Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras are already getting new features, thanks to firmware. During CES 2019, Nikon shared a trio of new features that are currently under development for the Z7 and Z6, including CFexpress support, Eye AF, and ProRes RAW. The firmware doesn’t yet have a launch date.
Eye AF, Nikon says, will make capturing sharp eyes easier when photographing portraits as well as street and event photography. The software helps automatically detect the eyes to help avoid misplaced focal points. Eye AF, if done right, could be a welcome addition to the series — since options like the Sony a7R III already includes Eye AF.
The Z6 and Z7’s XQD memory card slot will also be able to accommodate CFexpress cards with the firmware update. CFexpress and XQD are both similar formats larger than the traditional SD card, with a few notable differences. CFexpress cards limit out at certain speeds and capacities, while XQD cards are fast and could be even faster in the future.
Nikon lists that speed along with a handful of other reasons like capacity, transfer rates, and durability as reasons why the company went with the XQD instead of the older CFexpress format. However, Sony is the only major manufacturer producing XQD cards and they can sell for nearly $ 150 for a 64GB card. The firmware update will open up more options — and allow photographers who already had CFexpress cards to put those cards back to use.
Finally, the upcoming firmware will allow support for the ProRes RAW codec, in addition to Nikon’s own N-Log format. ProRes recording will require the ATOMOS Ninja V in order to output that format, however.
While the firmware doesn’t yet have a launch date, models with the updated firmware were on display during CES. Nikon says the firmware update is based on user feedback.
At CES, Nikon also launched the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens, the widest lens yet for the Z series. The lens is also unique in that, despite the ultra-wide angle, the lens still accepts filters at the front, because the front element isn’t as rounded as most full frame ultra-wide-angle lenses. Nikon also says that the lens is lighter and more compact than the similar F-mount lens. A filmmakers’ kit for the Nikon Z6 was also part of Nikon’s CES announcements.
Nikon’s live presentations and discussions are being livestreamed from CES through January 11 at nikonusa.com/live.