Cameras and Lenses Tech

Nikon Z7 Firmware Update Wishlist

Nikon Z7 with 24-70mm f/4 Lens

Unquestionably, digital camera firmware is among the most necessary elements of any trendy digital digital camera, and that is very true for mirrorless cameras which have much more electronics in comparison with DSLRs. The Nikon Z7 is Nikon’s first try at moving into the mirrorless market. Contemplating that it’s a first era digital camera of its variety for the corporate, it’s already extremely succesful and strong, one thing that can’t be stated about different mirrorless digital camera launches we now have seen prior to now. Nevertheless, identical to any first era product, the Nikon Z7 has its record of points that we want to see addressed in upcoming firmware updates as quickly as potential. On this article, we’ll check out essential firmware updates that Nikon ought to ship for the Z7, in addition to a wishlist of updates we want to see on the digital camera to make it much more interesting to the plenty.

Nikon Z7 with 24-70mm f/4 LensNikon Z7 with 24-70mm f/4 Lens

Earlier than we undergo the record, let’s first deal with the large query.

Will Nikon Ship Firmware Upgrades?

As we now have seen prior to now, Nikon has principally stored firmware updates for its DSLR cameras as bug fixes. This can be very uncommon to see new options delivered by way of firmware updates, one thing Nikon has been criticized for up to now. Nevertheless, with the introduction of mirrorless cameras that home a high-resolution digital viewfinder, in-body picture stabilization and different options we’ve by no means seen on DSLR cameras, those that are fascinated by Nikon’s Z-cameras may be questioning if the corporate is planning to ship actual firmware upgrades that really add options to the digital camera, not simply repair recognized bugs. This can be a essential query and one thing Nikon ought to take very significantly, if it really needs to grow to be a key participant within the mirrorless market.

I had an opportunity to ask this query from a Nikon consultant in the course of the launch of the Nikon Z7 digital camera. I used to be particularly involved about potential issues which may come up with the primary era product and I needed to seek out out if Nikon is planning on doing one thing just like what Fuji has been doing with its “Kaizen” (steady enchancment) firmware updates. I used to be advised that Nikon could be very dedicated to the Nikon Z mount and future merchandise. I used to be additionally promised that Nikon is certainly planning to launch extra frequent updates to the Z7-series cameras than earlier than. Lastly, the consultant informed me that the corporate could be very open to listening to all buyer suggestions and that every request shall be taken very significantly.

This was encouraging to listen to, and I made a word to myself that after having an opportunity to check the digital camera intimately, I’ll create an inventory of points I want to see addressed by Nikon on the Z7. After spending a number of weeks producing our complete Nikon Z7 evaluate, I made a decision to write down a separate article that’s addressed to Nikon engineers. I actually hope they may take a critical take a look at the under record and work exhausting on delivering updates, particularly probably the most essential ones. So let’s get began!

1. Repair Potential to View the Entire Picture on LCD (Important)

With the ability to see what you’re about to photograph in its entirety, with none distractions is essential – one thing we’re accustomed to seeing on all trendy cameras. I don’t understand how Nikon let this one slip by means of, however as of as we speak, there isn’t any option to configure the digital camera to solely show the picture on the rear LCD of the Nikon Z7. Because of the change in facet ratio of the display, all the additional bits of data corresponding to battery life, publicity settings, and so on. are overlaid proper on prime of the picture, making it unattainable to see the complete picture:

Nikon Z7 Information Overlay LCDNikon Z7 Information Overlay LCDThat is the best way the LCD display seems on the again of the digital camera, even after a lot of the overlay info has been turned off (except for the grid strains, which may be turned off)

This can be a large drawback for these of us that like to make use of the LCD (for panorama, structure, product images, and so forth), as a result of we can’t use the display to correctly compose our photographs with none distractions. Nikon ought to problem a repair for this as quickly as attainable that permits the digital camera to modify to a totally clear view with none info overlays. Primarily, this implies including one other view mode to the DISP button.

2. When Digital camera Turns Off, Keep in mind Focus Place (Important)

The brand new Nikon Z mount lenses use “focus-by-wire” technique of focusing in its lenses, which differs fairly a bit in comparison with mechanical focusing. One of many key variations, is that the lens needs to be advised to maneuver to a specific focus place every time the digital camera is turned on. With the Nikon Z7, all native mount Nikon lenses by default reset when the digital camera is turned off and sadly, their focus place is just not remembered. Because of this in case you focus with the digital camera on a specific topic or scene, then flip the digital camera off, it’s a must to refocus the lens once more. The short-term workaround in the meanwhile is to set a comparatively brief time-out interval for the digital camera in order that it goes into standby mode, then wake the digital camera up as an alternative of turning it off, which remembers the main target place.

