Is the Nikon Z8 really an upgrade over the Z7 for you? It depends

Jun 22, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Is the Nikon Z8 really an upgrade over the Z7 for you? It depends

Jun 22, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The recently announced Nikon Z8 (buy here) has proven extremely popular, with a great number of people pre-ordering it around the world. Sales of the Nikon Z8 are even allowing Nikon to claw back some market share in some areas. Some early pre-orders are now starting to arrive, but is it really worth upgrading if you already own a Nikon Z7 or Z7 II (buy here)?

Well, the answer is, it depends. If you’re a video shooter, then the Nikon Z8 offers many advantages over the Z7/Z7II. But for stills photographers… In this video, Nigel Danson discusses that topic. He’s adding the Z8 into a kit that already contains a Nikon Z7. He discusses some of the pros and cons of each and why certain things might sway an individual in one direction or another to help you decide for yourself.

One thing that Nigel notes early on in the video is that for most photographers – and particularly landscape photographers – the Nikon Z8 doesn’t offer any major new features over the Z7/Z7 II. It has the same resolution sensor, so there’s no real benefit there. You don’t need the latest in autofocus tech for a landscape that isn’t moving. While the Z8 does offer objective advantages over the Z7/Z7II, subjectively, they can be irrelevant.

If you already own the Z7/Z7II, there isn’t really a big single feature to sway you over. Not for photographers, anyway. But he suggests that the Z8 is essentially a complete overhaul when it comes to usability. A lot of the user interface abilities seem to be more polished, refined and easier to use than on the Z7/Z7II.

Nigel wasn’t all positive about the Nikon Z8, though. It’s larger and significantly heavier than the Z7/Z7II, and this was his biggest complaint. He still picks the Z8 overall for the usability benefits, but he’ll be hanging onto his Z7 II for those lighter-weight hikes. He says the Z7 II also has a little bit more dynamic range than the Z8 – although he admits the difference is virtually non-existent.

For some photographers, those UI enhancements will potentially be enough to make you want to upgrade. For others, they won’t. If you’re a video shooter, though, you already know your answer!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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