The flagship Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera was officially revealed this week, but the camera’s development announcement sadly included very few specs for Nikon fans to get their teeth into.
That doesn’t mean some smart internet sleuths haven’t been able to tease out some extra details from the single official press photo releases so far – such as the Nikon Z9’s likely dimensions.
Several Nikon Rumors readers sent in some likely dimensions for the pro mirrorless camera, based on the known dimensions of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens that’s mounted on the front of the Nikon Z9 in that official photo. And there are some interesting, if not entirely surprising, conclusions.
As we expected, the Nikon Z9 is likely to be significantly bigger than the Nikon Z7 II, which is a full-frame camera more towards the hobbyist shooter than the pro sports snappers we’ll likely see wielding the Z9.
While the two cameras will likely have a similar width (between 137mm-154mm for the Z9, compared to 134mm for the Z7 II), it’s the two cameras’ heights (and weights) that will put them in different categories. While the Nikon Z7 II is only 101mm high, the Nikon Z9 is expected to tower over it at somewhere between 135mm-154mm (albeit with the battery grip attached).
The comparisons are far from exact, but they do give us a ballpark estimate at what kind of camera the Nikon Z9 is likely to be – and that’s one that has far more in common with the Nikon D6, a DSLR that Nikon promised that the Z9 would ‘surpass’, than its current lineup of Z-series cameras.
A different kind of flagship
According to the comparisons, the Nikon Z9 will still be slightly smaller than the Nikon D6 – but only by around 15% or so.
This would certainly make sense. The Nikon Z9 is likely to be aimed at pro sports shooters, in particular ones who have honed their craft on cameras like the Nikon D6, so a drastic change in design would likely alienate its potential buyers.
Instead, the Z9 is aiming to combine the comfortable familiarity of pro DSLRs with the cutting-edge tech of mirrorless cameras, including a stacked CMOS sensor (for next-level burst shooting and autofocus performance) and 8K video recording.
This is the kind of tech we saw recently in the Sony A1, although Sony’s design philosophy has always differed from Nikon and Canon. One of the key principles of Sony Alpha camera design is compact dimensions, which ensured the Sony A1 measured a relatively compact 129 x 97 x 81mm.
That said, Nikon probably won’t be alone in making a pro mirrorless camera with DSLR-sized dimensions – rumors are growing about the Canon EOS R1, which is expected to arrive in the second half of 2021 and will likely ape the design of the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III. The more things change, the more they stay the same.