Nevertheless, an actual repair can be to recollect the main target place when the digital camera is turned off, then instruct the lens to return to its final place when the digital camera is turned again on. I actually hope Nikon finds a great way to make this work with none modifications to focus place. Fuji does that on all of its X-series and GF cameras by default and I hope Nikon can situation a firmware replace as quickly as potential to deal with this situation.

three. Reset Focus Stacking / Focus Shift to Its Preliminary Place (Essential)

Whereas it’s nice to see the main target stacking functionality on the Nikon Z7 (which Nikon determined to name “focus shift”), it does have two fundamental points that make it troublesome and never notably sensible to work with. The primary situation has to do with focus place staying in its final state after capturing the stack is full. Which means when you shoot a single stack, you need to return and re-focus on the closest topic repeatedly, every time you need to re-initiate focus stacking.

The answer to the issue is to have the digital camera return to its preliminary focus place as soon as the stack is full. If that is achieved, it’ll make the method of focus stacking a lot simpler!

four. Enhance Focus Step Width in Focus Shift (Crucial)

By default, the Nikon Z7 a complete of 10 focus step width positions, starting from 1 (Slender) to 10 (Vast), as may be seen under:

Nikon Z7 Focus Shift Step Width

Nikon Z7 Focus Shift Step Width

Sadly, even probably the most slender place of 1 is just too large for doing very fine-tuned focus stacking, akin to when capturing at excessive close-up / macro distances. The answer is to increase the variety of complete focus step width positions to one thing like 20 or 30, in order that the main target place could be modified very barely in-between. Alternatively, Nikon might make the worth 1 equal to the minimal focus step, whereas 10 is the most important.

5. Change to Magnified View When Manually Focusing (Crucial)

When switched to guide focusing, the digital camera ought to have a “Focus Assist” function, the place it could actually mechanically change to zoomed in view as quickly as the main target ring begins turning, whether or not capturing in EVF or the LCD of the digital camera. Having this function could be very helpful, whether or not one shoots landscapes or portraits, because it permits the top consumer to shortly view the topic at 100% zoom and see whether it is in focus. The main target help function ought to have a timeout interval that may be outlined inside the digital camera menu. As soon as an image is taken, the digital camera ought to bounce out of the 100% view again to full stay preview.

As of in the present day, one has to both press the zoom in button on the again of the digital camera a number of occasions, or program one of many buttons on the digital camera to immediately zoom in 100%. It ought to be assumed that if one is utilizing guide focus, some type of focus aiding is required.

6. Enhance Steady Autofocus Reliability (Crucial)

When you’ve got learn our Z7 evaluation, you’ll be able to see that we weren’t notably psyched concerning the steady autofocus efficiency of the Nikon Z7. Our check was fairly easy – to photograph a topic shifting in the direction of the digital camera. First, the individual shortly walked straight on the digital camera, then we requested the individual to maneuver erratically in the direction of the digital camera. In each instances, the digital camera’s autofocus system didn’t ship the outcomes we’re used to seeing from a high-end Nikon digital camera it doesn’t matter what mode we tried – there have been extra out of focus photographs than we anticipated to see (comparably, the Nikon D850 did an outstanding job doing the identical factor). As well as, we consider there are a couple of points with the best way AF is carried out on the Nikon Z7, so let’s undergo a few of them.

7. Permit Half-Press of Shutter Launch To Begin Monitoring a Topic (Essential)

When capturing in steady mode (AF-C) with Auto-area AF chosen, the Nikon Z7 requires the top consumer to press the OK button to convey up the main target choice window, as proven under:

Nikon Z7 AF-C Auto Area AF

Nikon Z7 AF-C Auto Area AF

As soon as it comes up, it’s potential to maneuver it to the specified space that must be tracked, which the digital camera then locks on to. The OK button can then be pressed to reset the main target place, or maybe lock on to a different topic. This course of is just too painful to make use of within the subject, because it requires an additional step earlier than the topic might be successfully tracked. As an alternative of requiring a button press, it might be higher if Nikon bypassed the requirement for the OK button and as an alternative began instantly monitoring the middle space of the body. This manner, the topic might be positioned proper within the middle, then half-pressing the shutter launch or holding the AF-ON button begins monitoring AF. With the topic actively tracked, the framing may be modified. If one doesn’t want the middle space of the body to be tracked, it must be potential to make use of the joystick to maneuver the main target level to any a part of the body. Releasing the shutter button ought to cease monitoring, and re-engaging the monitoring ought to be finished with the half-pressing and holding the shutter launch button or urgent and holding the AF-ON button.

