Rural Travels with the Nikon Z9. My Full Review.

Rural Travels with the Nikon Z9. My Full 2023 Review. 

By Steve Huff

Whoa. I can not believe it has been over 17 years since I wrote the very first words on this website. While I do not write nearly as much here as I did during the peak of the mirrorless camera craze in 2012-2015, I have still been enjoying photography and life with a Leica SL2S for the last few years.

My Video Review of the Z9


In fact, the Leica SL2S is a camera I actually never thought I would replace as I have had an SL series camera since the first original body was launched so many years ago. Even so, I was wanting “a bit more” recently in a camera body (I will explain why in my words here). I kept my eyes open, seeing what was new and even tried the Sony A1 flagship but as impressive as that camera is, sadly it was not the one for me. As good as it is (and it really is a tech marvel), I just couldn’t connect to it. I also tried the Canon R3 and really liked it, so much so I was ready to buy it but then Nikon threw a wrench into my decision making with the recent Z8 and even the Z9 over a year ago. These cameras do so much right, feel so good in the hand and deliver a true hybrid mirrorless experience like I have not had before.

Nikon Z9 and Nikon Z 14-24 f/2.8 – Click for larger. I love this lens for images such as this. I also tested the f/4 14-30 but chose the 14-28 for its faster aperture and IQ.

If you haven’t realized it by now, I have been looking for a new camera and I needed one that can do video (up to 4k/120 without crop or overheating) and also provide me with a beefy body and battery power to test lenses on and enjoy photography with. I have been wanting to downsize my Sony FX3 and Leica SL2s systems to one body that can do it all without compromise, and I had almost decided that the Canon R3 with a couple of lenses was in the cards. The Canon could surely fit the bill I said to myself.

The Canon R3 is a mature mirrorless camera, has fantastic AF, uses CFExpress memory cards and does all I would need it to do. The cons of the R3 are that it can still overheat in some rare video situations (such as 4k/120) and the RF lens system is probably the most costly of the big three names, though none of the top tier lenses from any of them are what I would call “affordable”.

I had the R3 in my cart and then I reviewed the remarkable Nikon Z8 and I fell back in love with Nikon

The Z9 captures a deer with the 100-400S. The 3D tracking worked amazing and stuck like glue to the subject. Click it for larger version. For me I always can spot a Nikon shot from the way they render the greens and yellows. I boosted them here as that’s how I like it. I could have went duller but then they are well, duller. 

With the colors toned down. 

I loved almost everything about the Z8 besides the battery life, which IMO was subpar especially if shooting video. I do both photo and video, and almost every single day. The Z8 would have needed a few spares for me and I went back in my mind to my days with the big Nikons of the past, remembering the larger capacity batteries that were a joy to use. This means I was really looking at the Nikon Z9 and Canon R3 for my use as both use the mega capacity batteries. Both quite capable cameras for both video and photography.

One of the things that swayed me to Nikon is that the Z8 and Z9 are downright superb for adapting Leica M lenses from any manufacturer. Voigtlander, Nikon, TT Artsians, etc. From cheap to exotic, the lens choices in this mount are mind numbing. The Nikon Z8 and Z9 adapt these lenses better than most and when mixed with the Nikon contrast and color signature, makes for a fantastic body for these kind of lenses.

The Nikon Z9 and Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 F mount, converted to Z mount. This is at f/1.2 where it is a touch soft but also adds some beauty and glow much like the vintage 58 f/1.2 Noct Nikkor. This is a manual focus lens and for me, the Z9 is more enjoyable to manual focus than the rest of the pack. 

Photography calms the soul

For me, taking photographs is somewhat therapeutic and I still love taking photos with real bonafide cameras. Call me old fashioned but I prefer a real camera to a smart phone any day of the week. While I have used my smart phone many times for images, and even tried to accept it as my “one and only” it’s just not a satisfying experience for me. There is just something missing when I use my phone and I have noticed my “quality” of memories have gone down as well.

I do not create images and use cameras so I can make a video or write about them here. I take photos because I love to make memories, I love to record the unusual and I love to just document my life. If I enjoy the experience and I am pumped about the tools I am using I will sit down and write about it after some time. Same thing I have been doing for almost two decades now. I enjoy using cameras that I can connect to, a camera that motivates me to use it, a camera that I can bond with. Back in the day that came with cameras like the Leica M, SL, Nikon D3s, Canon 1dXII, etc. Heck, I adored and shot with the little Nikon V1 system for a year and loved it.

I am just like many of you reading these words. I am not a pro photographer. I do not sell prints or travel the world taking photos these days (though I have done these things). I am just a guy who loves using a camera. I’m a guy who just loves getting out there and creating memories or sometimes even art. For me it’s part passion, part hobby and part business these days in 2023.

Nikon Z9 and 55 f/1.2 – Cropped.

When the dollar store goes out of business it is not a good sign for the town it is in. 

As I said in my Nikon Z8 review, a camera is the closest we will ever be to a time machine and I look forward to browsing through all of the photos I shot in my lifetime when I am old and no longer using a camera. Memories I will hand down to my son on a large hard drive when I leave this earth. Memories that will live on forever from me and through me. In fact I had tucked away 5 hard drives over 8 years ago that were full of images that I will not look back on until my 60th birthday, in 7 more years.

As I sit here in my chair writing this I can close my eyes and envision seeing my son when he is old, sharing the photos I took with his kids. It’s how we live and live on. Yea, taking a snap every day can be really rewarding not only now, but many decades later, even when we are gone. I do not know about you, but I have photo albums from when I was a kid and seeing my mon, dad, sister and family from those times is something I enjoy to do from time to time. 

For me, it’s about the memories more so than anything else. It’s about life and the short time we have with it. I don’t know, I have just always loved recording slices of life.

The Z9 with the 28 f/5.6 from Tt Artisans. This is one of my fave manual lenses and it’s also the most affordable at under $400. Buy one HERE. 

Me in July of 2023 in front of our house which resides in the woods surrounded by nothing, just how we love it. This is with the Z9 and a 28 f/5.6 Summaron copy from TT Artisans. One of my fave small manual lenses that costs around $300. 

From Nikon to Canon to Leica and back to Nikon 

When I started this website 15 years ago, I did so only because I had a huge passion for shooting with a Leica M8 camera. There were only 3-4 big review sites out there in the world but the “influencer SELL SELL SELL” days and the big YouTube sales force were not here yet. The term “influencer” wasn’t even invented yet. YouTube was new for camera reviews and only a handful were doing it, myself included (though very badly back then). Boy how times have changed!

Back in 2006 I switched from my Canon 5D to the Leica M8 but before the Canon I was shooting Nikon with cameras like the D100, D2hs, etc. I also used the D700 while I had the M8 and I really thought the D700 was a special camera but I was stuck in Leica land back then, swooned by the rangefinder way.

