Photography News 109 - Web

The Nikon Z 8 takes centre stage in Issue 109 as we present a full test of one of the hottest cameras of the moment. Elsewhere we have reviews of Sony’s ZV-1 II vlogging camera and the latest 11-20mm zoom from Tamron, plus there’s a guide to papers and presentation, illuminating facts on use LED lighting for video and all the latest news. Take a look!

ISSUE 109 4 Jul-31 Jul 2023

Pg12 Big test /

Pg27 Making movies / All you need to know about LED lighting for video

Pg31 Inside knowledge / Gear advice and inspiration from ambassadors

Two weeks with Nikon’s Z 8. Did the time fly?

Nikon lens duo focus on travel the addition of vibration reduction (VR) – achieving the equivalent of 5.5 stops according to CIPA New multi-purpose optics with great portability allow for a range of shooting options, from travel to event photography

COMING THIS JULY and August, respectively, are the new Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lenses from Nikon. Both are said to be sufficiently agile and versatile to respond to the needs of mirrorless photographers who shoot a wide range of subjects, while the added promise of a relatively lightweight and weather-sealed build makes them travel-friendly. They’ve also been designed to appeal to those on varying budgets wanting to expand their creative palette, but who can’t stretch to the cost of a pro lens. Describing the latest release as an all-purpose telephoto zoom, the manufacturer reckons the Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 will particularly suit those interested in portraits, sports, nature and events, with lovely, soft bokeh accentuating shots of people. Macro-style images can be achieved here, too, by attaching the optional Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x from Nikon, which provides an almost life-size 0.96x magnification. As its model name indicates, the second new lens – the Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR – extends a photographer’s potential reach even further. This makes it a great option for photographing wildlife, birds and aircraft in particular. To offer a degree of image stabilisation when shooting handheld, we get DOUBLE BUBBLE A pair of versatile lenses are on the slate from Nikon, high-spec but affordable

standards – theoretically allowing photographers to zoom in or out, or pan and tilt, on their subjects without use of a tripod. Attaching the optional Z Teleconverter TC- 2.0x delivers a 1200mm equivalent reach this time around, while still allowing for handheld shooting. Indicating its portability, the smaller Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 zoom weighs approximately 795g. It’s relatively compact, too, at just 151mm in length, with a suggested retail price of £1299. By contrast, the higher-powered Nikkor Z 180- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR weighs in at 1995g and costs £1799. Key features of the compact, all-purpose 70-180mm include a minimum focus distance of 0.27m at its widest setting and 0.85m at the telephoto end. Attaching the Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x extends the reach to 360mm. Nikon suggests that the lens’ qualities of quiet focusing and suppressed focus breathing make it an option for videographers wanting cinematic close-ups. Photographers packing their kitbags with this lens might also want to pair it with the existing Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 for the complete creative spectrum. Headline aspects of the bigger brother, the super-telephoto 180- 600mm, include a minimum focus

“The added promise of a lightweight and weather-sealed build makes them travel-friendly”

Continued on page 3

2 Photography News | Issue 109

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New Nikon glass set for summer


LAYERED LANDSCAPES Fantastic travel photography captured using the Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8

The sun shone, the rain stayed away and PN readers turned up in droves. By any measure, this year’s Photo Video 24 event in Cambridge was a big success. Not even a rail strike could dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees, and it was a true delight to meet and chat to so many of you who travelled for our annual creative click-athon. Special shout-out to those who joined me on my star trails workshops in the middle of the night – we got some decent images despite a full moon! Thanks also to event sponsors MPB – we couldn’t have done it without them. Our thoughts have already turned to next year’s event. If you attended, signed up and couldn’t make it or never even thought of signing up, we would love to hear what you think we should be doing more, less or the same of in 2024. One standout for me was the number of people who told me that they missed The PN Podcast. I hadn’t realised so many of you listened to it! Regrettably, we had to stop recording primarily because it was increasingly difficult to get the three of us together. Crazy, I know. If you are hankering for its return, let me know and I’ll see if I can get the band back together – even if Roger Payne

that’s just for a one-off episode or perhaps a series of specials. Be sure to include what you would like us to discuss, too! If, on the other hand, you have not got a clue what I’ve been talking about for the last two paragraphs, head over to photographynews. for some enlightenment – and a chance to listen to the 38 episodes we did manage to record. To the issue at hand, which I’m delighted to say features a full review of the camera of the moment – Nikon’s Z 8. I won’t spoil the verdict, but this is well worth a read! Elsewhere, we take a look at Sony’s latest vlogging camera and a new Tamron zoom for Fujifilm X Series. Plus, we have all the usual news, guides and advice that you crave. I’ll see you next month.

Continued from page 1

because the barrel doesn’t move when zooming, dust accumulates in far fewer places, while a fluorine coating has been applied to the front element. As noted earlier, if attaching the Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x to this model, the maximum focal length is doubled, while if opting to use a Z Teleconverter TC-1.4x we can still achieve an 840mm reach. Both lenses will be arriving in time for inclusion in your kitbag this summer.

distance of 2.4m at 600mm and 1.3m at the 180mm setting, while we’re told the autofocus has been optimised for shooting fast-moving subjects while remaining super quiet. This, along with suppressed focus breathing, makes it a boon for filmmakers, who can shoot video at long distances and achieve artfully blurred backgrounds. In terms of external protection against the likes of dust and water droplets, the manufacturer says that

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ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Both optics are ideal for subjects such as sports, nature and event photography

