Nikon released new firmware for the Z6/Z7 cameras to add Animal Eye-AF (Z50 gets fixes)

Tips & Techniques

Nikon might have taken their sweet time to follow Sony onto the mirrorless bandwagon, but they seem to be catching up somewhat in features. They’ve just announced new Version 3.00 firmware for the Nikon Z6 & Nikon Z7 mirrorless cameras which adds animal detection to the Eye-AF feature. They’ve also released Version 1.10 for the Nikon Z50 to address a couple of things.

If there’s one thing the Internet loves, it’s cat & dog videos, and thanks to the new firmware update for the Z6 & Z7, you’ll be able to make sure they’re always in focus – at least in theory. The updates also add support for ProGrade and Lexar CFexpress memory cards, generally improved autofocus, and a few other issues.

  • Added support for ProGrade and Lexar CFexpress memory cards (Type B). For more information, see the Nikon website for your country or region.
  • Custom Setting a4 (Auto-area AF face/eye detection) now offers an Animal detection option that adds dogs and cats to the subjects supported by face- and eye-detection autofocus. As a result, the camera can now detect and focus on the faces and eyes of dogs and cats. Animal face detection (but not eye detection) is also available in movie mode.
  • Improved the functionality of subject-tracking AF (available when Auto-area AF is selected for AF-area mode) as follows:
    • Subject-tracking AF can now be initiated via the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the camera or the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the lens. Subject-tracking AF must first be assigned to the control using Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU or Custom Setting g2 (Custom control assignment).
    • The behavior of the camera when tracking is end by pressing the AF-ON button or by pressing the shutter-release button halfway with AF-C (continuous-servo autofocus) and subject-tracking AF enabled in photo mode has been changed to more closely resemble that of the 3D-tracking option for digital SLR cameras.
  • Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU now offers a Lens Fn2 button option, which can be used to choose the role played by the L-Fn2 button available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
  • Added support for the focus limit switch available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
  • Optimized the responsiveness of the switch to manual focus when the focus or control ring on a Z mount lens is rotated during autofocus. Note that the control ring only functions in this capacity when assigned the Focus (M/A) role.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    • When Viewfinder brightness was adjusted manually, brightness would sometimes change when the standby timer was restarted.
    • iOS devices running iOS 13 would sometimes display a Bluetooth pairing request when pairing was complete.
    • Note: For information on the license for the open-source software included in the camera’s NVM Express driver, see “BSD License (NVM Express Driver)”.

The Nikon Z7 firmware is essentially identical to that of the Z6, with one exception. It also fixes the horizontal lines issue that some users experienced when shooting photos.

  • Added support for ProGrade and Lexar CFexpress memory cards (Type B). For more information, see the Nikon website for your country or region.
  • Custom Setting a4 (Auto-area AF face/eye detection) now offers an Animal detection option that adds dogs and cats to the subjects supported by face- and eye-detection autofocus. As a result, the camera can now detect and focus on the faces and eyes of dogs and cats. Animal face detection (but not eye detection) is also available in movie mode.
  • Improved the functionality of subject-tracking AF (available when Auto-area AF is selected for AF-area mode) as follows:
    • Subject-tracking AF can now be initiated via the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the camera or the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the lens. Subject-tracking AF must first be assigned to the control using Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU or Custom Setting g2 (Custom control assignment).
    • The behavior of the camera when tracking is end by pressing the AF-ON button or by pressing the shutter-release button halfway with AF-C (continuous-servo autofocus) and subject-tracking AF enabled in photo mode has been changed to more closely resemble that of the 3D-tracking option for digital SLR cameras.
  • Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU now offers a Lens Fn2 button option, which can be used to choose the role played by the L-Fn2 button available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
  • Added support for the focus limit switch available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
  • Optimized the responsiveness of the switch to manual focus when the focus or control ring on a Z mount lens is rotated during autofocus. Note that the control ring only functions in this capacity when assigned the Focus (M/A) role.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    • When Viewfinder brightness was adjusted manually, brightness would sometimes change when the standby timer was restarted.
    • iOS devices running iOS 13 would sometimes display a Bluetooth pairing request when pairing was complete.
    • Horizontal lines would sometimes appear in photographs.
    • Note: For information on the license for the open-source software included in the camera’s NVM Express driver, see “BSD License (NVM Express Driver)”.

The Z50 update is quite modest in comparison to those above. It just adds lens support and changes the way autofocus works when shooting videos in selfie mode.

  • Added support for the focus limit switch available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S). The lens Fn2 button is not supported.
  • Movie footage shot in self-portrait mode is now filmed using AF-F (full-time autofocus), regardless of the option selected for autofocus mode.

All three firmware updates are available to download now from the Nikon website.

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