Nikon releases firmware updates for Z cameras, adds Animal-Detection AF for Z6, Z7 models


posted Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 9:50 AM EDT


Nikon just released a pair of firmware updates for its Z series of mirrorless cameras, version 3.00 for the full-frame Z7 and Z6 models, and version 1.10 for the crop-sensor Z50, adding some pleasing autofocus improvements across the board.

For the full-frame models, the new Ver. 3.00 firmware update adds a notable feature: Animal-Detection AF. After adding Eye-Detection AF in version 2.0 back in May 2019, the new "Animal AF" feature will now also allow the cameras to detect and track both the faces and eyes of various animals. However, the animal detection is limited to just dogs and cats, according to Nikon's press release. Whether or not it'll detect other types of animal eyes or faces has yet to be explored.

Much like with human Eye AF on the Z6/Z7 cameras, if the camera detects multiple animal faces in the scene, the camera will let the user easily select which face to focus on using the right or left control button. Additionally, animal face-detection will also function with video recording.


Along with Animal AF, the new v3.0 firmware also enhances subject-tracking for C-AF stills shooting by adding a 3D-tracking-like feature, similar to that on Nikon DSLR cameras. The new subject tracking feature can be enabled by pressing and holding the rear AF-ON button, or half-pressing the shutter button, and the camera will begin tracking the subject. Releasing the button will cause the camera to revert back to the original focus point. Further, moving from Auto-area AF to the subject-selection display can now be assigned to a custom control button.

In addition to AF improvements, the v3.0 update expands the support for CFexpress cards in the Z6 and Z7 cameras. Back in December 2019, Nikon released firmware v2.2, adding initial support for CFexpress memory cards -- which use the same card form-factor as existing XQD cards -- but full support was limited to just a handful of Sony-branded Type B CFexpress cards. With v3.0 firmware, additional brands of CFexpress cards from Lexar and ProGrade are supported.


For the crop-frame Nikon Z50 camera, the new v1.1 firmware update is a fairly minor one -- sadly not adding Animal AF -- but rather offers improved AF functionality with self-portrait shooting in video recording. Now, focus will lock onto the subject in AF-F mode in movie mode, allowing the camera to better maintain focus on the subject while recording scenes with the user's face.

Both firmware updates are free of charge and available now for download. For more information on the Nikon firmware updates, please click here.