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What’s inside 03 News Cameras, lenses, accessories, stores – there are a lot of new products to get excited about and we’ve got them all! 11 Samsung word search Find out which one of the 20 listed words is missing and you could win a 256GB Samsung memory card for your trouble

12 Big test: Nikon Z 8 Take the best bits of the range-topping Z 9, make some tweaks and put it all into a body that costs significantly less… is the Nikon Z 8 too good to be true? Will Cheung finds out 21 Buyers’ guide: papers and presentation You put a lot of effort into making great images, so why skimp when it comes to displaying them? We round up some of the best products for showing them off in style


31 Purveyors of excellence Who better to assess the latest camera kit than the top photographers that use them? A handful of brand ambassadors pass on their impressions and some inspiring insight 35 First tests Our expert team cast their eyes over some of the latest products. This month, it’s the turn of Sony’s ZV-1 II vlogging camera and Tamron’s 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD zoom


27 Making movies: LED there be light!


Illuminating advice on choosing and using continuous LED lights to ensure your video is perfectly lit

Issue 109 | Photography News 3


Instax squares up Fujifilm adds more options to its instant-printing line

Broncolor switches photographers on to next-generation lighting Coming this September, the lighting specialist is offering photographers a new Broncolor Satos power pack and Pulso L lamp combination. It’s based on almost five years of development by Swiss engineers, with primary goals being performance, flexibility, ease of use and long lifespan. Chief among the features is a new dual-power concept; the Satos can be equipped with a power supply, batteries or a combo of the two. It therefore suits use in the studio or on location. Settings can be adjusted down to the smallest detail via a 5.7-inch touchscreen, buttons or an app interface. The Pulso L modelling and continuous lamp is described as the perfect partner to the above. It boasts a calibrated array of bi-coloured LEDs, with a variable green/magenta mix and colour temperature adjustable from 2800- 6800K, plus bi-directional communication between the lamp and powerbank.

Fujifilm has launched its latest boxy, instant-print camera: the classic-styled Instax Square SQ40. It outputs larger prints that are more reminiscent of old Polaroids than the credit-card-sized alternatives we’re now used to from models lower down the range. “Consumers love our Instax Mini 40 instant camera, so expanding the line to include a square-format option just made sense,” claims Fujifilm Europe’s senior vice president for imaging solutions, Shin Udono. There’s a dedicated selfie setting, accessed via a twist of the SQ40’s camera lens, with a front-facing mirror featuring on the body for easier self-portraits. Additionally, the manufacturer has released a new ‘Sunset’ instant film that features a variety of borders with soft colour gradients, said to suggest “a serene, peaceful sunset”. Fujifilm has also given its distinctly retro-looking Mini Evo a fresh lick of paint. This now comes in fetching brown, as well as the black of its original 2021 release. The Instax Square SQ40 is available now for £134.99, the new film retails at £10.99 for a ten-sheet pack and the brown Mini Evo is priced at £174.99. “Expanding the line to include a square-format option just made sense”

Nikon mirrorless owners get first DX-format prime lens

Own a Nikon APS-C mirrorless and seeking to upgrade your standard kit zoom for something sharper? Consider the photo giant’s first Nikon Z DX-compatible prime: the Nikkor Z DX 24mm f/1.7. Designed for everyday use, the lens should be ideal for low-light work. With a focal length described as “wide, but not too wide”, its creative applications include landscape, street photography and portraiture, as well as video. The lens has an equivalent full-frame focal length of 36mm, and autofocus is powered via a quiet stepping motor. Minimum-focus distance is 0.18m, while the fast aperture also allows for a shallow depth-of-field. Further features include a dust- and

moisture-resistant construction – and it weighs just 135g. Nikon Europe product manager Zurab Kiknadze suggests: “The Nikkor Z DX 24mm f/1.7 hits the sweet spot between image quality and versatility; it’s the perfect prime for everyday photography.”

HIP TO BE SQUARE The Instax Square SQ40’s chunky, retro design makes it an instant winner

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Leica SL2 gets silver makeover The luxury photo brand has whipped the cover off a new silver variant of its SL2 camera. The aptly named Leica SL2 Silver maintains the same spec as the existing black model, with a 47-megapixel CMOS sensor and up to ISO 50,000 equivalent, but has been given a makeover inspired by Leica’s silver M and R ranges. The high-end full-frame camera is now available with a timeless, minimalist design

That means we get a silver anodised top-plate and baseplate, matched with black leather. While the body- only price is £6200, a couple of lens kits are also being made available. These add a Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH lens for £7920, or the Noctilux-M50 f/1.2 ASPH and the M-Adapter-L for £12,100. The advantage here for photographers with deeper pockets is that all M-Lenses can then be used with the SL-System camera. “The Leica SL2 Silver maintains the same high spec as the black model”

The flagship Z 9 mirrorless has been given another under- the-bonnet operational tweak, including new features for both photos and video. For example, via firmware version 4.00, a new Auto Capture function grants the ability to shoot both formats remotely and from a variety of angles. This feature is also being made available for use with its Pre-Release Capture function. Video users are getting an expansion of the minimum ISO sensitivity setting to Low 2 in N-Log format, allowing for clearer shadow tones. There’s also an increase in the options available for Hi-Res Zoom speed, affording more precise control. Stills shooters are promised a superior performance when using 3D tracking, with more precise capture of small and fast-moving subjects, while an exposure delay mode has been added to the Custom Settings menu to help reduce blur caused by camera shake if using a tripod. Other refinements include a selection of shutter release sounds that can be volume-adjusted, plus the amount of options that can be assigned to custom controls has been increased. Stills & video boost for Nikon Z 9

Lightweight yet heavy-duty portrait kit from Hasselblad Not too long ago, 45- and 60-megapixel resolutions in a medium-format camera were only available from Hasselblad. Now that flagship mirrorless cameras from consumer manufacturers are achieving comparable levels of spec, the company has responded with the 100-megapixel Hasselblad X2D 100C Lightweight Portrait Kit. With a price tag comparable to a modestly sized family car, this is very much a professional’s plaything. The kit is comprised of the flagship mirrorless medium-format camera, the X2D 100C, plus two lenses. These are the XCD 1,9/80, a bokeh-producing wide-aperture autofocus lens offering the equivalent of 63mm; and the XCD 4/45P, an ultra-lightweight and compact lens specifically designed for capturing portraits where some of the surrounding environment is included, which offers the equivalent of 36mm.

