Nikon Z9 Version 4.00 Firmware Update

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Nikon has released the Version 4.00 Firmware Update for the Z9, its flagship mirrorless hybrid. This is the third major firmware upgrade for the camera. It is impressive that Nikon continues to release so many substantial firmware updates for the Z9 considering some rival manufacturers have barely updated their flagship models since launch.

Version 4.00 update adds more enhancements to video and photo capture, usability, operability, autofocus, and more. So, let’s check out what is new.

With still-image shooting, the subject acquisition performance of 3D-tracking when capturing stills of small and fast-moving subjects (When the subject is not detected with [AF subject detection options] set to [Auto], [People], [Animal], or [Vehicle]) has been improved. The firmware also supports enhanced operability by increasing the number of functions that can be assigned to custom controls, as well as the addition of new shutter sound options.

Auto Capture

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Auto Capture allows users to set the camera to automatically record still images or video by pre-configuring certain criteria. The three criteria that can be configured include a [Motion] option that detects subjects that make certain movements, a [Distance] option which begins shooting when a subject is within a certain range of distances, and a [Subject detection] option which detects a person, animal or vehicle within the frame. These options can be used either separately or together to automatically trigger shooting when the selected criteria are met. It is important to note that the [Distance] option is available only when a NIKKOR Z lens is used with the camera. Auto Capture may fail to function when lenses other than NIKKOR Z lenses are used.

The Auto capture feature allows the user to shoot remotely without having to manually determine the timing of shooting/recording. This means you can leave your camera outside in places they cannot remain for extended periods of time, such as when capturing animals out in the wild.

If you are using more than one Z9, one camera can be used for hand-held shooting as the user moves from place to place, with the other cameras can be set up for automatic shooting from tripods at fixed locations. Auto Capture also enables shooting from multiple angles without using the extension cords previously required to control multiple cameras. This feature can also be used with the Pre-Release Capture function for more reliable capture.

Advanced Video Recording Functions

ISO Sensitivity when shooting N-Log

The ISO sensitivity can now be set as low as Lo 2.0 (ISO 200) with N-Log recording. According to Nikon, the ISO sensitivity has been expanded on the low end to increase dynamic range in shadows and enable rich and clear expression of shadow tones in which noise is suppressed. It will be interesting to see how this works as from experience using the Z9, the camera tends to crush the blacks to avoid you seeing any noise.

Hi-Res Zoom speed options

Nikon has improved the Hi-Res Zoom speed options. Speed steps have been increased from 3 to 11 for more precise speed control. Finer adjustment of the zoom speed is now possible, enabling a look that better matches the user’s intent with more stable zooming at slower speeds. This new feature enables high-speed recording of videos that play back at 1/4 (4×) or 1/5 (5×) the frame rate so you can create a slow-motion effect.

Other new features

Customize the shutter sound

Users can now customize the shutter sound. What this means is that you can choose from five types of shutter sound played when the shutter is released and set a higher volume for the sound.

Focus enhancements

According to Nikon, subject acquisition performance with 3D-tracking has been improved which helps when capturing stills of small and fast-moving subjects that cannot be detected with subject detection.

Pre-Release buffer expansion

To better respond to the needs of those working on location, the length of time the camera continues to buffer frames before canceling shooting during the Pre-Release Capture phase of High-Speed Frame Capture has been increased from 30 to 300 seconds. This allows users to wait longer between the half-press and full-press of the shutter-release button.

Exposure delay mode

An Exposure delay mode has been added to the Custom Settings menu, which helps to reduce blur caused by the camera shake that occurs when the shutter-release button is pressed.

More custom controls

The number of functions that can be assigned to custom controls has been increased, as well as the number of controls that can be customized.

Improved manual focus UI

The focus distance indicator for manual focus will now display the approximate distance between the camera and the focus position in units selected by the user.

Playback enhancements

The new [Frame advance zoom position] option allows users to choose how the camera centers the display when scrolling through pictures during playback zoom. This can now be assigned to a custom control. When [Prefer focus point] is selected, the camera centers the display on the focus point active with shooting. Additionally, the accuracy of the progress bar displayed with video playback has been increased.

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