Myths Sprout Spontaneously on the Internet

It’s just been a day since the Z8 appeared, and already the information is getting a slime on it that needs removing. Let’s see what I can do to correct the spontaneous myths:

  • Weather resistance not as good as the Z9 — Nikon certainly didn’t say that (they said the opposite), so where’s this notion coming from? Indeed, Nikon showed lots of photos, videos, and examples where the Z8 was being used in the rain and snow. I’ve torn apart a Z6 and Z7 at this point. I’m not going to tear apart the Z8 Nikon is loaning me, but I’ll get around to tearing a Z8 down eventually (or someone will beat me to it). The Z6/Z7 models are remarkably weather resistant, but they use a lot of crafty seam overlap to do that. The Z8 uses real weather seals. Here are the ones on the back of the camera:

    That said, on any camera, no matter how weather-sealed, you need to protect against water ingress through any of the connections, particularly the card slots, as they are soldered directly to the digital board. Still, my initial judgement is that the Z8 seems just as well protected against weather as the Z9. 
  • OMG, the chassis isn’t all metal, the camera will break — Nikon uses a combination of materials in the body design of the Z8, much as they have with pretty much all the non flagship cameras in the recent past. On a Z8, magnesium alloy is used in the front body to help align the lens mount and image sensor, which bolt to it. The rest of the body is a carbon-fiber infused material, I believe it’s a form of Teijin’s Sereebo material, which is extremely lightweight without sacrificing any strength or durability. Unlike metal, this material sustains impacts better—up to its breaking strength—as it has no memory. I should also point out that one Nikon camera that did use a magnesium alloy frame, the D800, was notorious for some frames breaking, which allowed for a misalignment of the focus sensor module and essentially totaled a camera when that happened. Metal by itself is not a panacea. 
  • The battery won’t last long enough — An echo of the complaint that happened when the Z6 and Z7 were originally introduced. And then people went out and used them and discovered that CIPA numbers don’t translate into real world experience. CIPA testing these days really tests how long the camera can stay active (Z8 ~2.8 hours without Prioritize viewfinder active). Few of you have photography sessions that last longer than that. It’s too early to tell for sure, but I’m expecting 500+ actual images on a charge, and probably closer to 1000 than 500. True, at 20 fps you can create 1000 images in 50 seconds. But the Z8 will keep photographing at that point. I’ve tried that torture test already, and the results from a full charge were that the battery showed 100% after 1200 images ;~). Yesterday I took over 1300 photos during a walk about photo session at the Little Lehigh River with a Z8, and the battery was still at 35% when I finished up. Obviously, images per charge is going to be above 330 for most of you. You’re better off considering duration of charge (again, max 2.8 hours; it may be less than that with some features active, and it’s obviously less when recording video).
  • It’s not a landscape camera — Again, not what Nikon said. I’d phrase it differently: the Z8 is an all-around camera, which would include travel and landscape. Start with the excellent weather sealing ;~). Add a tilting display for down low verticals. Better gridline choices. More customization (you could have a bank for landscape, one for sports, one for flash, and still have one left over). Heck, use voice memo to annotate your image before you forget why you took it. That’s perhaps not enough to justify the cost of a Z8 over a Z7 II if all you do is landscape photography, but then try getting the Z7 II to capture 20 fps of the rare animal you found while traipsing through the woods ;~). 
  • Too many 45mp cameras — Give users no choice, and they ask for choice. Give users choice, and they ask for less choice. Personally, I think choice is good, particularly since Japan seems to think that 40/45mp is the new 24mp. You can buy in low, you can buy in the middle, you can buy in high. The Z7 II, Z8, and Z9 are different cameras that appeal to different use cases. They also are 1.4x apart in price, so you can indeed get same image quality for less money, or more capability for more money. 

It seems that no matter what a camera maker does, some users will find things to complain about. Frankly, I’m not complaining about the Z8. It appears to be an excellent camera for the price, and is now in the running for my current best all-around camera choice. 

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