Raft of new accessories from Novo Photo accessories brand Novo has some brand-new products to share. First up is the Italian-designed Novo Calder 40L Backpack, a high-tech waterproof nylon construction that has a lightweight aluminium frame sewn in to ensure the bag doesn’t lose its shape. A padded and vented back panel and harness claims and 2kg respectively. There are two complimentary pro ball heads – the BHP-32 and BHP-40, plus a compact

MPH-10 monopod head. Both tripods can also be converted into a monopod configuration by detaching one leg and fastening it to the central column. They each have a weight hook and 1/4-inch accessory port and are available as legs only or with the ball heads as described, with prices ranging from £229.90 to £369.90. The £149.90 MPH-10, meanwhile, is built with aviation- grade aluminium and boasts a smooth, two-way pan and tilt action, offering 360° panning. Lastly there’s Novo’s Anex, described as a photo and video support ecosystem of clamps. This includes a column, a flexible arm, ground spike and camera connectivity products. With seven new products to choose from across these categories, pricing ranges from £14.90 for a micro clamp to £199.90 for the Anex MGSP-1 Macro Ground Support Bundle.

to provide comfort, while an adjustable waist belt and sternum straps ensure a snug fit and balance. The backpack can be accessed either via its top or rear, with space for a 15-inch laptop and an included Interchangeable Camera Unit, the latter incorporating its own grab handle and shoulder strap. We’re told the space will suit a pro mirrorless camera or DSLR with 70-200mm lens, plus four or five additional lenses. With a suggested retail price of £299, the weight is 2.6kg in total, or 1.6kg without the camera unit. Also immediately available are two carbon-fibre tripods in the Novo Helix T50 and T200, with five- and four-section legs and load-bearing capacities of 10kg

Issue 109 | Photography News 7

News Zhiyun debuts pair of gimbals

STEADY ON The Zhiyun Crane-M 3S helps create perfectly steady camera movements and features an integrated light

Those who shoot video alongside stills are directed to two new gimbals, in the Zhiyun Crane-M 3S and the Weebill 3S. Described as ultra portable and aimed at filmmakers and content creators, the Crane-M 3S is a successor to the previous Red Dot Design Award-winning Crane M3. Weighing in at just 705g, it has a higher load capacity than its predecessor and can be used with the latest full-frame cameras, as well as mobile phones. With a monochrome finish, this gimbal has dimensions of 284.2x74.5x163.5mm, featuring a tiny yet powerful bi-colour fill light no larger than a fingernail, which can emit up to 1000 lux of brightness while boasting a colour-temperature range of 2700-5500K. A 1.22-inch

touchscreen features an all-new interactive user interface. Prices commence at £299.99. Meanwhile, the Weebill 3S weighs 1.05kg and measures 305x210x72.5mm. Here, users can switch between portrait and landscape modes via a quick-release module, eliminating the need to re-balance the gimbal. Improvements include a revamped slim grip for added comfort, an extended battery life of up to 11.5 hours, a 1000-lux fill light, the ability to offer shutter control over mainstream camera models via Bluetooth, a 0.96-inch display for adjustments on the go – plus a control wheel for adjusting parameters. Pricing starts from £319.99.

Lowepro targets adventurers Photographers with a love for the outdoors are being directed to a new Lowepro

PhotoSport X backpack, purpose-built for the adventurous image-makers among us. Features of the ruggedly built pack include at-the-ready camera access plus an adaptable camera-carry system. With a construction that claims to include up to 86% recycled fabric, the PhotoSport X is part of its manufacturer’s commitment to reducing environmental impact. It offers users something of a modular system too, in being compatible with Lowepro’s line- up of GearUp Pro products, allowing for almost endless gear combinations. The pack is available in either 35L or 45L sizes, with pricing starting at £260.95.

Peli checks in with hard case For your photo and video gear to reach its destination in one piece, Peli’s cases are pretty much the industry standard. Newly announced is the Peli 1595 Air Case, offering 59 litres of space and slotting between the Peli Air 1535 Carry-On and 1615 Air case. Like its siblings, the 1595 has a retractable trolley handle and quiet stainless-steel bearings in its wheels. Press-and-pull latches and automatic pressure equalisation also feature.

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Notts landing for Wex’s retail dynasty

A Samsung memory card! WIN!