My 1st real review on this website was for the heavily flawed Leica M8 when not so many were really buying Leica. I was excited by it and wanted to share my enthusiasm for it, warts and all. Today I want to do the same, but this time my enthusiasm is crazy high for Nikon and what they are doing with the Z line. No warts this time but hey, it’s 17 years later so I would hope not. 

The Nikon Z9 is the camera I have decided to buy for my work here reviewing lenses and shooting for my YouTube channels. I will also use it for making personal memories for years to come. 

Those of you who know me or are familiar with my writings, well you know that this will not be a tech review. I place priority on usability, build quality, ergonomics and results. I could care less what kind of processor a camera has, as long as it does the job without error or fault and it motivates me to use it, I will be all in.

The Little 28 f/5.6 from TT Artisans is one of my fave lenses these days and it cost me $260! It also renders better on the Z9 than it did on the Leica SL2-S which gave me a flatter duller image. This is out of camera color from the Z9 but See the Leica shots here. 

Yea, I judge cameras not by what is said on paper but what is said to my brain when using it. Is it issue free? Does it work as it should? Does it bring a positive experience? Is it motivating? Does it hold me back or allow me to grow? Is it versatile? Does it frustrate or please?

ISO 8K in a dark room – 55 f/1.2

After trying the flagships from Sony, Canon and Nikon I can easily say that the Nikon Z9 does stand ahead in almost all areas with  the V4 firmware update. For me the R3 came very close and I could be happy with either but something about the Z9 grabbed me, especially with the V4 firmware. Especially after I learned how to use the Auto Focus modes of the Z9, which is a must.

Just testing the DR and how far I can push, pull, twist and manipulate (click image for larger). The Z9 has tremendous dynamic range and I was easily able to bring back the highlights in the sky. It looks a bit “HDR” but that is due to me and seeing how much I could push this file around. Shot with the uber affordable jewel like TT Artisans 28 f/5.6 in Leica M mount. (link) (link)

Nikon Z9 and “noct-ish” 55 f/1.2 from Voigtlander. Click it to see who is staring right back at me. 

I am blown away by what Nikon is doing. 

SPOILER: The Nikon Z9 is without question the finest and most incredible camera I have ever used. Period. End of story.

The Z9 is not perfect though as I did find two faults, and one of them almost had me return this camera. I even had the RMA from B&H Photo but I decided to find a solution and I did just that. I will speak of these two flaws I found in a bit but at the end of the day I decided to keep the Z9, and I am glad that I did. If I did return it I would have regretted it. Instead of buyers remorse the Nikon would have brought me “Return Remorse”, HA!


The Z8 and Z9 files are astonishing, the low light is better than most give it credit for, it has speed for days and it is the very 1st mirrorless camera that I have used that does just as well for video as it does for photos. It’s almost as if it is a cinema camera with the most impressive video specs available today as well as a pro speed demon high res stills camera all mixed into one. A true hybrid that is like having TWO different cameras in one yet it costs less than the competition.

It’s kind of nuts how Nikon jumped up so far into video when in the past they were the least likely to be purchased for video. The Z9 is a video monster, it’s gorgeous.

This thing is also built for wildlife shooters and those who want blazing fast FPS as that is the focus of the photo mode along with a pro build and design. In this way it is similar to the Canon R3 as that camera is also a beast.

Two with the Voigtlander 75 f/1.9 M mount lens. This is the “SC” version which only has a single coating for a softer look. 

With that said, the Z9 is not JUST a wildlife or fast action camera. It’s anything you want it to be. I see it as a tough as nails, responsive, stealthy in silent mode and I can shoot slow or fast. 

The IBIS in the Z9 is fantastic and crushes Sony’s implementation of this sensor steadying tech. For adapting M lenses, it also does this better than Sony or Canon for my tastes as I really enjoy the color palette of the Nikon bodies. Nikon files seem to be more contrasty, striking and colorful where Canon has more of the Canon vibe. Flatter, softer and more “cinematic” if I can say so. I like both but Nikon won me over this time.

I am not having any issues with M lenses on the Z9 wether they are wide angle or mid range. In fact, my Voigtlander lenses are doing better on the Z9 than the did on the Leica SL2S. Now that Voigtlander makes lenses for the Z mount I see a couple of new manual focus lenses in my future.

As for build of the Z9 it sits with the Canon R3 but bests any Sony I have held in toughness, ruggedness, usability and feel. The EVF is not the highest resolution but do not be fooled! This is one of the finest EVF’s I have shot through as it’s smooth, color accurate and 100% blackout free. It’s gorgeous and has none of the issues of some others that get grainy, choppy or faded in color. This is one sweet EVF, and honestly leaves me wanting for nothing more.


This camera has no mechanical shutter which is THE FUTURE of digital imaging as far as I am concerned. No more worrying about what the shutter rating is with a big pro level camera. There is none here to wear out and it’s something I wish camera makers did long ago.

I was not all in for this at first and thought I would miss having a real shutter, but nope. I now see no reason to have a mechanical shutter. None at all. The Z9 can be shot with 100% silence and this comes in handy, especially for birding which many use this camera for. Remember the days of locking up the mirror in a DSLR to avoid the vibration of the mirror flapping? No more!

What about press events where we hear the click and clack of all of those shutters flapping. I think in the years ahead cameras will not be heard when taking photos. This is a good thing. Even using the Z9 with the new Auto Capture feature is a godsend as the camera can be up close to birds and they will never hear the camera clicking. This means that they will not be scared away by the noise. This means you will nail the shot, or well, the Z9 will.

Auto Capture mode is pretty sweet. Set it up, walk away, come. back and find images on your hard drive taken by the Nikon Z9 itself. Taken with the 100-400s in Auto Capture mode. 

Having a shutterless camera is nice. The Canon R3 has a shutter but also can be used in silent mode without using the shutter (but no auto capture with Canon). Nikon is the first camera maker to completely remove the shutter in a camera of this pedigree and I applaud them for it.

Can you tell I really enjoy the Voigtlander 55 f/1.2? All three below with this lens and the Z9.

Big Video

The Z9 has also replaced my Sony FX3 (for video) that I have had since it was launched (for sale here) as the Nikon just did almost everything better (for my tastes). Battery life is superb, build is tank like and it just feels so right in my hands. The fact that there are no recording limits, no overheating, and no issues when you want to record 4K 120 is also phenomenal. This is the first body that for me, has it all and then some.

The autofocus for video in Firmware V4 is remarkable and up there with the best I have used in photo and video.

*I will say that while testing the Canon R3 this summer it did overheat on me when shooting 4K/120 outside. Took about 8 minutes. The Nikon has not overheated at all for me, even when shooting 4k/120 outside in the summer. There are no fans inside of the Z9 either, it just doesn’t overheat (or hasn’t yet)*

What about the Z7II?

