How good a camera is the Z9 really?

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John Navitsky

Well-known member
Even with BEAF turned off, the AF of the Sony A1 is much better than the AF of the best DSLR cameras. The AF of my former D500+500PF combo was very good, but there were still the many slight misses, especially when tracking moving subjects.
not trying to take anything away from your points, but keep in mind the d6 is better than the d5 which is better than the d500 in terms of af. so i think the d6 vs the a1 is a better comparison. i'm not sure if it would really change your point, but my feeling is the d6 at least compares reasonably to the current pro mirrorless bodies.
 

ChrisM

Active member
not trying to take anything away from your points, but keep in mind the d6 is better than the d5 which is better than the d500 in terms of af. so i think the d6 vs the a1 is a better comparison. i'm not sure if it would really change your point, but my feeling is the d6 at least compares reasonably to the current pro mirrorless bodies.
Probably yes, but that would be very hard to establish, because the D6 is only 21mp, and the Sony A1 50mp, which ibrings with it a different level of need for accuracy. But no doubt the D6 will have the best possible dslr AF.
 

Chris K

Active member
To be fair, 120hz autofocus rate is nothing new. The Panasonic GH2 had it more than a decade ago. I don’t know what contemporary cameras are running at, but I suspect 120hz is probably on the slow side these days?

Thats only to say that there’s a lot more to effective tracking than the refresh rate of the AF sensor!
 

fcotterill

Well-known member
Supporting Member
not trying to take anything away from your points, but keep in mind the d6 is better than the d5 which is better than the d500 in terms of af. so i think the d6 vs the a1 is a better comparison. i'm not sure if it would really change your point, but my feeling is the d6 at least compares reasonably to the current pro mirrorless bodies.
Absolutely,
It is interesting watching the D6 in action in light of where we are mid 2022. This was recent - late 2020. Not that much has changed
Obviously, besides the camera a great deal of success with capturing challenging subjects (including action) depends on the photographer's abilities.
 

ChrisM

Active member
To be fair, 120hz autofocus rate is nothing new. The Panasonic GH2 had it more than a decade ago. I don’t know what contemporary cameras are running at, but I suspect 120hz is probably on the slow side these days?

Thats only to say that there’s a lot more to effective tracking than the refresh rate of the AF sensor!
Let me see if I understand this correctly, because there are a lot of in-depth technical details that I do not yet know: assuming a full frame sensor has 92% auto focus points coverage, and needs to be read out for AF at 120hz in continuous mode, whilst simultaneously there is a reading out of the sensor imaging pixels for the live feed to the EVF, do you mean that the processing power needed to do this with a 50mp sensor is not all that unique, and was available 10 years ago?

I am sure this is not what you mean, and I wonder how effective a 120hz readout for AF was 10 years ago? Of course the great success of auto focus that the A1 displays, has all to do with the combination of available sensor AF coverage and density, its continuous live feed to the EVF and the fact that this is done at a resolution of 50mp.
 

John Navitsky

Well-known member
i think it's hard to say. it's probably important to make sure we remember that the AF sensors, and the imaging sensor, the EVF, AF calculation itself, and the subject detection itself are (typically) all different things. theoretically AF sensors are not strictly linked to the sensor in terms of read speed. i get the feeling that sony's advertisement for 120 calcs per second IMPLIED that the AF sensor read AND the calculation AND the subject detection were all running at 120 times per second, which i suspect was a groundbreaking benchmark even if other cameras were doing some subset of that previously
 

Joel N

Member
To be fair, 120hz autofocus rate is nothing new. The Panasonic GH2 had it more than a decade ago. I don’t know what contemporary cameras are running at, but I suspect 120hz is probably on the slow side these days?

Thats only to say that there’s a lot more to effective tracking than the refresh rate of the AF sensor!
just note that Gh2 is a fast readout sensor not 120hz “autofocus rate”, I dun believe Panasonic advertise as 120 af computational per sec but rather a fast readout sensor.

