Nikon Z9 firmware update brings improved AF and 1/96th stop shutter increments to eliminate banding and flicker

Jul 6, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nikon Z9 firmware update brings improved AF and 1/96th stop shutter increments to eliminate banding and flicker

Jul 6, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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For anybody who’s ever shot video under artificial light with pretty much any kind of video camera, one thing that you’ll often be fighting is flicker. It used to be simple. If you were in the USA or Central and South America, set your shutter speed to 1/60th and you’re good. In most of the rest of the world, 1/50th is the go-to. But gone are the days of energy-wasting inefficient tungsten. Replaced by LEDs that bring a whole new host of potential flickering issues.

Nikon’s solving this issue with their latest v2.10 firmware update for the Nikon Z9 that allows you to adjust your shutter speed very precisely in 1/96th stop increments in order to match your exposure time more precisely to the frequency of the often oddly timed LED light controllers, giving you a more consistent banding and flicker-free shot from frame to frame. It also brings some AF improvements.

Nikon releases firmware version 2.10 for the Nikon Z 9 full-frame mirrorless camera

MELVILLE, NY (July 6, 2022) –Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of firmware version 2.10 for the Nikon Z 9 full-frame/FX-format mirrorless camera, which is available today.

Firmware version 2.10 introduces a new High-Frequency Flicker Reduction function. When High-Frequency Flicker Reduction is enabled in photo shooting mode, shutter speed can be fine-tuned in increments from the normal 1/3 or 1/2 EV to those as small as 1/96* EV. The ability offered by this new function to adjust shutter speed more precisely than ever before makes it possible to suppress the effects of flicker, even when signboards and lighting that use high-frequency LEDs are included in the angle of view with shooting.

AF performance has also been further improved, notably increasing AF tracking performance with small subjects (those that take up a very small portion of the frame) as well as focus accuracy when eye/face-detection AF is used with continuous-servo AF (AF-C).

Nikon will continuously meet users’ needs through timely updates of firmware versions with various useful functions.

The new firmware is available for download now from the Nikon website.

For more information about the latest Nikon products, including other Z series cameras and the entire collection of NIKKOR Z lenses, please visit nikonusa.com.

* When [High-frequency flicker reduction] is enabled, shutter speed can be fine-tuned in very small increments at speeds between 1/8000 and 1/30 s.

If you’ve ever tried to film an OLED screen, you’ll also have seen the phenomenon of blank areas of the frame or areas that are brighter than the rest as the shutter speed of the camera hasn’t quite synced up with the refresh rate of the display. This is caused by the same principle that creates dark or light banding when using artificial lights on any subject.

Even though it’s an issue primarily encountered with video, as more cameras switch to electronic shutters rather than mechanical ones, it’s an issue that seems to be popping up more and more with stills lately. Being able to adjust the shutter speed to more precisely match that refresh rate without significantly affecting the exposure will help to eliminate those issues entirely.

The autofocus performance improvements in the new v2.10 firmware update include better accuracy when Eye/Face-Detection AF is used with continuous-servo mode shooting and AF tracking performance with small subjects has also been improved.

You can download the new Nikon Z9 v2.10 firmware from the Nikon website.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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