Nikon has announced version 2.0 firmware for the Z9 full-frame mirrorless camera, and it’s packed with so many stunning new features, that it practically transforms the Z9 into a brand new camera. Will this update finally give the company that gave birth to digital video in a DSLR some respect?
First and foremost, Nikon has boosted internal recording to 12-bit 8K/60 video. Moreover, with all that data coming from 12-bit Raw, Nikon has made their new N-Raw codec to be half the size of ProRes Raw!
Using a technique known as “intopix technology,” the N-Raw image files are half the size of Apple ProRes Raw. This is significant because the Nikon Z9 can now shoot 8K at 60 frames per second internally using support CF cards without the need for an external recorder.
That N-Raw intopix benefit also seeds down to shooting super slow motion, which the Z9 can now shoot in 4.1K at 120 fps. Other N-Raw formats available include:
- Full-frame FX Mode 8.3K at 60p, 30p, 24p
- 4.1K 120p, 60p, 30p and 24p
- 3.2k 120p with a 2.3x crop (yikes)
- 5.3K 60p, 30p, and 24p in DX Mode with a 1.5x crop
The N-Raw 8K video can also be oversampled to make the 4.1K video look as sharp and clean as it can be. Both Apple ProRes Raw and Nikon Z-Raw are supported for internal recording with the firmware 2.0 update.
Another benefit of N-Raw is that it creates an MP4 proxy file for instant transfers simultaneously. This is a great benefit when productions need to make any edits on the fly before the full resolution video can be ingested.
New Video Monitoring Tools
Nikon has also opened up video assist tools including Waveform monitoring for proper exposure, and a RED record indicator box to tell the shooter they are recording video. Nikon has also given filmmakers fine ISO control to adjust the ISO settings in 1/6 stop increments. This provides greater control of shutter speed and aperture.
Nikon also has inserted a dedicated video info page into the menu scheme, giving shooters one place to view all video frame rates, frame sizes, audio settings, codec, bit depth, and HDMI output settings. All on a dedicated screen. There’s also support for UHD and DCI inputs for digital cinema systems.
The new fast AF on setting assigns fast or slow autofocus to separate buttons, and shutter speed can be assigned as well, with slow shutter speed recording than the chosen frame rate to create a cool motion blur effect in real-time.
The Electronic Viewfinder can also be adjusted to up to 120fps so that the shooter can enjoy a super sharp image in the viewfinder that’s incredibly smooth and life-like. Autofocus zones can also be custom adjusted into any box shape the photographer wants, to lock in on unique shapes in the scene.
There are also 20 types of wide-area autofocus zones that the shooter can use in high-action scenarios like sporting events. Burst shooting modes and enhanced long exposure options have also been added.
That’s a hell of a lot of new features for Nikon’s flagship mirrorless camera! Here’s a quick checklist:
- In-camera 12-bit RAW video at up to 8K 60p and oversampling at 4K UHD 60p
- New N-RAW (.NEV file) video format allows for much more recording time and less intensive workflow in a variety of formats
- Dedicated video info display gives various video recording settings at a glance
- Enhancements to autofocus and high-speed image capture
- New Pre-Release Capture function acquires hard-to-predict moments easier than ever before
- 20 types of Custom Wide-Area AF selection patterns have been added
- The electronic viewfinder display function increases the refresh rate to 120fps for an even smoother, more lifelike view
The free Z9 Firmware 2.0 update is available from NikonUSA.com starting April 20th, or April 21st through Snapbridge.
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