Nikon Has Just Killed its Flagship With the Z8
Nikon Has Just Killed its Flagship With the Z8

Nikon Has Just Killed its Flagship

2 mins read

No, it’s not a clickbait. The just being-announced Z8 is a Z9 in a smaller body, with a much more affordable price tag. Same specs, a smaller value. That’s it! It’s like taking the Z9, and with an advanced technological diet, transforming it into a much more compact hell of a camera. It’s pure cannibalism of the great Z9. Why did Nikon do that?

The Nikon Z8. Picture: Nikon
The Nikon Z8. Picture: Nikon

Nikon Z8: Same specs, smaller value

Nikon’s newest $4,000 mirrorless camera, the Z8, has a full-frame 45.7MP Stacked CMOS sensor that, Expeed 7 Image Processor, 12-bit N-RAW at 8K 60FPS or 4k 120FPS. In short, the Nikon Z8 is almost the exact same camera as the Nikon Z9, but with a much smaller body and an even lower price. Equally capable of video, the Z8 matches the Z9’s recording capabilities here, as well, with a variety of resolutions and frame rates available up to 8K. Using full pixel readout, UHD 8K 30p video can be recorded with continuous shooting possible for approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes. (Note: in the article, we focus only on the video specs – not the still specs).

General highlights of the Z8

  • 45.7MP Full-Frame Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 7 Image Processor
  • Smaller and Lighter than Both the Z9 and D850 Cameras
  • Intelligent Tracking and Autofocusing
  • 8K60p and 4K 120p Video Recording
  • Internal 10-Bit ProRes 422 HQ and 12-Bit Raw
  • Blackout-Free Viewfinder and 4-Axis Tilting Monitor
  • Dual Memory Card Slots, Dual USB-C Ports
The Nikon Z8. Picture: Nikon
The Nikon Z8. Picture: Nikon

Take the Z9’s guts, put them in a smaller body, and cut almost $1,500 off the price, and you’ve got the Z8.

The Verge

ProRes RAW – internally – The same as Z9

Internal 12-bit raw recording at up to 8.3K 60p in the N-RAW format is supported along with internal ProRes RAW HQ. Furthermore, N-RAW which 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. Nikon has published a short film, shot on the Nikon Z 8 by Award-Winning Filmmaker Rodney Lucas. The film’s goal is to demonstrate the video capabilities of the Z8. [We were not impressed – but maybe you will]. Check it out below:

Closing thoughts

We don’t remember a camera manufacturer that has released a camera that was so similar to the flagship, with a much more attractive price point, in a short time range. That would be called product cannibalization by definition. The Nikon Z8 incorporates exactly the same specs as the Z9. The Z9 costs ~$5,500, and the Z8 costs ~$4,000. So why should someone buy the Z9, when he can buy the Z8 which is basically… the same camera? The Verge summarized it very well, by saying: “Take the Z9’s guts, put them in a smaller body, and cut almost $1,500 off the price, and you’ve got the Z8”. Don’t get us wrong. The Nikon Z8 is one of the best mirrorlesses out there (specs-wise). A real bargain. However, it’s a pure reference for product cannibalization. In case you don’t agree, comment below on reasons to buy the Z9 over the Z8.

Product List

Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers. 

Yossy Mendelovich

Yossy is a filmmaker who specializes mainly in action sports cinematography. Yossy also lectures about the art of independent filmmaking in leading educational institutes, academic programs, and festivals, and his independent films have garnered international awards and recognition.
Yossy is the founder of Y.M.Cinema Magazine.


  1. The new Z8 may well be the best mirrorless value among Nikon, Sony, and Canon. Nikon is indeed creating serious competition against their own Z9 and from Nikon’s perspective, this only makes sense if Nikon is about to surprise the industry with an enhanced Z9 with substantial features and functionality not included on the Z8. For us, the Z8 is a great buy! After lagging Sony and Canon, Nikon is reestablishing its position as an industry leader in the mirrorless world. Nikon needs to speed up the transition from their DSLR lenses to the Z mount. The Nikon 120-300mm f/2.8 zoom is one of many great DSLR lenses, which need to transition to the Z mount.

    • Absolutely true unless Nikon is dramatically enhancing the Z9 to distance it from the Z8. Z8 could be the best value among all mirrorless cameras!

  2. The more of these “same parts” Nikon makes for both cameras, the less they cost to make. From a manufacturing perspective, the Z8 makes a lot of sense.

    From a marketing perspective, I think many of the people who would have gotten a Z9 in the past year and a half (D4, D5, D6 users) have likely already bought theirs and have been using it. Some people will still opt for the built-in grip and 2 cfexpress card slots the larger Z9 body has, but if someone buys a Z8 instead (and not a Canon or Sony, who don’t offer these specs down at $4000) that’s still a unit sold for Nikon.

    • It sounds reasonable and assumes Nikon thinks they have tapped the Z9 market and are now attempting to attract more clients into their ecosystem. The Z8 will take most potential clients from the Z9, and it is difficult to understand why Nikon is offering such value with the Z8 unless they are about to dramatically enhance the Z9. The Z8 is an outstanding value at least until Sony and Canon fire back. In addition, the new Z lenses are simply awsome and Nikon needs to port their DSLR lineup to Z series.

  3. The Z9 still has a far more powerful battery (huge advantage), more customisable buttons and a grip, the grip for the z8 makes it larger than the z9 so I sort of see how the z9 is a more complete and ready to roll package for a sports/wild life professional.
    I have not managed to fully deplete a battery yet in single session, or to get even close.

    Please just give us the ability to load internal Luts, waveforms has been so useful!

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