The NikonZ8/Z9: Everything You Need to Know. Transformational Strategies To Simplify Your Process And Let Creativity Soar with Steve Simon
The Nikon Z8 Bootcamp is live, and now that the Nikon Z8 is here with all its secrets revealed, I've decided to expand my bootcamp to include both bodies; the Z8 & Z9. The bootcamp has been reconfigured to make the Nikon Z8 the lead camera but the feature set is so similar, I can cover both cameras thoroughly in this 5.5-hour marathon online workshop. In case your Z8 is not in yet, you can still view the class live and/or review the posted recording of the class at any time.
The rumors that the Z8 would be a mini-Z9 are true! In fact, when you examine the feature and tech specs for both cameras there are very few differences— with the obvious ones being size and price. The Nikon Z9 is the best camera I have ever used and the Z8 is 30 per cent smaller, $1500 cheaper and considerably lighter (910g vs. 1340g) while including everything I love about the Z9 plus a couple of nuanced updates.
The Z8 has some AF improvements (likely added to the Z9 in future firmware update) like dedicated Airplane detection, silhouette focus and can detect a face from further away.
There are not a lot of features the Z9 has and the Z8 doesn't. Of course the lack of vertical grip and controls makes the Z8 smaller. (But you can get an accessory grip). The Z8 has no built in GPS, one less function button and has one CF Express, one SD card in the dual card slots vs. two CF Express cards in the Z9.
The cost of this workshop covers tuition and 4 Nikon Z8 series set-up cards, (and/or 4 Nikon Z9 series set-up cards), a detailed 700+ slide-deck pdf handout and assorted NIKON Z8/Z9 reference pdfs. You also get the Z8/Z9 "bin" file which lets you populate your camera's entire menu system; including Menu Banks A-D in less than a second using the camera's Save/Load settings function. This means your camera will be all set up and ready for you to follow along in the class.
All settings are based on the latest firmware versions.
Both cameras are the culmination of more than 100 years of Nikon history and innovation. They are the most advanced and capable cameras Nikon has ever produced incorporating a hybrid mix of groundbreaking new technologies and advanced features.
The main bootcamp class is 5.5 hours and we will schedule a follow up class to discuss implementation of the camera settings and how things are working out at a later date (1.5 hours) TBA. If you take one class you can attend the next one for free. As the camera evolves with firmware updates and our experience with the camera progresses each subsequent class will be given a firmware update of sorts, getting better with each successive offering.
The bootcamp will be recorded and if participants can't make a class "live", they will have access to view the class at their convenience. There will be new bootcamps monthly as long as there is demand which I expect to be for a very long time because the Z8 will be a popular camera.
The Z mirrorless cameras are amazing. But the Z9 has made it possible to get images I never could before with any other camera. The Z8's smaller size might make it even better for the street and travel work I do most. But action and sports photographers don't give up much of anything with the new smaller camera.
Master This Camera
The core of the Z8/9 Body's most important features will be covered including all firmware updates. This will be a 5.5-Hour Online Course. We will take a short lunch break. Students will have access to a recording of the class so they can go back on their own time and review. The Nikon Z8 & Z9 cameras set a new standard in state of the art mirrorless cameras.
A surprise for many has been the ability of Nikon through its stacked sensor and Expeed 7 processor to marry both speed of AF and frame rate with a high megapixel count. These cameras are fast and versatile as they can shoot full frame “sports & action at 20fps RAW (for more than 1000 compressed RAW files using the new High Efficiency compression option) , 30fps 45 megapixel JPEGS, 60fps DX and 120fps 11 megapixel JPEGS! The pre-burst feature lets you capture images before you take the picture. The Z8/9 large and fast buffer push through high resolution files without locking up. Its stacked CMOS sensor means the Z8/9 completely abandons the mechanical shutter and there’s no banding or barrel distortion in silent mode shooting and a fastest shutter speed of 1/32,000th of a second.
This new sensor has enabled Nikon to accelerate AF performance with new subject recognition algorithms trained to recognize a range of popular shooting targets like people, animals and moving vehicles & aircraft with the Z8 (expect this to be added to the Z9 in a firmware update) at 120AF calculations per second.
The cameras recognize eyes, faces and torsos maintaining focus on the person you are following. Though the AF specs, sensor and processors are the same Nikon mentions with the Z8 that a smaller face detect is in play meaning the AF system recognizes faces even when they take up as little as 3 per cent of the frame real estate.
All AF systems with the Z9 have been significantly improved in firmware updates and I expect these improvements and updates will keep coming. When the Z9 was finally available a little less than two years ago, more than 45 features were added via firmware since its introduction. The Z8 has all that great stuff when it ships on May 25th.