I could have (and almost did) go for a Nikon Z7II. Heck, why not? It’s $2500 less than a Z9 and a mighty handsome camera. Also,  that $2500 could buy one gorgeous lens or two really good lenses. So yes indeed I did look at the Z7II as well. I rented one for just a week. I enjoyed the experience but this was done before I had the Z8 and Z9 here.

It’s a wonderful camera but at the end of the day I spent the $2500 extra on the Z9 for the battery life, the more rugged build, the extensive internal video features and the SPEED of AF as well as the 3D tracking. The Z7II wasn’t very “sticky” for continuous auto focus (video) and for me fell behind the Sony and Canon offerings of similar price. Also note that the Z7 II is much smaller and for those who want small, the Z6II and Z7II are wonderful offerings for Nikon fans but do not expect the AF of Sony or Canon with the Z6 or Z7 bodies.

Even so, the Z7II is an impressive camera in design and ergonomics. The IQ is similar to the Z8 and Z9. If you do not need all of the things the Z8 or Z9 bring, the Z7II is a solid choice if you are looking to get into or stay with Nikon.

Nikon 100-400S

Let’s Talk About Auto Focus of the Z8 and Z9

Let’s talk about the Z9 Auto Focus for a moment. With V4 Firmware I am here to tell you it is just as good as what I see from Sony and Canon. Heck, it may be a touch better as Nikons 3D tracking is pretty remarkable here for photos and tracking subjects.

It took me a few weeks to learn all of the AF modes in the Z9 because when I started shooting with it, I was not initially thrilled with the AF so much. After taking the time to learn about which AF mode does what I find the autofocus of the Z8 and Z9 incredible. You have to use the camera for a couple of weeks to learn it rather than shooting it for one day and saying it is inferior (like I have seen a couple of reviewers do with the Z9, sadly).

With the TT Artisans 28 f/5.6 (Leica Summaron Copy). I tweaked colors to my liking here so this is not an out of camera image. 

I see no performance decrease from my FX3 in video continuous tracking AF, and that is incredible for a Nikon mirrorless. Sure, Sony has done even better since the FX3 but I have no complaints with the Z9 autofocus in photo or video.

It does exactly what I want it to do when I use AF lenses. You must choose the right AF mode for what you are shooting. If you do, you will be rewarded. If not, you may be let down. Just know the Z9 is as capable as you are so take the time to learn all about the AF modes and what they do.

Nikon 100-400S with the Z9 – Out of camera color. 

I can say that the face/eye AF works fast and perfectly. The animal AF, the same. Makes it almost impossible to miss a shot when shooting a human, animal or even car. Yes, there is a mode for CAR AF! Then there is 3D tracking which is very sticky and tracks subjects very well. The Z8 also has Airplane AF that is not in the Z9 just yet.

Yea, I use manual focus lenses quite often (photos) but when I want AF (video), I want AF to be solid and the Z9 is indeed as good (or just about there) as the Sony and Canon for both video and photo.

The Nikon Z9 is so advanced I will never use it for all that it can do but it is nice to have it in case I do. This is a camera one can grow with, learn with and create many memories with.

Nikon Z9 files are rich, robust, detailed and beautiful. This one with the Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 F Mount via an adapter. Click image for much larger version. 

Goodbye to Leica

For me the Z9 is replacing two Leica SL2S bodies as well as a Sony FX3 body and it is doing photos and video better than those bodies did, for my tastes and preferences. One reason is the Auto Focus, which slaughters the Leica. I never used the Leica for video as its AF was not usable for me with video. Even for using face detect/eye detect it couldn’t keep focus. Leica has always been a few years behind the times but we accept it because well, they are Leica : )

So for me, video with AF was in no way usable with the Leica. Same went for the Panasonic S5II, which I had here for 3 weeks. I enjoyed it quite a bit but it was not close to these “do it all” bodies in AF, feel, ergonomics, EVF or speed. Yea, I guess I am spoiled a bit.

That’s the thing…Once you shoot with a camera like the Z8, Z9, R3 or even A1 other cameras will not feel the same when you use them. So audition with care.

Two with the gorgeous 100-400Z. The Animal EYE AF tracked our cat without issue. Click them for larger. Out of camera color. 

In my Z8 review I spoke of my history with Nikon and now that I am all in with the Z9 I almost feel like I am home again. Honestly, I have not wanted a Leica M since the M9 as it is just too limited and issue prone for me these days.

I am not one who wants to spend $9,000 on a small camera body in 2023 that can only do one thing. That one thing it does? Honestly it doesn’t do it any better than most cameras out today. That one thing the M does is take photos using manual focus. The M is about the experience of shooting with such a unique camera and you do have to pay dearly for this now antiquated experience. It’s manual focus only, no video and well, takes images one frame at a time. It’s gorgeous and beautiful and I truly dig the slow vibe but these days my cameras need to work for me, not against me.

I do use the Z9 for the slow steady experience just like I did with Leica as again, this camera can be whatever you want it or need it to be.

Over the last two years I have rented and tried cameras from all brands. Canon was almost my choice but I waited it out and after trying the Z7II, Sony A1, Canon R3/R5 and the Z9 it really was no contest for me. As I said earlier, I did find two weaknesses with the Z9 and one of those pertains to AUDIO recording for video (3.5mm jack) and the other has to do with the memory card door (it feels cheap). I will talk more about those later on in this write up.

Both with the TT Artisans 28mm f/5.6 with tweaked colors to my preference. 

Making the Choice

When the Z9 came out I was able to shoot with one briefly but when it was launched it was not as good as it is today with firmware Version 4.0. It was still good enough to make me realize this could be the “one” for me, at least for the next five years. So I waited for a year to see what Nikon would do with the firmware and I was skeptical. Not anymore.

See, many moons ago I used to swap cameras often and was sort of addicted to new gear. We call it G.A.S. but it’s a real thing. One day I realized I was happy with what I had and stuck with it for many years. It was only when I was seeing limitations in what I was using along with what Nikon was doing with the Z9 and Z8 that I started to figure out if swapping three bodies for one would be good for me.

I pumped up the color here a bit for mood but this one is of one of our cats who seems to stop and stare when I point a camera at her. She is 19 years old and has lived on this property since she was a kitten. Shot with the TT Artisans 28 f/5.6 on the Z9

I saw it like this: Going with the Z9 would be great for me. I would be able to sell my two Leica’s and the FX3 and have the cash to purchase the Z9, a lens or two and some accessories. After much thought I decided that was the way for me to go, and I did it.

