Prior to the deliver of my Z9 from NPS, I had a chance to borrow my friend Gary’s for an event. It was a chilly evening, with extremely low-light conditions. So I figured it would be the PERFECT test for this new flagship camera from Nikon!
The event was held at the beautiful yet rustic Hart Meadows Ranch on John’s Island. I arrived early to get a couple shots with the drone as the sun set over the horizon. I had about 30 minutes of twilight after that to get some establishing shots during “blue hour” before guests arrived. It was a new moon. So after that it was completely dark except for the string lights, up-lighting, and bonfires dotted around the property.
I slung my tried-and-true D5 on one hip, and Gary’s Z9 on the other. That way I could do a real-world comparison between the two models, switching back and forth as needed. I carried the 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, and 105 f2.8 Micro. These were all Nikkor F-mount lenses to keep things consistent, using the FTZ adapter to mount them on the Z9.
It was a fantastic evening! The Z9 was AMAZING. For example, the shots of Tiera Kennedy, who is an incredibly talented up-and-coming country artist from Nashville, were shot at ISO 8000!!! Yet the files look incredibly sharp and noise-free. When there was enough light, the new Eye-detect Auto Focus was pretty awesome. However, it did struggle to acquire focus in pitch black conditions where I had to use flash. I don’t know why mirrorless cameras don’t “see” the Infrared Auto Focus Assist beam from our flashes! Can anyone answer this? That is my ONLY wish for the Z9 is that it could see that AF Assist beam when things are pitch black. Maybe I needed to switch to a different auto-focus mode. But I usually ended up just pulling out the trusty D5 for those conditions.
Other than that, the Z9 performed flawlessly! I didn’t want to give it back to Gary that night on my way home. HA!!! And I’m excited to finally have received mine from NPS last week. 🙂