Nikon have kept their word on promising some beefy firmware updates for their new full frame mirrorless, the Z series. These exciting new development announcements may tip the scale in the wars with Sony and Canon — for now.
The new firmware updates that are in development for Nikon's Z series:
- Eye AF
- CF Express compatibility
- Raw video support
This has been a favorite feature on Sony cameras for a while now — prompting many portrait photographers to reach for the a7 range rather than Canon or Nikon. While this won't turn the tables on Sony, who also have effective Eye AF for animals, it will make anyone who is changing systems think twice. Not mentioned, however, was if this feature would be available in video mode.
Nikon saw the writing on the wall with their choice to go with XQD slots when they designed the Z series. With SD formats being the standard for many years, the industry was bound for major improvements, and boy has there been a few leaps in the last couple of years. XQD cards have supremely fast read/write speeds when compared to SD cards: the upper limit for an SD card is 312 MB/s, while for XQD cards, as of now, it's 1.4 GB/s. CF Express cards take that even further with an upper limit of 8 GB/s. It goes without saying that they also have the same physical form, allowing them to be cross-compatible if the software allows it, and now it looks like the Z series firmware update will take advantage of that.
Raw Video Support
This is probably the most exciting update from Nikon. No other stills/video hybrid has this feature: the ability to output raw video to the ATOMOS Ninja 5, using the ProRes raw codec. This feature is a game-changer, especially for videographers who need a flexible and light system.
There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not Nikon would be able to keep its promise of significant updates, but it really seems that it has been listening to its community. These new features really open up a host of new creative avenues for its users. Your turn, Canon.
More detail on these features will be announced at a later date, including when they are to be released.