Now that I have been working with the Z9 for a while I am in love and can say with confidence this is the “best” camera I have ever shot with in my lifetime, film or digital. The Z8 is the 2nd best or well, really tied as it depends on needs. They are almost internally the same camera. Nikon is aiming high and nailing it lately. Make no mistake, so is Canon and Sony. It’s tough to buy a BAD camera these days so I always decide with my heart, after trying the bodies I am interested in.

The Z9 has been rock solid and took me a few weeks to fully learn the camera, the menus, the focus modes, etc. Once I did that I started to use it as my Leica. Once set up, it’s easy as pie to work with. I have my settings all customized for the photo side and video side. The camera allows for instant switching between video and photo and keeps your settings for each mode ready to go.

I mainly shoot manual lenses but also picked up the Nikon Z 14-24, 35 1.8 and have a 100-400 incoming to test out. One day soon I will review the newest model Noct Nikkor as well.

The video specs of the Z9 are insane. Internal RAW, 8K, 12 BIT, Pro Res RAW, etc. ALL IN CAMERA, no external recorder required.

Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 is like a modern day Noct Nikkor. More modern yet still retains lots of character. Both of these were shot with this lens that comes in for around $799. I LOVE this lens as it doesn’t render like a special effects lens. It is smooth and sharp even at f/1.2 but everything looks natural. 1st image out of camera, second image colors have been tweaked to my liking. 


I am not here to write down all of the tech specs of the Z9 as we already know all about what a monster this camera is when it comes to what it can do. It has been out for over a year now and Nikon has released several firmware updates that have improved the camera quite a bit.

All I need to know about the Z9 comes with using it, customizing it and making it my own. This body can be set up to however you like it as you can program any button to do what you need it to do.

The kicker is the Z9 is the only camera I have tested over the last two years that has gotten me all pumped up about a new camera!  Since owning the Z9 I now take a morning drive every other day to look for snaps out in the rural areas that are not far from our home.

The Z9 is so solid, and for me not too heavy at all as I use Leica M mount lenses for photos and sometimes the smaller Nikon Z glass.

Nikon Z9 and 55 f/1.2. This lens has been glued to my Z9 for weeks. 

The Nikon Z9 SIZE

Let’s talk about the size of the Z9 for a moment as this is where many draw the line. The size and weight is indeed why many avoid these pro bodies and is also why the pros buy them. For some it will just be too large and in that case, the good news is that the Z8 is basically a Z9 in a smaller (though not too small) body. If the Z9 size is too much, go for the Z8. It’s an incredible body as well. With the Z8 you get all of the Z9 benefits (mostly) in a smaller package.

But the Z9 just has it all and takes me back to when I used to own the D1, D2HS and D3S. I bonded to those cameras and only sold them off for “newer and better” back when my GAS was in full effect. Back then I wanted whatever was new but these days I am older, wiser and much more chill. I can now stay happy with a camera as long as I love using it.

The size of the Z9 is perfect for my needs IMO and I do not mind the weight as I normally will always have a small light lens attached when shooting photos. When I shoot video, I will almost always be on a tripod with monitor, mic, Z lens, etc.

I loved the D1, D2HS and D3s for its size and ergonomics and the Z9 is even better (and thinner). I feel it’s one of the best feeling bodies around but tastes may vary depending on hand size, etc. I did hold a D6 a while back and thought it was pretty fat feeling in comparison to the Z9 but the D6 uses the old mount which eventually will be faded out.

Yes my friends, mirrorless is finally killing the DSLR.

Z9 and 55 f’1.2. 

VIDEO (and one weakness)

I shoot video for my YT channels 3-4 times per week and sure, I could have used almost any modern day camera for YouTube videos and I have. I just need 4k 24P and 4k/120. I even sometimes shoot at 1080 for some things. I doubt I will ever need the 8K capabilities of the Z9 but I can say the 4K video is beautiful. I just have zero issues when using the Z9 for video and I can not say that for some others that I have used.


I am still working out what “look” I want from the files in regards to color, tone, etc but I am finding the Z9 files to be so easy to work with. My Sony FX3 is as well but again, the Z9 does double duty and it does this in the best way I have seen from any hybrid camera. The videos above were all shot in 4K and I use 4k/120 in all of them.

Throughout the years I have used my iPhone, a GoPro, a Sony ZV1, a Canon M series, and all kinds of cameras from lower tier to flagship for shooting video content. They all work, yes, but again, I wanted an all in one. A world class video camera and world class photo machine. Believe it or not, these days production value for YT videos is a must to keep up with the pack. Ive been on YouTube with three channels for over 16 years so I can not show up with crappy video quality in 2023 : )

The iPhone videos really just look like an iPhone video. Noisy and well, just OK unless the lighting is just perfect and even then, you can tell it’s from a phone. The GoPro I own is limited in many ways and only good for when I am out and about shooting video of myself talking on location. The Sony ZV1 just didn’t have the features I needed and well, I wasn’t sold on the quality for an in house cam. I have also tried out pricey cameras for my videos including pricey cinema cameras that were just way way too much for my use and honestly did not do any better than the hybrids, for this use.

The Canon’s can overheat. The Sony photo bodies I find too small these days (for my tastes) and they can also overheat.

When I tested the Z8 and Z9 for video I was blown away by just about everything. The colors, the 4K/120, the IBIS, the easy switching between photo and video, the insane video settings and ProRES shooting in camera. I can not think of any other camera that can do this internally and with this kind of speed and performance.


The issue I had with video on the Z9 was with the audio. The built in audio preamps of the Z9 are awful. I mean, I have heard better in cameras that cost thousands less. This means that if you use an external MIC, like a Rode video mic variety, the audio will sound pretty ragged. There will be hiss and you will sound like you are in a tin can without any bass to the sound at all.

I couldn’t believe it and thought I had a defect until I read up on the history of bad Nikon audio. Why would they do this in their flagship? Sony uses good/decent preamps as does Canon, at least they are better than what is here in the Nikon. I have no issues with the Sony or Canon at all when it comes to audio. With the Nikon, it took me many hours of testing with various mics and settings to reach a place where I felt comfortable using the audio that the camera records.

One may argue that “THIS IS A PHOTO MACHINE” so the audio isn’t important. To that I disagree 100%. Nikon markets this as a true hybrid for video and photo and the specs of the Z8 and Z9 show this. This was built just as much for photo as video and Nikon did include an external mic 3.5mm in. Not everyone uses video JUST FOR B ROLL, lol. Some use them for interviews and having quality audio on board can be a godsend.

So yes, this should have decent pre-amps like Canon and Sony do. Sadly, it doesn’t. Neither does the Z8 as it is similar. I am used to recording clean and beefy audio with my video and have used my Rode NTG 3 XLR mic with the Sony FX3 with amazing results. The audio was faultless for my needs and the Z9 audio is a huge downgrade when shooting video, no matter the mic I use. Even using the 3.5mm jack on the FX3 provides much better audio with plug in mics vs the Nikon.

Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 wide open

I have tested the Z9 with the following microphones:

Rode Videomic NTG

Rode Wireless Go

DJI Wireless Mic

Rode Videomic Pro +

Sennheiser MKE 400 (best cleanest choice)

All of these mics are very good for the money and will bring similar results with the Z9 unless you set up the camera properly to the mic being used. Even when you do this, you will have to edit the audio within your editor if you want quality audio. This only takes 3 clicks for me in Final Cut Pro but it’s still work I should not have to do when using a flagship hybrid.

Once I isolate my voice, add some bass and treble with the EQ and boost with some gain the audio sounds fantastic. I just do this during editing within my editor of choice which is Final Cut Pro.

After numerous tests I settled on setting the internal preamps of the Nikon Z9 to “4” and never ever higher than “4”. Never use AUTO on the Z8 or Z9 as you will get tons of noise and hiss back with a very thin sound.

When you lower the internal gain to 3 the noise will almost vanish but now the signal will need further amplification and this happens with the microphones themselves.

For the Rode Videomic variety  I had to set the gain in the mic as high as they would go. Actually it was the same with the DJI and Sennheiser.

When I do this the resulting audio is very low in volume but also low in noise so I can boost it in post to sound good. It’s a step I never had to take with my FX3 or even when I used a Canon 1DX MKII.

I almost returned the Nikon for this reason but there is a workaround and while not perfect it works for me.

I am now able to use my wonderful sounding Rode NTG3 with the Z9 using this Tascam XLR adapter. The Tascam has higher quality preamps in it so the audio will be boosted to the camera in much better quality than most $200 microphones can bring. The NTG 3 is also a nice sounding mic for voices so this XLR adapter completely solves the issue for me. With that said, there should not be an issue here at this level so hopefully Nikon starts to use higher quality audio preamps in the future.

Also, while the Tascam brings the same quality to the Z9 as I was getting from the Sony FX3 with the same mic, it’s not as effortless to use. The Tascam takes 2 AA batteries so we must be sure to not let them run out. Also, you must turn it on and off as there is no auto on. One thing I love about the Tascam is that I can add the DJI or RODE wireless mics to the top shoe and plug them into the 3.5mm in on the Tascam. Very cool.

OH, and the other thing I didn’t like about the Z9. 

When I had the D1, D2hS and D3s I remember the memory card doors being much more solid than the one on the Z9. The Z9 has a slide out door that is cheap feeling and sort of hard to slide open. For the Nikon flagship, this feels like the cheapest part of the camera. I am sure it will last many years but not sure why Nikon cheapened out on the memory door this go round. If my hands are sweaty or not fully dry (this summer has been humid) it is very hard to open this door. I miss the older more rugged style of the D series flagships when it comes to the memory card door.

Cool things about the Z9

Shooting with it feels effortless. It’s easy to manual focus, and auto focus is rather incredible with firmware V4 and feels more instant than the Z8 did. You can charge the battery internally with a USB-C cable and use while charging. There is a full size HDMI out for attaching a display and a headphone out for monitoring the audio. Of course being a larger body you have a fully integrated grip with portrait controls that are lockable. I suggest keeping it locked as it’s too easy to snap unwanted images with it unlocked. You will know what I mean if you leave it unlocked : )

Auto Capture in V4 Firmware is also amazing! I set up the Z9 in m backyard with the Nikon Z 100-400 S VR, aimed it at my bird feeders and went inside for TEN minutes. When I came out I grabbed the camera, brought it in and had a few cool shots:

The Nikon 100-400 Z is quite the lens. Light as can be yet large. Quality is fantastic. I will be buying this lens for my Z9. Some of the images above are 100% crops, so keep that in mind. Also, I need to work on the settings for auto capture and make sure I use it in manual to ensure my shutter speed is fast enough to avoid blur. The images above were literally my 1st attempt and I am excited to use this more around our property to capture deer, fox and more.

Also, the Nikon Z9 battery life is incredible for photos and excellent for video use. I do have two batteries but that is because B&H Photo offers an extra free battery with the camera. For video you will want it.

Z9 and 55 f/1.2 from Voigtlander 

PROS AND CONS of the Nikon Z9


  1. Built like a tank
  2. Great battery life
  3. Speed demon
  4. Video is very impressive, best I have used in a Hybrid
  5. Auto Focus V4 is as good as the others
  6. Auto Capture with V4 firmware is game changing
  7. EVF is lower res than some but best I have looked through
  8. Lens choice is excellent
  9. Good in all light scenarios
  10. Gorgeous color and files
  11. No shutter!
  12. Price is excellent for what you get
  13. Works amazingly well with adapted lenses
  14. Easy to manual focus
  15. Great IBIS implementation
  16. ProRES RAW for video
  17. Firmware update via app
  18. For me, best camera made today (August 2023)


  1. Audio preamps are subpar for recording audio with video (have to do the work around)
  2. Card door seems cheap compared to past flagship bodies
  3. Highest of ISO is not as clean as say the Canon R3 but the Z is higher res. I wouldn’t call the Z9 a low light camera.

Two random snaps with the 55 f/1.2 at f/1.2


I have always loved cameras that could shoot in very low light as once upon a time I shot in extreme low light every weekend. It was not abnormal for me to shoot at ISO 12,800 or sometimes even going to 25K ISO, and I was able to eke out usable images in this light with a few cameras. The Sony A7SIII, the Canon 1dXII, the Hasselbald X1D, etc.

The good news here is that the Z9 does pretty well in low light when you expose correctly. As long as you are not in a dungeon, you can see usable results up to 6400 ISO. You can go higher if you use a nice noise reduction software, say 12,800. Today I rarely go over ISO 6400 as I no longer shoot in those dungeons of the past, lol. What I have seen so far with the Z9 is that it’s really quite good, even at high ISO with lower light.

Yes indeed, there are bodies from Sony and Canon that do better in low light but they are all lower res cameras. The Z9 does excellent for using a 45MP sensor. The low light champ in the Nikon Z line is the Z6II and for the DSLR line it is the D6, which has a remarkable sensor and a one stop advantage when it comes to noise vs the Z9.

Many have stated the Z9 high ISO is not very good but I think it is pretty decent. It’s good, and excellent for being 45MP but you can do better if you are ok with going to a 24 MP body. The Z9 is not made for low light.

The SL2S was a great low light body but if I can be honest, I am not seeing a HUGE difference between it and the Z9 in this area. Yes, the SL2S is a bit better when it comes to high ISO and low light noise but the Z9 is plenty good for all but very dark conditions. That’s what f/1.2 lenses are for anyway ; )

Below just some examples using Adobe’s new AI Noise Reduction. With this powerful tool, the Z9 CAN be a low light camera. This is the future after all and here we are.

