Nikon has once again released a HUGE update for their flagship Nikon Z 9 camera which brings a wave of improvements and new features to the camera, making it an even more powerful tool for professional photographers. See our breakdown of new features here!

Auto Capture

A groundbreaking new feature in Firmware version 4.0 is the new auto capture feature, which is touted as being an incredible new feature for sports and wildlife photographers. This feature allows the camera to automatically capture images when it detects a specific event or subject, such as a bird taking off or a player scoring a goal.

The auto capture feature uses advanced algorithms to detect specific events or subjects, and can be customised to suit the photographer’s needs. For example, a wildlife photographer could set the camera to automatically capture images when it detects a bird in flight, or as a trap camera when an animal walks past.

A sports photographer could set the camera to capture images when it detects a player scoring a goal, or as a camera set in a remote or dangerous area where it isn’t safe for the photographer to be nearby and using a remote trigger isn’t possible.

This feature is particularly useful for photographers who are working in fast-paced environments, where it can be difficult to capture the perfect shot manually. By using the auto capture feature, photographers can ensure that they never miss a shot, even if they’re not actively looking through the camera’s viewfinder.

In sports photography, the auto capture feature can be used to capture key moments in a game, such as a player scoring a goal or a team celebrating a victory. This can help photographers to capture the emotion and excitement of the game, and can be particularly useful for capturing images for news or editorial purposes.

In wildlife photography, the auto capture feature can be used to capture fast-moving animals, such as birds in flight or animals running. This can be particularly useful for photographers who are working in challenging environments, where it can be difficult to track and capture fast-moving subjects manually.

The new auto capture feature in Firmware version 4.0 will be a powerful tool for photographers who are working in fast-paced, and restrictive environments, such as sports and wildlife photography. By using the auto capture feature, photographers can ensure that they never miss a shot, and can capture stunning images of fast-moving subjects with ease.

AF Improvements

Firmware version 4.0 also includes improvements to the camera’s already world class autofocus system, with faster and more accurate subject tracking. This again is particularly useful for sports and action photographers, who need to capture fast-moving subjects with precision and speed.

The improved autofocus system uses advanced algorithms to track subjects more accurately, even in challenging lighting conditions. This means that photographers can capture sharp and detailed images of fast-moving subjects with ease, without having to worry about missed shots or blurry images.

Animal Eye Detect AF

One of the most notable improvements in Firmware version 4.0 is the addition of Eye-Detection AF for animals. This feature builds on the existing Eye-Detection AF for humans, allowing photographers to easily track and focus on animals’ eyes, even in challenging lighting conditions. This is particularly useful for wildlife photographers, who often need to capture fast-moving animals in challenging environments.

The Eye-Detection AF for animals feature uses artificial intelligence to detect and track animal eyes, making it easier for photographers to capture sharp and detailed images. This feature works with a wide range of animal species, including dogs, cats, birds, and even reptiles, making it a versatile tool for photographers working in a variety of fields.

ProRes RAW

Another major improvement in Firmware version 4.0 is the addition of ProRes RAW recording support. This feature allows users to record high-quality video in ProRes RAW format, which offers greater flexibility in post-production and allows for more advanced color grading. This is a significant addition for videographers who require the highest level of video quality.

ProRes RAW is a relatively new format that offers the benefits of RAW video, including greater dynamic range and color depth, while still maintaining manageable file sizes. This makes it an ideal format for professional video production, where the highest level of quality is required.

Bug Fixes

In addition to these major improvements, Firmware version 4.0 also includes a number of smaller improvements and bug fixes, such as improved image quality when using high ISO settings and improved battery life. These improvements are designed to make the Nikon Z 9 even more user-friendly and reliable, ensuring that photographers can focus on capturing stunning images and video without having to worry about technical issues.

Other Updates

  • Set a delay on the shutter button so your hands are off the camera when the shot is taken.
  • Bracket shots with much finer aperture increments: 1.3, 1.5, 1.7, 2.3, 2.5 and 2.7.
  • Assign custom functions to more buttons: four for stills, four for video and five for image playback.
  • Change the 3D Tracking focus point from white to red for higher contrast in bright conditions.
  • Faster, more reliable 3D Tracking for small, erratic subjects.
  • Improved metering accuracy for interval shooting.
  • Numeric display for focus distance on the camera or compatible lenses.
  • Faster, easier reviewing of images in playback mode.
  • Support for NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR power zoom lens.
  • Customisable Shutter sounds

Sony Incompatibility

However, with the new update have come reports of the Z 9 no longer being compatible with Sony E mount adapters, so if you are using Sony lenses on your Z 9, perhaps be careful before updating.

Conclusion

Although it’s slightly odd not to see some of the new features from the recently released Z 8 making their way into the Z 9 (such as HEIF support), there are plenty of new features to get excited about.

Gone are the days of having to wait years for the latest camera body to get any new features, Nikon are continuing to innovate, meaning the Z 9 with 4.0 firmware is in some ways almost unrecognisable to the original launch model. It is a bold move from a hardware company to offer ever increasing features on a two year old model for free, but one I believe they are totally right in doing in order to try and claw back some of their lost market share.

For several years commentators have been predicting the downfall and irrelevance of Nikon, but with constant updates and innovations still coming, I think it’s fair to say Nikon are punching above their weight and really making their intentions for the future clear.

You can download the firmware from Nikon here.

Read more of our news updates here.

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