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Nikon Z9 specs leak: Canon EOS R5 beater with 46MP, 8k 30p, 20 fps… for $7,000?

Nikon Z9 specs leak: Canon EOS R5 beater with 46MP, 8k 30p, 20 fps… for $7,000?
BuildYourCamera's brilliant 'paper prototype' of the Nikon Z9 (Image credit: BuildYourCamera)

The first set of specifications for the Nikon Z9 have been released – and if true, Nikon is gunning for the Canon EOS R5, with a higher res 46MP sensor along with 8K video, 20fps continuous shooting and dual CFexpress cards… but with an eye-watering $6,000-$7,000 price tag.

The Nikon Z9 is set to be the Big N's professional sports and news gathering camera, but nobody expected it to compete directly with the Canon EOS R5, whose headline specs it seems to have cloned almost wholesale. 

• Read more: Best camera for sports photography

Its purported 46MP sensor has a million pixels more resolution than the R5's, but otherwise we're looking at incredibly similar core features: the same 8K video up to 30p, 4K video up to 120p, and a maximum continuous shooting speed of 20fps – though the big question, of course, is how prone to overheating the Z9 will be. 

To help combat this, the Z9 will of course have a much larger chassis. It is described as having a large pro DSLR body like the Nikon D6, and in addition to the imaging specs of the R5 is said to be targeting the autofocus performance of the Sony A9II – and, well, if you're going to copy, you may as well copy the best. 

The Nikon Z9 will have a new Expeed processor as well as twin XQD / CFexpress Type B memory card slots and a new battery, all of which are no doubt to accommodate the demands of 8K video and shooting 46MP images at 20fps.  

Disappointingly, though, the rumored ISO range is no better than that of the Nikon Z7. While ISO64-25,600, expandable to 51,200-102,400, is still very capable, it's below par for a professional camera primarily used by working sports, wildlife and news photographers. The D6, for example, has a sensitivity range of ISO100-102,400, famously expandable to ISO3.28 million.

No doubt Nikon is aiming for prototypes of the Z9 to be ready for testing at the 2021 Olympics (as Canon is planning for the rumored Canon EOS R1), with availability by the end of 2021. Here are the full leaked specs, courtesy of Nikon Rumors

https://nikonrumors.com/2020/10/06/first-set-of-rumored-nikon-z9-mirrorless-camera-specifications.aspx/

• to be expected in the fall of 2021
• No official plans for Nikon Z8
• Prototype Z9 cameras may be tested at the Tokyo Olympics next year
• New Nikkor Z 400mm f/2.8 mirrorless lens is also rumored for the Olympics
• A D6 body combined with Canon EOS R5 imaging, α9II AF, and blackout-free EVF
• 46MP sensor
• 20 fps
• 8k30p, 4k120/60/30p
• New EXPEED processor designed for 8k
• Improved AF (Object detection AF)
• Two XQD/CFX type B memory card slots
• ISO 64 – 25,600, Hi1, Hi2
• High resolution, blackout-free EVF
• New user interface (no second LCD screen on the back like he D6)
• New battery: Nikon EN-EL18x
• Gbit LAN, USB-C, WiFi, GPS
• Price: $6,000 – $7,000

Read more: 

Best professional cameras
Canon EOS R5 review
Nikon D6 review
Sony A9 II review