Nikon Teases the Z9’s Impressive Tracking Capabilities, Rapid FPS
Nikon has published a third teaser for its upcoming flagship mirrorless Z9 camera with the focus this time on the camera’s ability to track moving subjects in a way that at the very least matches the industry’s best.
Nikon’s first teaser that it released in early October spent nearly its entire short run time on the exterior of the camera, namely the rear LCD. The short teaser showed that photographers can expect a design that does more than most articulating rear LCD screens in that it can tilt down as well as side to side.
The second teaser moved away from hardware design choices and into video, where Nikon appeared to show that the Z9 will have no recording limits when capturing 8K video. Through the short video, the Z9 is shown recording in 4320p30 for 30 minutes — 8K resolution is 7,680 x 4,320 pixels — and increasing steadily from there, eventually showing as much as one hour and 20-minutes of continuous recording.
In this third teaser, Nikon shows what photographers can expect from its tracking performance across a range of fast-moving subjects and circumstances. It first shows a dirtbike moving from the distance downwards through the frame. The next two examples show eye-tracking, first with a tennis player followed by the same with a hurdling runner. It then moves back to a vehicle, but this time a car that is moving towards the camera. In this particular clip, the Z9 appears to have its focus locked to a pair of headlights. Through the clip, focus moves from the headlights on the left to the headlights on the right as the car moves closer. A few other examples of face and eye-tracking follow.
The video clip is short, but Nikon manages to cram in many different examples of autofocus performance through a range of possible scenarios and was careful to include clips that show subjects moving from left to right, right to left, and towards the camera. Of course, Nikon shows the Z9 succeeding in all circumstances.
One other thing that Nikon teases are the frames per second, which can be heard in the last few seconds of the video. It sounds extremely fast, and is likely at least 20 frames per second.
The Z9 is very likely designed to be at least in part for sports and action photographers, so succeeding in autofocus is of prime importance, and while if the camera succeeds in what was shown here, it is perhaps less impressive as it is expected: this is the kind of performance a high-end camera has to hit to be competitive when it’s up against the R3 and the Alpha 1.
Nikon has yet to provide an expectation of the Z9’s official release date and pricing outside of the small amount of information it provided in March, but given the number of teasers the company has produced, it’s safe to assume that information will be coming soon.