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Canny firmware updates for Nikon Zeds

Nikon appears to be taking a leaf out of Fujifilm’s book by providing genuinely value-adding firmware updates to its Z6 and Z7 cameras, with three new features looming although without a firm release date.

This is a clever catch-up strategy: With Sony literally generations ahead in full frame mirrorless technology, adding new features to current models enables Nikon to make larger strides towards technological sophistication at a lower cost to itself and Nikon-supporting photographers.

At the CES show in Las Vegas in January Nikon announced three useful new features – Eye AF, RAW video, and CFexpress memory card compatibility – which it said were being developed in response to feedback from photographers.

Nikon didn’t provide a date for the firmware updates.

The new Eye AF function automatically detects and focusses on a subjects’ eyes. ‘It will allow users to capture photos in which focus has been clearly acquired on the subject’s eye, which is useful for portrait, event and street photography scenarios,’ Nikon wrote in the accompanying press release.

The Z6 and Z7 will also support CFExpress cards as well as current compatibility with XQD cards, which are the same size and shape. CFExpress cards have the potential to operate at 8GB/sec transfer speeds where QXD cards max out at 1GB/sec.

All cameras using QXD cards – not just the Z6 and Z7 – should be upgradeable to CFexpress with a firmware patch, and CFexpress is reportedly backwards compatible with QXD.

The third upgrade is only relevant to those shooting video: ‘Nikon is currently developing a feature that works with the ATOMOS Ninja V monitor/recorder (which costs around $1000) to output video in RAW format, using the ProRes RAW codec.’

Nikon also announced the Nikkor z 14-30mm f4 S, with a US$1300 price tag (no local price available) and release in a cupla months or so.

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