The New Nikon Z9 (And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter)
Another year, another new camera. Let’s discuss the release of Nikon’s Z9 and what it could mean for YouTube nation.
Every six months or so, you’ll probably notice that we announce or cover a new major release from the normal camera manufacturers you’ve come to know and love.
I’d venture to say that since 2017 going into 2018, especially with the releases from Blackmagic Design with the Pocket Cinema Camera lineup, we haven’t had a giant shakeup in the consumer-level camera market.
Well, all that changes today! Nah, just kidding. Kind of.
With the release of the Nikon Z9, we’re now treated to yet another stunning mirrorless option for hybrid shooters that will give you everything you need to take a pretty photo or pull off a gorgeous shot.
We’ll talk briefly about what the camera can do and who it’s for. But, the TLDR version of this article is this: I’m exhausted with every camera release being presented as the best camera ever made or the “end-all-be-all” to consumer cameras.
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk a bit about this camera, and why it doesn’t matter.
Camera Releases in General
To put it plainly, I guess camera releases are boring now. And, no matter how clickbaity you make the title to an article or video, if that camera isn’t living up or exceeding on the current mainstays in the camera market, then nobody is going to care.
I suppose it’s kind of like a Marvel movie. You see the trailer and Disney‘s marketing is like, “Trust us, this one is way different than the last and without a doubt the most important one yet.” So, you go see it, and it’s inconsequential and just like the others.
But, do you have fun watching it? Of course you do! It’ll always be a good time and consistent, which is how I feel about these cameras. They’re not bad cameras.
Any major release from a manufacturer in 2022 is going to be able to produce stunning results that would have made you gasp four or five years ago. They’re just not worth the time, energy, and money that these article and video publishers are making it out to be.
If you’re paying $5,000 for a camera, it’s more than likely going to be just as good as every other $5,000 camera, with the added or subtracted feature over the competitor.
Nikon’s First Proper Mirrorless Video System
Let me include the specs for the Z9 so that we have some context for what people are saying:
- 45.7MP FX-format stacked CMOS sensor
- EXPEED 7 image processor
- 8K30p and 4K120p video, 10-bit internal
- Up to 20fps Raw, 30fps JPEG shooting
- 493-point phase-detection AF system
- AI-based subject detection and tracking
- Blackout-free real live viewfinder
- 3.2″ 4-axis tilting touchscreen LCD
- Vertical grip, 2x CFexpress type B slots
- 5 GHz Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GNSS
Pretty good camera, right? I think the biggest takeaway for this camera is that if you’re a photographer currently working with Nikons and you’re looking to get into video, this might be perfect for you.
There’s no denying the sensor and auto-focus capabilities are nothing to scoff at and should be desirable for anybody shooting sports, wildlife, weddings, or events.
But, this article is more about how publications pitch these announcements to their respective audience. Take Gerald Undone’s video-form spec sheet, for example:
This is totally harmless, and Gerald Undone isn’t the worst offender by far (our editor is a massive Gerald Undone fan). But, I’m going to take a guess and say there aren’t a ton of video shooters out there currently working with the Nikon lineup of cameras.
So, given that “assumption,” one can surmise from a video like this that you’d need to make the switch to Nikon for lenses, and the time it would take to learn and get used to the complicated interface and color science.
From there, you should ask yourself: Does this camera offer so much more than what you’re currently working with to warrant the financial move over to Nikon? That’s up to you, but I think it’d be pretty unnecessary.
There are plenty of other options at the same price point (or lower) from Blackmagic, FujiFilm, Canon, and Sony. And, I think this is what has rattled my cage a little this morning.
The Photographer’s Camera
The most accurate and helpful review I’ve seen of this camera was published by DPReview TV, who actually takes it out and shoots with it and—wait for it—takes real photos that we can see.
This is a beast of a camera for any photographer in quick-react situations. Nikon has stated that “AF and AE calculations are made at 120 cycles per second with rapid, constant communication between the lens and the camera through the Z-mount.”
Is this going to convert any Canon, Fuji, or Sony photographers to Nikon? Probably not. But, this is an excellent camera, demonstrating that Nikon hasn’t given up on their first foray into the mirrorless market.
If we’ve gotten to a point where a negative criticism for a camera involves talking about the slight noise the strap loops produce when tapping the side of the camera, all while a strap isn’t even attached to the camera, maybe we’ve hit a wall? It could just be me.
Am I saying I’m better than these YouTube reviewers or other camera coverage writers? Of course not. I mean, I’m writing one of these articles myself with the hope of this catchy title pulling in more readers.
My critique is more so with the camera manufacturers churning out cameras with slight modifications from the previous model, therefore kicking off this endless cycle of announcements and “best camera ever” presentations.
There’s no real solution to this “problem,”other than I hope there’s an actual game changer on the horizon.
Want to jump down the gear reviews rabbit-hole? We’ve got you covered:
Cover image via Nikon.
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