Nikon has released Z Series Firmware Version 2.0 for the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6, which introduces three major enhancements to the company’s full-frame mirrorless cameras.
The first is Eye-Detection AF for still photography, enabling the cameras to find and focus on human eyes. It’s available in both single-shot and continuous AF when the camera is set to Auto-area AF mode. You can further direct the system to track a specific eye in your frame.
Z Series Firmware Version 2.0 also improves autofocus performance in low-light scenes. We’ve asked for clarification from Nikon on these improvements, as there is some ambiguity in the official press release (below), and we’ll update this post when we receive a response. Our current understanding is that the improvements to low-light AF performance are two-fold:
- Faster AF acquisition times for both still and video recording.
- Ability for the AF system to function in lower-light conditions than previously possible, but for still photography only. The Nikon Z 7’s detection range has been improved to -2 EV (from -1 EV), while the Z 6 has been improved to -3.5 EV (from -2 EV) and to -6 EV (from -4 EV) with the camera’s Low-light AF setting. The Low-light AF setting for the Z 7 is unchanged.
The third improvement is the addition of auto-exposure tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) capture mode. Previously, exposure was locked on the first shot during high-speed continuous shooting (at 9 fps with the Z 7 and 12 fps with the Z 6). Now, in addition to continuous AF, continuous auto exposure is now possible.
The Z Series Firmware Version 2.0 is offered as a free update and can be downloaded at: https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com
For additional details, see the press release below.
NIKON RELEASES THE NEW Z SERIES VERSION 2.0FIRMWARE WITH ENHANCED FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE INCLUDING EYE-DETECTION AF
Firmware Upgrade Brings Further Improvements to the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6 FX-Format Mirrorless Cameras by Adding Eye-Detection AF, Improving AF Performance in Low Light, and Adding Auto-Exposure Tracking to the Continuous High-Speed (Extended) Mode
MELVILLE, NY (May 16, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. EDT) –Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of firmware Ver. 2.0 that will further enhance the performance of its full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6.
Users will enjoy three main additional features following the Ver. 2.0 upgrade. These include:
- Eye-Detection autofocus (AF) for still-image shooting
- Extension of the low-light AF detection range
- Addition of auto-exposure (AE) tracking capability to the continuous high-speed (extended) mode
These enhanced shooting functions will further increase camera functionality and performance and are a response to customer feedback for new and innovative ways to capture and create.
PRIMARY FEATURES OF THE NEW FIRMWARE
1) Eye-Detection AF for still-image shooting
The new firmware offers Eye-Detection AF functionality that automatically detects and focuses on human eyes when using the Auto-area AF mode in both AF-S and AF-C. When the eyes of multiple subjects are detected, the multi-selector or sub-selector can be used to select the eye upon which the camera should focus. This enables precise focus on the eye of the intended individual, even when looking through the Electronic Viewfinder. This function is applicable even when the subject’s face is partially covered by another object, or in the event when a subject is frequently changing their pose.
2) AF performance improvements in low-light situations
The new firmware enables even faster autofocusing when capturing photos and video in dark or dimly lit scenes, for both stills and video. It will extend the AF detection range*1from −1 EV to −2 EV with the Z 7, and from −2 EV to −3.5 EV with the Z 6. In addition, the Z 6 will be able to autofocus with even darker scenes, as the available low-light AF detection range*1will be extended*2from −4 EV to −6 EV when the Low-light AF function is enabled.
*1: With still-image photography in AF-S mode, ISO 100, f/2.0 lens, at 20° C/68° F.
* 2: The low-light AF detection range will remain the same with the Z 7.
3) AE tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode
With earlier firmware versions, auto exposure (AE) was locked with the first shot in a burst of high-speed continuous shooting at approx. 9 fps (Z 7) or 12 fps (Z 6) in continuous high-speed (extended) mode. Firmware Ver. 2.0 adds support for AE tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode, allowing the cameras to track exposure just as it does focus (AF tracking). This helps to ensure that all images captured with a burst of high-speed continuous shooting are in focus and exhibit optimal exposure, even when the brightness of the scene changes.
The new firmware can be downloaded (free of charge) from Nikon’s Download Center at the following link: https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com.Users will be prompted to follow the instructions provided to successfully install the firmware.
Nikon will continue to flexibly respond to the evolving needs of our users and offer next-generation imaging experiences that foster creativity. For more information on the latest Nikon products, including the Nikon Z series, please visit www.nikonusa.com.