Nikon Teases 3 Must-Have Z6 & Z7 Firmware Updates!


Along with announcing a new wide-angle Z lens and the Z6 Filmmakers kit today, Nikon quietly hinted at three important firmware updates for their full-frame Z series cameras, the Z7 and Z6.

CFexpress is listed as coming soon. This feature, which was first mentioned during the Z system's launch event, will allow owners to use CFexpress cards, which are a similar size and shape as XQD cards.

RAW Video Support is listed as in development. In the same way that the Z7 and Z6 can record 4:2:2 10-bit video to an external recording device, Nikon is developing a feature that will allow the cameras to record in the high-quality, efficient ProRes RAW codec using the ATMOS Ninja V. This will mean less transcoding for professional editors.

Last, and perhaps most exciting, we have Eye AF. Another impending feature listed as "in development," this is an update we here at Steve's Digicams personally discussed with Nikon execs and engineers. EyeAF,  which you may have seen in Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus camera systems, is a specific form of face detection that locates a subject's eye, which makes shooting portraits with fast glass (F2.8 or faster) a lot easier.

While the Z7 and Z6 struggle generally in poor lighting conditions, the other noticeable flaw in the camera's AF systems is the lack of EyeAF. To be clear, the Z7 and Z6 have terrific face detection, and the Z6 is much better with fast-moving subjects than the Z7. But when you're shooting with Nikon's F1.8 and F1.4 lenses (like the new NIKKOR Z 50mm and 35mm primes), the cameras tend to hit cheeks and eyebrows rather than locking in on a subject's eyes. If you're in a studio with a still or slow subject, getting accurate focus isn't much of a challenge.

But add movement, be it models on a runway or scambling toddlers, and you risk missing your shot if you're relying on face detection. In other words, EyeAF is a killer must-have feature in modern mirrorless cameras and, if the Z6 and Z7 get it, it'll significantly close the gap for any shooters trying to decide between Sony and Nikon full-frame systems.

At the end of the day, it's great to see Nikon standing behind their word to update their newest cameras with some valuable new features. Now we just need more lenses!