In a visually stunning launch event, Nikon unveiled a brand new flagship camera, three new lenses (including one for their DSLRs), an updated mount adapter, and new software integration solutions for both desktop and mobile platforms. The excitement is palpable! If you want to be among the first to upgrade your gear pack with one (or more) of these, visit your local Mike’s Camera or click on the links below to pre-order online.
Local launch events!
Join Nikon Ambassadors and be among the first to touch and try the new Z 9 at our special pre-release launch events this Monday and Tuesday, November 1st and 2nd! The event will also be available to view over Zoom, but if you join us in person for the main events we will be offering special pre-order bonuses and giveaways.
- The new flagship Z 9
- NIKKOR Z 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 VR S
- NIKKOR Z 24–120 f/4 S
- NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S
- Mount Adapter FTZ II
- NX Mobile Air and NX Tether
Read on for more about these exciting new developments in Nikon land!
The Z 9
We got a teaser earlier this year, but now we have the details: the Z 9 is officially Nikon’s new flagship camera. This 45.7 MP beast is powered by an EXPEED 7 processor and is capable of recording up to 125 minutes of non-stop 8K 30p video, in-camera, all with that famous Nikon color accuracy. The integrated vertical grip ensures that you will never have to fumble for controls, regardless of the situation, and the four-axis tilting monitor will keep your view just as accessible.
The flagship feature of this flagship camera appears to be its autofocus performance. Nikon put a lot of emphasis during their announcement on the level of reliability that can be expected of the Z 9‘s autofocus system. Tracking faces in low light or behind decorative metal grates, cars zooming along a track, tiny wild animals in the mountains, and more, the sample footage they provided does speak to tremendous capability. This may be the most important feature when it comes to critical reliability. Very little else takes as much weight off off the photographer (or videographer) as being able to have complete confidence in a focusing system they don’t have to control. Imagine being able to devote all the effort you normally reserve for maintaining focus into composition and experimentation! As one of the photographers chosen to experiment with a pre-release version of the Z 9 put it, “this camera is freedom.”
The Z 9‘s autofocus is based on a completely new scene-detection system built on deep-learning AI technology, identifying different situations and fine-tuning performance thereto. Experience 3D tracking for the first time on a Nikon mirrorless camera. Impressive demonstrations showed the camera keeping up with 120 fps burst capture—did I mention maximum still frame capture speed is 120 fps? Wow!—as well as maintaining tack-sharp eye focus even at apertures as wide as f/1.8, automagically.
The newly-announced EXPEED 7 is an almost-unfathomable 10 times faster than the dual-EXPEED 6 system found in the Z 7II. All that power is necessary for many of the trailblazing features that make this a true flagship camera:
- “Dual-stream technology”: the live view stream and image recording are processed completely separately, with improved results in both
- Truly blackout-free “Real-Live View” provides a visual feed with no skipping/repeated frames whatsoever
- World’s fastest scanning speed for mirrorless cameras using >30 MP sensors—minimum rolling shutter and distortion; unsurpassed electronic shutter performance for silence and reduced mechanical shutter wear
- Fast, accurate AF calculations at up to 120 fps
- Detect and track nine subject types (humans, pets, birds, airplanes, trains, cars, motorbikes, and bicycles), the widest range yet for this kind of system
- 1000+ image buffer for 20 fps RAW images
- Near-immediate loading of thumbnails for fast and smooth image review
- Up to 6 stops of in-body VR stabilization
As if those improvements weren’t enough, Nikon has incorporated truly outstanding motion capture capabilities into the Z 9‘s feature set. As noted above, the camera is capable of recording up to 125 minutes of 8K (7680×4320) 30p UHD footage continuously without overheating, without an external recorder. Not only can you crop out roughly 3/4 of an 8K frame and still have 4K video, a super-convenient in-camera frame grab feature allows you to extract any of those 30 images in a given second of video as a 33 MP still photo.
If you don’t need quite all that resolution, you can record extremely sharp, dense video in 4K up to 120 fps. That’s a great rate for slow motion, or for the buttery smooth joy of high frame rate video! Extremely flat color profiles (including 10-bit N-log and HLG) are, of course, available to use in preparation of professional grading. A full-size HDMI out, 24-bit linear PCM audio, and support for numerous video codecs make this a camera that can fit into any workflow.
And, in the mid-future: “A free firmware upgrade in 2022 will enable internal 8K 60p capture in the new 12-bit N-RAW high efficiency video format, 12-bit ProRes RAW and other pro level video features.”