I believe fast readout on a smaller sensor is technically more feasible, just like running 2.4km vs 21km. The fact is that fast readout of the sensor is only part of the af equation, if other factors are not on par, it makes little sense for camera manufacturer to throw in a fast readout sensor when af might be bottle neck by computation speed per sec or lense af speed or the ability to recognise af subject. The only reason why they will give you a faster readout sensor is to eliminate the rolling shutter which has been not necessary as a mechanical shutter was always present.
 

Johan Schmidt

New member
The best camera Nikon has probably made, however this doesn't mean you don't need to create the photo anymore. All the basic photography issues still apply - camera just makes it much easier. Due to the customisability, it takes a while to set it up for your particular shooting.

I'd recommend Steve's AF Mirrorless book just to clearly understand the modes and find your best ones.
 

jmurthy

Active member
Its a question that has been beat to death on social media sites but I want to ask it in a different perhaps simpler way of all Nikon users. Its simple "would you trade in your D4S, D5 or D6 for a Z9"?
my d850 was sold after getting the Z9. I still have d500 and 500pf as a back up body for wildlife fast action. I will sell those after I can get another Z camera with a stacked sensor and CAF like the Z9 ( hopefully in a smaller form factor) . I use nikon mainly for wildlife. I rely on another system for landscapes.
 

HRB

Active member
Thread starter
Well, after 5 days of beating this horse it’s apparent the general consensus is the z9 is “that good of a camera”! But whereas the D6 represents the pinnacle of Nikon’s DSLRs (apparently its the last in that line), there will continue to be better mirrorless models. It appears few have moved to the z9 from the D6 rather from the D500, D850, or z6/7ii models. The replies have all been illuminating nevertheless I’m still hoping for a Nikon that doesn’t require me to press a button AND turn a dial with these arthritic fingers!
 

grossidm

Well-known member
After putting in 6+ hours every day for the past 2 weeks with the camera using the 500PF and 600FL I'm now comfortable saying that I was too quick to judge the cameras AF performance. It's getting better and better everyday. The more comfortable I get with it, the closer it resembles the performance of the D6.
 

Lance B

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Well, after 5 days of beating this horse it’s apparent the general consensus is the z9 is “that good of a camera”! But whereas the D6 represents the pinnacle of Nikon’s DSLRs (apparently its the last in that line), there will continue to be better mirrorless models. It appears few have moved to the z9 from the D6 rather from the D500, D850, or z6/7ii models. The replies have all been illuminating nevertheless I’m still hoping for a Nikon that doesn’t require me to press a button AND turn a dial with these arthritic fingers!
You shouldn't need to "press a button AND turn a dial" if you set f6 to "release button to use dial" option. So, you press the desired button, say "fn1", turn the appropriate dial to change the operation and then press any other button or "fn1" again and it is in the desired operation selected. Or, you may press say Exposure Compensation button, release finger from Exp Comp button, turn dial to change Exposure Compensation, then half press shutter or any other button and you are back ready for shooting with the desired Exposure Compenstaion.
 
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HRB

Active member
Thread starter
Cool! Wish I had understood that sooner. Does make things easier. Thanks Lance B! I mostly use my D500 or D850 rather than the Z6ii. Perhaps that will change in the future.
 

fcotterill

Well-known member
Supporting Member
There's a Useful Table collating the possible/permitted controls in Custom settings in the Z9: in addition to the updated Suppl Manual. Nikon published this soon after the FW 2.0 release.
Page 1 is Stills, and see pdf for the Video, Playback options

Nikon Z9 Custom Controls Table_April2022 pg1.JPG
You can only see EXIF info for this image if you are logged in.
 

Ajodo

Active member
Its a question that has been beat to death on social media sites but I want to ask it in a different perhaps simpler way of all Nikon users. Its simple "would you trade in your D4S, D5 or D6 for a Z9"?
I’ll just say yes. The Z9 is the best camera I’ve ever used. I’m not familiar with Sony or cannon at all though.
 

