Nikon Z8 review – striking the right note

1 week ago 16

Early Verdict

The Z8 is the Nikon camera that makes the astir consciousness for astir superior photographers. It packs the aforesaid levels of show and representation and video prime arsenic the flagship Z9, successful a smaller body, portion leaving you capable alteration to prime up a decent lens and accessories. We whitethorn person seen it each earlier successful the Z9, but the Z8 is besides a contender for camera of the year.


  • +

    Same cutting-edge stacked sensor arsenic Z9

  • +

    Body plan makes much consciousness than Z9 for astir people

  • +

    Excellent video features


  • -

    Limited artillery life

  • -

    Lower-resolution EVF than rivals

  • -

    In-body representation stabilization is lone okay

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When I archetypal heard astir the Nikon Z8 astatine a property briefing, I didn't acquisition the grade of excitement I'd expected for what volition apt beryllium 1 of the best cameras wealth tin buy. Perhaps that was due to the fact that the full-frame mirrorless camera could beryllium summarized by Nikon successful a fewer words: “It’s a babe Z9”. In short, this is simply a camera that I’ve utilized a batch earlier – and our camera of the twelvemonth 2022 – but smaller (and cheaper). 

Despite my muted reaction, the Z8 instantly made much consciousness than the Z9, and I was assured that

my feelings astir the Z8

would alteration aft I'd spent immoderate clip really utilizing it. Days later, I got the accidental to bash conscionable that, getting hands-on with a afloat accumulation illustration astatine the Europe motorboat of the Z8, which took spot during Photo London 2023.

I changeable 45.7MP stills and 8K videos successful aggregate scenarios, from workplace portraits to thoroughfare dancers, and this hands-on reappraisal is based connected my experience. So americium I much excited astir the Z8 having utilized it? Read connected to find out.

Nikon Z8 camera extracurricular  connected  the crushed  presumption    of front

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon Z8: merchandise day and price

  • $3,999 / £3,999 / AU$6,999 body-only
  • Available from May 25

The Nikon Z8 was announced connected May 10 2023, and volition onshore connected store shelves connected May 25, priced astatine $3,999 / £3,999 / AU$6,999 body-only. There’s stiff contention astatine this terms point, and we've pitted the Z8 against the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R V to spot which mirrorless camera comes retired connected top.

Arriving alongside the camera is simply a caller optional accessory – the Power Battery Pack MB-N12, which operates arsenic a vertical grip and holds 2 further EN-EL15 batteries. We don't person a database terms for the MB-N12 yet, but we tin usage the Nikon Z7 II’s MB-N11 artillery battalion arsenic a unsmooth guide, and that costs $359 / £359 / AU$649. 

Given that the Z8 is much than 25% cheaper than the Z9, you could prime it up alternatively of the Z9, on with the MB-N12 battalion filled with EN-EL15 batteries, and besides get a mid-range Z-mount premier lens similar the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S, and you’ll inactive apt person a small alteration near over. 

Nikon Z8: design

  • Mirrorless improvement of the Nikon D850 DSLR
  • Weather-sealed 910g body
  • Blackout-free viewfinder and versatile 4-axis touchscreen

Most of what’s caller successful the Z8 is successful regards to its design. Features, performance, and representation and video prime are virtually the aforesaid arsenic from its bigger sibling, the Nikon Z9

The cardinal quality betwixt the 2 camera is size. DSLR users tin deliberation of the Z8 arsenic the mirrorless improvement of the Nikon D850, and if we deliberation successful the aforesaid presumption the Z9 is the modern-day Nikon D6.

Weighing 910g, the Z8 is 30% lighter than the Z9, which is simply a important 1,340g, though inactive heavier than its rivals the Canon EOS R5 and Sony A7R V, positive the Nikon Z7 II

I’m utilized to the Z8 signifier factor, and I emotion however each of my manus sits wrong its grip; with smaller cameras similar the A7R V, my small digit slides disconnected the bottom. So portion it’s lighter than the Z9, the Z8 is inactive a decent chunk of camera, and feels bully with lenses of each shapes and sizes. 

Its smaller size compared to the Z9 impacts the idiosyncratic acquisition successful a fewer ways, and artillery beingness is one. The Z9 has overmuch amended artillery life, wherever the Z8’s is positively mediocre astatine 340 shots, arsenic I soon recovered retired erstwhile rattling retired hundreds of frames astatine the motorboat event. That said, determination is the enactment to adhd the vertical grip with 2 further EN-EL15 batteries to widen artillery life, and the batteries successful the grip tin beryllium hot-swapped for continuous power.

Nikon Z8 camera extracurricular  connected  the crushed  presumption    of front

(Image credit: Future)

Charging on-the-go via USB-C is besides imaginable – the Z8 really has 2 USB-C ports, 1 for powerfulness and the different for connectivity, which tin beryllium utilized simultaneously. I can’t deliberation of different camera that has 2 USB-C ports. 

Nikon says the weather-sealing connected the Z8 is to the aforesaid modular arsenic the D850's, and it definite is simply a rugged camera. It besides has immoderate of the flagship plan features that I love, particularly for moving successful debased light, similar a apical LCD and illuminated buttons. 

The 3.69m-dot viewfinder mightiness not lucifer the solution of the Sony A7R V's, but it's a ample and agleam show with zero blackout, and arsenic specified is simply a pleasance to use, adjacent for high-speed continuous shooting. The 3.2-inch, 4-axis tilt-touchscreen works good for shooting astatine each angles successful some representation and scenery formats, though it's nary bully for selfie shooting arsenic it doesn't flip retired and rotate – but past again this isn't a vlogging camera. 

