Compact, Lightweight, Powerful
The Nikon Z8 is a small, light camera that incorporates much of the technology found in the Z9 but in a sleeker, more portable body. It was built using flagship DNA. The Z8, dubbed the "ultimate hybrid camera," has a new body design that is better suited for gimbal use, event photography, and other handheld applications. It still has the same tested sensor, processing, and AF capabilities as the flagship.
Flagship Sensor and Processing
45.7MP Stacked BSI CMOS Sensor
The FX-format 45.7MP BSI stacked CMOS sensor, which uses the same sensor as the Z9, offers a practical combination of resolution, quick readout times, impressive clarity, and little noise. When working at the top end of the extended ISO 32-102400 range, the BSI designation ensures improved noise levels while the stacked design helps to reduce rolling shutter. Additionally, the 45.7MP resolution and full-frame sensor size strike a sweet spot that benefits photographers who specialize in genres that emphasize fine detail and makes it possible to record video at resolutions as high as 8K.
EXPEED 7 Image Processor
The EXPEED 7 processing engine, which provides speeds roughly 10 times faster than a Z7 II, works in tandem with the sensor to complete the device. A high buffer capacity, fluid video performance, impressively quick AF speeds, burst shooting rates, and quick all-around handling are made possible by this engine in combination with the stacked sensor design.
- Top continuous shooting rates of 20 frames per second when shooting in raw, 30 frames per second when shooting in JPEG, 60 frames per second when shooting 19 MP JPEGs using a DX area, and an impressive 120 frames per second when recording 11 MP stills, all of which support full AF/AE performance.
- able to store over 1000 raw images in a burst, allowing continuous recording of raw image sequences for about 50 seconds. In order to speed up the on-camera review procedure, you can also skip to the first shot of a given burst during playback.
- Pre-Release Capture records frames in a burst for up to a second before actually releasing the shutter, making it simpler to capture decisive moment shots. When this feature is turned on, burst shooting will start as soon as the shutter is halfway depressed, and the buffer will hold onto frames for up to a second before depressing the shutter all the way.
- The fastest shutter speed possible with an electronic shutter is 1/32,000 sec, allowing for use with wider apertures in the brightest lighting.
- When working with shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec, stacked sensor design reduces rolling shutter distortion so fast-moving subjects like a golf club, tennis racket, or baseball bat do not appear distorted.
- To keep up with quick continuous shooting speeds, AF calculations are performed at a 120 fps rate.
- High Performance RAW files have file sizes that are roughly 30% smaller than uncompressed raw files for faster reading and writing to the memory card while maintaining image quality comparable to uncompressed raw files.
- Stills can also be saved in the HEIF file format, which is a helpful development over JPEG and offers 1 billion more colors for greater realism and dynamic range when viewed on HLG-compatible displays while maintaining the JPEG's compact file size.
- To create an in-camera composite that shows multiple subject movements within a single frame, use the Motion Blend Retouch feature.
- To better protect your night-adapted vision, the Long Exposure display includes a live exposure timer on the rear LCD as well as the option to dim the viewfinder.
Electronic Shutter-Only Design
The Z8 completely does away with a mechanical shutter and uses only an electronic shutter for all capture modes, relying on the speed and stacked design of the sensor. The stacked structure reduces motion distortion for accurate depiction of fast-moving subjects, such as golf clubs, baseball bats, and cars, and the speed of the sensor enables recording at up to 1/32,000 sec. Additionally, despite the lack of a mechanical shutter, flash sync up to 1/200 sec. and high speed sync functions are still supported.
The mechanical shutter can be removed, allowing the Z8 to run completely silently and without concern for wear or malfunction. To be aware when a photo is being taken, a shutter release sound can be added, and the volume can be changed to accommodate various working conditions.
More Beautiful Portraits
The Z8 is ideal for taking portraits and enhances the inherent abilities of the sensor with a number of editing tools and shooting options:
- Fine-tune hue and brightness while shooting for more precise control while shooting.
