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HomeCAMERAS, LENSES AND ACCESSORIESNikon Z7 II vs Z9: A Comparison of Two Nikon Camera Models

Nikon Z7 II vs Z9: A Comparison of Two Nikon Camera Models

The Nikon Z9 is an extremely advanced camera that overshadows most of Nikon’s previous mirrorless bodies. Even so, the Nikon Z7 II is no slouch at all – especially in its wheelhouse of landscape and travel photography. Between the Nikon Z7 II and Nikon Z9, which one is right for you? These two cameras differ in a lot of ways, but they share some key specifications behind the scenes. Let’s look at them side-by-side to help answer that question.

Nikon Z7 II vs Z9 Size Comparison to Scale
Nikon Z7 II vs Nikon Z9 size, to scale

Specifications of Nikon Z7 II and Z9

Camera Feature Nikon Z7 II Nikon Z9
Announced October 14, 2020 October 28, 2021
Sensor Resolution 45.7 MP 45.7 MP
Sensor Type BSI CMOS Stacked BSI CMOS
Sensor Size 35.9 × 23.9mm 35.9 × 23.9mm
Mount Nikon Z Nikon Z
Low-Pass Filter No No
Sensor Pixel Size 4.35µ 4.35µ
Image Size 8256 × 5504 8256 × 5504
In-Body Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Image Processor Dual EXPEED 6 EXPEED 7
Continuous Shooting Speed 9 FPS (14-Bit raw); 10 FPS (12-Bit raw) 20 FPS (No limitations); 30 FPS (Full resolution JPEG); 120 FPS (11 Megapixel JPEG)
Buffer 49 (14-Bit lossless compressed raw); 77 (12-Bit lossless compressed raw); 200 (JPEG fine, large) 79 (14-Bit lossless compressed raw); 685 (High efficiency star raw); 1000+ (High efficiency raw); 1000+ (JPEG fine, large)
Native ISO Sensitivity ISO 64-25,600 64-25,600
Boosted Low ISO Sensitivity ISO 32 ISO 32
Boosted High ISO Sensitivity ISO 102,400 ISO 102,400
Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning Yes Yes
Sensor Dust Cover at Shutdown Not built in Yes
Shutter Types Mechanical, Electronic, EFCS Electronic Only
Viewfinder Type Electronic Viewfinder / EVF Electronic Viewfinder / EVF
Viewfinder Coverage and Magnification 100%, 0.8× 100%, 0.8×
Viewfinder Resolution 3,690,000 dot 3,690,000 dot
Built-in Flash No No
Storage Media 1× CFe (Type B) with XQD compatibility; 1× SD UHS II 2× CFe (Type B) with XQD Compatibility
Fastest Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec 1/32,000 sec
Longest Shutter Speed 900 sec 900 sec
Flash Sync Speed (Non-High-Speed) 1/200 1/200
Exposure Metering Sensor TTL exposure metering using main image sensor TTL exposure metering using main image sensor
Autofocus System Hybrid PDAF; 493 AF points Hybrid PDAF; 493 AF points
AF Detection Range (f/2 Standardized) -3 to +17 EV (Down to -4 EV with low-light AF) -5 to +20.5 EV (Down to -7 EV with starlight view)
Eye-Tracking AF Yes Yes
Subject Detection AF Yes, three subjects (people, dogs, cats) Yes, nine subjects (people, dogs, cats, birds, cars, motorcycles, trains, planes, bicycles)
3D Tracking AF Mode No Yes
Focus Peaking Yes Yes
Video Maximum Resolution 4K up to 60 FPS, 1080p up to 120 FPS 8K up to 30p (up to 60p with future firmware update)
Video Compression 4:2:2 (10-bit if over HDMI); MPEG-4/H.264 Apple ProRes 4:2:2 HQ (10 bit internal), H.265/HEVC (8 bit /10 bit internal), H.264/AVC (8 bit)
Log Recording N-log N-log
Audio Recording Options Built-in stereo microphone; External stereo microphone (optional) Built-in stereo microphone; External stereo microphone (optional)
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
LCD Size and Type 3.2″ Tilting Touchscreen 3.2″ Dual-Axis Tilting Touchscreen
LCD Resolution 2,100,000 dots 2,100,000 dots
Built-in GPS No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Battery Life, Stills 360 shots (CIPA); 420 shots (rear LCD only); 440 shots (rear LCD only, energy saver on) 700 shots (CIPA); 740 shots (rear LCD only); 770 shots (rear LCD only, energy saver on)
Battery Life, Movies 105 minutes (rear LCD); 100 minutes (EVF) 170 minutes (rear LCD); 170 minutes (EVF)
Button Illumination No Yes
Weather Sealed Body Yes Yes
USB Version 3.1 (Type C) 3.1 (Type C)
Weight (with Battery and Card) 705 g (1.55 lbs) 1340 g (2.95 lbs)
Dimensions 134 × 101 × 70 mm (5.3 × 4.0 × 2.8 inches) 149 × 149.5 × 90.5 mm (5.9 × 5.9 × 3.6 inches)
Price Upon Introduction $3000 $5500
Price Today $3000 (check price) $5500 (check price)

