Since the start of Nikon's digital camera system, there have always been two cameras in the professional lineup – one focused on sports and taking images as quickly as possible, and the other offering more megapixels with less speed.
This has been the way that Nikon and other manufacturers have done things for decades – just look at the Fujifilm X-H2 and X-H2S (opens in new tab), one for resolution and one for speed. Among the best Nikon camera (opens in new tab)s, Nikon has the incredible Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab), a camera that offers 8K video at 60fps, and can shoot a blisteringly-fast 120 frames per second with an 11MP image.
But where is the high-megapixel model? Is the Nikon Z8 coming next month (opens in new tab)? And what could a potential Nikon Z8 be equipped with to overcome the love and respect for Nikon's last ever professional high-megapixel DSLR, the Nikon D850 (opens in new tab)?
Below I have made a few suggestions on what I would like to see in the new Nikon Z8, after using professional Nikon equipment within sports for over a decade and always choosing the high-megapixel option to offer advertising clients the best possible image. What can the Nikon Z8 do to tempt DSLR users to convert up to the Nikon mirrorless system, and retire our beloved Nikon D850s?
Nikon Z8: Specs we'd like to see
1. 60+ megapixel sensor
For some, this is probably the most common answer when thinking about a Nikon Z8. Sony has already produced two cameras using a 61-megapixel sensor that can produce stunning images and video. I think that it's only a matter of time before Nikon really hit home with a high-megapixel sensor and I think it makes sense to use this one. However, if this new high-res camera is to be called the Z8 I would also like to bet that the Nikon technicians are trying to source an 80-megapixel sensor. That would make it a game-changer, and of course, blow the competition out of the water.
2. 8K 10-bit internal video recording
For this camera to be a high-res brother to the Nikon Z9, and to draw us DSLR lovers to the mirrorless system the Nikon Z8 needs to offer something that we don't have, that's 8K, but not just 8K external, I want 8K 10-bit internal recording. If we were to see a 60, even 80MP sensor you are going to need massive media cards to store those wonderful images, why not take advantage of that and offer internal 8K 10-bit at the same time, so this really can be a high performing, high-resolution camera in every regard.
3. Dual CFexpress card slots
This might seems a no-brainer, but Nikon and others have a habit of choosing an SD card slot and then the main card being the more expensive option, in this case, say CFexpress. Nikon tried this method once before with the Nikon D5, offering it in either dual CF card or XQD variants. At the time CF just seemed silly, due to the better performance and storage of XQD cards, while only major photo agencies picked the CF models due to their large infrastructure based around CF cards for decades.
If Nikon tries this again, I would like to see two CFexpress card slots. If you are paying for the bigger resolution, you have to pay the price to store it too.
4. High-resolution mode
While talking about a camera that we don't know will even come into existence, it's hard to pick out industry-tried-and-tested methods that seem reasonable to include. But I think if a Nikon Z8 was made to be the high-resolution mode to partner with the speed of the Nikon Z9, then let's turn the megapixels to 100, literally, with a High-res mode that will shoot 4 images to produce true-to-life 16-bit or even 32-bit color images at around 100-megapixels. This might sound bonkers, but Panasonic has been using this technology in their latest flagships for a few generations now, offering up to 96MP images, so the tech is out there and the ideal possible!
5. Verticle video support
While Nikon has finally championed video with the Nikon Z9's 8K video and cinematic 4K options I would like to see the Nikon add verticle video support into the equation. This is something Sony has recently done in their latest vlogging camera, the Sony ZV-1F (opens in new tab), But I would like to see it added to bigger professional cameras in the future. Many cinematographers are being asked for material for social media, and while you can shoot it all in traditional 16:9 and reframe to 9:16 or 1:1 for social media platforms, having this feature built-in will save a lot of hassle.
All the above is of course my own personal checklist for a camera that we really don't even know is going to be made, but the point above shows how far technology has come, and all 5 are not too far-fetched to never be a reality, even by today's standards - will it cost an arm and a leg to own a Nikon Z8 with it had half of these features, yes it probably would, but the Nikon Z9 isn't chuck-change either...