Q S Y A D I L O H J L XGGAHSPADEN Q I C O G C B K Q B B ALLERBMUHX I OCSDTEKCUBN G O M R M I W S V R H OAFOAGBSUPX LSHUSZXBTOS DTFGOSNPSLE EAEHLURRAAA NLZTSEALNRS EVAWTAEHDI I Z K U L I V H O G S D GQETCZMJTEE ZWMUEWTUQRN SHYDRATER I Z UUHBHNLXESQ C P I S I Z Z L E X S With the need for superfast, high-capacity memory greater than ever, the Samsung 256GB Pro Plus microSD card could be just the ticket – and here’s your chance to win one. Boasting up to 160MB/s read and 120MB/s write speeds, the card is ideal for expanded mobile device storage and capturing quality photos or 4K UHD video. Complete the word search below, comprising lexicon linked to summer, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on with that word in the subject box by 31 July 2023 and the winner will be drawn at random from all the correct entries. Only entries from UK residents will be accepted. Congratulations to Keith Stevens, our winner from issue 107. The missing word from issue 108 was ‘punting’.

zone may also be hired for free. Additional in-store and free online events for students are being planned. Wex’s CEO Louis Wahl comments: “By continuing to invest in the high street, our ambition is that our physical presence will inspire and empower photographers and videographers of all levels.” “A ‘high-tech play table’ will feature offerings from leading brands”

It’s evidently not all doom and gloom in photo retail, as Wex Photo Video announced its 14th store on Carrington Street in Nottingham’s city centre – its second opening of the year so far. The latest store is part of Wex’s strategy to extend its experience to a wider customer base. A ‘high-tech play table’ will feature offerings from leading brands including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Manfrotto and DJI. Customers will also be able to see such kit in action, with live events and demonstrations hosted in a new seminar zone. Additional services include equipment repair, sensor cleaning and camera set-up, while a trade-in service promises to be ‘fair and transparent’. As the new store is within walking distance of the city’s two universities, special student discounts are being offered, reducing the cost of certain brands by 10%. The in-store seminar

Editorial team Editorial director Roger Payne Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Ben Gawne Junior sub editor Lori Hodson Contributing writers Will Cheung, Adam Duckworth, Gavin Stoker Advertising team Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 Senior sales executive

Design team Design director Andy Jennings Design & ad production Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman and Man-Wai Wong Distribution Distribution and subscription manager Phil Gray Publishing team Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck As well as your local camera club, you can pick up Photography News in-store from: Cameraworld, Castle Cameras, Jessops, London Camera Exchange, Park Cameras, Wex Photo Video, Wilkinson Cameras

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Issue 109 | Photography News 11

Nikon Z 8

Big test

PRICE: £3999 


The Z 8 has been called a baby Z 9, but no one in their right mind will put this baby in the corner. It’s an incredible picture-taking machine and, says Will Cheung, one of the best digital cameras he’s ever used

combined 1475g. While not exactly featherweight, it’s still perfectly portable. In fact, I used it at the recent PN Photo Video 24 event and, having managed to leave the strap at home, I had to carry it around by hand. This wasn’t problematic as the contoured handgrip felt comfortable and secure. The Z 8 has a robust articulating monitor, which simplifies upright shooting from low or high angles. But it can’t face forward, which is a negative for vloggers. However I’ve nothing but praise for the Z 8’s EVF, which gives a lovely, clear image almost matching that from an optical viewfinder. There is no smearing as you pan with the camera, even if I got a slight juddering effect while shooting fast- moving subjects at 15fps and 20fps with the high-fps viewfinder mode on. Fortunately that didn’t impact on my ability to keep the subject in the frame. Shoot at 30fps or faster and this effect isn’t there. When shooting video, a bold red outline frame appears on both the EVF and the monitor to confirm recording is in progress. Overall, the Z 8’s handling is brilliant. Nikon has historically and conveniently placed the on/off switch around the shutter button collar. Being able to bring the camera up to the eye while switching it on means you’re ready to shoot almost instantly. Having the ISO, exposure compensation and movie-record buttons nearby is a positive too, plus the good-sized, positive AF-On button feels great to use.


UNTIL THE FLAGSHIP Nikon Z 9 came along, its mirrorless cameras lagged behind rivals from Canon and Sony. This wasn’t in respect of image quality; Nikon’s Z 7II and its 45.7-megapixel sensor are excellent. It was more to do with key performance parameters such as autofocus, subject tracking, shooting speed and movie features. The manufacturer more than redressed the shortcomings on the Z 9 and it deserves all the accolades it receives. While its deep-bodied design didn’t have universal appeal, its dual CFexpress slots, Ethernet connection and long battery life resonated with press and sports pros. Now we have the Z 8, a camera with much of the advanced tech found in the Z 9 – but not its dual CFexpress slots, Ethernet connection or large battery – in a more compact form. It is still a significant presence, however. The Z 8 is 205g heavier than the Z 7II, which won’t please outdoors shooters keen to save every gram, but it’s 400g less than the Z 9. During my test, I paired the Z 8 with the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 and the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S. The Z 8/28-75mm f/2.8 combo weighs a

The four-section control cluster at the top left of the body allows for the adjustment of important features including drive, bracketing and exposure-mode selection, usually in conjunction with the input dials. As is typical with modern cameras, there are other ways to access key features and on the Z 8 that means tapping the ‘i’ button. This takes us into a virtual, editable touch panel of 12 features we can quickly access. Many controls can be adjusted, so if you don’t like the default function then another feature can be selected instead. In addition, there are three function buttons: Fn3 is on the rear left of the body, so less accessible, while Fn1 and Fn2 are around the right-hand side of the front and accessible to the third and fourth fingers. This means they are very quick to operate, even when the camera is up to the eye. I had the Z 8 during a busy two weeks tackling street, night, portraits, landscape scenes and wildlife. I shot stills and video in all sorts of lighting

conditions, went up and down the ISO range and tested many aspects of the AF and drive systems. In that time I made over 12K exposures. That’s a lot of frames, but bear in mind that testing the Z 8’s burst shooting skills up to 20fps with Raw files and to 120fps in JPEGs does very quickly add up to a great deal of images within a short time frame. I could not have been happier with the results. Exposures and auto white-balance were consistently spot on and, while I did dial in exposure compensation occasionally, it was for expected situations like shooting into strong, direct lighting. The autofocus is stunningly quick and accurate, and the only time it hunted around was during night shooting. The claimed working range is -7EV but no system will cope if you aim the focus box at very dim, low-contrast subjects. Move the focus target to an edge or lit area and the system locks on fine. The AF was generally good with moving subjects and the subject-detect system was

