Last Updated on 04/26/2023 by Chris Gampat
In my 36 years, I can imagine that the hype for a long-awaited Nikon camera is synonymous with what most of us who play video games feel about Half-Life 3. Many photographers have been waiting for something smaller than the Nikon Z9 that has all the AI inside and the improved autofocus. And today, Nikon is launching a countdown clock to inform us that something is coming soon. It’s got to be the Nikon Z8, right? Well, if it isn’t, then what about the Nikon Zf? Or the Nikon Z9x?
What Could It Really Be?
Most of the reports online have been pointing to the Nikon Z8. And there’s a lot of credibility to this being the case. First, photographers are probably more burned out of waiting for it than they are of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. I mean, really: how hard is it to take the Z9 and chop the vertical grip off? That idea could’ve and should’ve been done a while ago. But we’re pretty sure that it would’ve cannibalized the sales of the Nikon Z9.
That said, we hope this isn’t just the Nikon Z9 with the vertical grip chopped off. A year later, it should be a much more robust camera with new features that catch Nikon up to all the rest and make them stand out more. For this, we’re talking about more than just adding video features. I mean, really: how many content creators really shoot in 4K? And how many need 6K or 8K video? Most of them are streaming or creating content for mobile consumption. And more importantly, Twitter burnout, Instagram irritation, and the overall vexation with social media and YouTube are becoming very real.
That would mean all these brands need to start making products for photographers again. There are lots that they could and should do, but the Japanese camera manufacturers just don’t do it.
Take a look at the countdown clock. Do you see any hints?
But What About the Rest?
What Nikon needs to launch soon is, indeed, the Nikon Z8. This will cater to the photographers who work for a living and the content creators. But it will also cater to hobbyists who more or less follow trends.
However, what many tried and true photographers really want, is better ergonomics.
Specifically, I want the Nikon Zf. Since inheriting a Nikon F, I’ve often dreamed of getting the Nikon Zf. I’ve even almost bought the Nikon Df a few times. The world needs a full-frame camera with retro ergonomics and a metal camera body. Cameras, as they are, are either professional tools or luxury products. No one needs them unless it’s a critical part of your job. To that end, I think they should have a luxury appeal to survive.
Think of it like watches. Watches come in either a hobbyist, luxury, or tech category. But with watches, the big brands aren’t all sharing the same tech. Apple is the largest, with Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, and Google being the outliers. This, however, is how the entire watch industry survived: by either going into a hobbyist category, luxury, or tech.
However, this won’t happen in the camera industry because all the brands more or less share the same components. Canon is a significant outlier, and Sony manufactures the rest. Tamron and Sony more or less also make everyone’s lenses. If Canon and Sony put their walls up, the other brands would need to evolve into doing something else entirely different. In that case, I’d think Leica would have the best chance of survival.
Will Faith Be Restored?
The biggest question that everyone will need to know is if the Nikon Z8 will restore the faith of Nikonians everywhere. I really hope that Nikon doesn’t mess this one up.