Nikon Z 9 N-RAW Lab Take a look at (FW 3.00) – Rolling Shutter, Dynamic Vary and Latitude | Hotline Tech

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Final yr firmware V2.0 introduced 8.3K N-RAW (inside) recording capabilities to the Nikon Z 9 and we instantly questioned how this works. The brand new function will have an effect on the lab take a look at outcomes we publish in December 2021. Curious to seek out out extra? So hold studying…

As my colleague Jakub stated in an article about firmware V2.0: “Maybe probably the most spectacular new function of firmware v2.0 is the addition of in-camera RAW video codecs: 12-bit N-RAW video in as much as as much as 8.3K (8256×4644) 60p, in addition to inside 12-bit ProRes RAW HQ as much as 4.1K 60p Relating to the notorious RED patent, I am not totally certain how Nikon managed to incorporate inside ProRes RAW when so many different producers Digital camera crews wanted to take away the codec from their units, however that is undoubtedly excellent news.”

We used firmware model V3.00 to check N-RAW on the Nikon Z 9. (Present digicam model is 3.01, which brings minor enhancements not associated to video picture high quality.) We did not take a look at ProRes RAW; for one, it is restricted to 4.1K, and second, you’ll be able to’t import it natively into DaVinci Resolve; due to this fact, we rule out this selection totally. Thanks once more to my pricey colleague Florian, who helped me with the filming of this take a look at.

So, with out additional ado, let’s transfer on to our Nikon Z 9 N-RAW lab take a look at outcomes!

Nikon Z 9. Picture Credit score: CineD

Nikon Z 9 Rolling Shutter in 8.3K N-RAW Full Body

Nothing new to report on this entrance, as we get precisely the identical end result as with the opposite Z 9 full-frame codec choices:

Picture Credit score: CineD

As I wrote then, that is about 1ms higher than the Canon EOS R5 and about 2ms higher than the Sony A1. The king of the fortress of mirrorless full-frame cameras on this value vary stays the Sony a7S III with an 8.7ms rolling shutter in full-frame mode. On the prime of the checklist is the Sony Venice 2 with lower than 3ms.

Nikon Z 9 dynamic vary utilizing N-RAW at ISO800

When importing Nikon N-RAW recordsdata into DaVinci Resolve 18.1, now we have the next choices within the Digital camera Uncooked tab (see picture under). Principally all it’s worthwhile to do is stretch the picture values ​​utilizing “Elevate” and “Acquire” for a bit extra distinction, set the colour house to Rec709 (different choices are P3 D60 and Rec2020) and Gamma to N -Log (with Gamma 2.4, 2.6, Linear and Rec709 as different choices) and also you’re executed.

Setting DaVinci Resolve Digital camera Uncooked to disclose N-RAW. Picture Credit score: CineD

In the event you’re not accustomed to how we take a look at for dynamic vary, head right here. The next waveform is obtained when the Xyla21 chart is triggered (by setting “Elevate” and “Acquire” again to “0”):

Waveform graph of the Xyla21 Nikon Z 9 N-RAW chart. Picture Credit score: CineD

12 stops are seen above the noise ground, just like our earlier findings. It is too dangerous there is not a more recent N-Log profile out there. N-Log, as it’s now, may be very flat within the shadows, nearly chopping out background noise.

Imatest calculates 10.2 stops at a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of two and 11.9 stops at SNR = 1. Additionally, past the blue line labeled “11.9” within the center graph under, maybe one extra cease is seen. So about 13 in complete.

IMATEST end result for ISO800 utilizing N-RAW on the Nikon Z 9. Picture Credit score: CineD

N-RAW clearly makes use of much less sign processing (reminiscent of noise discount) than the opposite inside codec choices we examined earlier, which is an effective factor. Noise discount can at all times be added in put up manufacturing. So, at first look, the IMATEST outcomes are worse than, for instance, when utilizing H265 8K internally (11.6 stops at SNR = 2 and 12.7 stops at SNR = 1).

Nevertheless, there’s one massive benefit when taking pictures N-RAW, which is able to develop into very obvious within the subsequent part: the latitude take a look at: N-RAW is recorded at 12-bit!

Nikon Z 9 Latitude end result taking pictures N-RAW at ISO800

As written above, latitude is a digicam’s skill to retain element and colours when dodges or underexposes and again to a base publicity. This take a look at may be very revealing because it pushes every digicam to its absolute limits, not simply within the highlights but additionally within the shadows.

