Nikon's Z9 Could Be Its Last Shot to Hang with Canon and Sony

Illustration for article titled Nikon's Z9 Could Be Its Last Shot to Hang with Canon and Sony
Image: Nikon

It’s no secret Nikon has been struggling, but that isn’t stopping the company from pulling out all the stops for the upcoming Z9, which has now been officially announced to arrive sometime before the end of 2021.

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Positioned above the Z6 II and Z7 II, the Z9 will be Nikon’s new flagship full-frame mirrorless camera featuring a new FX-format stacked CMOS sensor and an all-new image processing engine. Like the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony Alpha 1, the Z9 is said to support 8K video capture while also catering to the needs of professional photographers and high-end enthusiasts.

In short, Nikon says the Z9 will “deliver the best still and video performance in Nikon history.”

Now that’s a bold claim, but three years after launching its first full-frame mirrorless cameras in the Z6 and Z7, it feels like Nikon may be finally hitting its stride, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time.

Last fall, Nikon was said to be in “dire straits” after being hit with one of the worst sales slumps in recent history (due in no small part to the pandemic), with Nikon’s relatively late entry into high-end mirrorless cameras allowing Sony to swoop in and become the dominant player in the segment.

Here’s another official pic without the wavy background.
Here’s another official pic without the wavy background.
Image: Nikon

Unfortunately, because the Z9 was revealed as part of a development announcement (which cameras makers use to briefly describe upcoming products), other concrete details are relatively sparse. Judging by the one official picture, it looks the Z9 will feature an integrated vertical grip and room for extra batteries, but that’s about all we know for sure right now.

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However, following a recent interview where a Nikon exec sat down with DP Review, it seems like the Z9 is shaping up to be a pro-grade workhorse designed to fully replace the D6, while also offering top-notch durability and as Nikon describes in its development announcement:ultimate usability.”

The tricky part is that with the Canon EOS R5 having been available since last summer and the Sony Alpha expected to go on sale sometime this month, Nikon may once again be forced to play catch up when the Z9 officially gets released later this year. So with Nikon expected to reveal more details as we get closer to the fall, stay tuned for updates.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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