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First Time Shooting with Nikon Z9

I know PAUL’S always wants to hear back from us, especially with new cameras, like the Nikon Z9.

We had a family shoot the day after I picked up my Z9, and it performed great, felt great, and is nicely balanced. The pictures were superb and the focus right-on! However, I bought Z9 to capture sports and I wanted to compare the AF and handling to my favorite, Nikon D5.

This past week my daughter played a night soccer game in the fog. I knew it would be terrible shooting conditions, and being high-school soccer the lighting was terrible.  It meant shooting extremely high ISO with poor contrast. This would be a tough, but realistic test for the camera.

The fog was thick, I could not see player on the opposing sideline, nor some of the defenders on the opposite end of the pitch. Home team in black, visitor in white. A perfect challenge test the Z9’s capabilities… poor light, hard to see, fast action.

With my sports I always shot in Manual Mode, with auto ISO. I wanted to stress the Z9 and see what it would do. My soccer lens (just like yours) is the 400 2.8 with the FTZ-II. For my second camera I had a Z6II with the Z 70-200 2.8 for sidelines and closer action.  Quality set at jpg fine.

The lighting was really tough but Z9’s metering was right on and made great exposures under really tough conditions.

The AF system was amazing, fast, sticky and on point. No blackout while shooting in H* mode and I could see it adjust framing, focus point and exposure with ease. I let the ISO go as high as it wanted (12,800 and 25,600) and I thought the results were really good. I knew I would missed very few shots, but I was surprised how few! The camera searched a few times, but usually when focusing on a black jersey in fog under bad lights.

One main difference between the Z6II and the Z9 is the amount of space needed to fire the shutter. Being a sports shooter- this is actually really important. The Z9 performs much like the D5/6; very tight with the shutter button with light pressure needed to capture the shot.

Overall I am very pleased with the results from my first sports shoot with Nikon Z9. Now I’m waiting for your Z9 Deep Dive class to learn the menus and to process these files. Off to the digital darkroom I go….