Nikon Z9 Flagship Development Announcment What do we know (and what we can speculate) about the upcoming Nikon Z9

Nikon published a development announcement regarding an upcoming high-end full-size flagship mirrorless camera called the Z9.

This is only an early announcement and it will likely take some time before the camera will actually be released let alone reach the market but it should help insure some users that Nikon is committed to its professional audience and its needs.

What Nikon actually shared about the upcoming Z9

As mentioned above Nikon only shared little information on the upcoming Z9 – here is the summary of what was shared:

  • The Z9 will utilize a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor.
  • The Z9 will have a new image-processing engine.
  • The camera will support 8K video recording.
  • The Z9 will be released in 2021.

You can see the only official picture of the upcoming Nikon Z9 below

Nikon Z9 front

Z9 Speculations

In the above video, photographer Matt Granger brings his own perspective about the upcoming Z9. As a Nikon user for many years and one which used many of the company’s top cameras, he is in a unique position to comment about the upcoming camera.

The first speculation that Granger has is that the sensor in the Z9 will be either similar or even identical to that of the Sony A1. This makes a lot of sense in a stacked CMOS FF sensor. These sensors are very expensive to design and manufacture and given the fact that Nikon used Sony sensors many times in the past (including some even before Sony itself), it makes sense.

At least in theory the Nikon Z9 can be faster in some aspects than the A1 since Nikon is using CFexpress type B cards which are almost twice as fast as the CFexpress type A that Sony uses. Of course, having an ultra-fast card doesn’t mean that the camera itself can shoot over 30 frames per second, but this is at least an option.

Besides the specs, looking at the full-body image of the Z9 (which is very reminiscent of its flagship D4/5/6 line), it is a question of how many photographers would actually prefer such a large camera body in the mirrorless age.

It is clear that there are some professionals who are used to this style and size of the body but are there enough of them to justify the Z9 (especially given Nikon’s current financial situation), that is certainly not clear.

This is also going right against Sony which chooses to keep the same (actually almost the same) body design of its previous cameras with its flagship A1 model. This has its drawbacks, however, in terms of manufacturing costs, components, etc. it is a much more economic decision on Sony’s part.

At the moment there is no exact release date (other than 2021) or pricing and it is not even clear if the camera will be available for the (postponed) summer Olympic games in Japan in July.

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