According to Nikon Rumors, Nikon is about to drop a bomb into the firmware update process that stayed relatively similar throughout the 12 years or so since DSLRs became common. NR received a pastebin mail copy presumably from Nikon suggesting that Nikon is working on a new firmware download program which is “free to join“. The program suggests that Nikon shooters will be able to “download advanced firmware updates” that “add new functionality to their cameras“.
Joining the program is free to join for the first three years, but it is not clear what will happen afterwards, and once the following link becomes live, you will be able to join it here: http://imaging.nikon.com/advancing.
According to the mail the first batch of firmware update will be available for FX format cameras (Nikon D750, D810, D800, D800E, D610 and D600) and will include the following features:
- new White Balance update, containing Nikon’s latest algorithms for high-quality color balance in any light.
- a brand new “Metallic” Picture Control option, providing photographers with a unique high-contrast setting which is both natural and eye-catching.
- For photographers using Nikon RAW (NEF) mode, the most exciting new feature is Nikon’s new RAW Histogram. This feature displays impressive full-screen histograms for all 3 color channels (red, green and blue) simultaneously, based on data directly from the image sensor. The new feature allows advanced photographers to fine-tune perfect exposure for each shot. RAW Histogram is available for all cameras in the “I AM Advancing” program.
- Nikon is bringing 2 of the best features of the revolutionary Nikon D810 camera to other cameras in the Nikon DSLR line-up. Nikon’s new “Flat” Picture Control, which allows photographers more options for adjustment in post-processing, is now available for all cameras in the program.
- Nikon’s Electronic First-Curtain Shutter feature, which eliminates vibrations caused by the shutter, is newly available for the recently announced Nikon D750 camera
Nikon also says that “After updating, the owner can enable or control the new features using the camera’s menu system“.
Does this all sounds familiar? A custom firmware that once can enable/disable via the menu system?
Magic Lantern has been a major factor in the never-ending Canon-Nikon war, as the third party firmware “unlocked” major features with Canon DSLRs. Features like better dynamic range, RAW video and dual ISO to name a few. While the feature set on the vanilla Nikon and Canon remains similar (and is mostly a matter of taste and specific use) Magic Lantern tipped the balance heavily towards Canon for filmmakers. It would be wonderful if this is a first step with Nikon program to try and level the field again.