Nikon Z8 Wishlist

Nikon is going to release a pro-grade Z-mount mirrorless camera later this year (probably something like “Nikon Z8”), so I decided to put together a wishlist of features that I hope to see implemented. It is expected that this camera is going to feature IBIS, dual card slots, a 60 MP+ sensor (according to Nikon Rumors), and superior overall specs compared to its predecessors.

Nikon Z7 with 24-70mm

With Canon pushing for 8K video, IBIS, dual card slots and 12-20 FPS continuous shooting speeds on its upcoming EOS R5, Nikon will be under pressure to make a camera that can compete with such crazy specifications.

Personally, I don’t expect Nikon to have 8K in the Z8, as that’s a lot of bandwidth to push through the EXPEED 6 processor (unless Nikon drastically upgrades it), but it would surely be nice to be able to get 6K+ video recording with 12-bit RAW output. Nikon will most likely incorporate dual CFexpress cards into the Z8, so memory card writing speed is not going to be an issue.

I also don’t think Nikon will be able to match the 12 FPS continuous shooting speed if it opts for Sony’s 61 MP sensor, again largely due to huge processing and bandwidth requirements. I wouldn’t mind seeing the same 45 MP sensor as on the Z7, but with 10-12 FPS continuous shooting speed with 14-bit lossless compressed RAW files while maintaining full-time AE and AF. This would be a huge technical challenge for Nikon engineers, but imagine the possibilities for action photography. While at it, Nikon should not cripple the camera’s buffer – if it can shoot 10-12 FPS for over 5+ seconds, it will be a game-changer for sports and wildlife photographers out there.

Autofocus speed and accuracy should also be improved. This is arguably more important than the continuous shooting speed – I would personally trade high FPS for snappier and more accurate autofocus, something Nikon desperately needs to address on its mirrorless system. Face and eye autofocus + tracking should at least match Sony’s and Canon’s implementations.

It would also be great to see a proper battery grip on the Z8. Nikon dropped the ball with the battery grip on the Z6 / Z7 cameras – this time the battery grip should be properly designed to accommodate buttons and features we have come to expect from DSLR battery packs. It would be great if the battery pack allowed using Nikon’s larger EN-EL18c batteries to get more battery life, similar to what Nikon has previously done.

Lastly, whatever Nikon does with the upcoming Z8, I really hope that the firmware fixes + recommendations that I wrote about in my Nikon Z firmware wishlist post are implemented, at least the most critical ones.

Below are the specifications I would love to see on the upcoming Z8:

  • Sensor: 45 MP+ BSI CMOS sensor with superb dynamic range
  • Pixel Shift: 8-16 image pixel shift to get 200 MP+ images
  • Native ISO: 64-25,600
  • IBIS: 5-axis IBIS, same or better than the Z6 / Z7
  • AF: Hybrid AF (contrast + phase-detection AF)
  • Video: 6K+ 12-bit RAW video
  • Storage: Dual CFexpress Type B
  • Buffer: 5+ sec continuous shooting time at full speed
  • Flash Sync Speed: 1/250
  • LCD: Tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Ergonomics: Larger body with illuminated buttons
  • Battery Grip: Full-featured battery grip that can use EN-EL18c battery
  • USB: USB 3.1 Type C
  • Other: GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • App: A stable smartphone app to copy images and control the camera
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