A robust and durable tool
The Z 9 is as dust- and drip-resistant as the Nikon D6, yet is 20% smaller than that DSLR. It will operate in temperatures as low as 14°F/-10°C. An innovative new VR lock prevents the sensor from bouncing around and potentially sustaining damage.
How much more compact is mirrorless, really?
If you’ve been waiting for a sufficiently high end Nikon Z series camera to consider making the switch from the F-mount but you’re still not quite sure if it would be worth it, please consider this…
A Z9 with battery and memory installed weighs 2.9 lbs. A D850 (2.01 lbs) with the MB-D18 battery grip (1.055 lbs), battery (0.2 lbs), and XQD card (0.13 lbs) installed weighs 3.395 lbs. That’s almost a half pound heavier than the comparable mirrorless option, considering the body alone!
But wait: many Z-mount lenses are lighter than their F-mount equivalents, too. The NIKKOR Z 24–70mm f/2.8 S lens (2.658 lbs) is 0.915 lbs lighter than the NIKKOR AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8 ED VR. The flagship Nikon mirrorless with a top-quality 24–70mm lens on it (a likely real-world scenario) is a total of 1.41 pounds lighter than their well-loved DSLR equivalent. Wow! That’s a difference your neck will definitely notice.
NIKKOR Z 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 VR S
The first new ultra-premium S-line lens announced today is a telephoto zoom lens with an extra long reach: the NIKKOR Z 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 VR S! (For a little extra reach, this lens is also compatible with Nikon’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.) All S-line lenses are designed to provide outstanding clarity, color accuracy, resolution, bokeh, and general image quality in a durable, appealing form.
At 400mm, this lens has an astonishing 0.38 magnification ratio, allowing focus as near as 2.46 feet. It’s no “macro,” but it is unheard of for this class of lens.
Weighing slightly less than 3 pounds, this lens is the lightest in its class—a huge benefit for wildlife and sports photography, or, really, any type of imaging that might take advantage of such a long lens. 5.5-stop VR and extremely thoughtful design (e.g. balancing the movement of elements inside the lens to maintain the same center of gravity throughout the zoom range) add additional stability to help you nail the perfect long-range photo.
Two STMs drive fast, quiet autofocus, and the clickless control ring ensures you won’t ruin a video with rough or noisy operation. The zoom assembly is designed around opposing movements that prevent accidental retraction or extension—no torque adjustment needed! Finally, of course, dust- and drip-resistance and a fluorine coat make this another great lens for fearless photography
NIKKOR Z 24–120mm f/4 S
Covering a broad range of focal lengths with a relatively fast constant max aperture, the NIKKOR Z 24–120mm f/4 S lens features the same high level of quality found in all S-line lenses: high resolution, low chromatic aberration, and incredible clarity. With a 5x zoom range, this lens is appropriate for everything from landscapes to events to portraits to wildlife and more. Nikon promises beautiful bokeh throughout the range, but especially when that 120mm reach and f/4 aperture combine.
The lens weighs only about 1 lb 6 oz, making it a fine travel companion. Like the 100–400mm, the 24–120mm‘s autofocus is driven by two STMs which combine with the clickless control ring for near silent operation.
NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S
We know less about this one—no price, no release date, no pre-order just yet—but we do know that it’s coming! This S-line lens will be the first NIKKOR Z super-telephoto prime, further expanding native professional capability of the Z system. Featuring a built-in 1.4x teleconverter and what Nikon claims will be the “highest anti-reflection performance in NIKKOR history,” the lens is being developed for exceptional usability in both still and motion capture.
Mount Adapter FTZ II
The second iteration of the FTZ mount adapter provides the same functionality of the original (namely, allowing the use of F-mount lenses on Z-mount cameras) in a slimmed-down form factor. The built-in tripod mount has been removed, making handling easier for lenses that don’t need it and enabling a better fit on the Z 9, where the built-in vertical grip might be fighting for territory. As with the original, the Mount Adapter FTZ II retains the “image quality, autofocus performance, weather sealing and comfortable handling of approximately 360 NIKKOR F lenses from AI type onwards.”
New connectivity apps
NX Mobile Air
NX Mobile Air is a free app for both Android and iOS which links compatible devices with Nikon cameras for instantaneous FTP uploads, simple edits, IPTC data entry, and voice memo attachment. Unlock additional features with an optional subscription.
This new software, available free of charge for both Mac and PC, enables real-time transfer and tethered camera use with compatible Nikon cameras. Work collaboratively on location, monitor your images on the screen of your choice, and adjust key settings from your command station.