Eight. Repair Focus Affirmation in AF-C Mode (Important)

When capturing in Single AF (AF-S) mode, as soon as the digital camera focuses on the topic, the main target level modifications to inexperienced, which signifies that the topic is in focus. If one switches to AF-C mode, the main target level all the time stays purple. Nikon ought to repair this as quickly as attainable, in order that focus affirmation works in each AF-S and AF-C modes.

9. Add Face Recognition to Different Modes (Important)

Though the Nikon Z7 has a face recognition function, it’s presently solely efficient when utilizing Auto-area AF mode – it isn’t out there in another AF mode. Nikon ought to repair this, in order that the digital camera can determine and monitor a face in different modes as properly. This manner, one doesn’t have to recollect which mode face activation works with and in the event that they want to show it off, they will simply do this from the digital camera menu. The choice to allow / disable face monitoring must be added as an choice into the digital camera menu and made obtainable as a selection so as to add to the “i” button.

10. Add Eye Recognition (Essential)

Sure, we’ll carry on asking for this till it’s accomplished. Eye autofocus detection is an important function for all portrait photographers. The Nikon Z7 wants to have the ability to detect an eye fixed inside the face and focus particularly on it. Ideally, the closest eye must be the one the digital camera all the time focuses on. Nevertheless, if it isn’t attainable, Nikon ought to add the choice to pick left or proper eye to give attention to. This can be a important function, one thing Nikon actually must work on as quickly as potential.

11. A number of Publicity RAW Capturing (Crucial)

Nikon, please don’t take away options that we already had earlier than! As of as we speak, the Nikon Z7 routinely switches to JPEG when utilizing the A number of Publicity function and the digital camera not produces a RAW picture. This was a fantastic, working function that we have now had on many Nikon DSLRs and for some unusual cause, Nikon determined to vary it and take away the RAW recording potential.

12. Enhance Stay View Efficiency in Low Mild (Important)

Nikon must discover a approach to correctly increase the reside view / LCD display when capturing in extraordinarily darkish circumstances. Earlier this yr, we put the Nikon Z7 and the Fuji X-T3 aspect by aspect and took footage of the Milky Method. Once I confirmed others how vibrant the Milky Means appeared on the Fuji X-T3 when in comparison with the Z7 (which seemed black) and once I was capable of even give attention to the Milky Method with the X-T3, everybody there was in shock, as that they had by no means seen something like that earlier than. Contemplating that Fuji makes use of an APS-C sensor, the Nikon Z7 ought to have carried out a greater job at boosting the sign from the sensor, however it clearly didn’t. Nikon ought to do what it may well to spice up the feed from the sensor, in order that one can preview what’s happening, even in very darkish circumstances.

13. Add Pixel Shift Function (Wishlist)

The Z7 is the primary Nikon digital camera to function IBIS (in-body picture stabilization), which is thrilling. We now have already raved about it in our evaluation and we definitely discover it to be the most effective IBIS implementations on the market. I actually hope that Nikon doesn’t cease there with IBIS and provides a “Pixel Shift” function into the digital camera by way of a firmware improve. Because the sensor is ready to transfer, Nikon engineers ought to be capable of work out learn how to take a number of exposures at totally different sensor positions with a view to create an exceptionally detailed picture. Quite a few producers comparable to Sony and Pentax have already completed this, so I hope to see Pixel Shift added to the Z-series cameras within the close to future.

14. Deliver Again Cut up-Display View and Enhance It (Wishlist)

That’s one other function that Nikon determined to yank out of the firmware. I want Nikon added the split-screen again and improved it, by permitting split-screen for use with each horizontal and vertical photographs. It’s a tremendous function that makes it tremendous straightforward to realize correct give attention to a scene – one doesn’t have to fret about calculating hyperfocal distance with this function. Right here is the way it seems to be on the D810 and D850:

Nikon Split-Screen Display Zoom

Nikon Split-Screen Display Zoom

15. Add Lens Ring Sensitivity Choice (Wishlist)

With the brand new Nikon Z mount lenses doing focus-by-wire, it will be nice to have the choice inside the digital camera menu to both decelerate focus, or speed up it (one thing like sluggish, medium and quick would work). Personally, I’m not an enormous fan of the best way the focusing ring works on the Z7, because it typically can really feel too quick or laggy. If there was a strategy to sluggish it down, it might make it simpler to manually tweak concentrate on lenses, particularly when ultra-precise focusing is required.

16. RAW Histogram and Blinkies (Wishlist)

This one has been on my wishlist for some time now! RAW histograms and blinkies are necessary, as a result of that’s the one method to truly see if knowledge is getting misplaced through the means of capturing photographs. Sadly, what we see on cameras as we speak, is histogram and blinkie output from JPEG photographs which might be embedded into RAW information. The second you begin altering your digital camera settings, the histogram modifications, which signifies that you find yourself taking a look at knowledge from Eight-bit photographs, which has no approach of displaying what is definitely occurring to the 12+ bit RAW picture.

