Since the inception of Nikon’s digital camera system, there have always been two cameras in the professional range – one focused on sports and capturing images as quickly as possible, and the other offering more megapixels at a slower speed.
It’s been the way Nikon and other manufacturers have done things for decades – just look at the Fujifilm X-H2 and X-H2S (opens in new tab), one for resolution and one for speed. Among the best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab)s, Nikon has the incredible Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab)a camera that offers 8K video at 60 fps, and can shoot 120 frames per second with an 11 MP image.
But where is the high megapixel model? Coming Nikon Z8 next month (opens in new tab)? And what could a potential Nikon Z8 be equipped with to overcome the love and respect for Nikon’s latest professional high-megapixel DSLR ever, the Nikon D850 (opens in new tab)?
Below I’ve made some suggestions on what I’d like to see in the new Nikon Z8, having used professional Nikon gear in sports for over a decade and always opting for the high megapixel option to offer advertising clients the best possible image. What can the Nikon Z8 do to tempt DSLR users to convert up to Nikon’s mirrorless systems and retire our beloved Nikon D850s?
Nikon Z8: Specs we’d like to see
1. 60+ megapixel sensor
For some, this is probably the most common response when thinking about a Nikon Z8. Sony has already produced two cameras with a 61-megapixel sensor capable of producing stunning images and video. I think it’s only a matter of time before Nikon really hits home with a high megapixel sensor and I think it makes sense to use it here. But if this new high-resolution camera is going to be called the Z8, I’d also like to bet that Nikon’s engineers are trying to source an 80-megapixel sensor. That would make it a game changer, and of course blow the competition out of the water.
2. 8K 10-bit internal video recording
For this camera to be a high definition brother of the Nikon Z9 and to draw us DSLR lovers to the mirrorless system, the Nikon Z8 must offer something that we do not have, that is 8K, but not only 8K external, I want 8K 10- bit internal recording. If we were to see a 60, even 80 MP sensor, you will need massive media cards to store the wonderful images, why not take advantage of that and offer internal 8K 10-bit at the same time, so this could really be a high performance, high definition camera in every respect.
3. Dual CFexpress card slots
This may seem simple, but Nikon and others have a habit of choosing an SD card slot and then the main card is the more expensive option, in this case, say CFexpress. Nikon tried this method once before with the Nikon D5, offering it in either dual CF card or XQD variants. At the time, CF just seemed silly, because of the better performance and storage of XQD cards, while only big photo agencies chose the CF models because of their large infrastructure based on CF cards for decades.
If Nikon tries again, I’d like to see two CFexpress slots. If you pay for the higher resolution, you have to pay the price to store it as well.
4. High resolution mode
While we’re talking about a camera we don’t even know will exist, it’s hard to pick industry-proven methods that seem reasonable to include. But I think if a Nikon Z8 was made to be the high resolution mode to partner with the speed of the Nikon Z9, then let’s turn the megapixels to 100, literally, with a high resolution mode that takes 4 frames to produce true vivid 16-bit or even 32-bit color images at around 100 megapixels. This might sound crazy, but Panasonic has been using this technology in their latest flagships for a few generations now, offering up to 96MP images, so the technology is out there and the perfect possible!
5. Support for vertical video
While Nikon has finally championed video with the Nikon Z9’s 8K video and cinematic 4K options, I’d like to see Nikon add vertical video support to the equation. This is something Sony has recently done in its latest vlog camera, the Sony ZV-1F (opens in new tab), but I would like to see it added to larger professional cameras in the future. Many cinematographers are asked for material for social media, and while you can shoot everything in traditional 16:9 and reformat to 9:16 or 1:1 for social media platforms, having this feature built in saves you a lot of hassle. .
Of course, all of the above is my own personal checklist for a camera that we don’t really even know will be made, but the point above shows how far technology has come, and all 5 are not too far-fetched to never be a reality, even by today’s standards – will it cost an arm and a leg to own a Nikon Z8 with it having half these features, yes it probably would, but the Nikon Z9 is no chuck swap either…
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