Firmware, Software, Info Updates Continue

Nikon this week has been updating their full suite of software products, as well as lots of mirrorless camera firmware:

Cameras:

  • Zfc 1.10 adds support for FTZ II and 24-120mm f/4 S lens
  • Z50 2.20 and Z5 1.20 adds support for the FTZ II and 24-120mm f/4 S lens, improves face/eye detection performance, and adjusts subject exposure when using optional flash units
  • Z6 3.40 and Z7 3.40 adds support for the FTZ II and 24-120mm f/4 S lens, improves eye detection performance in Auto-area AF and Wide-are AF (L), improves the refresh of the focus point in face/eye detection and Subject-tracking AF, adjusts subject exposure when using optional flash, and fixed several small issues

No, these aren’t probably the “focus performance change” updates some of you were expecting, but it’s good to see that Nikon is continuing to tune all their older mirrorless cameras and add to their performance, even if it comes in small steps. It does seem that the Z6/Z7 focus improvements are clear for face/eye detection in early testing. An updated camera seems to find the face/eye faster and further away and track it better than in previous firmware.

Lenses and Accessories:

  • 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S 1.20 adds Z9 support, fixes an issue with contrast-detect autofocus
  • WR-1 1.04 adds Z9 support, and for shutter speeds to 1/32,000

Software:

  • Webcam Utility 1.1.0 adds support for the Z9, adds a message when not able to supply camera view, ended support for macOS High Sierra
  • Picture Control Utility 2 Version 2.4.9 adds support for the Z9
  • NEF Codec 1.31.2 updates support for all shipped and announced cameras

Meanwhile, Nikon issued a press release acknowledging information that I had previously presented, and which appears in the official Z9 brochure: "Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce that Nikon Corporation will be collaborating with Nissin Japan Ltd. and Profoto AB on speedlight products and studio lighting products.

No, this doesn’t mean Nikon is getting out of the Speedlight business (at least not in any foreseeable time frame). What it does mean is that they’re doing cooperative communications between the Nikon and two third party flash/lighting companies. Nissin has long been rumored as having licensed to or worked with Nikon on some previous Speedlights, so this isn’t unexpected news. The addition of Profoto, is a strong indication that Nikon wants to get more relevance in studio photography, after a long period of what I’d call neglect. 

Long term bythom readers will know that I’ve lobbied for Nikon working harder to expand the ecosystem around the cameras and lenses that provide most of the Imaging group’s revenue. It seems that the tentative steps made with Atomos in the video recorder arena (and then extended to Blackmagic Design) has paid off for Nikon, exactly as I would have predicted (larger ecosystems create more core product sales).

The Z9 brochure seems to indicate that—other than lenses—Nikon is becoming much more friendly with vendors who provide extensions of the base system. 

All that said, just in this particular announcement of lighting cooperation we have the seeds of potential confusion. Nikon’s WR-R11, Nissin’s Air, and Profoto’s Air remotes all use different communication protocols, and for this “collaboration” to be truly useful to Nikon users, we need these protocols to be compatible.

Looking for other photographic information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | mirrorless: sansmirror.com | general/technique: bythom.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

text and images © 2021 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #zsystemuser