ISO 10K and using Adobe AI Noise Reduction – Click them for larger – These were shot with the 55 f/1.2 from Voigtlander which is a bit soft at f/1.2

Shot at dusk with the 100-400S at ISO 7200 (auto ISO) – Did NOT use NR but was set to LOW in camera. This is the NEF file. 


I am not a wildlife shooter, not a sports shooter, not a pro shooter. I am just an enthusiast who has always loved taking photos. I have owned a camera since I was 9 years old. For me, I must enjoy the tool in order to want to use it. A tool that motivates and gets me out in the morning is good and the Z9 does that for me.

The Z9 easy to use, effortless in its AF and speed and silent in use. It’s a revelation when using this camera. I can use it slow and steady like a Leica or I can attach a Z lens and shoot as fast as I need to for as long as I need to. The color and file quality is superb and this camera does well in good or low light when exposed properly.

The stacked sensor delivers the goods here with speed and IQ both, and it is one of the finest sensors I have worked with when it comes to post processing. I can bring back highlights pretty easily. I can do the same with lifting shadows.

The video quality is fantastic and I love shooting in 4K/120 and with the IBIS smooth shots are achievable.

After the firmware V4 update the camera is even better with stickier “Sony like” AF and auto capture mode. The only weakness I found is with the audio preamps and that will only be an issue to those who want to use the Z9 for video using an external microphone. There are workarounds but should we have to do this with a flagship camera that advertises itself as a world class photo and video machine? No but for me it’s worth the workaround for the audio due to everything else this camera brings to the table.

For me, the Z9 is the first camera to unseat my Leica SL2S and I have tried the rest but went for the Z9 because it does all I need it to do and then some. I was able to sell off three bodies and one lens to consolidate to one body and 3 lenses and the kicker is the one body does photo and video better than the three bodies I used before it.

Vs the Canon R3 it was really an easy choice at the end of the day. I prefer the Z9 with its two CFExpress slots (VS 1 on the Canon), I prefer the Z9 for the fact that it just has not overheated on me during video shoots. The Canon (and Sony) have overheated during use for me. I prefer the ergonomics of the Nikon and the best part of all, the Z9 costs less yet gives a little more. The Z9 has a higher res sensor and while not as good in low light as the R3 from Canon, with the newest tools from Adobe and DXO noise reduction is pretty remarkable these days. Shooting at ISO 12,800 on the Nikon Z9 is noisy if shooting in low light but I can clean it up very well with the AI based Adobe NR when I process the images.

The weakness with the Audio recording during video is real and the on board preamps sound like garbage. But you can set it up to work decently with most 3.5mm plug in mics. Better yet, the Tascam XLR adapter brings pro audio quality to the Z9. I bought one to use with my Rode NTG3.

BOTTOM LINE: The Z9 and the Z8 are tech marvels and the finest cameras I have ever used in my lifetime. There are no real limitations (unless shooting in the dark), no real weaknesses and for me it bests the current crop of competition from the other big two names. The Z line doesn’t have all of the lens choices of Sony and Canon but they are getting there and there are some gems within the Z line that I look forward to testing soon. 

Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 and Z9

An old feral cat we named “Wildibeast” rests in our yard – 100-400S


As always I recommend buying your camera NOT from Amazon (one day I will post 4 reasons why) but from B&H Photo. I have been buying from B&H Photo since 1995 so almost THIRTY YEARS. In those years I have never had one negative issue with B&H. I have ordered online and shopped in their mega store in the flesh. Always a fantastic experience. With Amazon I have had four horrible experiences (one last month)  in 7 years when buying camera bodies. Here is just one. 

B&H offers the Z9 with a FREE battery as well right now and you can see that offer HERE. 

Other gear I bought (and kept) from B&H Photo with my Z9

Sennheiser MKE400 mic (best of the plug in microphones for the Z. Just set to 20DB+ and camera to 4, then boost in post), Great for run and gun video.

Tascam XLR adapter for highest quality audio in camera but must use with an XLR Mic. This is great for interviews or talking heads.

The RODE NTG 3 has been my go to XLR mic for many years.

The Nikon Z 14-24 2.8 Lens is remarkable.

This Voigtlander 55 f/1.2 has been a treat to shoot on the Z9 and reminds me some of the old Noct Nikkor but cost thousands less.

This is the Leica M to Z adapter I use. Affordable and superb quality.

The Nikon Z 35 1.8 is another stellar lens that will not break your bank account. It’s a remarkable lens.

The Nikon Z 100-400 will be my pick for telephoto for the wildlife on my property but I will not buy it until end of the year.

The Atomos SHOGUN is the display I use as I do not need the record features of the much more pricey NINJA. The Nikon does it all in camera. The Z9 screen does not swivel out so this comes in handy for shooting videos where I need to be in front of the camera. I bought the full kit with batteries.

I use these Sony Tough CFExpress cards. They are just about bulletproof. I have two 512’s but the 128GB are great as well.

The TT Artisans 28 f/5.6 is a jewel of a manual focus lens. I love mine and you can buy one HERE for under $400. 

P.S. Just to let you know Nikon (or ANY other camera company) does not send me anything to review. I have no affiliation with Nikon at all. I did not get paid to do this review, nor did I get any kind of kickback. However, I did spend 200 hours over 4 weeks working on this review, maybe more. I need to make a few dollars somehow and the only way I can is if when you buy something that I talk about here and you use the links on this page (above). So if you do buy a Z8 or Z9 or anything above it would be appreciated if you use my links here as it’s the only way I can make a dollar here. I thank you so much in advance. This will help me bring more camera related reviews here in 2024 if you do so. 




  1. Just a note that the link you posted to the “m to z” mount adapter is wrong. It takes me to a nikon F lens to Leica m camera adapter. I could still find the m lens to z camera adapter but I had to search around a bit

  2. Hey Steve!

    I was surprised to see this review and your conclusion, but not for the reason you may think: I made the same choice about a year ago.

    (You and I have been on similar paths with respect to our gear over the years, including a hard dive into the Leica world, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

    For all of the reasons you’ve thoughtfully described, the Z9 pretty much does everything I want it to do.

    The only thing I worried I would miss was the relative anonymity an M camera confers when shooting street photography, which admittedly I don’t do as often these days. But a few weeks ago I took the Z9 out while a friend was in town to visit, and shoot a festival here in Toronto. I was shocked that no one even cared… and surprisingly many didn’t even notice (perhaps because I was using the diminutive Z 40/2 lens?). In contrast, my friend — who was shooting his Leica M10-R — was stopped once and chatted up for his “beautiful” camera.

