The Z9 Gets Another Major Firmware Update

Nikon today released firmware C5.00 for the Nikon Z9. As the big number suggests, a number of new features have been introduced in this release:

  • Auto capture now allows you to use the DX image crop.*
  • Auto capture now can be started at a specific time and date.
  • Airplanes have been added as an AF subject-detection mode in Auto capture.*
  • The detection range for distance has been increased for Auto capture
  • A yellow frame can be shown in Auto capture to indicate that the camera is in standby.
  • Pre-Release Capture options now adds a C15 value.
  • Pre-release capture can now capture to different Image quality settings (it was fixed before).
  • High-frequency flicker reduction now has preset values for some common LED lights and displays. 
  • Live View display can now zoom into 400%.*
  • The Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control was added.*
  • The Skin softening function has been added.*
  • Portrait impression balance has been added.*
  • Auto image rotation has been added.*
  • Added a new choice of how High ISO NR is applied (another Type A, Type B).
  • Profoto A10 users can use the continuous LED on the front for AF-assist illumination. (Must update A10 firmware.)
  • Prefer focus point [face priority] is now an option for frame advance during playback with zoom active.
  • Extended Menu Banks now has separate values for photo and video use.
  • The box for autofocus positioning can now be widened for easier view (new #A11).*
  • Format memory card options have changed in how they're selected.*
  • Manual focusing in Live View can be done at maximum aperture.
  • Zoom can be cancelled in Manual Focus via a half-press of the shutter release.
  • Hi-Res Zoom has been improved, and also now confirms focus by changing brackets from red to green.
  • Numerous new customizations have been added for Custom Setting #F1, F2, F3, G1, G2, including Cycle AF-Area Mode*
  • Changed RGB histogram display when Warm Colors are selected in #D12.*
  • Customize Retouch options allows you to reduce the Retouch menu choices to those you use.
  • New playback options for continuous series of photos: Loop playback, Wait before playback, Auto playback speed.*
  • Playback speed for videos can be Original Speed, 1/2x Speed, 1/4x Speed.
  • Wi-Fi station mode has been added (requires SnapBridge 2.11.0).
  • GNSS will be updated to G.017, which requires you to return to Firmware Version and complete the instructions there. Firmware Version now shows GNSS version
  • Fixed several operation anomalies. 

Interestingly, Nikon has improved the information about installing the update, including an advisory to save your IPTC Presets first (though the English version has an error in it [can instead of cannot]). As with other recent firmware updates, the .BIN file is downloaded directly to your computer, and does not have to extracted from a file.

The new version of SnapBridge also allows an Easy Shooting Setup option (Zf, Zfc, Z5, Z30, and Z50 only). The NX Ready app that was available in some regions is now discontinued, as that function is now done via the new SnapBridge.

Commentary: Many of the new features bring the Z9 into conjunction with the Z8 (marked above with *). Curiously, Pixel shift shooting was not added, though. I also see nascent HEIF support in some of the docs, so I’ll need to investigate that more fully; the camera doesn’t take HEIF images, but apparently can convert to them when connected to a network. Also surprising is that we didn’t get the Content Authenticity Initiative function that was demonstrated last year at Adobe MAX on a Z9. 

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