What is it that distinguishes a pro from an enthusiast? Is it their skill? Well, yeah. But beyond their skill is their choice of gear. Sure, a pro can use an entry-level camera to produce amazing footage. However, upping the ante when it comes to equipment is what allows the pros to produce something extraordinary. Using a top-of-the-line camera grants videographers that opportunity. The Z9, Nikon’s new flagship camera, delivers those extraordinary features that pros look for. We’re going to cover 5 reasons pro videographers are choosing the Nikon Z9.
The autofocus is off the charts
One of the most notable features of the Nikon Z9 is the autofocus. For the AF in the Z9, Nikon developed an algorithm that uses “deep learning” to track the “world’s largest range of subjects.” We’re talking people, animals and pretty much any type of moving vehicle or transportation — all without any menu changes.
The AF and Auto Exposure (AE) calculations of the Z9 are made at 120 cycles per second with rapid communication between the lens and the camera. This makes tracking the smallest of subjects easy. The Z9 also features Nikon’s 3D tracking, which works in alignment with the new algorithmic autofocus. It also features 12 new Wide-Area AF options in video mode.
The subject detection and AF work down to -6.5 EV. If Starlight Mode is activated, focus can work all the way down to -8.5 EV.
So, whether you’re filming a bird in the sky, fast-paced sports or a night-time scene, the Z9 delivers, making it one of the best options on the market for professional videographers.
Corey Rich, filmmaker and Nikon ambassador, is impressed with the autofocus compatibility and translation to video.”Watching the autofocus system kick in on the Z9 is a huge benefit. I mean, it turns out the camera is better at focusing than we are. And it’s kind of a new way of thinking that you can use autofocus in video.”
Shoot up to 8K 12-bit video with N-Log internal capture
The next feature that gives the Z9 that “wow factor” is its shooting capabilities.
The Nikon Z9 features N-RAW and allows for shooting up to 8K 12-bit video. It also allows for unlimited internal capture of 8K 30p without overheating. The Z9 also offers 12-bit shooting in ProRes Raw HQ.
The Z9 has the ability to record 10-bit 4K footage at 24, 25 and 30p as ProRes HQ or H.265 video. It also has the ability to record 8-bit footage as H.264 4:2:0 and H.265 (HEVC) 4:2:0.
The Z9 can also create dramatic 4K UHD slow-motion sequences up to 120p. In many cameras, shooting in such high resolutions leads to overheating issues. But the Z9 has an innovative design that allows for efficient heat dissipation; it can capture high-quality footage without the worry of overheating.
Jerry Ghionis, a pro filmmaker and Nikon ambassador, is beyond impressed with the Z9’s shooting capabilities.
“I’m getting shots that I’ve never gotten before because I can totally trust this new technology. It records dense 10-bit 4K UHD footage in-camera with full pixel readout from the Z9’s outstanding sensor at 24, 25 and 30p as ProRes 422 HQ or H.265 video. Or create dramatic 4K UHD slow-motion sequences up to 120p. A 2.3x crop format with full pixel readout is available for getting closer to your subject without changing lenses.”
Jerry also believes the Z9 can capture excellent low-light footage: “I have confidence that this camera can perform in low light at ridiculous ISOs, catch contrast, catch focus. And it’s been the camera that we’ve been really waiting for and yearning for. “
Another important feature pro videographers look for in a camera is the ability to capture the smoothest footage possible. So, having excellent stabilization and vibration reduction is essential.
The Z9 features 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization. In-body sensor stabilization is another feature that allows pros to work more efficiently since the stabilization translates to most if not all compatible lenses.
Another notable feature of the Z9 is its processing engine, EXPEED 7. This is the most powerful Nikon processing engine to date and is 10 times faster than previous generations. EXPEED 7 separately processes dual-streamed data from the stacked image sensor. This new processing engine is another feature that helps with vibration reduction in the Z9.
EXPEED 7 improves electronic VR for video recording, correcting trapezoid distortion from wide-angle lenses and allowing for smooth handheld walking shots. VR lock secures the sensor in place to prevent jostling when shooting.
The Z9 shoots at shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 second in complete silence, which leaves no shutter vibration and no concerns about shutter wear.
Dual media slots
Another feature that pros look for in their cameras is dual media slots. For the average videographer, one card slot might be enough. But, having two slots is beneficial for the pros. Having dual slots is essential when shooting 8K video, as cards fill up quickly.
The Nikon Z9 features two matched slots that are optimized for CFExpress Type B cards. The two slots are independent of one another, so they can load cards with different write speeds—including XQD cards. These dual slots allow for maximum capacity and write speed.
Large lens selection
When it comes to shooting video, choosing the right lens makes all the difference. Lenses add that extra “oomph” and allow the pros to produce even higher-quality footage. The kind of lens a pro uses largely depends on the kind of work they are shooting. A run-and-gun or documentary shooter will require a different lens than a filmmaker looking for a more cinematic look or a sports videographer looking for an up-close shot.
The good news is that the Z9 is compatible with a wide range of lenses, making it compatible with many styles of shooting. Currently, there are 31 lenses available with two tele-extenders and two FTZ lens adapters.
Shannon Wild, an award-winning wildlife photographer and cinematographer, is beyond impressed with the Z9 and its shooting abilities, as well as the range of compatible lenses. “The combination of the Z9 and Z range of lenses, I wasn’t even aware that this kind of clarity and sharpness was achievable.” Shannon has an impressive portfolio and has worked with companies such as National Geographic.
The Z9 features the Z mount. However, there is a massive selection of convertible F-mount lenses that can be adapted to work with the Z9.
Wrapping it up
After taking a look at some of the best features of the Z9, it’s evident why it’s Nikon’s new flagship camera; it has what the pros in the industry are looking for. The Nikon Z9 offers a robust line of features that are beneficial to videographers in various arenas, whether they are filmmakers or videographers. The Z9 really takes it all to the next level with its 8K shooting capabilities and incredible autofocus features.
The Nikon Z9 is an excellent camera that professionals stand behind, but it’s not just for the pros. The Z9 has features that would benefit videographers and filmmakers across the board.