With the Nikon Z9, the Japanese camera manufacturer expands its 35mm DSLM camera series with a true flagship, ranging from sports and wildlife photography to 8K (RAW) video recording. As with the Z 7II, the basis is a 45-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. However, this has been further developed and has a stacked image-buffer was added to achieve particularly low latencies and high, blackout-free continuous shooting speeds.
The upgraded sensor is combined with the brand-new EXPEED 7 image processor, which according to Nikon works up to twelve times faster than the previous generation EXPEED 6. It has to, since the Nikon Z 9 offers up to 30 frames/s in full resolution, which means a data throughput of an impressive 1.3 gigapixel/s.
But the increased processing power is also a welcome enrichment for video recordings: The Nikon Z 9 offers the choice between the video codecs H.264, H.265 in 8 and 10 bit as well as ProRes 422 HQ (10 bit). An already announced firmware update will even allow video recordings in N-RAW and up to 60 frames per second - all still using internal recording.
Which CFexpress memory card for the Nikon Z9?
The Nikon Z 9 only supports CFexpress memory cards of type B as well as the predecessor XQD 2.0. The option to also use XQD cards, contrary to the current industry trend, should primarily be understood as a customer service, since Nikon was one of few camera manufacturers to rely on XQD early on and the one or other XQD 2.0 card might be in the camera bag of photographers. However, we strongly recommend to buy CFexpress cards.
Statements about the requirements for 8K RAW video recording cannot yet be made at the time of testing, but a constant data stream of over 500 MB/s can be expected. Thus, the fastest models should be just good enough.
Fast memory cards also do not hurt for fast continuous shooting: Nikon gives the Z 9 a tiny image buffer that can hold just 21 pictures in the highest quality settings. Or pretty much exactly one second of continuous shooting. After that, 600 MB/s and more can easily accumulate when shooting at 20 frames/s in RAW quality. Only the fastest models in the test can guarantee (almost) uninterrupted burst shooting.