Another Thought on the Z9

The emails are already starting to pour in on the Z9. Here's a quick thought you're not going to like: it's going to be really difficult to get one of those Z9's in 2021. Regardless of whether they launch it in August or December. 

I'm already seeing that the proposed Z9, assuming it lives up to currently vague expectations, is going to be in high demand. So much demand that I'll bet that you very few of you will be able to get one without an NPS Priority Purchase cut-in-line order for the first four to six months. 

The Z9 clearly has the potential to be like the D800 and D850 were: demand far exceeding initial supply, and thus long wait lists everywhere. Worse still, in the past I don't believe Nikon has ever had a first month production of the top flagships of >10k units. Now perhaps the new robot-assisted build system they're using on the Z models will help with that, but this will be an entirely new  body design they'd be trying to do that with. They'll proceed cautiously. 

I've already heard from two people that have placed an order for the Z9 at their local dealer. They won't be the last. And we don't even know anything specific about the camera yet. My reading is this: the Nikon faithful have been waiting for this, and are ready to pounce, whatever the price. I've seen this a few times before (D3/D300, D800/D850 to name a few). And Nikon is already struggling to meet demand on the Z6 II and Z7 II. Those that predicted that Nikon would stop selling cameras at all are going to be amazed at how many they actually sell, I think. 

Despite my prediction that the Z9 will be a sell-out for some time, that actually doesn't deal with all of the pent-up demand. Right behind all those "I'm going to order a Z9" emails I've been getting is a wave of "please tell me that they're still going to make a D850 replacement and a Z8" ones. The next wave will be "what about a Z90 DX companion?" 

It must be exciting times in the Tokyo headquarters right now as the Nikon executives see the mirrorless transition is actually happening and going well. Plus they have many more cameras and lenses they need to quickly produce, so it's busy times, too. But it also must be tense times, as you also don't want to mess up anything that's working (e.g. the D850). 

My advice to Z System users and watchers: have some patience. Nikon's going for a triple axel, not a double salchow. 


Bonus: While Nikon said that the supplied photo of the Z9 might not match the final camera, everyone rushed to run their Shadows sliders up on that dark image. The discoveries so far: (1) it has a top LCD, (2) the power switch has the illumination position (backlit buttons?), (3) there is a button cluster (with a BKT button) on top of what is likely a Shooting Method dial; (4) the Focus Mode button appears to have returned below the lens release button, (5) the light (AF Assist or just Self Timer?) flopped to the shutter release side to make room for the 10-pin connector and PC Sync slot on the other side; (6) the three buttons behind the shutter release are unchanged; (7) the vertical release has a function and ISO button behind it; and (8) the size is bigger than the II's and smaller than the D6. All of this is what would be expected, actually. It's the back of the camera we're all interested in ;~).

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