clear subject confirmation in bright scenes
- showing a hot card warning with the temperature 35°C
- No mechanical shutter
- the card has a heat issue
- Has exposure problems in 120 fps
the Z9 is a ridiculously good camera all the specs that have come out it has silent shooting and the fastest scan rate of any camera on the market it scans the sensor faster so you have a less rolling shutter. it has less rolling shutter than any other camera on the market which is fantastic.
this is a professional camera this is what a camera is supposed to be it does everything this thing is an awesome beast of a camera, Z9 is just like Nikon D6 or Nikon D5 in a mirrorless body.
So, I give you everything I know about Z9 technology for autofocus and we’ll see whatever is into their other cameras like the Z7 II and Nikon Z6 II.
So, if you don’t know what camera to pick up it depends on what you do if you shoot portraits you can go with Nikon D6, Nikon D850 or Z7 II. But with the Z9 it does it all has even a higher frame rate than Z6 II and Z7 II you could shoot sports, weddings, or portraits.
So, if you haven’t used an integrated grip flagship camera before concerning what camera to choose between Z9, Z7 II, D5, or maybe D850.
So, those cameras often are compared to the next level but the Z9 I think is better than the Z7 II and in my experience has the best build quality of any of those cameras.
In my testing experience, Z9 was so much better than using a Z7 or Z6 it worked really well pretty close to the Canon and to the Sony cameras. So Z9 is not a camera from Nikon that is going to surpass the R3 and the A1 and the competitors.
Z9 is a camera more affordable than the Nikon D850 and people who want to spend around $5500 for that and need a version that’s going to replace your Z7s and your Z6’s.
So that was all about the leaks and Nikon Z9 rumors so I think it’s definitely going to get enough attention among the users.
Nikon Z9 Firmware Update 2.0 April 2022
- Format N Raw 4.1K 120p
- 8K N Raw supported only in FX based video format
- Fine ISO Control provides 1/6th stop increments
- Optional 120 fps refresh rate for EVF
- Pre Release Capture Mode
- UHD and DCI Support
- 8K UHD 7680 x 4320
- 8K DCI 8192 x 4320
- Create Custom AF Box Area
- Shot on Pre Production Firmware
- Custom Wide Area AF
- Must select 5 images for motion blend to work properly
- Worlds Fastest Scanning Speed
- ISO Fine Tuning
- Waveform Monitoring
- Red Record indicator
- Skip to first frame
- New Information Display
- Pre Release Burst
- Motion Blend
- Programmable focus buttons
- New EVF Dim Levels
Nikon Z9 is developed to be a major technological leap for still photographers it considering powerful video features such as 8K that respond for all kinds of content creators.
I think the Z9 will probably be the best camera for the next years out of any camera manufacturer canons and all the Sony cameras. The Z9 has the best set of video features in its class.
The great things about this camera are the speed which is really fast, the readout is going to be so fast it’s basically eliminating the rolling shutter. The image quality, and the viewfinder because Z9 does not offer blackout. So it doesn’t lose track of the subject this camera is the best available these days.
Z9 felt pretty much similar to the Z7 ii in my opinion compared to the D5 and D6 with the battery and cards being a hundred grams heavier. So what do you think about Nikon Z9 I think this is a great camera for the Nikon industry.
|Release Date||28 October 2021|
|Body Type||SLR Style Mirrorless|
|Sensor Type||Full Frame Stacked CMOS|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 23.9mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8256 x 5504|
|Color Filter Array||Bayer|
|Image Stabilization||5 Axis 6.0 Stops|
|Lens Mount||Nikon Z|
|Focal Lenght Multyplier||1x|
|Screen Type||Articulated Tilting LCD|
|Screen Resolution||2,088,960 dots|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic Oled|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3,686,400 dots|
|Shutter Type||Electronic Controlled Vertical traverse|
|Shutter Speed||Min 900|
|Exposure Compensation||+/-5 at 1/3 EV,|
Full HD 120
|Video Format||H.264, H.265|
|Storage Type||XQD CFexpress Type B|
|Connectivity||USB 3.2 Gen1 / 5GBit /sec|
|Wireless Transmitter||802.3u/ab / 5 GHz|
|Dimension||149 x 150 x 91mm|
How much will Nikon Z9 cost?
the Z9 will also match the price of the Sony A1 so the price might fall between $5000 and $5500 to and hopefully, we are going to get the Nikon Z9 within the last quarter of this year
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