Nikon Z9 Improves Sports, Portrait Functions with Firmware 5.0

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Nikon Z9 Improves Sports, Portrait Functions with Firmware 5.0

Nikon has announced a major firmware update for its flagship Z9 mirrorless camera: Firmware 5.0. This is the fourth major firmware update for the full-frame, FX-format Z9 and it brings a bevy of updates to the already impressive camera, headlined by its expanded Auto Capture and High-Speed Frame Capture+ functions with specific benefit for sports photographers. There are also new enhancements beneficial to portrait photography, along with a host of other functionality improvements and operability enhancements. The Firmware 5.0 update is available for download now from Nikon’s website.

Nikon Z9 Mirrorless Camera
Nikon Z9 Mirrorless Camera

Sports photographers should look forward to this update, thanks to expanded flexibility when using the Auto Capture and High-Speed Frame Capture+ functions. Updates to Auto Capture include the ability to shoot at a DX crop (24 x 16) image area, the addition of an [Airplanes] mode AF subject detection option, and the ability to economize battery consumption by specifying the shooting date/time and duration in advance. High-Speed Frame Capture+ options include new flicker frequency presets for LED lighting and signboards and a new, 15 fps low-speed continuous shooting rate.

On the other side of the photography coin, portrait photographers can look forward to several enhancements meant to improve workflow, including Skin Softening and Portrait Impression Balance functions. The addition of Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control allows shooters to establish a base image in scenes where retouching is assumed. The update allows Profoto A10 users to deploy the light’s continuous LED as an AF-assist illuminator and adds a face-priority focus point for frame advance when reviewing images.

Beyond these major updates, Nikon also made some smaller updates to the Z9, including:

  • Users can now manage the shooting modes for photo mode and video mode separately when in Extended Menu Banks mode.

  • Visibility is improved with an option that allows the user to adjust the width of the focus point border.

  • Manual focusing is now possible with maximum aperture live view in manual focus mode.

  • Press the shutter-release button halfway to cancel zoom when focus mode is set to manual focus and the through-the-lens view is zoomed in.

  • Improved High-Res Zoom operability.

  • In-focus AF-area brackets display color changed from red to green.

  • Increased number of functions that can be assigned to custom controls, increased number of customizable controls.

  • Ability to customize functions displayed in the retouch menu.

  • Loop Playback, Wait Before Playback, and Auto Series Playback Speed options have been added for continuous shooting and burst playback.

  • Playback speed for all videos can now be set in advance from the i menu to 1x speed, 1/2 speed, and 1/4 speed.

  • Wi-Fi station mode has been added to enable connection to SnapBridge without occupying the entire Wi-Fi connection on a smartphone.

Separate from the Z9 firmware update, Nikon is also updating its SnapBridge app for iOS and Android. The new version 2.11.0 adds the Easy Shooting Setup function, which allows users to configure camera shooting settings for specific scenes and subjects directly from the user’s device. Easy Shooting Setup on SnapBridge ver.2.11.0 is compatible with the Zf, Zfc, Z5, Z50, and Z30 cameras.

It’s great to see Nikon continually improving the firmware update for its flagship mirrorless camera; the benefits for sports and portrait photographers make this another solid upgrade to an already impressive platform. What are your thoughts on Firmware 5.0 for the Nikon Z9? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

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