The core of the Z 9 is the newly developed FX-format 45.7MP BSI stacked CMOS sensor. Its stacked design offers fast readout speeds and helps to reduce rolling shutter, and the BSI design contributes to impressive clarity and minimal noise when working at higher sensitivities. At 45.7MP, it's also a high-resolution chip that benefits landscape, portraiture, and other detail-oriented genres, as well as enables recording video at resolutions up to 8K. The full-frame BSI design is known for exquisite color and detail rendering, too, and this sensor offers a native ISO 64-25600 range, that can be expanded to ISO 32-102400.
EXPEED 7 Image Processor
Complementing the sensor is an advanced processing engine, the EXPEED 7, which offers speeds approximately 10x faster than a Z 7II. This engine works in conjunction with the stacked sensor design to realize impressively fast AF speeds, burst shooting rates, a high buffer capacity, fluid video performance, and quick all-around handling.
- Top continuous shooting speeds of 20 fps when shooting in raw, 30 fps when shooting in JPEG, and an impressive 120 fps shooting rate when recording 11MP stills, with all rates supporting full AF/AE performance.
- Able to buffer over 1000 raw images in a burst, meaning raw image sequences can be recorded for approximately 50 seconds continuously.
- Electronic shutter affords a top shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec for working in the brightest conditions with wider apertures.
- Stacked sensor design reduces rolling shutter distortion so fast-moving subjects, like a golf club, tennis racket, or baseball bat, do not appear distorted when working with shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec.
- AF calculations are done at a 120 fps rate to keep up with fast continuous shooting speeds.
- New High Efficiency RAW file format maintains image quality akin to uncompressed raw files but with file sizes approximately 30% smaller for faster reading/writing to the memory card.
Electronic Shutter-Only Design
Relying on the speed and stacked design of the sensor, the Z 9 completely forgoes a mechanical shutter and uses just an electronic shutter for all capture modes. The speed of the sensor enables recording at up to 1/32,000 sec and the stacked structure reduces motion distortion for accurate depiction of fast-moving subjects, like golf clubs, baseball bats, and automobiles. Also, despite the absence of a mechanical shutter, flash sync up to 1/200 sec. is still supported as well as high speed sync functions.
By removing the mechanical shutter, the Z 9 can also operate completely silently and there is no worry over mechanical shutter wear or breakdown. A shutter release sound can be added for awareness when a photo is being taken, and the volume can be adjusted to suit different working scenarios.
493-Point Phase-Detection AF
Covering the full sensor area, the Z 9 uses a 493-point phase-detection AF system to realize fast and accurate focusing performance. This system is benefitted by the high-speed communication of the Z interface along with the speed of the sensor that enables AF readings to occur at up to 120 fps. This focusing system also supports working in low-light conditions with a Starlight mode that permits focusing down to -8.5 EV to greatly benefit astrophotography, concert, and other nighttime shooting applications.
Utilizing a new algorithm and deep learning technology, automatic Subject Detection can now recognize nine distinct subject types, ranging from humans to animals to airplanes to bicycles. When working in Auto-Area AF, these subjects will automatically be detected, focused on, and tracked to ensure sharp focus when the subject is moving across the frame. Eye-Detection AF, specifically, has been tuned for improved accuracy and refined recognition of eyes in the scene regardless of how small or large they are within the image frame.
The Z 9 also sees the debut of the 3D Tracking mode in a Nikon mirrorless camera. This popular focusing mode from Nikon's DSLRs pairs with subject detection capabilities to lock onto fast and erratically moving subjects that move parallel and perpendicular to the camera axis. Additionally, there are also three Dynamic-Area AF modes, with a range of focus area sizes, to suit capturing a broader variety of moving subject types.