Nikon Z8 with 24-120mm lens attached from on.
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Nikon Z8 and Z9 firmware out of sync

Reading about the Nikon Z8 and Z9 firmware being out of sync reminded me of how camera companies are set up in Japan. In the West, we tend to think of them as run top-down, working as one, but that’s not the case in Japan. Factories there are mostly autonomous with head offices having only limited control over them. Ironically perhaps, the bigger the companies are the more autonomy each factory has. And each in turn is run competitively against the other.

Nikon hasn’t made it clear if both models are made in the same factory or not but, even if they are, it’s likely that they have different software and engineering teams working on them. Those teams will likely be located at the factory, not the head office as you might expect. While the two bodies share a lot of components, the firmware isn’t going to be identical (even if the majority of the code is shared).

From the users’ perspective, it makes sense to offer the same features and operation of the two, after all, what photographer wouldn’t want a smaller, similarly capable body for certain use cases? However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there never will be the exact same operation between the two cameras. If anything the difference in the feature set is likely to diverge to a greater extent over time, not consolidate.