The new Nikon Z8 is almost a Z9 in a smaller package

It looks like you can pretty much call this the Z9 compact.

by Justin Choo

Nikon’s new Z8 is more compact than the flagship Z9, and yet boasts a similar level of advanced performance.

Losing the built-in battery grip, the Z8 weighs in at roughly 910g. It’s a fair exchange for a much smaller body (it’s also smaller than the D850)  and you can purchase the MB-N12 Power Battery Pack if you miss the added capacity and functionality. The Z8 is also the first in the Z series to offer two USB terminals–one for power and one for data–to improve the reliability of the connection.

The Z8, which sports a 45.7MP Stacked CMOS sensor and an EXPEED 7 processor, is engineered with videographers in mind. This hybrid shooter can manage up to approximately 125 minutes of recording time in 4K UHD/60p and up to approximately 90 minutes of recording time in 8K UHD/30p. In addition, the camera is fitted with a 4-axis vertical/horizontal tilting monitor and will display information according to the orientation of the camera. The Z8 supports a wide variety of video formats ranging from 12-bit N-RAW and ProRes RAW to 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 HQ and 8-bit H265 SDR in-camera recording.

Capturing the moment

The Z8 is also equipped with several useful features that aid photographers in capturing that decisive moment. This includes flagship-class features such as a sensor shield to keep the sensor clean while switching lenses, a Real-Live Viewfinder that display subject motion in real-time with no blackout, a Vibration Reduction (VR) system that provides up to six stops in shutter speed (equivalent) when the in-camera VR and Sychro VR are engaged.

The Z8 has a Pre-Release Capture that is available when High-Speed Frame Capture+ is enabled–you can record up to one second before or up to four seconds after the shutter button is fully pressed. Furthermore, the autofocus can detect roughly 3% of the human face size in the frame, making it easier to track your subject in a sea of faces. Subject detection also works in 3D-tracking, auto-area autofocus (AF), or 20 types of custom wide-area AF (12 types in video), and even in dark conditions, it manages an AF detection range of -7 EV (-9 to 19 EV in starlight view mode).

The AF is also able to identify and track up to nine different kinds of subjects quickly and reliably, including aeroplanes regardless of magnification, thanks to a new addition to the AF subject detection menu. The new dedicated Airplane mode provides more stable detection even in low-light situations or when the background is cluttered.

Post-editing features

The Z8 has been given several features that are centred around portraiture. A skin softening feature auto-detects human faces and softens the skin while keeping eyes and hair sharp. Users can apply the effect for videos, live streaming, and stills. The portrait impression balance effect also enhances portraits in-camera by adjusting the hue and brightness. In addition, the enhanced auto white balance (AWB) helps to reduce colour cast while an intuitive user interface for adjusting colour temperatures will help users achieve more beautiful depictions.

Unfortunately, we have not been given any details regarding the local price and availability of the Z8. As a yardstick, the international price has been listed as USD3,999 (approx. SGD5,352).

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