January 10, 2019

Nikon Firmware Updates for 2019

Significant Firmware Upgrades for the Nikon Z-Series Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon Firmware Updates 2019

Nikon have announced at CES 2019 their intention of keeping their promise of some significant firmware upgrades. These apply to the new full frame mirrorless Z Series cameras. Are these enough to convert people from other camera brands? Maybe...

Firmware Updates Include

  1. 1
    Eye AF
  2. 2
    CF Express Compatibility
  3. 3
    RAW Video Support

Eye AF

Particularly useful for portrait and perhaps street photography, Eye AF will keep focus on the subject's eye at all times. Sony cameras have had this welcomed feature for a while so is it enough to move to Nikon?

For cameras without this feature, you need to pinpoint your focussing on your subjects eye, recompose and then shoot. All this whilst hoping they, or you, haven't moved enough to allow the eye to go out of focus.

This is particularly difficult when using a shallow depth of field with apertures of f2, f1.4 etc.

Eye AF is a superb feature for any camera and I can see it becoming mainstream on all cameras in the future. If this works when shooting video too...superb!

CF Express Compatibility

In Nikon's own words...

"Coming soon to the Z 6 and Z 7 cameras is compatibility with CFexpress, which is compatible with XQD memory cards."

In my time I have gone from CF cards, to SD cards, to SxS cards for Sony and then XQD cards were introduced. It is hard to keep up with the expense at times. However, the CF Express cards will work with XQD slots but how will they compare?

Well, here are the current upper read/write speeds of various memory cards:

  • SD Cards - 312MB/s
  • XQD Cards - 1.4GB/s
  • CF Express Cards - 8GB/s

That is huge and perfect for 4k and even 8k recording no doubt.

RAW Video Support

Possibly the most advanced and exciting firmware upgrade is having the ability to shoot RAW video in Pro Res. I currently shoot RAW video with my UAV (drone) and the files are huge. Plus I needed to buy a specialist RAW camera running upwards of £3,000 for a drone camera.

With a simple firmware update, Z-Series owners will be able to shoot lovely RAW video using the ProRes RAW Codec. No other stills/video hybrid camera right now has this feature.

However, this comes with a caveat.

You will need to output the signal to the lovely Atomos Ninja V (currently $695) so dig deep!

So, there you go. Nikon are back in the game with some amazing features. I feel this will be an exciting year with a raft of new cameras including the Panasonic Lumix S (S1 and S1R) full frame mirrorless cameras out soon. If they have this RAW feature, I'm in!

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