The bottom publicity of our research is chosen (arbitrarily) with a luminance worth (ungraded) of 60% on the brow of our topic, on this case my colleague Nino on the waveform monitor.

Nikon Z 9 N-RAW base publicity. Picture Credit score: CineD

Now for the primary constructive shock: with N-RAW, we are able to go to 4 stops of dodge and produce the picture again to base publicity. As you’ll be able to see under, within the waveform, the pink channel on Nino’s brow is totally intact (earlier than returning to base publicity):

RGB waveform of the picture overexposed by 4 stops, earlier than returning it to the bottom publicity. Picture Credit score: CineD

With N-Log and inside H265 8K 10-bit recording, we had been solely in a position to dodge 3 stops.

Now, let’s underexpose and get well the picture. We do that by closing the iris of the lens from f1.4 to f2, f2.8 to f8, after which growing the shutter pace from 1/25s to 1/50, and so forth.

In put up, utilizing DaVinci Resolve 18.1 there’s one other very constructive shock. The “Publicity” slider within the Digital camera Uncooked tab goes from +5 to -5. Subsequently, recovering the overexposed or underexposed photographs may be very straightforward.

This is the 3-stop underexposed picture, recovered:

3 stops down, pushed again to base. Picture Credit score: CineD

Nice noise begins to look, however the picture nonetheless appears nice with out additional enhancing. Now that is already one cease higher than the outcomes we acquired a yr in the past with inside N-Log 8K H265.

As a result of N-Log is so flat within the shadows, there’s nearly no code worth distinction between the stops. Capturing 10-bit H265 internally in our first lab take a look at, even 10-bit did not present sufficient code values ​​between the stops resulting in banding and thus a reasonably dangerous latitude results of solely 6 stops.

With 12-bit N-RAW, there aren’t any seen banding thus far. Let’s transfer to 4 stops under, pushed again:

4 low, pushed again. Picture Credit score: CineD

Noise is activated, which could be eliminated by noise discount, however as you’ll be able to see within the screenshot under, relatively excessive (spatial) and temporal chroma noise discount is used:

4 under, pushed again and utilizing noise discount. Picture Credit score: CineD
DaVinci Resolve 18.1 noise discount settings for the 4 cease underexposed picture. Picture Credit score: CineD

Aside from that, the whole lot is ok. We’re at 8 stops away from latitude, which is already the very best end result we have gotten thus far for shopper full-frame cameras on this value vary, with the Panasonic S1H, S1, and S5, in addition to the Sony A1. That is 2 stops higher than with the interior 10-bit 8K H265 codec. That is the ability of RAW!

Now 5 stops down, the pushed again picture begins to crumble, which additionally provides a really greenish tint to the picture:

5 stops down, pushed again. Picture credit score: CIneD

Even robust noise discount in put up can not prevent totally:

5 stops under, pushed again and noise discount. Picture credit score: CIneD
DaVinci Resolve 18.1 noise discount settings for the 5 cease underexposed picture. Picture Credit score: CineD

As you’ll be able to see above, we’re already utilizing a most of “100” for spatial chroma noise discount and fairly a little bit of temporal noise discount.

It nonetheless appears fairly good, nevertheless, picture element within the shadows (for instance, within the decrease proper nook subsequent to Nino) is fading.

That offers strong 8-stop latitude efficiency, with some leeway in direction of 9 stops!


With the inclusion of internally recorded N-RAW, the Nikon Z 9 actually takes a giant step ahead. Not solely does it present good ends in rolling shutter efficiency (because it did earlier than), nevertheless it’s additionally now able to recording 8.3K 12-bit as much as 60 frames per second. As anticipated, N-RAW is noisier as a result of the interior sign isn’t being processed as a lot, resulting in decrease IMATEST outcomes of 10.2 stops with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of two and 11.9 stops at SNR = 1 (in comparison with inside 8K H265 N-Log).

However wanting on the latitude outcomes, the 12-bit mixed with the ability or RAW by way of publicity settings makes all of the distinction.

2, if not 3 extra stops of latitude in comparison with H265 10-bit recording, pushes it to the highest of the checklist of full-frame shopper cameras with 8 stops of publicity latitude (with headroom in direction of 9). .

Nikon has come a great distance with video capabilities in its nonetheless cameras, and it exhibits.

What do you consider this Nikon Z 9 N-RAW lab take a look at and our outcomes? Have you ever shot N-RAW on the Nikon Z 9? What are your experiences? Please share your ideas within the feedback part.

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Nikon Z 9 N-RAW Lab Test (FW 3.00) – Rolling Shutter, Dynamic Range and Latitude