SCREEN TEST The Z 8’s articulating monitor can easily accommodate shooting upright format images, but it bucks the current trend for forward- facing monitors fine, although because I didn’t find auto consistent, I preferred manual. People either running, walking or riding a motorbike were no problem. Flying birds and insects were more challenging as 3D tracking with the whole focus area didn’t work reliably

DARK MATTER The Mathematical Bridge at night doesn’t receive much light, but you wouldn’t think it from this shot. Remarkably, this is an unedited JPEG straight from the camera. Exposure was 20secs at f/8 and ISO 1600, shot in aperture-priority AE

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Big test

SPECS ›  Price £3999 body only, £4839 with Z 24-120mm f/4 ›  In the box Z 8 body, EN-EL15c Li-ion battery, charger, body cap, strap, USB-C cable, hot shoe cover ›  Sensor Stacked CMOS sensor 45.7 megapixels ›  Processing engine Expeed 7 ›  Sensor format FX format 35.9x23.9mm, 8256x5504 pixels with image ratios of 1:1, 3:2 and 16:9 ›  File formats 14-bit NEF, JPEG, HEIF ›  Lens mount Nikon Z ›  ISO range Native range is ISO 64-25,600 expandable to ISO 32- 102,400 equivalent ›  Shutter Electronic shutter with shutter sound and sensor shield ›  Shutter range 30secs-1/32,000sec, expandable to 900secs in M mode, bulb, time; Flash sync 1/250sec or slower, FP high-speed sync allows up to 1/8000sec ›  Drive modes Single frame, continuous low-speed 1-10fps, continuous high-speed 10-20fps, high-speed frame capture at 30fps, 60fps or 120fps, pre-release capture at 30fps, 60fps or 120fps up to 1sec beforehand ›  Exposure system PASM. Matrix spot, centre and highlight weighted ›  Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 1/3 & 1/2EV steps; Auto exposure- bracketing up to 9 shots, at up to +/-3EV in 0.3EV steps; Video exposure compensation at +/-3EV ›  Monitor Tilting 3.2in LCD, 2.1m-dot touch screen ›  Viewfinder 3.69m-dot OLED EVF ›  Focusing system Hybrid phase- detection/contrast AF with AF assist, detection range -7 to +19EV ›  Focus points 493 AF points, face detect, multi-area, centre, single point; subject detect: people, animals, motorbikes, aeroplanes ›  Image stabiliser Five-axis in-body image stabiliser with 6EV benefit ›  Video 7680x4320 (8K UHD): 30p/25p/24p 3840x2160 (4K UHD): 120p/100p/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p 1920x1080: 120p/100p/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p ›  Video frame size (pixels) and frame rate (Raw video) 8256x4644: 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p 5392x3032: 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p 4128x2322: 120p/100p/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p 3840x2160: 120p/100p/60p/50p ›  Movie format MOV, NEV and MP4 ›  Connectivity USB-C data connector and power delivery, HDMI type A, 3.5mm audio in, 3.5mm audio out, ten-pin remote, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth ›  Key features Weather-sealed body, picture control system, creative picture controls, multiple exposure, focus bracketing, active D-lighting, backlit buttons, starlight view ›  Battery EN-EL15c lithium-ion battery, 340 exposures ›  Storage media Dual slots: 1x CFexpress/XQD, 1xSD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-II ›  Dimensions (wxhxd) 144x118.5x83mm ›  Weight 910g with card and battery ›  Contact

PERFORMANCE: ISO The Z 8 has a native ISO range of 64-25,600, with the ability to expand to equivalent ISO 32-102,400. This set of night exposures was taken with no in-camera noise reduction. The Raw files were then processed in Lightroom with manual noise reduction and the Luminance slider set to 25. The exposure of the ISO 100 frame was 10 seconds at f/8. Image quality remained excellent all the way up to ISO 3200, with no appreciable digital noise and crisp rendition of fine detail. There was a drop-off in quality from that point onwards, although it was minimal, with ISO 6400 perfectly capable of critical results, given some extra attention to detail in editing. For interest, I processed the ISO 12,800, 25,600 and 51,200 frames through Lightroom’s Denoise AI. The results were truly remarkable – very clean, smooth and rich in fine detail. In summary, if you need to tap into the Z8’s high ISO skills, you won’t be disappointed – especially if you use a noise-reduction app.

GIVE ME A BOOST For night-time shooters, the high-ISO abilities of the Z 8 will be a real boon, particularly in combination with noise reduction




25,600 – ENHANCED




51,200 – ENHANCED




12,800 – ENHANCED


enough and the AF just went to the background. So instead I went with the Wide-L option, which was generally consistent and accurate. Nikon has just updated the Z 9 firmware for better 3D tracking, so perhaps it will arrive for the Z 8 too. I shot some very active black- headed gulls on a bright day using the 100-400mm zoom, with animal detect and the Wide-L focus zone selected. If I kept the bird in that zone, acquisition was very quick and I could see the eye-detect box appear on the bird’s eye as I tracked. It proved reasonably tenacious in staying on target as the creatures ducked and dived around. Generally, the AF system has huge potential and just needs time spent to refine the set-up to suit the user and subject.

