Nikon Z8 vs Nikon Z7ii : Which one is right for you?
Welcome to my Nikon Z8 vs Z7ii review
This review is more about what to expect from these cameras and which one could very well be better for your photography than being a technical spec sheet review of the two. There are tons of reviews out there already that tell you more or less what’s on the spec sheets, so no point adding another one.
Over the last few months I have gotten a lot of direct messages and emails from people asking not only which one should they buy but why? Hence this article and the video above.
I really like both of these cameras but straight out I have to say I love my Z8 and I have had a very mixed relationship with my Z7ii over the last year and a half.
I am not knocking ether of these models as they are both really good cameras in saying that let’s have a look at some of their differences.
Nikon Z8 vs Z7ii Image Quality
Can I just say before we really get into the fine details of Image Quality that there is no difference in the sharpness levels achieve by either the Z8 or the Z7ii, that has to be the most important point to get across here but there are very slight differences in image quality.
These are very fine differences but they might still help you decide and might also surprise you.
This was the first thing I noticed when I moved from my Z7ii to the Z8 and yes the difference is very slight but the colouring on the Z8 in my mind is just that tiny bit nicer, I personally always found my Z7ii to have a very slight green tint in both shadows and highlights and funnily enough only in certain shots.
Now that’s me being hyper critical of course but I did notice it, especially if I was shooting with both my Z6ii and Z7ii on the same day. The Z6ii just had a slightly nicer colouring and I am finding the Z8 to be the same as the Z6ii again there is only a very slight difference here.
So for colouring straight out of the camera the Z8 has to be the winner here.
When it comes to dynamic range there is again a slight difference but this time the Z7ii comes out stronger here with a dynamic range of 14.7EV while the Z8 has 14.2 EV. Now you might think ah there, is very little in this and yes there is but it is noticable on certain shots.
The shots I am talking about are landscape or seascapes where you are shooting straight into a setting sun with even a 3 or 4 stop graduated filer fitted to help control your exposure. In post processing then due to the huge dynamic range in the shot you might have to reduce your highlights and bump up your exposure then by one stop and then open out your shadows completely to get the foreground rocks to pop in your shot.
That’s where you are going to see that very slight difference and yes it is very slight.
HIGH ISO RESULTS
Similiar to dynamic range the higher ISO shots taken in the Z7ii are just ever so slightly better and you will notice it if you shoot in a very high ISO and need to recover just a bit of shadow detail the Z7ii is ever so fractionally better there. There is very little between them though.
Size and weight
Now the first thing you are going to physically notice is the size and weight differences between these two. With the Z8 having a nicer grip that honestly feels more like a great Dslr like the D850, the Z7ii has a smaller grip and my hand just doesn’t fit around it properly.
Now a way to counteract the smaller grip on the Z7ii is to buy yourself an L-Bracket and this will give the camera that bith more height.
The weight aspect is great on the Z8 as it helps balance out the camera when you are using a heavier varifocal lens or a telephoto prime lens, it just feels right in your hand. The Z7ii feels a bit light in comparrision, it still works well though and probably just a personal throwback for me to the DSLR days.
On the other hand the Z7ii is smaller and lighter making it ideal for travel photography and gimbal use so that could be a huge plus if you are a travel photographer.
This was only going to go one way and yes the Z8 is the clear winner here with its faster processor and improved tracking functionality. So if you are a portrait, event, wildlife or sports photographer you are going to benefit from using the Z8.
The Z7ii is good but it’s just that bit behind the Z8, in saying all that you can of course still use the Z7ii for any of the above but you could get a few more out of focus shots than you would with the Z8. For Landscapes, still life, Macro work and slower moving subjects like posed subjects the Z7ii works perfectly and the Z8 is of real advantage to you.
If you also shoot video then the Z8 is again the clear winner here, with 8K resolution, Raw internal recording, more codecs and of course the faster AF performance it has to be the clear winner.
If you shoot 4k and use an Atomos Ninja or an external recorder the Z7ii also does a good job but the Z8 is clearly ahead here.
Yes, this is an obvious one but as of right now the the Z7ii is €1600.- cheaper than the Z8, for the price difference you could also buy the 14-30mm F4 or the 105mm F2.8 Macro with the Z7ii and still have change in your back pocket.
Who would benefit from the Nikon Z8
Videographers or Hybrid shooters, Portrait, sports, event and wildife photographers to name a few. With it’s fast accurate Auto Focus the Z8 is going to seriously help anyone with rapidly moving subjects. As well as it’s advanced video recording facilities and silent capture modes.
Who wouldn’t benefit from the Nikon Z8
Landscape, seascape, still life, Macro, Travel and posed portrait photographers, in fact anyone that doesn’t need the improved low light and faster AF and video functionality of the Z8 Funnily some genres might actually slightly benefit from the Z7ii but the difference is minute and you have to really pixel peep to see it.
So, if that’s you, then maybe you should save your money and invest in the Z7ii. If you plan to go into any of the genres that would benefit from the Z8 then maybe consider how much benefit you would get from it and if you have the budget for it.
Again please note I worded this very carefully and of course the Z7ii can do do event, sports and wildlife photography, heck I have personally used it for most of them but the Z8 will just make life easier in those genres.
Again please do check out the full spec sheet on both these cameras as there are a lot of technical differences between them and this is just my own thoughts on it and what might be right for me could be wrong for you.
See you out there,