Sample Histogram

Sample Histogram

You may be seeing overexposure on the histogram and the blinkies, when in actuality, all the knowledge is perhaps absolutely preserved within the precise RAW file. Nikon might be a real pioneer within the digital camera business, by implementing true RAW histograms and blinkies first! It will be fantastic if Nikon did it proper from the beginning although, which suggests RAW histogram output for every shade channel, just like what we see under (pattern output from RawDigger):

Figure4_Raw4Digger_Histogram_Df_CT02

Figure4_Raw4Digger_Histogram_Df_CT02

And the way superior wouldn’t it be, if blinkies have been carried out in another way for every colour channel? Flash pink for pink channel loss, inexperienced for inexperienced channel loss and blue for blue channel loss. When a number of channels are misplaced, flash these areas white. Think about how straightforward it will be to show to the correct – we might have the ability to make right publicity decisions with out second guessing something.

17. Repair the Rubber Grip Problem (Essential)

This one does not likely belong within the above listing, as it isn’t a firmware-related challenge. Nevertheless, I made a decision to go forward and add it anyway to convey up the issue with Nikon. Principally, the rubber a part of the grip the place fingers relaxation in between the mount and the grip wears off on the Nikon Z7 cameras. The primary one that reported the difficulty was Spencer from our group, whose grip confirmed seen indicators of tearing / collapsing of the rubber:

Nikon Z7 with Worn Out Grip

Nikon Z7 with Worn Out Grip

Since he hand-holds the digital camera rather a lot and doesn’t use a strap, I assumed that maybe his fingernails have been chopping into the grip greater than they need to. Nevertheless, my Nikon Z7 pattern confirmed precisely the identical situation simply two weeks later. We reported the issue in our Nikon Z7 assessment and thus far we’ve got had 4 different individuals who reported precisely the identical drawback, which signifies that we aren’t simply coping with one or two affected models with weak rubber in that specific a part of the digital camera. To make clear, it isn’t that the rubber on the grip is peeling off utterly – it’s simply the floor of it that’s coming off. Nonetheless, having used many Nikon DSLRs up to now, I’ve by no means encountered this drawback, so it seems like this one is perhaps associated to the standard of the rubber, or its coating.

18. Re-release the FTZ Adapter (Wishlist)

The brand new FTZ adapter is superb with regards to focusing and reliability, nevertheless it does have some quite annoying points that must be fastened. To begin with, when mounting older guide focus lenses, the digital camera can’t correctly learn the aperture of the lens and exhibits “F–“, no matter what is done under “Non-CPU lens data” menu choice. That’s as a result of the FTZ adapter doesn’t have an AI follower tab. What’s the purpose of getting this part of the menu, if it doesn’t even work? In consequence, when utilizing older guide focus lenses, the right metadata and publicity info shouldn’t be recorded within the ensuing file.

Along with the above drawback, the FTZ adapter doesn’t work with any screw-drive AF-D lenses. There are such a lot of basic AF-D lenses on the market, and I’m a bit bummed that I can’t use AF on any of them. Nikon ought to have thought this one by way of and make a greater adapter that works with not solely trendy AF-S and AF-P lenses, but in addition older AF-D ones.

Third, contemplating that the FTZ adapter is shallow inside, Nikon ought to have added the choice to make use of a polarizing filter contained in the adapter, just like what Canon has completed on its EOS R adapter. These of us who shoot with glass like Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G would love the power to have a polarizing filter with out having to make use of large filters and filter adapters. This looks like a misplaced alternative.

Lastly, I’ve already mentioned the large drawback with the FTZ tripod mount in my assessment of the Nikon Z7, however the truth that it stands proud greater than the digital camera is one thing that basically baffled our group. Nikon ought to have skipped the tripod mount utterly on the FTZ, which might have solved the issue with utilizing generic tripod plates.

For my part, Nikon ought to re-release the FTZ adapter with new options (AI follower tab, AF-D lens compatibility, capacity to make use of drop-in filters, no tripod socket). Personally, I might be prepared to pay extra for such an adapter.

Different Firmware Update Requests

As I’ve already identified above, I’m planning to ship the above listing to Nikon. In case you have another function requests in your Z7, or have another ideas or feedback, please tell us within the remark part under. We ask that you simply hold the dialogue civil – this publish isn’t written with negativity in thoughts. As a very long time Nikon shooter, I solely need Nikon to succeed with its mirrorless cameras and I strongly consider that so long as the corporate is able to step up and take heed to buyer suggestions and work onerous on enhancing its product via steady firmware updates and enhancements, it will possibly really turn into one of many key gamers on the mirrorless market within the close to future.