    I’m still processing shots from that weekend, but many of them can be viewed here:

    In any case, enjoy your new camera. For what it’s worth, I think you made the right choice 🙂


    • That’s wonderful to hear Peter! Been a long while but glad to see you comment here and hear you have been enjoying the Z9! Thats fantastic! I will check out your link now. Have a great rest of your day/night.

  3. Thanks for this and the Z8 review. I have to say, having followed you for some years I was surprised by this move. But you explained the journey well, and it seems clear. I’ve used Leica Ms (both digital and film) most of the last ten years, and before that a Nikon D800 was my main camera, though I have not used Nikon since then. I also have a Hasselblad 907x, and was considering the X2D, but the AF looks like it will never be that great, so the M is still – most often – a more satisfying experience for manual focusing than the Hasselblad.
    The Z8 seems a practical choice for a bunch of use cases. My issue seems to be with the colors I’m seeing in your reports. Excuse me saying this because I know you have written here that you prefer them. To my eye they seem more vivid, more saturated, less nuanced than from your Leica SL2-S (which is a body I’ve been considering), and especially the Hasselblad, which seems to lead here. In post I sometimes tweak white balance, but I don’t generally get into messing around with colour / tint, etc, unless I feel I have to, and I’m seldom as pleased as when I feel the output from the camera is close (or just needs w/b adjusted). Can you tell us please a little about the color settings you are using here – is it saturated or adjusted somehow in post? When I look at the TT Artisan 5.6/28 photos from the Z9 and SL2-S I see a big difference in what you posted.
    Anyway, each to their own taste, and I’m not criticising – I just wish to understand a bit more about the colors from the Z9/8, because for me, there is quite a lot else going for the Z9/8 that would make me consider it and maybe let the Hasselblad go. But I guess I want to see what is involved in getting the more subtle palette and nuanced look with the Nikon.
    Anyway, for you, I’m really pleased you have found something you really like, and I hope you continue to really enjoy it Steve.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

    • Thanks Linden! Yep, for me I much prefer the colors, sensor and other things that I get from the Z9. To my eye, they have more depth, detail and life vs the Leica. You can see this by looking at the Leica SL2S shots with the 28 f/5.6 lens io use here for many shots.

      The Z can do flatter looking shots if you want that : ) Any camera can create any look you desire today really. I went with what I needed, what worked for me, and to scale down to one body for ease of use and economics. The Sl2S is a wonderful camera, as I have stated for years, if you just want to shoot stills or do not need Auto Focus for video.

      On my Apple Mac Pro and Pro Display the Z9 files look much nicer to me, but maybe not to you. : ) We all have different tastes which is why there are a ton of cameras made. The Hasselblad is great too, again, if you want just a stills machine. These shots here were also taken with mostly different types of lenses and as we know, lenses certainly create the look. If I had the Noct 58 0.95 the images would look much different.

      In any case, I have no regrets with the Z9 at all. Im still using it much more than the Leica, which was sitting around a lot lately. If I want muted colors, I can do that as well but the sensor in the Z9 is spectacular and the files very hardy. Allows for one to be more creative in post.

      There’s no best camera for everyone and never will be. Best advice I give is to always go with your heart and what works for you. I am not trying to convince anyone to buy a camera, just talking of my honest experience. But in no way do I see anything better in my Leica SL2S files. Maybe the SL but not the SL2S. They are duller, flatter and not as sharp/have less pop when using adapted lenses.



      • Thanks for all this helpful feedback Steve, it’s much appreciated.
        As an aside, I am trying to “look away” here on your site regarding all the hi-fi reviews. It’s not that I’m into hi-fi, it’s that I’m not, but I know my brain is wired in that sort of way that if I did I would likely go in deep, lol. So, I’m just avoiding that vortex as long as I can! But if I can’t, I’ll come here to learn. 🙂

  4. Dear Steve, I understand the technical superiority of the Z9 and your argument about better video. However, I noticed your saying “Once I did that I started to use it as my Leica. Once set up, it’s easy as pie to work with”. Thus, when you uses this remarkable Nikon masterpiece as a SL2s, or its (hypothetical) next evolution, won’t you miss the sort of pictorial perfection and ease of use you get with the Vario- Elmarit 90-280 or Summicron SL 35mm and other SL lenses when you use the Leica? Getting faster focusing, etc.., is a different demand than being able to use “superior” lenses with an easy focusing method as it is the case on the Leica SL, even it is not the ultimate.

    • Hello! Thanks for the comment. No, I will not miss any of the Leica glass as I didn’t own any. I do not look for perfection EVER, especially for life memories. I prefer character, always have, always will. I prefer other brands to Leica these days anyway when it comes to glass. I never bought any of those Leica lenses you mention, they do mot appeal to me. So many people today buy a camera like a Leica and spend thousands on a lens they will use for Instagram, YouTube or Facebook. Some just to look at 100% crops on their screen. It’s those who “want” what they want, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, just not for me. I have never pixel peeped and rarely look at images at 100% as none of that matters. As I said in the video, when I am 80 and looking back at all of my photos I will not say “oh, that was shot with a Leica”… I will not care as it’s a memory, a slice of time and all of them will be equally as important. Camera brands do not matter to me, enjoyment and happiness does. It’s not something I need a $6k+ lens for. I do not lust after camera gear these days due to name brand and Leica is no more special than others, just different as they charge more for less. Always have. For me, this camera bests the SL2 all day long, and will best the SL3 as well when it comes to what it can do. 98% of those who use those “superior” lenses do not need them, they do it because they can. It doesn’t make the photos any better, just different.I use the same lenses I used on may SL2S on this Z9, but they do better on the Z9 which was a pleasant surprise. I will most likely never buy a Leica again and my memories will in no way suffer from that.Thank you.

  5. Audio issue may primarily be a case of “impedance mismatch”.
    British landscape photographer Nigel Danson uses a wireless lavalier microphone (Sennheiser) that sounds very good to my ears.

    • I have now tested seven mics ranging from $150 to $399. The only solution that worked without all of the extra work is using the Tascam and my Rode NTG3, and it sounds much much better than any standard mic. The pre-amps of the Nikon are awful. I am sure the pricey Sennheiser lab mics will sound better as they most likely have a nice preamp inside of them. Nikon has the worst audio preamps I have ever experienced.

      • I guess these pre-amps are basically the same as on the original Z 6/7. At the launch thereof, Nikon also launched a couple microphones and these had significantly higher impedance than a product like R/ode.
        The Nikon branded microphones were short lived.
        In the Z 9, they upgraded the PCM analogue to digital side from 16 to 24 bits, but that’s after the analogue inputs.
        And they added a menu option to switch off “Mic jack plug-in power” where off or on can result in a better match with your input device. (

        With the original “Nikon” ME-1 Stereo Microphone, Nikon USA specify an output-impedance of 2,200 Ohm (2.2k) and this typically requires a “supply voltage” that makes the microphone work (
        This means that the camera’s preamp may have been designed with at least 10 times that value (load impedance or input impedance). We can deduce that the camera assumes microphones that draw as little power as possible.
        In itself that is legitimate. But not common.