O

Well-known member
Absolutely,
It is interesting watching the D6 in action in light of where we are mid 2022. This was recent - late 2020. Not that much has changed
Obviously, besides the camera a great deal of success with capturing challenging subjects (including action) depends on the photographer's abilities.

For a long time i dominated getting brilliant special money shots in high end surfing photography, it helps when you have excellent subject materiel and conditions, this often sets you worlds apart as dose perfect wild life action opportunities. the smaller part of the equation is the glass and camera and how you use it.
In a nut shell, the D6 is super sticky in challenging sports action situations and frankly i have seen it stick in these conditions better that the Z9 and even the A1.

Bottom line is the difference between 14 or 20 fps is not a game changer, 80 -90% of the end result comes from you, and if you have stunning subjects and conditions well say no more......
I think the D6 despite others take on the subject is a very sticky camera..........and in very challenging sports action conditions is ahead or mirror less still, now i know some will disagree and that's perfectly fine.
I think mirror less is moving in the right direction but defiantly needs more time............

I think the Z8 and Z9 will be the new and best bench mark - combo for Nikon.

Only an opinion
 

RichF

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Had a Z7 mark 1 and it was not up to the D850. Upgraded to Z7 ii and there was an improvement but still not 100% there. WIth the Z9, I am glad I sold my final dSLR.

AF is a different beast than the dSLR and it takes time to learn to master the auto-AF modes. See lots potential
 

vandy

Member
Supporting Member
I have had my Z9 now for about a month and quite honestly have not had that much time to practice with or get to know it as well as I would like to. I have found that the auto focus does struggle with small birds and keeping the focus on the eye is a bit of a crap shoot, if there is anything on the ground if front of the bird it will jump to that instead of staying on the bird and if the bird decides to take to flight I has a hard time staying on it. Now, I have mainly used my Z9 with my 500 pf lens with the 1.4 converter so I have chalked up most of those problems to shooting a f8 and trying to hold focus on a very small eye, I have no idea what it would it be like with larger birds or animals because I have not had a chance to try it on anything of substance yet except for my 2 dogs which it does a very good job with when using the 20-120 f4 Z lens. I have a feeling that Nikon is in the learning stages with this camera as well as most of us are and with each firmware update they will make this thing a little better. Anyway, my observations so far and my humble opinion
 

vandy

Member
Supporting Member
Had a Z7 mark 1 and it was not up to the D850. Upgraded to Z7 ii and there was an improvement but still not 100% there. WIth the Z9, I am glad I sold my final dSLR.

AF is a different beast than the dSLR and it takes time to learn to master the auto-AF modes. See lots potential
I think you are right on the money Rich, I know for me the learning curve has been pretty steep so far but I do see a lot of potential once you get a handle on how to use this thing. More shooting is what I need but unfortunately life has been in the way since I got mine.
 

O

Well-known member
I think you are right on the money Rich, I know for me the learning curve has been pretty steep so far but I do see a lot of potential once you get a handle on how to use this thing. More shooting is what I need but unfortunately life has been in the way since I got mine.
Its should not be be so hard is what i don't like about mirror less in the Z9, i think manufactures are trying to hard to be something for everyone in one camera.........they are unnecessarily complicated often at the expense of creativity and enjoyment.
Some of my best winning shots came from my D3s, D3X, DF. LOL.........its because of immersing myself in the environment and opportunity at hand...........

The best camera in the world is the one you have in your hand at the time.
 

Roy

Well-known member
Its a question that has been beat to death on social media sites but I want to ask it in a different perhaps simpler way of all Nikon users. Its simple "would you trade in your D4S, D5 or D6 for a Z9"?
I've retired my D4 and D5 for the Z9 - I just need a Z8 so I dont need to but another Z9... 🦘
 

Neil Laubenthal

Well-known member
Supporting Member
OMG - tbh thats quite offensively sexist.
I disagree. OP has explained what he meant and even at face value that statement is just recognizing that in general women think differently from men. Not bad, just different and in a lot of cases they are better at getting ing the shot they want on camera.
 
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