Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Images: ISO 3200 – 102400 Test Images

The Nikon Z8 has some really impressive low-light shooting capabilities. Here are some side-by-side examples of high ISO photos taken with the Nikon Z8 from ISO 3200 up to ISO 102400.

Nikon Z8 Mirrorless Camera. Photo by David Coleman " havecamerawilltravel.com
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Filed Under: Mirrorless Cameras
Topics: Nikon, Nikon Z8

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Among the many key features of the Nikon Z8 is its impressive low-light performance. Nikon has pitched this camera as the mirrorless successor to the Nikon D850 DSLR, a camera that, for good reason, was also renowned for its low-light performance. And in a lot of the marketing material and reviews, you’ll come across mentions of how good the Z8 is at high ISOs. 

But what does that actually mean in practical terms? And how does it fit with your expectations and preferences? Of course, every photographer is going to have a different set of preferences for when the image quality is too degraded, and it’s also going to vary from scene to scene and the use it’s being put to.

I’ll post a separate collection of high-ISO images, but here are some side-by-side comparisons through the high-ISO range on the Z8. 

The Z8 has a native ISO range from 64 to 25,600.

You can also tap into the extended ISO range, where software takes over to amplify the signal. In extended ISO, you can drop that down to ISO 32 or bump it up to 102,400 (aka +2 EV). 1

Precisely where the threshold between “normal” and “high” ISO falls is obviously a highly subjective judgment. For these purposes, I’m going to put it around ISO 3200 because most decent cameras these days can handle at least up to that without any real difficulty.

I’ve tried to include a range of different scenes and levels of detail and tones in the shots below. 

Technical Notes About How These Images Were Created

It’s worth explaining exactly how these were generated. These were all shot on the Nikon Z8, and these files are all straight out of the camera without any post-processing.

They were shot with the RAW + JPEG fine* setting in SDR tone mode. The RAW recording is set to the lowest compression (Lossless compression).

The High ISO NR setting is at Normal (the default setting). That’s a particularly important point, because that affects both the JPG files and the JPG previews used within the RAW files. This is the setting that controls the camera’s own internal noise reduction processing. 

This setting does not affect the underlying RAW data in the NEF files. But when you first open a RAW file to view, you’ll most likely see the preview file that’s embedded within it. To get past that and see the underlying RAW file, you’ll need to regenerate the preview thumbnail; whichever RAW viewer/editor you’re using will have a way to do that manually or automatically among its functions.  

You can click on each image below to open a full-size version or use the links in each caption to download the original straight-out-of-camera files. The NEF files range from about 57 to 83 megabytes each.  2

Nikon Z8 High ISO: Set 1

Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 3200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 4000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 5000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 6400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 8000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 10000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 12800. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 16000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 20000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 25600. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 32000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 40000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 51200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 102400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)

Nikon Z8 High ISO: Set 2

Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 3200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 4000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 5000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 6400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 8000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 10000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 12800. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 16000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 20000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 25600. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 32000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 40000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 51200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 102400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)

Nikon Z8 High ISO: Set 3

Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 3200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 4000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 5000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 6400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 8000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 10000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 12800. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 16000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 20000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 25600. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 32000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 40000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 51200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 102400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)

Nikon Z8 High ISO: Set 4

Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 3200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 4000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 5000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 6400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 8000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 10000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 12800. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 16000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 20000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 25600. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 32000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 40000. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 51200. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)
Nikon Z8 High ISO Sample Image
Taken with a Nikon Z8 at ISO 102400. Download: Original JPG | Original RAW (NEF)

Fixing Image Quality Problems in Editing

The general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it later. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re shooting in especially challenging conditions or bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.

But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common image quality issues with digital images. And they’re getting better and better all the time as the power of AI ramps up. They can deal remarkably well with anything from sensor issues like high-ISO image noise to lens issues like distortion, softness, vignetting, and chromatic aberration. (Note: I’m focusing here on corrections related to image quality, not image enhancement tools—that’s a different kettle of fish.)

All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in that are very good places to start. But it’s also possible to take it much further with more specialized tools. If you shoot in challenging conditions regularly and find room for improvement in the image quality coming out of the camera, these might well be worth a look (and they have free trials). Some are stand-alone apps; some integrate into image editing suites such as Lightroom Classic.

UPDATE: In April 2023, Adobe released an update to Lightroom Classic that added new AI-powered noise reduction for RAW files. It’s a powerful tool that rivals some of the dedicated apps below. If you’re already using Lightroom Classic for your image editing and organization, it’s well worth trying out—look for the Denoise tool under the Detail panel.

