Eye AF, Improved AF/AE, & RAW Video Coming to the Nikon Z7 & Z6


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We've loved our time shooting with the Nikon Z6 and Z7 full-frame mirrorless cameras, but we've been very open about where these cameras struggle against the competition. In short, the Z-Series AF and Face Detection systems are quick and accurate, but buggy in a few specific conditions. 

First, if you're shooting with fast glass, say F2.8 or F1.8, Nikon's current Face Detection software often hits cheeks, brows, and noses rather than eyes. Compared to Sony's amazing EyeAF, it's a big let down. Second, in lower lighting conditions, the Nikon bodies become slower and less accurate.

And, if you're into action photography and want to utilize the Z6 or Z7's highest continuous shooting burst mode (aka Continous High-Speed Extended), the camera currently locks exposure when you press the shutter. I personally ran into trouble photographing surfers on waves who would take off with a dark grey or blue background, but as more of the wave broke (becoming whiter and brighter), it fried my exposure. 

But there's some exciting news on the horizon. Though exact release dates have not been announced, Nikon Z firmware updates are scheduled to start rolling out in May. Here's a full rundown of features and improvements set to be offered:
  • Support for Eye-Detection AF for still image shooting (scheduled for May 2019) - Geared toward portrait photography, the Eye-Detection AF function will be compatible with the AF-S (Single AF) focus mode and the AF-C (Continuous AF) focus mode. In addition, the feature can detect multiple eyes, allowing users to then select which eye to focus the camera on.
  • Increased AF/AE performance (scheduled for May 2019) - This upgrade will enable AE (auto exposure) tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode, along with improvements to low-light AF performance for faster autofocusing in dark or dimly lit environments.
  • Support for RAW video output (release timing TBA) - With this update, the camera will be able to output 4K UHD and Full HD RAW data streams. 
  • Support for CFexpress memory cards (release timing TBA) - The new CFexpress memory card standard will be supported interchangeably with XQD cards. CFexpress memory card support is also in the works for the Nikon D5 (XQD-Type), Nikon D850, and Nikon D500 digital SLR cameras.
The Nikon Z6 is currently available for $1996.95 while the Nikon Z7 is currently available for $3396.95.

Source: Nikon