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Nikon Z9 Comparison Review

The Nikon Z9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in October 2021 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 45.4 megapixel.

camera

Is the Nikon Z9 a good camera? The Z9 has a Camera Elo of 3209. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The Z9 ranks among the top 10 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the Z9 also ranks among the top 10 percent.

Headline Specifications
Nikon Z9
Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses
45.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
8K/30p Video
ISO 64 - 25 600 (32 - 102 400)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2089k dots
Fully flexible touchscreen
30 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
740 shots per battery charge
149 x 150 x 91 mm, 1 340 g

Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Nikon Z9 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon Z9 vs credit card front
Z9 versus credit card top view
Z9 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon Z9 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon Z9 149 mm 150 mm 91 mm 1340 g 740 Y Oct 2021 5,499 i
2.
 
Canon R5 138 mm 98 mm 88 mm 738 g 320 Y Jul 2020 3,899 i
3.
 
Fujifilm GFX 100S 150 mm 104 mm 87 mm 900 g 460 Y Jan 2021 5,999 i
4.
 
Fujifilm GFX 50S II 150 mm 104 mm 87 mm 900 g 440 Y Sep 2021 3,999 i
5.
 
Leica SL2-S 146 mm 107 mm 83 mm 931 g 510 Y Dec 2020 4,895 i
6.
 
Nikon D6 160 mm 163 mm 92 mm 1270 g 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 i
7.
 
Nikon Z5 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 470 Y Jul 2020 1,399 i
8.
 
Nikon Z7 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 420 Y Oct 2020 2,999 i
9.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
10.
 
Nikon Z7 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399i
11.
 
Sony A1 129 mm 97 mm 81 mm 737 g 530 Y Jan 2021 6,499 i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon Z9 was launched in the US market at a price of $5,499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Nikon Z9:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Nikon Z9 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon Z9 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Nikon Z9 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon Z9 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55048K/30p25.414.5305496
2.
 
Canon R5 Full Frame 44.8 8192 54648K/30p25.314.6304295
3.
 
Fujifilm GFX 100S Medium Format 101.8 11648 87364K/30p25.814.73391100
4.
 
Fujifilm GFX 50S II Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/30p25.914.83456100
5.
 
Leica SL2-S Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.1350495
6.
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p25.314.3288695
7.
 
Nikon Z5 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40164K/30p25.314.3292995
8.
 
Nikon Z7 II Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/60p26.314.72841100
9.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p25.014.4330394
10.
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
11.
 
Sony A1 Full Frame 49.8 8640 57608k/30p25.914.5316398
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The Z9 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the Z9 can use is 8K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z9 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3690k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.80x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Nikon Z9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon Z93690 Y3.2 / 2089 full-flex Y 1/32000s 30.0/s n Y
2.
 
Canon R55760 Y3.2 / 2100 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
3.
 
Fujifilm GFX 100S3690 Y3.2 / 2360 full-flex Y 1/4000s 5.0/s n Y
4.
 
Fujifilm GFX 50S II3690 Y3.2 / 2360 full-flex Y 1/4000s 3.0/s n Y
5.
 
Leica SL2-S5760 Y3.2 / 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0/s n Y
6.
 
Nikon D6optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
7.
 
Nikon Z53690 n3.2 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 4.5/s n Y
8.
 
Nikon Z7 II3690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
9.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n Y
10.
 
Nikon Z73690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s n Y
11.
 
Sony A19437 n3.0 / 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The LCD screen on the Nikon Z9 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD is multi-hinged and can be tilted both vertically and horizontally to enable odd-angle shots in landscape and portrait orientation. The LCD thereby offers a lot of flexibility to adjust and use the rear screen in a diverse set of situations.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the Z9

One useful feature of the Z9 is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Z9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon Z9Ystereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Canon R5Ymono / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
3.
 
Fujifilm GFX 100SYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
4.
 
Fujifilm GFX 50S IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y--
5.
 
Leica SL2-SYstereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon D6Ystereo / monoYYmini3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon Z5Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
8.
 
Nikon Z7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
9.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
10.
 
Nikon Z7Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Sony A1Ystereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y

It is notable that the Z9 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the Z9 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon Z9............ Oct 2021 5,499 i
2.
 
Canon R54.5/5+4/591/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2020 3,899 i
3.
 
Fujifilm GFX 100S5/5+ +5/590/1005/55/5 Jan 2021 5,999 i
4.
 
Fujifilm GFX 50S II5/5..5/587/100..5/5 Sep 2021 3,999 i
5.
 
Leica SL2-S4/5..4/5..4.5/54.5/5 Dec 2020 4,895 i
6.
 
Nikon D6....4/5..4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 i
7.
 
Nikon Z54/5..4/589/1004.5/54/5 Jul 2020 1,399 i
8.
 
Nikon Z7 II4.5/5..4.5/5..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 2,999 i
9.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..4/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
10.
 
Nikon Z75/5+4.8/589/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399i
11.
 
Sony A15/5o4.5/593/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2021 6,499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon Z9:
Check Amazon price

Nikon Z9 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the Z9.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the Z9?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Z9?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 32-102400.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Nikon Z9?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Nikon Z9 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Nikon Z9?

The Z9 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Nikon Z9 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The Z9's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Nikon Z9 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s).

Which battery does the Z9 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL18d, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Does the Nikon Z9 support geotagging?

The Z9 has a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) module and can embed location information in the EXIF data of the captured image.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon Z9
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2021
    Launch Price USD 5 499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 858 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 45.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8 256 x 5 504 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.35 μm
    Pixel Density 5.30 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 8K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 64 - 25 600 ISO
    ISO Boost 32 - 102 400 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 2089k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/32000s
    Continuous Shooting 30 shutter flaps/s
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CFexpress or SDXC or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.2
    HDMI Port full HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL18d power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)740 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 149 x 150 x 91 mm
    (5.9 x 5.9 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1 340 g (47.3 oz)

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