Today is a great day for Nikon Z6 and Z7 fans, because the latest firmware update has just dropped, and brings some important improvements to the full-frame mirrorless line. Version 2.20’s hallmark change is that the Z Series is now compatible with select CFexpress memory cards for ultra-fast transfer speeds, specifically the Type B format, which shares a form factor with XQD. There is also another major note for videographers and filmmakers—ProRes RAW is now available via a paid upgrade service performed by a Nikon service center.
This update shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nikon has been hinting at it since CES, in January. It is good news to see it finally come, though I guess the wait shouldn’t be all too surprising considering CFexpress cards are just now being made available. By sharing the form factor of XQD, these new CFexpress Type B cards will offer dramatic speed improvements without requiring physical changes to the camera itself. Nikon has even tested these cameras with Sony's just-announced CFexpress cards, guaranteeing full compatibility. This update is available for download right now, from Nikon’s Support Page.
Filmmakers have been waiting for ProRes RAW to come to the Z Series, finally, and there is good and bad news. The good news is that it is available and will be a free option for purchasers of the Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit. This update will require your Z6 of Z7 to be upgraded at a Nikon service center for a fee. Once the upgrade is performed, the Z6 and Z7 will be able to output uncompressed 12-bit raw to a supported Atomos recorder over HDMI. At the moment, this includes the Ninja V, which happens to be our recommended pairing for the mirrorless cameras. To make use of the ProRes RAW update you will have to upgrade your Ninja V to AtomOS 10.2, which can be found on Atomos' Support Page. Please visit Nikon’s ProRes RAW Page for more details regarding this service.
Does this upgrade path make the Nikon Z Series a viable camera for serious and professional filmmaking applications? Let us know in the Comments section, below!