Nikon has released a short film that shows off the benefits and performance of 8K Raw on the Z9 full-frame mirrorless camera. In addition, the company has provided a behind-the-scenes peek, where filmmakers talk about their experience with the Z9’s new capabilities.
The Nikon Z9 recently received a massive firmware update that brought 12-bit 8K60 Raw to the camera, along with the ability to save image files at half the size of competing for Raw codecs. This feat is accomplished by using IntoPix’s TicoRAW technology, which can unleash the power of the Expeed image sensor and process more data using less bandwidth.
“TicoRAW is the world’s first RAW codec, handling both RAW pictures and RAW videos,” the company said in a statement, “that can offer compression efficiency with such low complexity on RAW Bayer and other Color Filter Arrays (CFA) patterns.”
Tico stands for the tiny codec, and the technology is patented so, there aren’t a lot of details on just what the secret sauce actually is. But looking at the film, Soul Dance, it’s easy to see how the image data does deliver, especially when dealing with harsh backlit and low light conditions.
The film was shot by filmmaker Anthony Arendt, who wanted to push the Z9 to the extremes using the N-Raw codec in 8K at 60 fps.
Arendt and his partner Rich Wedeking wanted to see just how wide the latitude was when shooting movement in varying lighting conditions, including the bright ambient sunlight reflecting off the water during the golden hour of sunset.
“When the light hits that water, highlights are so high, that’s why we’re shooting in Raw,” said a Nikon representative.
“Because we’re going to have all that great latitude.” The really impressive thing, according to editors on the project, was how well they could bring out accurate skin tones in low light footage without losing any detail.
Moving to nighttime, the crew went in front of the Coronado Bridge in San Diego to capture the low-light performance of the Raw codec.
But the most impressive thing according to the filmmakers is the battery life. They were able to shoot all day without having to change the batteries. In 8k!
And by shooting in 8K, Arndt loved how he could punch in on the image without losing anything. “You can punch in so much using that 8K, it’s almost like being able to grab another lens when you don’t have time.”
After that, Arndt mounted the Z9 on top of a racing drone to test how the camera could handle aerial photography. This may be a testament more to the drone they flew the Z9 with more than the camera, but the UAV was able to grab stunning images, while the Z9’s image stabilization kept the image rock steady in the air.
Looking at how stunning the footage looks, how much dynamic range is squeezed out of the Raw image files, and what the final product becomes after color grading, could Nikon have finally found the magic formula to become a serious player in the content creation game? It sure looks like it, and that’s all that matters.