On May 10, 2023, Nikon announced the release of the latest in their line of mirrorless cameras, the Z8. With all the specifications mirroring that of the flagship Z9 at a cost of 25% less, it was hard not to pull the trigger and order one. I did, then I canceled. In short, I see the Z8 as a great camera for the prosumer market, and if sales are as high as I expect and Nikon hopes, it will mark the official end of the F-mount bodies.
One of the big marketing points of the Z8 is the size — 33 percent smaller than the Z9 and even smaller than the D850. That last specification was the first red flag for me to reconsider the purchase. I have both a Z9 and a D850. I have always liked the feel of the flagship cameras; in my opinion, the Z9 is perfect. The D850, which I love, without the vertical grip, is about as small a body as I want to hold.
One of the oddest things about this release is the insincere marketing by the Nikon Ambassadors. This could be my perception, but in every case, it seems like they are struggling to be excited by this camera. This “forced marketing” by the recognized leaders in their field does them a disservice. I think it would have been better for Nikon to have used up-and-coming photographers from their pool of NPS members.
Batteries and Storage
The final straw for me was the change in battery and storage between the Z9 and the Z8. Having to maintain two types of batteries is a pain, as are the disparate memory cards. The shorter battery life will become an issue for many. While the SD card might be ubiquitous, its performance is lacking, and one of the strengths of the D850 (a major market point) was the two card slots using the same card type.
I think the Z8 will sell like crazy, and I have even seen Z9 owners announcing that they are selling the Z9 for the smaller body. Ultimately, I think they will be disappointed, but those who have been on the fence about switching to mirrorless now have no excuse.
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