Nikon reveals full-frame Z9 mirrorless camera — and it’s a true DSLR killer

Nikon Z9
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon is developing a new full-frame mirrorless camera called the Nikon Z9 that will deliver "the best still and video performance" in its history.

The Z9 was revealed in a blog post this morning, together with a single photo of the device. And based on what we already know about it, it will almost certainly take over from the D6 DSLR as Nikon's flagship model.

Nikon's post revealed several details about the Z9 — the most important of which are that it's in development, it'll have a full-frame sensor and it will arrive this year.

We also know that the Z9 will be able to shoot 8K video — putting it on a par with other flagship cameras such as the Canon EOS R5 — and that it will use a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor and image-processing engine. 

The latter news is potentially big, because stacked CMOS sensors have faster read-out speeds than BSI (backside-illuminated) sensors. In theory, this could give the Z9 speedier burst shooting and autofocus than potential rivals with a BSI sensor, such as the Sony A7R IV — though obviously we'll have to see it in action before we can judge that.

Nikon didn't reveal much more about the Z9, however the fact that it's described as "the first flagship model for which the Nikon Z mount has been adopted" and "meeting the advanced needs of professionals" suggests that it will indeed replace the D6 as Nikon's top camera.

That's further backed up by the image of the camera: with its built-in vertical grip, the Z9 looks very much like a cross between the full-frame mirrorless Z7 and the pro-level D6 DSLR.

While Nikon's official announcement doesn't tell us that much, some specs have leaked via the Nikon Rumors site. There's no way of knowing whether they're accurate or not, but Nikon Rumors generally has a good track record with these things.

According to the leak, the Z9 will have either a 45-46MP, 50MP or 60MP sensor, with the latter two being the most likely. It will also have a high-resolution, blackout-free electronic viewfinder with a 120Hz refresh rate, 20fps burst shooting and "stunning" autofocus tracking.

Of course a pro camera such as this will carry with it a pro price tag — and Nikon Rumors predicts that the Z9 will cost $6,000-7,000 when it arrives, probably this fall. So no, the Z9 won't be making it into our list of the best cheap cameras.

Marc McLaren

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.