Winner: Nikon Z9
1 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Winner: Nikon Z9

Jaded cynics that we are, we don't say 'wow' much at DPReview, but the Z9 is a camera that has impressed all of us. Even before we'd had one in our hands, the Z9's specs seemed like a wishlist, comprised of all the features that a professional photographer might want. We've described the Z9 as the most 'DSLR-like' of any mirrorless camera that we've ever seen, largely thanks to its immersive, black-out free electronic viewfinder, but that doesn't mean that it feels like old technology. While it's DSLR-like in terms of size and weight, the Z9 eclipses the likes of the D5 and D6 when it comes to both features and performance.

The most obvious enhancement for stills shooting (not only compared against the D6 but also the Z6/7 II) is in terms of autofocus. The Z9's 3D AF Tracking takes what was already an industry-leading DSLR autofocus system and updates it with full-area coverage, and highly intelligent subject recognition. Continuous shooting at up to 20fps in Raw mode means that the Z9 is competitive against the likes of the Sony a1 and Canon EOS R3, and this increases to 30fps in JPEG-only mode, and up to 120fps if you don't mind a drop in resolution to 11MP.

We expected the Z9 to be a fast and powerful camera for stills, but we didn't expect it to be quite such capable video platform, too. The Z9 can capture video at up to 8K/60p, with 4K ProRes RAW coming via a firmware update. The speed of its stacked-CMOS sensor helps keep rolling shutter to an absolute minimum. Nikon claims that the camera will be able to shoot its oversampled 4K/30 for more than 2 hours (at 'normal' temperatures) and this is backed-up in our shooting experience so far.

The Sony a1 won our award for best high-end camera of the year thanks to its combination of features, proven performance and compact form factor. The Z9 is a bigger and heavier camera than the a1, but it's also substantially cheaper than any of its DSLR or mirrorless ILC peers, and (we think) more user-friendly than most, too. Competition is a good thing, and with the Z9, Nikon has shown itself capable of getting back in the game. That's great for photographers (whatever your favored brand) and the Z9 is a worthy winner of this year's DPReview award for best product.

Read more about the Nikon Z9