Nikon has announced a new full-frame mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z 8. The new camera inherits many features from the flagship mirrorless Z 9 camera. The Z 8 is around 30% smaller. However, and Nikon describes it as the true successor to the Z850.
The Nikon Z 8 is built around a full-frame FX-format 45.7-megapixel BSI stacked image sensor. This has a scan rate so fast that the Z 8 doesn’t need a mechanical shutter. It also means video from the camera has virtually no rolling shutter distortion. In addition, the Z 8 is powered by Nikon’s EXPEED 7 image processing engine.
The Z 8 can shoot video up to 8K 60 fps in Nikon’s N-RAW format. The N-RAW video format gives approximately a 50% smaller file size and also creates a 1080p proxy file for easier editing. In 4K UHD, the camera records oversampled 24p and 30p, as well as frame rates as high as 120p with sound. In addition, Nikon says that the Z 8 can record for up to 125 minutes in 4K UHD 60 fps and up to 90 minutes in 8K UHD 30 fps. The limiting factor appears to be overheating if you want to record for longer.
Internal 12-bit RAW
Nikon’s Z 8 can record 12-bit RAW footage internally as ProRes RAW 4K 60 fps or up to 8K 60 fps in N-RAW. You can also choose to shoot in 10-bit ProRes 4:2:2 HQ. The Z 8 has a good selection of color profiles available in-camera, including an enhanced N-Log, HLG and the Flat color profile, which is great for color grading. The Z 8 has dual card slots with one CF Express Type B / XQD option and one SD option.
Other video features
The Z 8 is packed with features that are essential for video. These include focus peaking, zebras, waveform and fine ISO control to ensure your footage is in focus and correctly exposed. The camera has a highly visible red REC frame indicator, so you can easily see that it is recording. There is also a Hi-res digital zoom feature available when shooting in 4K. In addition, you can take advantage of a linear focus capability with many NIKKOR Z lenses. The Z 8 can record in 24-bit stereo, so your videos will sound as good as they look.
The Z 8 is constructed from a new pro-grade carbon fiber composite and magnesium alloy. This helps to reduce weight and enhance durability. In addition, the camera is fully sealed and gasketed for dust and drip resistance. The optical filter also includes a dual coating to repel dust in front of the sensor, and there is a sensor shield to protect the sensor when the camera is turned off. The Z8 will operate down to -10 degrees C or 14 degrees F.
What we think
The new Nikon Z 8 has impressive video credentials. Although 8K video might seem overkill for many jobs, it gives lots of room to reframe in post-production if you are delivering in 4K. Very high resolutions are also great for VFX work. In addition, the small form factor and internal RAW recording also make the Z 8 ideal for gimbal use. However, it would work well as the main camera for many different shooting scenarios, including events, weddings, corporate videos, documentaries or even independent cinema.
Pricing and availability
The Nikon Z 8 full-frame mirrorless camera will be available from May 25, 2023. It is set to retail at $3,999. Nikon is also releasing a new MB-N12 battery grip that provides around 1.8x more battery life, priced at $349.