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Nikon Z9 to have 45MP sensor and feature 30fps

Nikon Z9
(Image credit: Nikon)

UPDATE: It seems we might finally have an indication of what the megapixel count for the Nikon Z9 will be. So far, the only official information we've had from Nikon has stated that the sensor will be a "newly developed high-resolution stacked FX sensor". However, when it came to the amount of megapixels, Nikon has remained silent.

We had previously heard a rumor that three different sensors were going to be tested – a 45-46MP sensor, a 50MP sensor and a 60MP sensor. However, Nikon Rumors has now suggested that the Nikon Z9 will feature a 45MP sensor that's capable of 30fps.

• Read more: 9 things we know about the Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab)

This is fairly significant, as previous rumors had indicated that the Nikon Z9 would only be capable of 20fps. As seen in the interview covered below, Fumiyuki Wakao, general manager of Nikon Japan's marketing division, stated: "Until now, Nikon cameras have been pointed out as having strengths and weaknesses depending on the genre of photography, but the Z9 is being developed as a camera that photographers of all genres can use with satisfaction." 

Perhaps Nikon decided that being able to appeal to sports and wildlife photographers with a super-fast burst rate was better than playing the megapixel arms race – especially when a 45MP sensor is nothing to sniff at. 

In the meantime, the Nikon Z5 is also rumored to feature a hefty price tag of between $6,000 and $7,000 (£4,345 – £5,069 / AU$7,985 –AU$9,316). 

With so much to potentially look forward to, it's not surprising that the Nikon Z9 is highly anticipated. However, it looks like we'll have to wait a few more months until we see this new Nikon mirrorless camera announced.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Nikon executive has commented that expectation for the Nikon Z9 is so high that "the development team is also struggling to reach the goal". 

Speaking of the "flagship feeling" demanded by users, along with the manufacturer's own target of the Nikon Z9 exceeding the Nikon D6 (opens in new tab), he noted that "the pressure is also considerable".

"Many photographers were slamming me asking, 'When will Nikon launch a mirrorless flagship?'" Fumiyuki Wakao, general manager of Nikon Japan's marketing division, told Phile Web (opens in new tab) (via machine translation, hat tip to Digital Camera Info (opens in new tab)).

"The 'flagship feeling' that our users demand is at a fairly high level, so the development team is also struggling to reach the goal. When I saw the words 'Aiming for something beyond D6' in this development announcement, I felt the extraordinary determination of the development team. I imagine that the pressure is also considerable."

Wakao expanded on this pressure, noting that the intention is for the Nikon Z9 to be a camera with no obvious weaknesses – making it an imaging device that is adept at any genre of photography or videography. 

"Until now, Nikon cameras have been pointed out as having strengths and weaknesses depending on the genre of photography, but the Z9 is being developed as a camera that photographers of all genres can use with satisfaction."

Hence, the Z9 will possess a triple-pronged attack of high resolution (at least 39MP), stacked sensor for fast continuous shooting, and 8K video (courtesy of that high resolution sensor) to satisfy the now irreversible desire for high quality recording. 

As part of this discussion, Wakao also questioned the prevailing norm of dividing product lineups into entry level, mid-range and high end cameras, or even separating stills- and video-oriented bodies.

"Customers' tastes have changed drastically… now the barrier between video and still images has become ambiguous, and the high end as before. First of all, there is a model of, and the method of developing the middle, entry and lineup from there is not valid. What do customers want from their cameras? There is a need for development that can meet each of the diversifying needs."

This certainly paints a picture of the Nikon Z9 being like the Sony A1, insofar as it can handle any imaging task you throw at it. Though a $6,000 camera that does everything may not appeal to an entry level photographer, whose phone can do most of the same things…

Read more: 

Best Nikon cameras
(opens in new tab)Best professional cameras
(opens in new tab)Nikon D6 review (opens in new tab)
Best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.