- Skin softening can be used on up to three subjects in a shot and slightly blurs the skin for a more pleasing texture while still retaining essential sharpness on eyes and hair.
- Manual white balance control is more intuitive when making adjustments and Auto WB has also been optimized for human subjects.
Fast and Intelligent AF
493-Point Phase-Detection AF
The Z8 uses the industry-leading 493-point phase-detection AF system to achieve quick and precise focusing performance while covering the entire sensor area. This system benefits from the Z interface's high-speed communication and the sensor's speed, which allow AF readings to happen at up to 120 frames per second.
With a Starlight mode that enables focusing down to -9 EV, this focusing system also supports working in low light, which is extremely advantageous for astrophotography, concerts, and other nighttime shooting applications. Backlit AF, which uses separate pixels on the sensor for AF and enables these areas to intentionally overexpose for focusing accuracy purposes without affecting the actual exposure of the recorded image, is also helpful for working in challenging lighting conditions.
The Z8 also has 3D Tracking AF, which works in conjunction with subject detection to lock onto swift, erratically moving subjects that move parallel and perpendicular to the camera. This common focusing mode in DSLRs made its mirrorless debut with the Z9. For capturing a wide range of moving subject types, there are also three Dynamic-Area AF modes with various focus area sizes.
Subject Detection with Deep Learning Technology
The Z8 is capable of recognizing a wide range of different subject types, including people, animals, bicycles, and airplanes, thanks to inherited algorithms and deep learning technology from the Z9, which includes sophisticated Subject Detection. These subjects will be automatically identified, focused on, and tracked when using Auto-Area AF to ensure sharp focus even when the subject is moving across the frame.
No matter how small or large they are within the image frame, Eye-Detection AF has been tuned for improved accuracy and refined recognition of eyes in the scene. It can also be used in conjunction with tailored Wide-Area AF for various subject shapes and sizes.
Internal 8K60 and 4K 120 Recording
The Z8 matches the Z9's video recording abilities in this regard as well, offering a range of resolutions and frame rates up to 8K. UHD 8K 30p video can be recorded using full pixel readout, and continuous recording is possible for about 2 hours and 5 minutes.
A variety of frame rates are also available for UHD 4K and Full HD recording, including full-frame 4K recording at up to 120p for slow-motion playback. For improved sharpness and detail, oversampled UHD 4K recording at up to 60p is possible using an 8K area. Additionally, 8K and 4K videos can be used to create high-resolution frame grabs that can be used to create 33MP or 11MP still images, respectively.
12-Bit N-RAW and ProRes RAW Video
Internal 12-bit raw recording at up to 8.3K 60p in the N-RAW format is supported along with internal ProRES RAW HQ. Raw recording offers greater tonal and color latitude and can improve dynamic range, benefitting color grading needs and post-production flexibility.
- N-RAW is Nikon's own raw recording format that offers impressively small file sizes compared to other raw formats as well as the ability to create MP4 proxies for more efficient previewing or transferring.
- N-RAW recording is available at up to 8.3K at 60p or 24p; 4.1K at up to 120p; 5.3K at up to 60p with a 1.5x crop; and 3.8K at 120p with a 2.3x crop.
- ProRes RAW recording is also available at up to 4.1K and 60p.
ProRes and H.265 10-Bit Recording
ProRes 422 HQ and H.265 codecs both support internal recording with 10-bit color and 4:2:2 sampling, and H.264 and 4:2:0 color can also be used depending on workflow requirements. Both a Flat color profile and a 10-bit N-Log setting are available for greater flexibility when color grading in post. Additionally, HDR-ready content can be produced directly from the camera using HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma).
Aiding the impressive recording specs, the Z8 also incorporates a variety of useful recording tools and functions for use in productions:
- Red REC frame indicator on EVF and LCD during recording to easily recognize when recording is being captured.
- Dedicated video info display indicates various recording settings, such as frame size, frame rate, audio settings, codec, bit depth, and HDMI output settings. Some of these settings will also be visible on the camera's top control panel.