The Z8/Z9 cameras were the first mirrorless bodies to include 3D Tracking AF , something DSLR shooters have been asking for. The cameras' 493 point AF system covers some 90 per cent of the frame.
One of the great features I love about the mirrorless Nikon Z bodies is the in-camera stabilization which works really well. Z8 & Z9 stabilization ups the ante combining in-camera VR with the stabilization in some new Z VR lenses.
Many of the buttons and menu items will be familiar to Nikon users who enjoy the evolution over revolution when picking up a new Nikon offering. The Playback Button has been repositioned to the lower right of the body but if you want to maintain your muscle memory you can program the Protect button for Playback or do what I do, customize a lens function button for Playback to review an image quickly with your eye to the viewfinder.
What’s nice is the buttons are back-lit and illuminated making them easy to see when light gets dim. I’m excited about the dedicated AF Mode button on the lower left of the front of the camera.
There Z8 has two card slots, a CF Express Type B and an SD Card slot. The Z9 has two CF Express Type B Slots. Older XQD cards can also be used.
The electronic viewfinders in the Z6II & Z7II bodies are comfortable and easy to get used to coming from the DSLR world, comparable to optical viewfinders. The Z8 & Z9 EFV is not as resolute as some competitors but is the brightest EVF out there and practically speaking, the best EVF of all. There is no black out when burst shooting, and its smooth-- with a very fast refresh rate. The tilting rear LCD screen is now multi-directional and just short of a fully articulating screen but will let you view and see the screen when holding the camera high above your head or aiming it straight down both when shooting vertical as well as horizontal for easier framing. I use the screen almost exclusively with street and travel work, something we will cover in the class.
The “sensor shield” which looks like a closed shutter is designed solely to protect the sensor during lens changes.
The smaller size of the Z8 means the battery power source is also smaller and the EN-EL15c battery will likely provide about half the power of the Z9 battery. The Z8’s battery size will be familiar to Nikon mirrorless and DSLR users because it’s the same footprint of previous incarnations of this battery but it’s the “c” version that assures you get the maximum power with your Z8.
There’s an optional MB-N12 grip that lets you power your Z8 with two batteries. The grip can also be used as a battery charger, charging both batteries with its USB-C slot. The Z8 with grip attached is actually bigger than the Z9.
The Z9 uses the EN-EL18d, the latest Nikon large battery iteration used by previous flagship Nikons like the D6 & D5 and is rated to deliver 740 shots per charge. All previous EN-EL18 batteries will work but you can only charge the b, c and d versions in-camera over USB. The charger that comes with the Z9 also only supports the three most recent variants.
This bootcamp will cover everything from shooting modes to Auto ISO, white balance, metering choices, histograms, exposure compensation, file formats, image review and other shortcuts to customizing your Nikon Z Mount mirrorless cameras to your own unique shooting style.
Nikon's Bank system has been much improved and Steve will send you Set Up Cards for Travel/Street; Action, Landscape and Point & Shoot. You will also get a Nikon "Bin" file to populate all the menu items from your memory card! Then, in our Zoom class, we go over important menu items together.
Shot with Nikon Z9
You will learn Steve’s “Big Eight” transformational technical strategies and learn his minimalist philosophy when it comes to Nikon gear. This masterclass is designed to let you take control of your camera and speed up your response time so you don’t miss a moment.
(Photo: Van Tsciclas)
Steve will dive deep into autofocus and personalizing your Z8/Z9 by customizing buttons & dials to program function buttons, AF-ON (for back button AF) and the sub-selector button. The Z8/Z9 are the most customizable camera bodies Nikon has ever manufactured.
Steve wants to insure you fully understand these concepts and the positive impact they will have on your shooting process moving forward. You will learn about programming Bank Settings and set-up the very useful My Menu screen.
Students can download Steve’s User Settings for Street & Travel, Fast Action Hybrid, Landscape Photography and Point & Shoot.
What to have at your side for our online class:
- Your Nikon Z8/Z9 mirrorless body and at least one lens
- 2 Fully charged Nikon Z8 camera batteries (Z9 battery should last through the class)
- CF Express Card
- A strong desire to learn the best ways to configure this amazing camera!
“I just spent the last two days with Steve Simon, what a wonderful experience, the best time spent in a workshop ever. Steve is a perfectionist, he cannot hide his journalistic background every single image tells a story. His technique is flawless his teaching patience unparalleled. I am eager to start a new chapter of my photography applying what Steve taught me in the last few days.” Oscar Piñeyro
(Photo: Walt Custer)