Nikon Inc. has announced yet another substantial update for the Nikon Z 9, bringing more powerful performance and added features to what’s widely regarded as the most capable full-frame mirrorless camera available. Now available for free download, the firmware 3.0 update is the second major update to the Z 9 this year, adding enhancements to video and photo capture, usability, operability, autofocus, and so much more.
“Firmware 3.0 not only demonstrates Nikon’s commitment to addressing our customers’ needs, but also our continued support to update products to their full potential for the benefit of our users,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc.
Both video and photo shooters, as well as creators, will see impressive benefits from the new firmware with this update. Some of the more notable features include a new Hi-Res Zoom function, which provides the effect of additional optical zoom for 4K video, and a new C60 High-Speed Frame Capture+, enabling 60 fps still shooting in DX format. Firmware 3.0 also includes enhancements to the AF and upgraded display and operability, such as increasing the number of buttons used as custom controls.
Significant updates with firmware 3.0:
- High-Res Zoom: When capturing 4K UHD video, this feature enables the option for high-resolution zooming, which effectively extends the lens’s focal range. 4K UHD footage is captured in 8K UHD resolution and then gradually cropped to the 4K frame size in real-time, doubling the focal length while maintaining resolution. This is not otherwise possible with digital zoom or cropping in post. Hi-Res Zoom is available regardless of the lens used, allowing users to streamline production and take advantage of prime lenses or the extremely shallow depth of field of an f/1.2 maximum aperture lens. This feature can be assigned to the camera’s Fn1/Fn2 buttons, a lens’ Fn ring or control ring, and the left/right buttons on the multi-selector. The result is a smooth, parfocal zoom transition with no loss of resolution. The buttons enable zooming at a constantly selected speed, while the control ring allows users to zoom in or out as quickly or slowly as they like.
- High-Speed Frame Capture+ C60 Mode for continuous shooting: In addition to the existing C30 and C120 options, High-Speed Frame Capture+ now offers a C60 option for bursts of continuous shooting of approximately 19-megapixel still images at approximately 60 fps. This feature is in DX mode, which increases effective focal length while satisfying the diverse needs of photographers – especially those in photojournalism, sports, and bird photography who value speed and reach.
- Autofocus Enhancements: Firmware 3.0 improves upon the Z 9’s powerful AF system, enhancing performance and subject detection. The low-light limit has been extended by 0.5 EV, improving accuracy in low-light and low-contrast conditions. Multiple enhancements have been made to 3D-tracking mode; focus will be “stickier” on a subject and less likely to shift into a foreground obstacle that momentarily obscures a subject. Users can now also change the color of focus points to red, which can help shoot in various backgrounds. Additionally, the detection and tracking of fast-moving animals has been improved when “animal” is selected in 3D-tracking.
- High-Frequency Flicker Reduction added with firmware version 2.10 is now available for video recording.
- Timecode synchronization and UltraSync Blue: Timecode is now possible across multiple Z 9 cameras controlled by a single wireless remote control. ATOMOS UltraSync BLUE is now supported over a Bluetooth connection, enabling the syncing of recording equipment and/or audio-device timecodes, including equipment from other manufacturers. This is extremely helpful when editing videos recorded in multiple external audio recorders.
- Vertical Playback Display: Images and the i menu can be displayed in vertical orientation during playback mode.
- More buttons for Custom functions: The number of buttons that can be used as custom controls and the extension of customizable functions has been increased for smoother access to frequently used functions. This also includes the ability to make the Record button programmable.
- Auto Series Playback function automatically displays images from the same burst of continuous shooting group after the first image in the burst is displayed in playback mode.
- Improvements to Flash workflow: The “Show effects of settings” option in View mode (Photo Lv), which reflects exposure settings in the photo live view display, has been improved. This update allows users to choose whether the effects of exposure settings are reflected when a Speedlight or remote trigger is attached. This function allows the user to check background exposure before shooting, helping to confirm the resulting background exposure in advance.
- Display enhancements: File Info has been added to the information display, and a focus indicator is now available in camera.
- “Override other cameras” function has been added, enabling easy switching between master cameras when multiple cameras are designated as primary.
- Support for the FTPS protocol offers faster, safer image transfer with encryption.
- Reset focus distance during [Focus shift shooting]: During focus shift shooting, the focus position at the start of shooting can be memorized and returned to the initial focus position after a series of shots has been taken.
- Full format function: When using CFexpress cards that support full formatting, this function can be used to delete data completely to help users maintain maximum performance.