- Focus peaking and zebra stripes are visual aids to help achieve sharp focus and accurate exposure.
- Waveform monitor for realtime exposure analysis.
- Fine ISO control in Manual mode for adjusting exposure in 1/6-stop increments.
- Fast AF-ON function can be assigned to Fn buttons; it is now possible to assign two different AF speeds to different buttons.
- Slow shutter speed video is supported, slower than 1/frame rate, for working in extreme low-light conditions or for creating intentionally blurred effects.
- Timecode linking is possible when working with an optional timecode generator.
- Complementing the video capabilities, the Z8 also supports 24-bit linear PCM sound recording and offers compatibility with external XLR microphones via the optional Tascam CA-XLR2d-AN digital adapter.
A Smaller Professional Body Design
Sleek, Modular, and Durable Construction
- The Z8 hits a sweet spot in terms of size and performance and is considered the genuine follow-up to the D850 DSLR and the more compact follow-up to the flagship Z9. It is 15% and 30% smaller than the D850, respectively.
- The Z8 adopts a more modular design in comparison to the Z9, which has a built-in vertical grip. This allows you to keep it small for everyday shooting or pair it with the optional MB-N12 Power Battery Pack grip for better ergonomics when shooting vertically and longer battery life. The Z8 is a perfect candidate for rigging or use on a gimbal for video use because of its smaller, lighter design.
- Dual card slots—one CFexpress Type B slot and one UHS-II SD slot—allow for flexible file saving. The CFx slot is suitable for data-intensive applications, like 8K recording and high-speed burst shooting, while the SD slot retains compatibility with the popular storage format. Additionally, the CFx B slot is also compatible with XQD memory cards.
- Built using eco-friendly Seerebo carbon fiber and robust magnesium alloy, the Z8 manages to be both durable and lightweight, weighing just 2 lb.
- Premium weather sealing protects against dust and moisture for confident use in harsh climates.
- Included EN-EL15c battery offers approximately 340 frames per charge when primarily using the viewfinder or 370 shots per charge when primarily using the LCD monitor. The Z8 is also compatible with other EN-EL15-series batteries.
- In-body Vibration Reduction now supports Synchro VR to achieve up to 6 stops of camera shake compensation when used with select Z lenses.
- Helping to cut down on dust reaching the sensor, the Z8 incorporates a sensor shield that protects the sensor surface when changing lenses. For additional dust prevention, there is also a dual electro-conductive and fluorine coating on the optical filter covering the sensor.
- Backlit buttons offer easier navigation and button recognition when working in low-light conditions.
An innovative EVF called Real-Live Viewfinder uses a 3.69 million dot OLED panel with luminance that can be adjusted up to 3000 cd/m2 for clear visibility in bright lighting. This EVF has a high fps function that raises the EVF's refresh rate to 120 fps for smoother, more lifelike viewing, and it works with dual-stream technology for blackout-free viewing when shooting continuously.
Four-Axis Tilting LCD
Similar to the Z9, the Z8 features a distinctive 3.2" 2.1m-dot four-axis tilting touchscreen LCD that better supports working from high and low angles, regardless of whether shooting is horizontal or vertical. This screen's four-way tilting design makes it easier to view from a variety of angles, and depending on how the camera is held, the user interface will also change orientation.
Matching the professional build quality, the Z8 is fitted with a variety of connectivity options to suit various workflow needs:
- Full-size HDMI port for outputting video to an external recorder or monitor
- 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports for attaching an external microphone and for on-board audio monitoring
- Two USB-C ports: one supports file transfers and tethering and the second is dedicated to power delivery and battery charging
- USB-C communication terminal supports USB-LAN connectivity when paired with an optional USB-C to Ethernet adapter. This enables a 1000BASE-T wired LAN connection for transferring files over FTP
- 10-pin port offers wide accessories and remote connectivity
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz) permit wireless transferring of files, remote camera control via a mobile device, and works in conjunction with the NX Mobile Air app for file management