All summer, through the Olympics, the question has been drumming. “How’s the Z 9?” What’s it like shooting the Z 9?”
“Have you shot the Z 9?”
Now, today, I can say YES!
The new Nikon Z 9 launches today, coming at us like a rocket ship race car out of the sun. (See above.) It’s been a privilege to be a part of this launch campaign, and shoot this camera. I love my Z 6 and Z 7’s, but the Z 9, as they say, is like going to the big city. Lights, color, energy.
And speed, speed, speed. Check out the real-time autofocus tracking and speed of the camera in our BTS video:
Mirrorless cameras were a revelation to me. I was hesitant about them at first, as many photogs were. But I adapted pretty easily and was immediately seduced by the facility and ease of the technology, and the advantages in the field that tech created. Small form factor, big performance.
Then I spent three solid weeks shooting D6 cameras at the Olympics. I was reminded of the confident feeling of having a “built like a tank” flagship camera in my hands and to my eye. Returning to my normal run of work with the Z 6 and 7, I found myself wishing for….the Z 9.
I’ll be posting lots of notes and anecdotes from the brief time I had the camera in my hands. In short, though, this camera is the camera I wanted, even without completely knowing all that might entail. The creative possibilities with this machine are high, wide and deep. The ergonomics are once again perfect for my muscle memory. The speed is astonishing. (Hello new hard drives!) The files rock with color. The build lives perfectly in the middle ground of DSLR toughness and innovative mirrorless technology.
And the autofocus is damn near perfect. As in, it finds the eyes. Even when the subject isn’t looking directly at you.
I was listening the other day to Nikon Ambassador Rod Mar, a peerless sports photographer based in Seattle. He shot the camera, magnificently. I had to chuckle a bit, as he accurately observed that gone are the days where we could blame the camera for a breakdown in our coverage. This thing’s so good, and so smart, if we goof and blow it, it’s likely on us. No more rabbit holes to run down. This thing’s got game. You gotta bring yours.
More specs to come, of course, and the camera stats will be all over the internet. I prefer, as always, to not so much dwell on the numbers and the nuts and the bolts. What I can say, after many years of professional shooting, quite clearly, is that this camera actually, really, completely does it all. From weddings and studio and fashion to the playing pitch. From hyper-accurate AF to sheer astounding speed. From color punch and the richness of the files to a build that’s tough as nails. From excellence of the glass to the nimble and familiar menus. Much more to discover. More more to explore.
In upcoming blogs, I’ll talk more about our talent, our magnificent crew and the the blazing sun of the desert. For now, though, just thrilled to be a part of this launch. Thanks to our crew and the genius of race car designer and driver Ed Fenn, and the physical brilliance of Will Credell.
And to those Nikon engineers…..all of us owe them a beer.