Fixing Image Noise & High ISO Artifacts

  • DxO PureRAW 3. Like Lightroom Classic’s Denoise tool, it only works on RAW files. But since was updated to version 3, it has become my go-to app for this kind of thing. I’m consistently amazed at how it can rescue photos with otherwise dodgy image quality from noise. It can also help with lens distortion, lens vignetting, and lens softness.
  • DxO DeepPrime. This is the noise-only offering using the same denoising technology as PureRAW.
  • Topaz Labs’ DeNoise AI. This is another excellent option for specialized denoising. It works alongside Lightroom or as a standalone app.

Fixing Lens-Related Optical Issues

  • DxO PureRAW. Again offers an impressive suite of automatic fixes that are applied before you start editing the images.
  • DxO ViewPoint. Correcting for lens distortion and geometry skews. Lightroom Classic and Capture One also have excellent built-in tools for this.
  • Topaz Labs Sharpen AI. In addition to standard unsharp tools, it includes focus correction and shake reduction.

Nikon Z8 Manual & Firmware Updates

  • You can find the Nikon Z8 manual here [PDF]. There’s also an online reference guide.
  • You can find the latest Nikon Z8 firmware and related software updates here. Nikon released an updated version (C:Ver.1.01) on August 23, 2023.

Nikon Z8 Price & Availability

The Nikon Z8 was released in May 2023. For good reason, it has been highly sought after, so it might be worth getting on a waitlist sooner rather than later. 

The Z8 It packs many of the features of the flagship Z9 into a smaller form factor and is touted by Nikon as the true successor to the Nikon D850 DSLR (and also as “the ultimate hybrid camera”). 

It’s sold in various configurations, including:

Check the current availability and price at:

Nikon Z8 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera / Body Only
  • 45.7MP FX-Format Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • 8.3K 60p N-RAW, 4.1K 60p ProRes RAW
  • Lightweight Design, 30% Smaller than Z9
  • Up to 20 fps Raw, 30 fps JPEG Shooting
  • 493-Point AF, AI-Based Subject Detection
Nikon Z8 with NIKKOR Z 24-120mm ƒ/4 S Zoom Lens
  • with NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S Zoom Lens
  • 45.7MP FX-Format Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • 8.3K 60p N-RAW, 4.1K 60p ProRes RAW
  • Lightweight Design, 30% Smaller than Z9
  • Up to 20 fps Raw, 30 fps JPEG Shooting
  • 493-Point AF, AI-Based Subject Detection

Essential Accessories for the Nikon Z8

Some accessories are optional, but these are pretty much essential. And they don’t come with the camera as standard.

FTZ II Lens Mount Adapter

If you’re upgrading from a Nikon DSLR and have F-mount lenses you want to use on the Z8, don’t forget to pick up an FTZ II lens mount adapter. This lets you use Nikon / NIKKOR F-mount lenses on Nikon Z mirrorless camera bodies while retaining autofocus, stabilization, and other features. And because there’s no glass, there’s no impact on image quality or light loss.

Nikon FTZ II Mount Adapter
Allows use of Nikon F-mount lenses on Nikon Z mirrorless cameras with no loss of image quality.

Memory Cards for the Nikon Z8

The Nikon Z8 has two memory card slots. One takes CFexpress Type B or XQD memory cards. The other takes SD cards. I’ve put together a more detailed post on Nikon Z8 memory card recommendations, but here are some quick recommendations. 

Slot 1: CFexpress Type B 
SanDisk Extreme Pro (SDCFE) CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1200 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
ProGrade Digital Cobalt CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
Lexar Professional Gold Series CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1750 MB/s
Nikon 660 GB MC‑CF660G CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
Slot 2: SDXC UHS-II V90
ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Write Speed: Up to 250 MB/s
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Write Speed: Up to 260 MB/s
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
Lexar Professional 2000x Gold V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
  1. This is in stills mode with the output as RAW (NEF) or JPG. If you have the output as HEIC for the HLG tone mode, the ISO range is limited to 400 to 25600 when HLG is selected for tone mode. If you’re shooting in video, or movie, mode, you can’t drop it down to ISO 32, but the rest matches the limits when you’re shooting in stills photo mode.[]
  2. The variation in the file sizes is due to how image compression works. Even though the RAW compression is on the lowest setting (Lossless compression), it’s still applying compression.[]

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2023-09-29 at 21:25. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »