Nikon's Sony A1 beater: 8K, 45MP, coming in spring / summer (report)

Nikon's Sony A1 beater: an 8K, 45MP camera coming in 2021 (report)Nikon 8K

UPDATE: The Nikon Z9 has now been officially announced by Nikon. The new flagship camera will feature 8K video capability and a full-frame stacked CMOS image sensor.

The Nikon Z9 will be released this year, and full specifications will be revealed in the coming months, though we have made some educated guesses on its functions based on the first official image of the camera. 

ORIGINAL STORY (01 Feb): Nikon will release an 8K-capable Z-mount camera that "will become the new high-end of the Nikon Z lineup" this year, countering the bombshell of the Sony A1 announcement. 

That's according to a new report, in the wake of the Sony A1 (the new 8K, 50MP, 30fps camera that will start shipping in March), stating that Nikon will return fire with its own 8K camera, likely to have the same 45.7MP sensor as the Nikon Z7 II

"Nikon has put significant resources into improving their sensors at the 20mp, 24mp, and 45mp points for the next few cameras they'll announce," writes technology insider Thom Hogan. "More pixels will come later, and it may be more than you expect."

This tallies with previous reports that Nikon is using the 61MP Sony sensor found in the Sony A7R IV in an upcoming camera of its own (perhaps the Nikon Z8). However, that will be a distinct high resolution body (much like the A7R IV) and the 8K camera in question will feature the same resolution as the Z7 II – likely to keep it competitive with the likes of the Canon EOS R5 in terms of speed. 

Indeed, while it will pack the same number of pixels, Hogan says that Nikon's 8K camera will shoot faster than the Z7 II's modest 10fps top speed (we certainly hope it at least meets, and preferably exceeds, the 14fps benchmark of the Nikon D6 and Nikon Z6 II). 

Hogan also states that the new camera will have a different body to the Z7 II along with "more control, more performance", suggesting a possible form factor more in line with the D6. 

As for whether the Nikon 8K camera will be a match for the Sony A1? "Nikon's targets are a little different than Sony's. But I'm comfortable in saying I think that the camera as it has been described to me would be entirely satisfying to the Nikon faithful. In one way, it might be seen as better."

He speculates that new camera will see release in the late spring (after the annual financial results) or early summer. And if his sources are correct, we can't wait to find out more…

Read more: 

Best Nikon cameras
Nikon Z7 II review
Nikon Z6 II review

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a 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 like 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, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. 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.