SMART DESIGN The large, info-packed LCD means you can check camera settings with a quick downward glance

Issue 109 | Photography News 13

Big test

CONTRASTY LIGHT? NO PROBLEM The Z 8 coped brilliantly with all sorts of lighting, from contrasty to spotlit night scenes. Members of Bawds, Cambridge-based theatre group, taken during Photo Video 24 (above)

The Z 8, like the Z 9, has plenty of options when it comes to fast shooting, with Raw capture possible at 20fps and normal-level JPEGs at 30fps, 60fps and 120fps. There’s a pre- capture option too. As the Z 8 is electronic shutter only, there’s no need to make sure the right shutter type is set for fast shooting. Its rapid readout also means rolling shutter is not an issue in most instances – not even with the rotating propeller blades of an airplane. I did notice a slight distortion in a dragonfly’s wings in its up- or down-stroke, but not consistently, so nothing to be concerned about. In my continuous shooting tests, the Z 8 delivered Nikon’s quoted shooting rates. Loaded with a ProGrade 1700MB/s card and shooting only lossless compressed Raws, I got 20fps for three seconds before slowing down to 17fps and three seconds after that the shooting rate dropped to 14fps and stayed at that rate for 90 seconds. This burst resulted in 1306 frames, and the camera could have continued. Shoot JPEG-only on a CFexpress card and you can continue shooting until the card is full.

button and holds them in its buffer, only committing them to memory when the button is fully pressed. The Z 8 has dual card slots – CFexpress Type B/XQD and SD UHS II – but if you want a prolonged, high- speed shooting experience, you have to forego the backup security of an SD card and rely on a CFexpress card. Or just shoot judiciously and manage the buffer. Pre-capture is available for normal-level JPEGs only at 30fps, 60fps and 120fps respectively. In C30 mode there is the option of FX (36x24mm) or DX format (24x16mm); C60 is DX only and C120 is FX only and gives 4128x2752-pixel images equivalent to 11MB. In the menu, you can set pre-release time with the choice of 0.3sec, 0.5sec and one second and then decide how long you want the post-capture burst to be maintained: one second, two seconds, three seconds or max. Pre-capture works well. I loved using it on birds and dragonflies. For the latter, I kept my finger on the button while the insect sat there, and pushed it all the way down when it disappeared. It is a little hit-and-miss because the AF system can’t cope with the very rapid frame rate,

Selecting high-efficiency Raw files, I got 20fps for 16 seconds before slowing down to 16fps and again the camera could have motored on much longer at that speed. Swapping to a ProGrade 300MB/s SD card only, the camera managed lossless compressed Raw files at 20fps for just two seconds before slowing down to 15fps for two seconds and settling at 8fps. Using high-efficiency Raw files, I managed a total of 31 frames at 20fps, before slowing down to 15fps. Action and nature shooters will appreciate the Z 8’s pre-capture function that takes pictures on partial depression of the shutter MENU MATTERS The Z 8’s menu will be welcomingly familiar to any existing Nikon users. Here are the options for video set-up

EFFICIENCY Half pressing the shutter button allows a burst to be taken and held, but not stored until the button is depressed fully – great for action and nature

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Issue 109 | Photography News 15

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Big test


HOLD FAST The handling of the Z 8 is truly top-notch, with ergonomic button placements on the front and back of the body

so you have to hope the insect took off in the plane of focus. This means multiple attempts are necessary and that’s a lot of frames to wade through. A fast image browser app and a high- spec computer are strongly advised. Nikon’s specification indicates the EN-EL15c lithium-ion battery is good

for 340 exposures. During my test period when it was generally warm, I got many more frames. On one shoot, I got 2925 frames plus movie footage and still had 37% charge left in the battery. I always have a power bank in the bag just in case, but not once did I need it for the Z 8. PN

Final word

I shot several exposure brackets using the Z 8’s auto-bracketing mode in a wide range of lighting situations. This contrasty scene of Fountains Abbey was bracketed +/-3EV in 1EV steps at ISO 100 with the correct exposure metered at 1/100sec at f/11. The resulting Raw files were exposure corrected in Adobe Lightroom. The Z 8 turned in a really impressive performance – even with Raw files overexposed by 3EV, they were recovered well in editing. The +3EV shot needed more work on the highlights to make it fully acceptable, but a quick edit still gives a good result. As for underexposure, there are absolutely no issues at all, with the -3EV frame recovering incredibly well with barely any digital noise on show – it looked almost identical to the correct exposure.

Verdict I have been testing film and digital cameras almost all my working life and many have impressed me. Hand on heart, the Nikon Z 8 is right up there with the very best. I’m a conservative reviewer, but the Z 8 is a truly exceptional camera, delivering on so many levels. It’s robust, works brilliantly with great ergonomics, delivers really excellent images even at super-high ISOs and is totally inspiring to use. To me, it’s an instant classic and the sort of product that in future will be considered era-defining. For my photography needs, the Z 8 is perfect – and while £4K body only is a great deal of money, it’s worth every penny. For those uncommitted to a system, it’s arguably a better buy than the Canon EOS R5 and Sony A7R V. For those already on a waiting list for a Z 8, don’t worry – your patience will be rewarded. 24 /25 FEATURES High megapixel count, fast continuous shooting, deep-learning AF and a rich movie feature set









A solid body, responsive controls, excellent ergonomics and plenty of customising potential


Great sensor, ably supported by excellent AF, exposure and white-balance systems.