Which Camera Should You Get?

Anyone who’s heard of these two cameras probably knew what the results were going to be ahead of time: The Z9 is clearly more advanced than the Z7 II. This is especially true in how quickly the Z9 can push data through the imaging pipeline, with more than double the raw FPS, a drastically larger buffer, and 8K raw video rather than 4K video.

Nikon Z9 for Video
The Nikon Z9 shoots 8K video compared to 4K on the Nikon Z7 II (a difference of about 33 versus 8 megapixels for each frame of the video)

Although the Nikon Z7 II is only ahead of the Z9 in size and weight (and some photographers may even disagree with that, preferring the Z9’s bigger grip and heft), that doesn’t make the Z7 II a bad camera. For one thing, it’s $2500 less expensive than the Z9 – money that can go directly to getting better lenses to maximize the quality of this 45-megapixel sensor. On top of that, even though the Z7 II doesn’t beat the Z9 in a lot of categories, it does tie it in some important areas, especially regarding the image sensor.

Specifically, the Z7 II and Z9 sensors both have a 45-megapixel resolution, a base ISO of 64, and a high ISO of 25,600. The biggest difference is that the Z9 has a stacked sensor, while the Z7 II does not. The purpose of a stacked sensor is to improve readout speed, which helps with the Z9’s fast frame rate. But in terms of image quality, it doesn’t offer an advantage, and the two cameras have effectively the same image quality.

Nikon Z7 II Image Samples #31
NIKON Z 7 II + NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S @ 20mm, ISO 64, 1.3 seconds, f/5.6

For this reason, I consider the Z7 II to be almost as good of a landscape photography camera as the Z9. The lighter weight and smaller size make it easier to bring into the backcountry, although it misses out on a couple nice features like the dual-axis tilting LCD (useful for vertical compositions from a tripod) and illuminated buttons. Factoring in the Z9’s better low-light autofocus system and longer battery life, I think the Z9 beats the Z7 II in landscape situations head-to-head, but only ignoring price. I’d certainly rather shoot the Z7 II with a killer landscape lens like the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S than the Z9 with cheaper glass.

For faster-moving genres, the comparison isn’t as close. If you need a high frame rate, big buffer, or cutting-edge autofocus system, the Z9 is clearly ahead. It’s not as though the Z7 II is terrible in any of these areas, but the Z9 is on another level. To shoot 20 FPS bursts of 45-megapixel raw photos with a 1000+ image buffer and no other limitations is really remarkable.

Nikon Z9 + 500 mm f/5.6, ISO 2500, 1/2000 second, f/5.6
Copyright Libor Vaicenbacher

Frankly, the Z9 is a clear enough upgrade over the Z7 II that unless you’re a dedicated weight-minimalizer, the decision will simply come down to price. If you’re willing to spend $5500 on a camera, get the Z9. It’s the better camera in almost every way and is priced fairly for what you get. But if $5500 is a bridge too far, get the Z7 II, which is also priced fairly for its features. (If $3000 for the Z7 II is also too far, the original Nikon Z6 and Z7 are still amazing cameras and are selling for criminally low prices on the used market.)

The Photograohers
The Photograohers
Welcome to The Photographers, your go-to source for all things photography. We are a team of passionate photographers and enthusiasts who are dedicated to providing you with the latest news, reviews, and educational resources to help you improve and excel in your photography skills.


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