Nikon keeps up its rapid pace of updates for its flagship Z 9 camera today with the release of firmware version 4.00.
A little while ago, I wrote an article about photography in the age of firmware updates. Because our cameras have evolved into something more akin to mini computers as opposed to purely mechanical workhorses, companies now have the ability to upgrade their customers’ equipment without them even needing to leave the house. Before we might have had to buy an entirely new body in order to access the next level of advancements. Now, if you wait long enough, firmware can essentially provide you with multiple upgraded cameras all for the price of one.
I’ve had the Nikon Z 9 since the first day it was released. That was only a little over a year and a half ago. And we are already on version 4.00 of the camera, making a camera that was already amazing at launch into something even better.
Some of the enhancements are to be expected following the release of the Z 8. You know they weren’t going to let the flagship go without the full complement of the company’s resources. But some of the improvements revealed today show that the company is listening to customers’ comments and is working to add improvements.
For instance, as someone who comes from the DSLR world, one thing that I’ve always missed is the loud, thunderous clap of my shutter. I realize the quiet of a mirrorless camera is supposed to be a positive thing. But I always miss the loud thwack that accompanies every press of the shutter button. Both because I’m just weird like that and because it has a practical benefit. As someone who shoots models who are flying through poses at the speed of light, I often use the sound of my shutter to pace my model’s movements. I’ve been known, a time or two, to take a shot, not because it’s a good shot, but because I want my model to hear that shutter sound and change what they are doing. With these silent mirrorless shutters, the models often don’t even realize you’ve taken a picture. So, I realize this is a personal thing, but being able to adjust the volume of your fake shutter sound in a mirrorless camera is a huge thing for me.
Additionally, they have lowered the minimum video ISO of the camera to 200 when shooting N-Log. This gives more options for exposure when shooting in tougher lighting conditions. But it also expands ISO sensitivity on the low end to increase dynamic range in shadows and help suppress noise. As someone who uses my Z 9 even more for video than still most days, this is a major improvement.
They’ve also added an auto capture function. Essentially what this does is allow you to preprogram certain criteria and have the camera auto trigger. Say, for instance, that you needed to set up a remote camera in the middle of rough terrain to capture an animal that you can’t get close to in person. You can set the camera to trigger the shutter when it sees a certain type of motion, or a subject gets within a certain distance, and so forth. This could really help wildlife photographers capture decisive moments.
Some other improvements with the new firmware include:
- Focus enhancements
- Pre-Release buffer expansion
- Exposure delay mode
- More custom controls
- Improved manual focus UI
- Playback enhancements
- Additional Hi-Res Zoom options
- Slow-Motion video function
The update is free and can be accessed here. Check it out if you are a Z 9 user.