Costing £4k body only, it isn’t cheap. You get a lot of camera for your money; if you have the budget, it’s worth every penny

96 /100 OVERALL

The Z 8 is awesome and massively capable with very few negatives – a milestone camera


PROS Image quality, ISO performance, impeccable handling, AF system, continuous shooting speeds, pre-capture, lovely EVF, battery life much better than expected, video features, fast still/movies changeover CONS Monitor can’t face forward, pre-capture is JPEG only, no high-res mode, no in-camera focus stacking

Where will your kit go next? Inspire others, earn some extra cash and make a difference. Sell your used kit and let someone else love it as much as you have. Make good use of your used gear. Sell yours today at

Issue 109 | Photography News 17

18 Photography News | Issue 109



AROUND THE BLOCK The X-S20 perfectly suits Kolo’s focus on architectural subjects

Architect, photographer and musician Enoch Kolo, aka Noxz, details why both he and his online audience are fully in tune with Fujifilm’s newest hybrid camera, the X-S20 X-S20 hits right notes for content creators

WHAT ARE STRONG foundations for success as a photographer? Inspiration, a modicum of skill and a fresh way of seeing the world, undoubtedly. But also choosing the correct camera, lenses and accessories to fulfil your vision. Architect, musician and content creator Enoch Kolo, aka Noxz, feels he has just that in the FUJIFILM X-S20, which he upgraded to from his first ever Fujifilm camera, the X-S10. Just as he prefers the knobs and keys of analogue synthesisers over software recreations, Kolo rates the tactile control afforded by this retro- styled camera, posting the stills and videos captured on it to social media. “The X-S20 is a huge upgrade – I was shocked when I held it for the first time,” Kolo enthuses. “A lot of that comes down to the grip, which

feels seriously nice. As a musician, I have ‘piano fingers’, which means I always hold things very lightly, as if I’m carrying an egg. The X-S20 fits me like a glove – even when I’m just holding it with the tips of my fingers. “The IBIS really helps as well,” he adds. “I went hiking in Scotland recently and tried running with it while shooting video – and ended up with pretty smooth results. The IBIS provides the equivalent of seven stops, so I’m able to get pin-sharp stills, too. Although videos provide a lot more traction on social media – and we’re in an era in which video is king – this camera can do both really well. I love that I can record in 6.2K/30p and 4K/60p 4:2:2 10-bit internally. I also still love the fact I can catch an entire emotion in a single photographic frame.

“Internally, it feels like the baby brother of the FUJIFILM X-H2S,” he continues. “Put those two together and they cover a wide spectrum of possibility. As I do lots of travelling, I’d recommend the X-S20 to those wanting to travel light.” 20/20 vision At the core of the X-S20 is a back-side illuminated, 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, coupled with a high-speed X-Processor 5 image processing engine. The camera also boasts AI-based subject detection AF, delivering a performance equivalent to the FUJIFILM X-T5. “The autofocus is insane, and I’ve been gobsmacked with the tracking,” Kolo marvels. “For what I do, the spec is more than enough – 26 megapixels gives me room to crop an image and

still have lots of sharpness. I shoot with prime lenses rather than zooms because the restriction in terms of framing makes you approach your subject in a different way. “I love the focal length of the XF 50mm f/2; it feels more intimate. It’s great for social media because it makes the audience feel like they’re in the room with me. Otherwise, the XF 23mm f/1.4 is my go-to, though I’m looking at investing in the XF 18mm f/1.4 prime, since I might require a wider angle for interiors. I want to capture the full nature of my environment and occasionally isolate the subject. The articulated screen is also important, as I like to get low or do a top-down view – for that it’s very helpful.” A new, dedicated Vlog mode is accessible via the mode dial, which

alters camera settings to those best suited to self-portraiture. With the use of a USB-C cable, the X-S20 can conveniently be hooked up to a computer as a webcam, too. “I was sceptical about the Vlog mode at first, as I’m someone who wants to control shutter speed and depth-of-field for myself. But I tried it, and if you’re someone who doesn’t know about all the technical nitty- gritty, I’d 100% recommend it. “To conclude, the X-S20 is a great all-round camera for those looking to buy into the Fujifilm system and step up their content creation game.”

Issue 109 | Photography News 19



The printing expert has your perfect match in paper available for the CEWE PHOTOBOOK A page-turner of an offer

A LARGE PART of achieving exceptional prints starts with selecting the perfect paper. That’s why the CEWE PHOTOBOOK provides a comprehensive collection, encompassing everything from digital to the most traditional printing materials. Our magnificent seven There are seven carefully curated paper types selectable, each with their own unique property, texture and finish – but all with the united aim of delivering colourful, vibrant and impactful prints. The first option is photographic paper. This makes for a thicker, firmer and more stable material than standard digital printing paper. In a CEWE PHOTOBOOK, lay-flat binding is also used, so that your images can display seamlessly across a double-page spread. The choice here comprises Classic, Gloss and Matte Photographic Paper from Fujifilm. Respectively, these printing options boast incredible colour intensity and classic lustre finish, vibrant colours and strong contrasts, or subtle colours and fine detail on a smooth, non-reflective surface. While one of the above photographic paper options may well be perfect for your needs, CEWE does alternatively offer a variety of digital printing papers. Joining the three photographic paper options already outlined, are four digital printing papers. Classic Paper comes with a semi-matt finish to provide balanced contrasts and natural colours. High Gloss Paper features a gleaming finish to deliver vibrant colours, strong contrast and exceptional detail. True Matte Paper gifts us a matt finish and unique, shine-free texture with soft colours and muted contrasts. Lastly, 100% Recycled Paper has a silk-matt finish and otherwise produces a similar result to the Classic paper. Prints on digital printing paper typically deliver more discreet colours and a soft, natural look. With the exception of CEWE’s High Gloss Paper, the surface of these papers possess subtle textures, creating a more tangible experience when handled. This works particularly well for black & white photos, as well as wide-angle landscapes and portraits, as contours are softened and lines appear gentler. Another obvious advantage with digital printing paper is that it’s lighter, making it an ideal choice for creating a CEWE PHOTOBOOK

