Is the Nikon Z8 the Nikon D850 killer?
I think it could finally be time to say goodbye to my Nikon D850. Hello Nikon Z8…
Before we start…
Before I get into this I would just like to say that this isn’t about having the latest gear or photography snobbery this is merely my thoughts on how I could finally be happy with a mirrorless camera. Mirrorless is the future and it always has been but it was a future I was very slow to adopt to. As a fulltime photographer you are very dependant on your equipment so I change cameras every two years at least to keep mine updated and also to keep my shutter counts low too of course. At the end of the day it’s just another business expense for me but it’s still something I love hence this article.
Backstory with my D850.
My Nikon D850 is my best photography friend and my partner in crime, we have had so much fun over the years and shared so many beautiful experiences together that it is honestly going to be hard to say goodbye to it. It’s actually going to be incredibly hard to do it and the camera that makes me finally sell my D850 is going to have to be something special… Is this where the new Z8 comes in?
With all the chatter I am hearing through contacts and sources at Nikon and specs being dropped I really believe this could be the one to finally kill off my D850. The really weird thing for me is I have never felt this way about any other camera before, which is probably why after I bought the Nikon Z7ii I just let it sit on my shelf for 3 months after only using it a few times. It just didn’t feel right to me.
That is how deep of a connection I have with my D850 and if I am honest about it I feel there is an understanding and a trust there that I never developed with my Z7ii even to this day. Yes I know how to use the camera and it’s my day to day camera now but I am still a bit more nervous using it.
I upgraded to a Nikon Z7ii in the last 12 months and it has been a slightly bumpy ride let me explain why…
It all started with me buying the Nikon Z6ii and then the Z7ii, I was now officially not only flirting with mirrorless cameras but owning them and it was simple for me I would just swap over in the next month or so once I built up the muscle memory with my new camera. This is where the problem started for me and yes it could just be me and maybe I am too clinical or too much of a perfectionist… you can decide on that one.
The Z7ii in my eyes will always be good camera but it’s AF system just isn’t right and yes I know you can change settings for specific scenes to get the shot but when split seconds decide between you getting the shot or not that’s just not good enough in my eyes again even with the right settings you can still miss focus on it.
The miss ratio with my Z7ii was just too high and yes I know some of reading this will say he is complaining about a miss ratio of less than 2% which is just nuts and for most people that would be nuts. When you do this professionally and you have company directors, models, Hair and Makeup artists on a shoot not only is time money but so is every photograph you take. You need to do everything in your power to ensure they are all perfect. So when you upgrade cameras and the results go backwards that’s not a positive step.
So, I will give you this example I would do a fashion shoot and take 700 to 800 photos in a day and I knew with the D850 I might just slightly miss focus on a max of 5 to 8 shots on a shoot. Now in saying that I knew at the time I missed focus as it was usually my fault with maybe only one or even two of shots being the cameras fault.
On the same shoots with the Z7ii I would come back with at least 15 to 20 shots that missed focus (the first one had nearly 40 out of focus) and I would have been concentrating even harder on focusing and still missing more. That for me was always too much of a difference, I tried the Z9 one day and it was bang on every time, just like my D850 only it was just too big and bulky for me. It also wasn’t in stock so I decided to wait after trying Sony Canon and Panasonic I just couldn’t do it, they all felt so foreign in my hand.
The one issue I have with mirrorless cameras is the height of the grip and my small finger keeps falling off so i use a SmallRig L-Bracket to stop that happening. The good news here is the Z8 is going to be taller than the Z7ii (not quite as tall as the D850) so that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
Yes I know this won’t affect most people reading this but if you are shooting in low to very low ambient light the Z7ii struggles a lot more with focus than the D850 did. For me personally it always made me uncomfortable and nervous using it as you always know that the out of focus shot was exactly the one the customer loved.
I have an article here on the Nikon Z6iii specifications and release date here if you are interested also.
Nikon Z8 vs D850 and why the Z8 is going to be the one for me.
That’s very simple, the AF system is better, with practically the same AF system going into the Z8 as the Z9 we have that problem solved by the looks of things.higher burst rate, better video performance, lighter and of course the Z series of Lenses.
The Z line up of lenses out there right now is fantastic, the Nikon Z 24-70 F2.8 is sublime and nice and light too. Now it’s missing VR but it kills my old S 24-70 F2.8 in every other way.
The 70-200mm F2.8 is awesome also and the 50mm and 105mm primes I have are spot on, the UWA 14-30mm F4 lens is a cracker also. The Z series have killed my S line of lenses for me all I am waiting for now is the body to match.
So with that in mind just think the Z8 is going to be lighter, smaller, have a higher burst rate, better video performance and of course the Z series of Lenses… how can the D850 compete with that? The simple answer is it can’t and that’s why I am super excited about this new Z8 camera. It’s not about a shiny new camera it’s about a proper professional full frame mirrorless camera from Nikon that is easy to carry around and just works.
If you are using a D850 today then sadly I have to say… we will all have to make the jump to mirrorless one day, it’s the way technology is going. For the D850 lovers out there like myself I have only one question Nikon, will this camera have the same hearty as my D850 will it be the same friend and will we bond and create memories together?
I guess for now we can only imagine how that will all work out and maybe I am the only photographer out there that this bond with his camera.
I for today was again using my Z7ii and it has been improving through my use of it and also firmware updates we have this understanding lets say but when the time comes I won’t hesitate to sell it for a Z8.
I have an article here on what we can expect from the Nikon Z8 if you are interested in reading it.
See you out there,