Well, these are some pretty significant updates to the Nikon Z9. Nikon has today announced the new version 2.0 firmware for the Nikon Z9. It brings with it a host of interesting new features for both photographers and filmmakers including internal 12-Bit ProRes RAW recording at 4.1K up to 60fps and 12-Bit N-RAW recording for 8.3K. 4K footage can now be oversampled from 8K and you also get finer ISO control with 1/6th step increments.
On the photography side, There’s a new Pre-Release Capture feature that starts shooting up to a full second before you actually hit the shutter. Twenty different Custom Wide-Area AF patterns have been added for tricky sports and wildlife situations, along with better AF stability, tracking performance and low-light subject detection. There have also been some improvements made to its long exposure display mode.
Despite the great new features, there is some bad news. For a start, you’ll have to wait until April 20th to actually download the new firmware. It’s been announced today, but it’s not being released for another few days. Also, although the Nikon Z9 does gain internal ProRes RAW, you only get it at up to 4.1K 60fps. No 8K or even 6K resolution. And while it also gains internal N-RAW recording with the full 8.3K resolution at 60fps you’re only going to be able to edit it in DaVinci Resolve 17.4.6 or newer. You can also edit lower resolution N-RAW footage in Edius X 10.32 (people still use Edius?) but there’s been no word when support might come for Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and other mainstream editing applications.
But here’s the full list of additions and changes for the Nikon Z9 for stills, video and features that encompass both.
Videography and Cinema Upgrades for the Nikon Z 9
- Addition of internal N-RAW video recording up to 12-bit 8.3K 60p and 12-bit ProRes RAW HQ up to 4.1K 60p. The power of RAW video allows for extreme latitude with tonality, with a range of more than 68 billion colors for flexibility when grading or consistency as part of a multi-camera production.
- Nikon’s new N-RAW raw video format records a vast amount of scene information, yet is a significantly smaller file size, allowing for much more recording time and less intensive workflow. N-RAW footage can be recorded in the following formats: 8.3K 60p, 24p, or 4.1K 120p, 60p, 30p, 24p while in full frame/FX mode, 3.8K 120p with a 2.3x Crop, or 5.3K 60p, 30p, 24p with a DX (1.5x) crop.
- The N-RAW format also creates an mp4 proxy file, which is efficient for previewing, quick transfers or edits on the fly.
- 4K UHD 60p footage can now be oversampled from 8K footage, allowing for the sharpest and cleanest possible 4K content.
- A Red “REC” frame indicator on the monitor and viewfinder has been added during recording to easily identify when video is being captured.
- A Waveform monitor has been added to confirm the brightness levels and position of the subject while recording.
- A new dedicated video info display gives various video recording settings at a glance, such as frame size and rate, audio settings, codec, bit depth and HDMI output settings, all of which can be confirmed on a single screen. Additionally, a frame rate/size display on the top control panel helps to confirm when the rear monitor is difficult to view.
- A “Fine ISO control (Mode M)” enables exposure adjustment in increments of 1/6 EV for ultra-precise and smooth changes in exposure.
- The Fast AF-ON function allows a user to assign different AF speeds to separate controls. From a slow rack focus to a fast transition, two speeds are now assignable on customizable buttons to improve video shooting efficiency.
- To enable slow shutter video recording of extremely dark scenes or intentionally introduce blur when shooting video in M mode, the shutter speed can be set at a slower than 1/frame rate.
- With select frame rates and resolution settings, the user now has the ability to save consecutive frames in a selected section of video footage as a series of JPEG images while the playback is paused.
Still Photo Upgrades for the Nikon Z 9
- For the first time in a mirrorless full frame camera, the Pre-Release Capture feature acquires hard-to-predict moments easier than ever before3, allowing for the burst capture of images up to a full second before the shutter is fully pressed.
- Twenty types of Custom Wide-Area AF selection patterns have been added, giving the user more control over what part of the frame they want to focus on, which can also work in conjunction with subject detection. This is useful for a variety of sports and situations such as volleyball or a finish line. Twelve additional patterns are available for video capture.
- The new Retouch menu feature, “Motion Blend” creates an in-camera overlay from a series of subject movements from continuous shooting into a single picture in-camera. For example, a snowboarder’s aerial can be captured from start to finish sequentially in one finished frame.
- AF stability, tracking performance, and subject detection in low-light situations have been enhanced.
- When reviewing images, users now have the option to skip to the first shot in a given burst.
- For capturing amazing star trails and long exposures, Firmware 2.0 enhances the Z 9’s Long Exposure display to include a live count of the exposure time. Users also can now dim the viewfinder further and with greater precision to preserve power and their night vision.
Additional Functionality Upgrades:
- The Z 9’s Real Live Viewfinder is arguably the most impressive EVF available, and the only one that provides a truly blackout free view. Firmware 2.0 adds the high fps viewfinder display function to increase the refresh rate to 120 fps for an even smoother, more lifelike view.
- Auto Exposure (AE) has been enhanced to have more stable exposure with human faces, such as when a subject turns away from the camera and then faces it again, or when the composition changes.
- Improved “Prioritize viewfinder” monitor mode gives a familiar shooting and review flow.
- “Prefer sub-selector center” is added to the custom menu, improving the operability of the sub-selector.
- Improvements in AWB even when the scene changes rapidly and adjustments to “Choose color temperature” and preset manual WB.
- A new custom setting: Focus Point Selection Speed allows users to adjust the speed that AF points can be moved through the frame.
- For confirmation of high-speed shooting, visual shutter release indicators appear clearly on the display and the Real Live Viewfinder.
- Enhanced memory set/recall function enables instant recall of several focus positions.
- “Recalling shooting functions (hold)” is now added to the conventional “Recalling shooting functions,” enabling the users to maintain the recalled function without continually pressing a button.
- Option to switch focus/control ring roles helps photographers who don’t need manual focusing employ the control ring.
The new firmware Version 2.0 firmware update for the Nikon Z9 will be available to download from the Nikon website from April 20th and will come to the SnapBridge app shortly afterwards.
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