Will the new Nikon Z9 feature a heated handgrip and ‘Niko’ smart assistant? Nope.
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Will the new Nikon Z9 feature a heated handgrip and ‘Niko’ smart assistant? Nope.

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The Nikon Z9 hasn’t been released yet, but the team over at nature photographer tour company Squiver has published a thorough ‘field report’ on the camera on its blog, going over the rather, shall we say, interesting feature set that they claim is offered by Nikon’s upcoming flagship mirrorless camera.

In the report – which, in case you’re still not getting it, was published April 1st – Squiver co-founder and nature photographer Marsel van Oosten, claims to have spent the past month ‘extensively’ testing the Nikon Z9. He starts off by going over the specs, saying:

The Z9 is built around a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS 80.2MP sensor with a 20-stop dynamic range (19.77 EV) with a native 50–102,400 ISO range (expandable to 25–204,800). The Z9 has an updated hybrid AF system comprising 1,080 on-sensor phase-detection AF points as well as 850 contrast-detect points, covering 98% of the image frame.’

Moving to the outside of the camera, van Oosten says the body ‘ is considerably smaller than a D6 and a whole lot lighter despite having an integrated vertical grip.’ Better yet, he claims that the entire camera is apparently made from titanium, a first in the photography world, if true. Which, again, it almost certainly isn’t.

These features may or may not appear in the final version of the Z9.

But wait, there’s less more! The first surprise feature, according to the field report, is a new switch on the bottom of the grip that displays a fire icon. Van Oosten says this little guy will turn on a heating element inside the grip and shutter button that will keep your ‘hands and fingers toasty warm on those cold winter shoots.’

The next trick up the Z9’s sleeve, apparently, is a little button near the microphone of the camera that will initiate Niko, a new smart assistant that will ‘help you find the right exposure, find the nearest Starbucks, or give feedback on your images.’ According to van Oosten, there are three different feedback levels Niko can provide:

Beginner (“Great shot, well done!”), Constructive Critique (“Have you tried a vertical composition?”), and Passive Aggressive (“I don’t care about this image, but someone else might”).

There does appear to be a bug, however, as van Oosten explains:

When this function is enabled, it shows up on the LCD screen as “Virtual Ass” because it’s too long. This will be fixed with a future firmware update.’’

Other features that van Oosten claims are present in the Z9 include built-in 5G connectivity that allows you to identify any animal species in frame, as well as Nikompanion, a new in-camera dating app for photographers, and MosQUITo, a new feature that uses ultrasonic sounds to keep mosquitos up to 3m (9ft) away while in the field.

Head over to Squiver for van Oosten’s full field report, linked below.

Squiver Nikon Z9 Field Report

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