The Nikon Z8 has literally only just been announced. And while others might be still drawn to the Z9 as their sports or wildlife camera of choice, I think the Z8 is a better option for both those genres of photography – while also turning its hand to landscape photography too.
But the real reason this retired sports photographer doesn't care about the Nikon Z9 is that I think the Nikon Z8 is better in every way. Now, your thoughts might differ from mine. But when I see a camera have the same specs as the flagship in a smaller and more affordable body, you're going to pick that one right?
• The best professional cameras category is more competitive than ever!
However, it isn't just about the price, it's about portability and usefulness. I happen to use my cameras with very long pro-style lenses, so always opt for an added battery grip for vertical shooting, but what I love about my trusty old Nikon D800 is that I can remove the grip to take on vacation. And in the Z8's case, you can use it body-only for video work and gimbal use.
Now, if you've ever tried balancing a gimbal, you will know that weight is a big factor – and will be important in which of the best gimbals you buy, and how much you need to spend to get the right one.
The Nikon Z8 brings the incredible 8K N-RAW to a small camera form factor that will easily fit on a gimbal, dare I say, designed for a cheaper alternative. Weight is king and the Z8 is 820g and overall 30% smaller than the Nikon Z9 – it's a winning combination for me.
Yes, you can argue that the Nikon Z8 isn't a 'cheap' camera and I agree. It certainly won't feature on our best cheap cameras list, but it is $1,500 cheaper than the flagship Nikon Z9 in the US – and the Z8 is basically a miniaturized Z9.
This is a glimpse into the future, a future that mirrorless promised us, and even as a Nikon loyalist, I'm very surprised that Nikon is leading the way in this over Canon.
To have almost the same video recording and still capture limits as the Z9, bar its bigger and better battery life, there is not a lot you are giving up by choosing to save – which is quite a unique position when comparing current flagship cameras side-by-side.
Honestly, on paper, the Nikon Z8 looks to be that 'holy grail' camera that the Nikon D800 was back when DSLRs ruled the roost. The D800 made me take the leap into "high-resolution photography" at the time and, while I have been very skeptical about mirrorless cameras in general, I can quite honestly see the Z8 sucking me into the mirrorless world – and I don't think I'll be disappointed.