        Contrast these numbers with a R/ode example: “The Rode NT1-A Has An Output Impedance Of 100 Ohm”.

        “Low-impedance” is in the 50 ohms .. 600 ohms ballpark.Professional mics generally are between 150..250 ohms.
        The Nikon microphone was in the medium impedance range.

        A famous (high-end) Neumann KM 184 has an output impedance of 50 Ohm and expects a load (input) impedance of 1k (1000) Ohm.

        Plugging a Low-Z mic into a High-Z input results in a low-level signal. The audio signal will be close to the noise floor, and so any boost at the preamp will also bring up the noise.

  6. Good to see another camera review Steve, thanks. I was on the fence for a SL2-S but I think I’ll go for the Z6ii or the expected Zf instead. As much as I love Leica (I have an M10P), the price is just too high in my opinion. I also believe the Z lenses are not surpassed by the Leica L-mount lenses, and they are considerably less expensive.

  7. I can’t wait to adapt my assortment of C/Y, M, K, and M42 mount lenses as well as the native mount lenses on this camera.

    I know the legacy lenses are not as “awesome” as the new S mount lenses but they all have their own charm. Manual focusing on the Z9 is a breeze.

    The Z9 is simply an astonishing camera.

  8. Thanks Steve, good to read a photo review again. I’m considering a SL2-S but your Nikon review doesn’t help 🙂

    • SL2-S is great, I still love that camera. I just needed one that did it all, and the SL2-S lacks in the AF area. That’s really the only hang up with it in 2023/2024. The Nikon is a stunner in all ways. The silence, the EVF, the instant response to almost everything, the AF and tracking, etc. It’s a “Master of All” kind of camera. Best I have ever used. It doesn’t have the charm of the Leica in looks though. If you just want a photo machine and do not need to track your subject or plan on using MF the Leica is wonderful.

  9. Hey Steve, thanks for the review! Z9 seems to be a fine tool for photography-video, but I like the photo files you were getting with the SL-SL2s way better!


    • I prefer the Z files, 100% without question. With that said, I had an SL body for YEARS so many more photos to pick from to share and yes, I have photos that I prefer with the SL2S vs the 9 but that comes with time and trying many lenses. The files of the Z9 are much better IMO. Also prefer the AF, body, EVF, IBIS, Video performance, speed and experience : ) But as usual it is always about personal preference. Just like I much prefer the original SL to the SL2S when it comes to color and IQ but I also loved and adored the SL2S for the years that I owned it.

      For me, it’s no contest though. The Z9 is superior in every way over the SL2 cameras, for me, as a total package and a steal in price when compared. Images are images and I do not pixel peep nor do I look for perfection, ever. With that said, the Z9 will create thousands of memories for me and when I look back in 15 years I doubt I will look at a photo and say “I wish I shot that with a Leica”. In fact, I know I will not as none of that will matter, as it doesn’t now.

      As I get older I see. things differently and no longer have the obsession for new and better every few months nor do I care about brand names or status. The Z9 is the first camera to come along in many years that really got me to want to switch. It’s much more capable than any Leica is and while the Leica is a beautiful camera, and one I still adore, I had to let it go as it was limiting my work. So stay tuned.

      Also, thank you for reading! I’ll have an update with many more images and various lenses soon. Have a great day.

    • I have posted a comment here to say exactly the same thing. Color and detail appears much better in the photos Steve posted with the SL2s than what I’m seeing here. I think Steve just wanted a new camera and has found ways ( features) to justify doing so ( nothing wrong with that ) but, what I see with my eyes is that Leica is better. Significantly better. “Much more capable than any Leica” Hmmm… I don’t think so. Not for photographers who don’t require the fastest focus speed or video features. I like Nikon a lot ( still use my V1 by the way ) but these images don’t impress like those taken with the SL2s. Sorry Steve.

      • Nothing to justify here. The Z9 is a much (much) better camera and I prefer the colors here to the Leica. As stated, if you read the review, I needed a camera that could do EVERYTHING I needed. I didn’t want 2-3 bodies, I wanted one and also wanted to puts some money back into the bank. The Leica fails in a few areas and could not be used for video for me, if AF was needed (and it is). I also needed a better battery system and great build. The Z9 does it all in one body and allowed me to put that few grand back in the bank (and be happier). In my SL2S files I see less depth, duller color, and flatter looking images. Here is one where I use the same lens (the only SL2S post where I use the same lens and lenses make the image).


        The images here (Nikon Z9) using this lens have more depth, more details (most are crops as well) and are better/easier to work with.

        These days I go with what I need more than what I want. For my work on three YT channels and for my photos the Leica can not touch the Nikon, or get close. I had the Leica for many years and wanted to downsize my three bodies into one, and I did. No regrets at all, in fact I enjoy the 9 so much I would buy a 2nd if I could. One for photos and one for video.

        I’d suggest reading the review before making nonsensical comments. Thank you.

        • “I needed a camera that could do EVERYTHING I needed.I didn’t want 2-3 bodies.”
          “I enjoy the 9 so much I would buy a second if I could” ‘sensical’?? 🙂
          Too funny. :). Enjoy your Nikon Steve!

          • Well, I did NOT buy two Z9 as I do not have the money. If I had a huge influx of cash I would not have had to consolidate down to one body (but it’s so much better now that I did). I did this to save money and time both, and it worked out. Even so, If I were loaded I would own two of the Z9 because A: I would still have ONE system and ONE set of lenses rather than 3, so my goal achieved. B: I wouldn’t need to worry about saving money if I were loaded so having two would not be an issue : ) So yes, exactly what I said in the review and video. Thank you.

  10. Dear Steve!
    I have followed you for ten years here from Norway. Thank you for a very good entertainment all that time. You among a few others, brought me into Olympus mirrorless four thirds (that’s how I like to call it) in 2013. From E-P5, Pen F and to OM-1 which I bought this year. OM-1 is a fantastic camera (for an entusiast like me). I did not se you mentioned Olympus, but I recall you were quite fond of it a few years ago. Anyway, good luck with Nikon! My uncle uses Nikon and is a wildlife photographer. Great review!

    • Thanks! Olympus was always great but the sensors can not beat full frame in any way. I no longer look for small size so the new OM Systems cameras haven’t interested me much. Thank you for reading!

  11. Great review, nice to read a camera review again. I’m still shooting my Nikon V1 and J5 with a full range of Nikon 1 lenses that I first read about on this site over 10 years ago.
    I’d love a small full frame camera to go with it, not sure what, but some good options available. Thanks again, John.

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