In summation to its user-friendly plan for photography, the Z8 boasts filmmaking tools specified arsenic waveform, absorption peaking, zebra, linear absorption and a reddish show borderline erstwhile recording. Nikon is besides much generous than astir erstwhile it comes to improving the show and functionality of its cameras post-launch done firmware updates. The Z9 has had 2 large firmware updates, and is simply a amended camera successful 2023 than it was astatine motorboat a twelvemonth ago, and the Z8 picks up wherever the Z9 presently is, with the upgrades added to the Z9 included successful the Z8 retired of the box.

Nikon Z8: features and performance

  • 20fps for up to 1,000 earthy images
  • Aircraft enactment added to subject-tracking AF
  • Autofocus effectual to -9EV

In presumption of features and performance, the Z8 is astir a implicit lucifer for its bigger sibling. The cameras diagnostic the same-generation EXPEED 7 processor and stacked 45.7MP full-frame sensor with in-body representation stabilization, and some exclude the mechanical viewfinder altogether – a trailblazing plan prime by Nikon past year. 

Continuous shooting astatine 20fps for up to 1,000 earthy images comes with continuous car vulnerability (AE) and subject-tracking autofocus (AF). Aircraft taxable detection is caller to the Z8 successful summation to people, animals and vehicles, though I haven’t had the accidental to effort this caller AF mode yet. 

The max continuous shooting complaint is bumped to 30fps successful JPEG only, and adjacent 120fps if you tin unrecorded with an 11MP output. 20fps was plentifulness accelerated capable for maine to seizure precise moments of dancers astatine the motorboat event, and wide the Z8’s show volition fulfill the astir demanding pro wildlife and sports photographers.

Nikon Z8 camera successful  the manus  with looking astatine  apical  plate

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon was keen to constituent retired that it’s “evolving from JPEG to HEIF format” – the erstwhile having agelong being the manufacture modular compressed representation record format. For now, the Z8 includes some formats, successful summation to raw. In video terms, the quality betwixt HEIF and JPEG is similar the quality betwixt 10-bit video and 8-bit video – HEIF offers 1 cardinal much colors than JPEG, and suits those who privation greater dynamic scope successful their pictures.

The Z8 is simply a existent hybrid camera, too, offering 8K / 60p and 4K / 120p video with Nikon’s N-raw and ProRes earthy interior signaling arsenic an option, with 12-bit color. Record clip extends up to 90 minutes successful 8K and implicit 2 hours successful 4K with nary overheating. I’ve not pushed the camera that hard yet, but grounds times are 1 country wherever the Z9 should person the advantage, fixed that its physically larger size and aboveground country marque it amended capable to disperse heat. 

Nikon Z8: representation and video quality

  • 45.7MP stacked sensor
  • 8K / 60p video up to 90 minutes recording
  • In-body representation stabilization

Like the Z9, the Z8 is an highly susceptible hybrid camera, delivering superb photograph and video quality. It doesn’t lucifer the 61MP solution of the Sony A7R V – a alteration that was hoped for by immoderate – but its 45.7MP solution is plentifulness capable for most, and positively impacts its show for high-speed shooting – with less pixels, the Z8 is doubly arsenic speedy arsenic the A7R V, and that’s a commercialized I’d beryllium consenting to marque arsenic an all-rounder photographer.

During the motorboat lawsuit I was capable to sprout workplace portraits with the Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S lens, and item is pin-sharp, arsenic you tin spot successful the illustration below. I besides grabbed immoderate photos of dancers utilizing the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 S and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 VR S lenses. 

I’m keen to usage the HEIF format much extensively, and comparison it to JPEG, successful my afloat reappraisal of the Z8. In the meantime, you tin larn much astir the representation and video prime that you tin expect from the camera successful my in-depth Z9 review.

Studio representation    taken with Nikon Z8 of a exemplary  with colorful floral headpiece

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Nikon Z8 aboriginal verdict

There whitethorn beryllium small successful the Nikon Z8 that we haven’t already seen successful the Z9, but that doesn’t halt it from being 1 of the astir susceptible cameras disposable today. In fact, it’s each the much awesome that Nikon has been capable to compression astir each of the features and show from its flagship Z9 into a importantly smaller body. Nikon’s way grounds with firmware updates is besides reassuring, and I expect the Z8 to proceed improving post-launch. 

Having utilized some cameras present – albeit concisely successful the lawsuit of the Z8 – I’m already successful the Z8 camp. Nikon does accidental determination are photographers who volition ever privation the larger signifier origin of a camera similar the Z9, but the Z9 is positively gargantuan, and to maine the Z8 makes the astir consciousness for astir superior photographers, particularly arsenic it tin beryllium bulked retired with the vertical grip.

I'm looking guardant to spending much clip investigating the Nikon Z8 much fully, and I'll stock my findings successful my upcoming afloat review. 

Tim is the Cameras exertion astatine TechRadar. He has enjoyed much than 15 years successful the photograph video manufacture with astir of those successful the satellite of tech journalism. During his clip arsenic Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, arsenic a freelancer and consequently exertion astatine Tech Radar, Tim has developed a profoundly method cognition and applicable acquisition with cameras, educating others done news, reviews and features. He’s besides worked successful video accumulation for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare clip to consult a non-profit, divers stories squad based successful Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and mean level achromatic drinker who has lived successful Kenya and believes we person overmuch to bask and larn from each other. 

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