that requires many pages. With the exception of High Gloss Paper, digital printing paper is also free of reflections – so anyone perusing the pages can enjoy an optimum view of all images from every angle. Embracing sustainability Naturally, in being a company that specialises in paper and print, eco-friendliness and sustainability have long been a concern. Since 2013, CEWE has been proud to hold certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the international non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection and management of the world’s forests. Adhering to the FSC principle, all BY THE BOOK The choice of papers on offer for CEWE’s PHOTOBOOK ensure the ideal presentation for your work “A unique, shine- free texture with soft colours and muted contrasts”

paper CEWE uses originates from responsibly managed forests. Whatever project you’re turning into a CEWE PHOTOBOOK, you can be sure that CEWE will provide the optimum paper type and finish, allowing your images to make for a real page-turner.

But don’t just take our word for it. For a first-hand demonstration, please order a CEWE Swatch Kit at sample-set.html The kit is £9.99, with all orders receiving a £10 voucher that can be used towards your next purchase.

20 Photography News | Issue 109

Buyers’ guide

Buyers’ guide

Get yourself into print

Your photographic journey doesn’t end until your very best pictures are in print. Whether you choose to display those images in a photo book, on the wall or in a portfolio – get printing

For those who prefer to stick with being hands on, there are huge possibilities via home printing. The plus point is that we’re in control every step of the way. Home photo printers can produce A3+ or A2 prints and are designed to be easy to use and accept a broad range of media. So we can take our pick between textured paper, a lustre finish or high gloss. While it can be worth standardising on a couple of finishes, try new ones to see how they behave with your favourite shots. Check out the stunning selection featured in this buyers’ guide. “IMAGE CAPTURE SHOULD BE JUST THE START”

we have wonderful presents for family and friends. Whichever products we choose as best befitting our shots, there’s a huge choice of excellent output services out there. Some of our favourites are featured in this handy guide. Printing specialists, photo book printers and wall art producers are all represented here. One thing they have in common is a slick online presence, making remote ordering straightforward. In the case of book printers, free layout design software is usually available for download, or there might be the option of working online without installing software. When it comes to print, colour profiles may be a matter concerning us, but it needn’t. Output services will have details on dealing with this, even providing custom profiles to download.


IT’S WONDERFUL BEING out there with the camera and capturing great photographs – and rewarding when we’re back home enjoying the results on a big monitor. After a few edits and posting on photo streams, for many photographers that’s where it ends. But there’s so much more we can do with our pictures. The actual image capture should be the start of a creative journey, culminating with our first-rate work hanging on the wall, looking great in our portfolio or printed in a lavish photo book. The above examples aren’t mutually exclusive, of course – there are many presentation avenues to explore. For example, go the photo gift route and

SHOW OFF Get thinking about how to make the most of your best images

Hahnemühle ›


CEWE offers photo gifts, wall art and regular prints. But it’s best known for its photo books and a broad range of paper and finishing options, with the books professionally printed and quality checked here in the UK. To make the most of your great pictures, treat yourself and go for a large or extra-large photo book, available in landscape, portrait or square. The large landscape book measures 28x21cm and offers up to 178 pages, with prices starting from £21.99. If you want to push the boat out, go for CEWE’s biggest book in the XXL size, with prices starting

from £59.99. Each page measures 38x29cm, which will show off your skills nicely. Plus, if you pick the photographic paper option, you get layflat binding that’s perfect for panoramic images. CEWE’s Creator Software is free to download – and available for Mac and Windows with a large selection of designs. There’s the option of going for a theme such as baby, holiday, travel and recipe. If preferred, its books can be created online – no need to install software – while projects are stored for six months. To check out the many choices, visit CEWE’s easy-to-use website.

Even the most discerning image maker will find something to tempt them among the 30 offerings in Hahnemühle’s Digital FineArt Collection. Its high-performing materials are among the best money can buy. A recent Hahnemühle innovation is its FineArt Inkjet Photo Cards range, the recipient of a TIPA World Award this year. Eleven of its most popular papers are available in 30-sheet packs of 7x5in or A5, supplied in a smart metal presentation box. Perfect for photo presents, self-promotion or as a mini mobile portfolio, a tin of A5 Photo Rag Baryta 315gsm costs around £32. This high-gloss paper gives prints an elegant sheen without glare and, in being acid- and lignin-free, has impressive archival credentials. Moving away from its Photo Cards, Hahnemühle’s Natural Line has been making positive headlines recently. This set of four inkjet papers is produced from sustainable plants: bamboo, agave, hemp and sugar cane. The materials’ rapid growth and lower reliance on water saves resources and helps protect the environment. Prices start from £102 for a 25-sheet A3 box of Hemp 290, and the fine art matte finish looks great framed.

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