Nikon has just announced that new firmware for the Z6 and Z7 will be released on May 16th. This new firmware will include Eye-Detection AF.
The new upcoming firmware will not only include Eye AF, but better autofocus performance in low light conditions, and the ability to use CFexpress cards.
We got to try out a beta version of the new firmware at CP+ 2019 earlier this year. The Eye AF was working well on the Z7 that we tried and you can easily switch from one eye to the other using the joystick or dial on the back of the camera. While it did work well once it locked onto someone’s eye, occasionally it looked like it was initially hunting around looking for an eye to track. Other competing cameras such as Sony’s a7R III have had Eye AF for quite some time.
In general, the overall autofocus performance seems to have improved. When using the upcoming 24-70mm f2.8 Z mount lens on the Z7, I found the autofocus was snappy and responsive.
What surprised me was Nikon told us that at the moment the Eye AF only works when taking photos and currently it does not work when shooting video. Let’s hope that Nikon does make the Eye AF work for both video and stills.
12-bit RAW output
Will this new firmware release see the inclusion of the 12-bit RAW output from the Z6 and Z7? It looks highly unlikely at this stage. I think users of Nikon cameras are going to have a long wait before they can actually capture ProRes RAW to a compatible Atomos device.
It’s good to see Nikon continuing to improve and add functions to the Z6 and Z7. With a flexible mount, a large collection of lenses that can be used through adapters, good video performance, and the eventual ability to record Prores RAW to an Atomos Ninja V, they certainly are trying to win over video shooters.