Nikon announced a major firmware update centered around autofocus performance in Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 cameras. The firmware adds eye-tracking autofocus for still photography, improved low-light autofocus capability for still and video photography, and enables auto-exposure subject tracking in the continuous high-speed (extended) frame rate mode.
Eye tracking in still photography
With a Z 6 or Z 7 in auto-area AF mode and photographing in either AF-S or AF-C mode, the camera now can automatically detect and track the shape of a human eye as the person moves across a frame. When multiple subjects are in the photo, you can use either the multi-selector or sub-selector to select the eye you want the camera to focus on and track. As well as enabling the photographer to track a moving subject even if the view of the chosen eye is partially blocked.
Improved low-light autofocus performance for still and motion photography
For the 24-megapixel Z 6 the auto-focus sensitivity sees a 1.5-stop improvement from -2 EV to -3.5 EV and when the Low-light AF function is enabled, there is a 2-stop improvement from -4 EV to -6 EV. In other words, AF now works in situations where rendering a mid-tone subject as a mid-tone would require a slightly longer than 20-second exposure at f/1.4, ISO 100 and in Low-light AF mode should work down to exposures requiring a 128-second exposure at f/1.4.
For the higher resolution (45.7 megapixel) Z 7, the AF detection range is extended from -1 to -2EV (situations where you’d need a 30-second exposure at f/2.8, ISO 100 to record a mid-tone subject as a mid-tone), but there is no extension of the Low-light AF function.
AE tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode
Prior to this firmware release, auto exposure (AE) focus was locked with the first fram of a high-speed burst of continuous shooting. Ver. 2.0 supports AE tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode and can change the exposure through the burst as the brightness of a scene changes. This should be a huge benefit, for example, to sports photographers who photograph on playing fields where there is sunlight and shadow.
Additional updates and upgrades
- With Image Review set for On or On (monitor only) in the Playback menu, the blackout period between exposure and playback is now shorter.
- Custom Settings Menu d5, the option formerly known as Electronic front-curtain shutter, has been renamed Shutter type, and now offers a choice of Auto, Mechanical shutter, and Electronic front-curtain shutter. If Auto is selected, the camera automatically chooses a shutter type according to shutter speed.
- With Auto-area autofocus selected and face detection or target tracking activated, pressing the AF-On button, or pressing the shutter-release button halfway, makes the color locator of the focus point an easily readable yellow.
- Some Help texts that explain various functions have been revised.
- •The camera would stop responding if certain operations were performed while HDMI output was in progress with 3,840x2,160 (4K UHD) selected for frame size.
- The value selected for maximum sensitivity would sometimes be exceeded during movie recording in mode M with On selected for Auto ISO control (mode M) if Active D-Lighting was enabled.
- The display would sometimes briefly behave unexpectedly in movie mode before or during recording.
- The items in My Menu would sometimes not display correctly.
Installing the update is straightforward, and with a reasonably fast internet connection, the process should take less than 10 minutes. The new firmware
is free of charge.