So here’s the theory. Sony has a 61MP full frame sensor, which it uses on the Sony A7R IV. Nikon has a history of using Sony sensors in its cameras. Nikon does not currently have a 61MP full frame camera and there does appear to be space for a high-resolution model in the range between the Z7 II and the Z9 and that could conceivably be called the Nikon Z8.
Most Nikon Z8 rumors are from 2019 and 2020, which suggests to us that the time may be gone – but who knows? It certainly seems as if many of the rumored features of the Z8 have actually materialized in the Nikon Z9, and that maybe the Z8/Z9 rumors were actually about the same camera.
But if the Nikon Z8 DOES happen, and if it does have a 61MP sensor, what else should we expect? We can start by taking some cues from the Sony A7R IV.
61MP sensor: We’ve taken this spec as the basis for the Z8 rumor, and this would produce the highest-resolution Nikon camera yet. But is it too late? Sony already has the A7R IV, Sigma has the quirky but appealing Sigma fp L and Leica has the M11.
8K video? This would present Nikon with technical and marketing problems. Technically, the 61MP sensor is just too big. That would mean either 8K capture with a small crop, or oversampled 8K, which seems improbably given that 8K already stretches in-camera processors to their limit. It’s surely significant that Sony’s own 61MP camera has modest video ambitions, sticking to oversampled 4K video. In marketing terms, where would an 8K Nikon Z8 leave the new Z9?
10-12fps continuous shooting: Sony did extremely well to get the A7R IV up to a burst speed of 10fps, so it seems unlikely that Nikon would be able to improve on this significantly – maybe 12fps max? Nikon does not need another high-speed sports camera – it already has the Z9.
In-body stabilization: We can take this for granted, as it’s a standard feature on all Nikon Z full frame cameras.
Dual card slots: This seems a no-brainer too. There is some speculation online that any future Nikon Z8 will use dual CFexpress Type B slots, but we’re not so sure. Nikon might play it safe for a while longer yet, and offer one CFexpress Type B slot for the future and one ‘legacy’ UHS-II SD card slot for compatibility.
Perhaps the key thing here is that the Sony 61MP sensor these rumors are based around has resolution on its side and not much else. It’s not a particularly new sensor and has not shown any dramatic speed or video capabilities in any of its implementations so far.
If Nikon were to use it in a new camera, apart from the resolution increase it might not offer much more than the current Nikon Z7 Mark II. Indeed might it be so close to the Z7 II that it simply replaces it?
Could the new Nikon Z8 actually end up being a Nikon Z7 Mark III? Oh heck, there’s another rumor.