Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • - Over a year after it's release

  • and I still can't stop thinking about this camera.

  • At nearly three pounds or 1,340 grams,

  • the Nikon Z9 is a beast with more buttons

  • and features that I've been able to test

  • in the nearly two months that I've had with it,

  • but this camera's about so much more than that.

  • With the Z9 Nikon finally put itself

  • in the professional mirrorless camera race,

  • and in a lot of ways this camera's now winning.

  • Before we get started buds,

  • there's one kind of issue here.

  • Whenever I edit a full frame, I put the sound

  • that that camera shutter makes when you see a photo

  • from that camera.

  • So for example, in this video it'll kind of be like this.

  • Nikon, you owe me an apology.

  • This camera's fake shutter sound is awful.

  • What is that?

  • It's like a bad chirp.

  • This camera, it doesn't have a mechanical shutter.

  • It only has an electronic shutter,

  • so it doesn't really make a sound

  • when you take a photo.

  • Nikon, in place of that, put this fake sound in,

  • that's so bad.

  • There is this video of Nikon representatives

  • in Japan clicking the shutter and you hear a meow.

  • (shutter blaring)

  • That's sweet,

  • that also makes me think that maybe down the line

  • we'll be able to customize our shutter sounds

  • or at least I hope so.

  • It'd be nice to have some like old Nikon shutters in there.

  • So maybe like an F5 or a D1X.

  • Come on, that would be sick.

  • All right, on with the video.

  • The design of the Z9 is nothing new.

  • Nikon has used similar hardware layout

  • on its top of the line professional models

  • since the 35 millimeter Nikon F5 film body

  • that was released in 1996.

  • Same circle viewfinder ring, same dial layout, same grips,

  • same power button, and even the same battery compartment.

  • It changed where the camera's nameplate is

  • and the touch of red accent stylings

  • but those may be the biggest visual departures

  • and there's good reason for the same design.

  • The F5 informed the layout of the Nikon D1

  • that was released in 1999.

  • The D1 was Nikon's first DSLR the company designed

  • and built entirely in-house.

  • And it set the tone for Nikon's step

  • into the professional digital era of photography.

  • The single digit D-line of Nikon's was a beloved system,

  • and 23 years later that same hardware design

  • is the best part of the Z9.

  • Nikon did exactly the opposite of what all other

  • mirrorless camera manufacturers have been doing for years.

  • Instead of going compact, it made a heavy, bulky,

  • chunky ass mirrorless camera.

  • Canon does have the EOS R3 that has a tall body

  • but that camera is $500 more expensive, one pound lighter

  • and it's specs are not nearly as peak camera as the Z9s.

  • The Z9 has a new full frame 45.7 megapixels

  • stacked CMOS sensor.

  • That thanks to a new XPEED-7

  • image processor can shoot raw photos

  • at 20 frames per second for well over a thousand frames.

  • Assuming you're using a fast enough card.

  • There's also improved auto focus

  • with readings up to 120 frames per second

  • and a 3D focus tracking mode that allows for faster

  • more accurate subject tracking across the frame.

  • Mirrorless cameras ushered in the age

  • of incredible auto focus, but unfortunately Nikon

  • and their Z series thus far has always lagged behind Sony,

  • the king of auto focus.

  • With the Z9, though Nikon has taken huge strides forward

  • in this department except in low light.

  • I find that the camera often hunts for subjects

  • and it's doing a pretty good job here

  • but in my experience out in the real world,

  • I find that I have a lot of trouble finding folks

  • if they're underexposed.

  • In good light though, Nikon has really improved

  • how well it holds onto subjects as they move

  • across the frame.

  • And I especially love the small arrows that appear next

  • to the boxes that are around my eyes.

  • To show that you can switch between which eyes and focus.

  • In post, there's an impressive amount of room

  • for recovery in the highlights regardless of ISO.

  • But once you're shooting over 8,000 ISO,

  • recovering details in the shadows

  • gives photos of film S grain,

  • the information is there but the grain

  • takes all of the sharpness away.

  • Now, your exposure folks, because even with the Z9

  • you won't be able to bring

  • those high ISO shadows back at night.

  • When properly exposed, blacks are deep and sharp,

  • colors are true to life and the detail level

  • is simply unreal.

  • But none of that is shocking.

  • It's 2023 and high-end mirrorless cameras

  • take really incredible photos.

  • So what is important is how this camera

  • feels wildly different to use.

  • Unlike most mirrorless cameras,

  • the Nikon Z9 is not particularly easy to use

  • but that's a good thing.

  • This camera really forces you to get to know it first

  • and more importantly, it forces you to make it your own.

  • There are lists upon lists of features that can be mapped

  • to any one of nine customizable buttons

  • within four custom setting banks.

  • I mean, look at the custom button function chart

  • for this camera.

  • Insane.

  • Most folks will find this confusing

  • and overcomplicated, fair.

  • If you're not comfortable with camera menus

  • or you simply don't wanna nerd out

  • over camera settings or you just don't have $5,500

  • then this camera is not for you.

  • And while you'll still be able to take stunning photos

  • without fully harnessing each and every facet

  • of this camera's customizability,

  • you'll not be getting the most out of the system

  • because this camera

  • it's for working professional photographers

  • who will undoubtedly make the most of every feature

  • and learn how to use it as a tool to do their jobs.

  • Or it's for lucky camera nerds like me

  • who just wanna find the fastest way

  • to take really high quality photos.

  • And it's that that inspired me

  • to carry this camera everywhere

  • despite it weighing an absolute ton.

  • And this body shape, it makes perfect sense

  • when you think about the incredibly long lenses

  • that a lot of professional photographers

  • will put on this thing.

  • There's customizable buttons for just about every finger.

  • There's rubber flaps that are a bit hard to open

  • but make it feel really secure.

  • I've used this camera in all sorts of weather conditions

  • and never once worried about damaging it.

  • There's a 3.2 inch LCD screen that comes out real far,

  • feels real sturdy, and definitely clears the eye piece.

  • You can also rotate it 90 degrees, which is super sweet

  • but you unfortunately can't rotate it

  • to face the front of the camera.

  • Maybe on the next one Nikon?

  • There's also really deep contours

  • and a good rubber matte finish to the side.

  • My coworker Antonio recently reviewed

  • the Sony A7R5.

  • And while that camera has incredible specs

  • it's contours are uncomfortable for long periods of time.

  • I think any hand would feel comfortable

  • holding the Nikon Z9.

  • My two complaints about the hardware with this camera

  • is that the card slot cover is stiff

  • to the point of being hard to open.

  • And everything about this body shape lends itself

  • to putting long lenses on the front to balance it out

  • something that a wildlife photographer

  • or sports photographer might use.

  • But as a video first person,

  • this body shape just didn't inspire me

  • to take video with it.

  • So the Nikon Z9 can shoot 12-bit 8K 60 frames per second,

  • or 4K 120 frames per second in N RAW