Nikon Z9 and Tower Semiconductor: Is This the New Dream Team?

If Nikon brings out their Z9 with a brand new sensor, they could win a lot of hearts.

The much speculated on Nikon Z9 continues to capture the internet’s imagination. This camera is Nikon’s chance to deliver big innovation. If they get it right, it could signal a bright future for the Z-mount system. So far, we have very little confirmation from Nikon. The photo in the press release shows an integrated vertical grip body which usually indicates the brand’s flagship camera. Nikon will likely throw everything they have at it. However, they have only announced that the Z9 will employ a new stacked sensor, 8k video capability, and a new processor. That’s about it regarding official specifications. There is a bit of knowledge we can infer from that, however. Read on after the break for some exciting possibilities.

Will the Nikon Z9 Feature a Tower Semiconductors Sensor?

Internet sleuths have put together an interesting theory. Nikon could be working with Tower Semiconductor (formerly TowerJazz) to produce a new sensor for the Z9. In the past, Tower mentioned that they had been working with a leading DSLR manufacturer. People have also been wondering if the Z50/D7500/D500 sensors are made by Tower. It is an exciting prospect. Nikon Rumors has put together some enticing sources that do make the speculation appear plausible. I think it would be awesome for Nikon to use a completely different sensor from everyone else. That’s one thing to applaud Canon for; they also make their own sensors. We really need something besides just a specs race to separate cameras. Nikon and Tower making a different and new sensor together would be refreshing.

Nikon Should Leave Behind Sony Sensors

How great would it be if Sony, Nikon, and Canon all had different sensors? This could potentially be a legitimate reason to choose one over the other. Specs on flagships are getting closer all the time. As a result, seeing an arms race between the big three on sensors could get awesome. As sensors and processors get better, we profit. If these three begin challenging each other, it may speed that up a bit. There’s currently very little competition for Sony. I’d be very interested to see what other manufacturers could do to compare. Canon recently stepped up a lot with the R6 and R5 sensors. We all know Sony does awesome things with theirs. I’d love to see what Nikon could do if they took ownership of their sensors.

What Can We Expect From the Nikon Z9?

Could Nikon Z9 have TowerJazz Sensor?

With Nikon saying their new Z9 will be 8k compatible, we do know one thing: this sensor will likely be in the 45MP range. Seeing what Canon was able to achieve with the R5 has got to motivate them. Hopefully, we’ll see readout speeds that surprise us. As a result, we’d be able to use the electronic shutter with fewer worries of rolling shutter. That would also help out for the new video modes. It’s probably safe to guess that the Z9 will be a speed demon too. The likelihood of Nikon meeting or exceeding what the R5 can do is high. I’d expect at least 20fps in the electronic shutter mode. It would get great to see around 15fps in mechanical.

Hopefully, between the new processor engine and sensor, Nikon can really wow us. If the dynamic range from the Z9 can beat the R5, that’d be a great start. Hopefully, the noise/high ISO performance of this camera will be impressive as well. The Nikon Z50 really impressed us in that regard. If it’s true that the Z50 has a Tower sensor, that could be a good omen. That camera performed great, and it’s APS-C. What could a Full-Frame version of that sensor do? Hopefully, Nikon continues with great colors as well. It would also be nice to see them give us some more JPEG settings. Before you rip me apart for mentioning JPEG on a high-end camera, hear me out. There are many journalists and sports shooters who need JPEGs to publish as fast as possible. This camera is aimed towards that market. Giving us some more customization can’t hurt.


Could Nikon Z9 have TowerJazz sensor?

The Nikon Z9 is Nikon’s chance to stand out. This new flagship could be their platform. So far, their entries to mirrorless have been fine. However, Z-system cameras so far just don’t stand out (although the Z5 is pretty cool). Hopefully, Nikon will burst into the Mirrorless flagship market like the Kool-Aid guy, and break through the Sony and Canon wall with their blazing new sensor. The colors produced will be excellent. Maybe even the fast readout speed of this new sensor will help improve the autofocus. This would be the dream. Perhaps the Nikon Z9 will be the heir to the D5 that we hoped the D6 would be.

John Bradford

John is an Arkansas based landscape and outdoor photographer. Originally from the Texas Panhandle,he grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in NW Arkansas with his wife and two pups. John shoots mountain bike events, landscapes, and nature/wildlife primarily, but enjoys shooting portraiture and cityscapes as well. He has multiple years of experience working in camera sales. John is also passionate about shooting film. When not working with cameras, John spends his time on the trails hiking and mountain biking. He also maintains two small YouTube channels, one for mountain biking, and one for photography.