I don't care about the Z9, but I DO want the Nikon Z8 – and here's why

Nikon Z8
(Image credit: Nikon)

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.

(Image credit: Future)

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.


Pre-order Nikon Z8 at B&H (US)
Pre-order NIkon Z8 at Adorama (US)

Pre-order Nikon Z8 at WEX (UK)
Pre-order Nikon Z8 at Jessops (UK)

(Image credit: Future)

If this has been interesting I'd highly recommend checking out the best Nikon cameras on the market. And while you're there you'd better take a look at the best Nikon lenses to go with your body.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.