May 10th

I called it the Z7 III back in October, but it was the same idea.

Well it’s finally coming: on May 10th Nikon will announce what I expect to be my next full-frame camera, the Z8. According to rumors, the Z8 will be a “miniature Z9” with the same 46 MP sensor without mechanical shutter, the same advanced autofocus system, the same 20 fps RAW shooting capability, and similar 8K video features. This will be packed into a new body that’s smaller than the Z9 but more robust than the Z7; a true D850 successor. I expect the price to come in under $4,000.

If all that turns out to be true, I’ll have an exciting camera to buy. The Z8 would be the highest resolution camera with a stacked sensor in that price range, beating out Sony’s 24 MP A9 II in resolution. It would match that camera’s 20 fps continuous shooting speed, match its 3.6 M dot viewfinder, and exceed its 4K video capability. It would provide nearly identical specs to the Canon R5 (except for the EVF) and would improve on the R5’s rolling shutter.

What it won’t beat is Sony’s 61 MP A7V, at least in resolution. It blows it away in terms of continuous shooting speed and rolling shutter though. While I’ll be completely happy if the rumors are true, I’m still hoping for a little more from Nikon. The A9 II and R5 were released in 2019 and 2020, respectively, so it would be nice to see Nikon exceed them a bit.

Maybe 30 fps RAW or a 61 MP stacked sensor? Each of those would cannibalize sales of the Z9 though, so I don’t know if it would happen. Perhaps Nikon could release two models – one at 46 MP / 20 fps and another at 61 MP 10 fps. They’ve done it before with the D1H / D1X, the D2H / D2X, D3X / D3S. That wouldn’t really push the envelope though. Perhaps there will be an improved autofocus system that’s even better than the Z9. Perhaps they’ll find a way to recover some of the dynamic range lost by the fast sensor. Perhaps it will be a 61 MP 30 fps RAW beast! Perhaps, perhaps.

I’d love to see Nikon surprise its competitors for this one. We’ll find out on May 10.

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