A firmware wishlist of features I would like to see implemented in the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras.
I usually do these at the end of my Fujifilm camera reviews and interestingly enough, almost every time, they almost all get fixed as long as they are reasonable. Not to say Nikon would do this, but these camera companies do monitor community feedback.
I think Nikon could potentially implement some of these in the Z6 and Z7 to make them significantly better cameras. These requests are not unreasonable considering other cameras have these capabilities.
Please add your recommendations to the list in the comments if I missed any.
For those who are not aware, Nikon just released firmware v3.0 that improved the tracking functionality and added Animal Eye AF, which was great and unexpected. The Camera’s usability score just got a major upgrade because of how easy it is to engage and disengage the tracking now. It’s so dang sticky. The tracking usability was still a big advantage Canon, Sony and Fujifilm had over the Z6/Z7 so it’s super nice to see that Nikon has fixed that. The Z6 and Z7 have some of the best usability features when it comes to controlling AF out of all of the camera brands, but there are still a few things they could do to improve the system even more.
Nikon Z6/Z7 Firmware Wishlist
In no particular order.
Update: After posting this, several people have told me ways of doing some of these features and I’ve updated.
- Linear Focus Option When Using Manual Focus with the Z lenses – The Nikon Z6 is probably the best mirrorless video camera out there right now in terms of its IBIS functionality, it’s Amazing Z lenses with no focus breathing, and it’s amazing focus and tracking. Not to mention RAW video and 10-bit HDMI out. It’s just missing Linear AF to really be the manual focus videographers dream since filmmakers (I’m talking people that make movies, not people that review iPods and call themselves filmmakers), would not rely on some AF glitch ruining the perfect performance and Linear AF is an absolute must. Or they would probably just use MF lenses, but the MF is so good on those Z lenses that it would be nice to not have to use other lenses.
- Focus Memory – If the camera could remember the autofocus distance when powered off and powered back on again that would be super helpful. Last year I was out shooting fireflies in Japan and would have liked this feature. As it is, every time you power off the camera then power it back on again, the focus resets.
- A Properly Function Shutter Priority When In Video Mode. I can’t believe we are on firmware version 3.0 and this is still not fixed.
- EXIF data in playback –
I’m a chimper, but I do shoot a lot of technical stuff for my reviews or for landscape stuff, and it’s nice to be able to see my EXIF data so I can correct mistakes or spot them.Pressing up on the multi-selector in playback will display relevant information.
- Autofocus Center Option – Fujifilm cameras give you the option to use Front or Center AF when tracking. Right now Nikon always tries to focus on whatever is closest to the lens. I think. This is a problem when I’m shooting photos of my daughter when using Eye or Face AF. If her bangs or hair dropping in front of her face or eyes, it will usually focus on that instead, but not always, sometimes it’s smart enough. Or if there is no option make it so Front AF does not take priority in Eye and Face AF. Eyelash AF is still a problem in Firmware v3.0
- Make Focus Tracking Box Smaller – I’m not sure if this is possible because of the way tracking data has to look at the surrounding data, but if we could get a little more precise with the tracking box, that would be useful. Or just give the people the option even as a placebo. Camera feedback display and perception is a big deal.
- Allow For Option To Control Focus Box Movement Precision –
Like you could do what Fujifilm does where they give you the option to pick from 425 Point or 117 Points so we can choose the precision at which we can move those focus boxes. Sometimes it takes too long to move the little tiny focus box.You can do this with the A5 option, but it only applies to some of the pinpoint focus options.
- Ability to slide around the focus point with touch screen when looking through the EVF – Canon does this, Fujifilm does this, didn’t an older Nikon camera do this? It’s handy and fun to use. I really like using it on the EOS R. It works so well on that camera.
- Change Bitrate Options To Be More Descriptive – Instead of listing the bitrate as Normal and High just list the bitrates and give us some options. 150Mbps, 100Mbps, 50Mbps. Both Sony and Fujifilm do this and it’s super nice.
- Totally Clear Display With No Overlay – When toggling the DISP button, it would be nice to have an option to have nothing on the screen.
- Zebras + Focus Peaking – Would it be possible to give the camera the ability to have Focus Peaking and Zebras at the same time? I can understand the conflict if you have two different processor threads trying to access highlight peaking data at the same time. So this might not be possible.
- Sony-Style Zone Box Eye AF – While the option to pick between the individual eyes and faces as Canon and Nikon do is far superior for user control, it’s not necessarily better for the user experience. Sometimes I just want to limit the Eye and Face AF to Zone boxes as you can do on the Sony cameras. It’s really nice for street photography because you can just be kind of lazy with it.
- Tracking + Eye AF / Face AF – It would again be nice to have the option for Eye AF to work along with Tracking. Sony and Canon do it. You can do still get the camera to quickly set this up by using Fn1 as Eye Face tracking and Fn2 as tracking engage, but it won’t work the same as the Sony, Fujifilm and Canon cameras. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Epic Wishlist That Probably Could Never Happen.
- Higher Internal Bitrate / Bit Depth. At least give me 200Mbps. Is it not possible to do 10-bit Internal? If you need h.265 for this, I would gladly pay money for the firmware update. ProResRAW is awesome, but overkill for simple stuff and right now there is nothing in-between which kind of makes no sense. Even the Fujifilm X-T3 can do 400Mbps 10-bit 4:2:0 Internal. I’m assuming there is likely a certain processor limitation to support this, so it makes sense if it can’t happen. Even PC’s pre-Sandy Lake cannot do H.265.
- More IBIS Options – You have Sport and Normal modes already. Can we get a Video Mode? I know this is possible because Sony changed things in their firmware to unintentionally undo this. But right now IBIS is really good for stills, not so good for Video. The problem is it’s so sticky then jumpy when the stickiness breaks. Would it be possible to make a video IBIS mode that’s not so sticky so the camera allows some smoother movements or drifts? Sony cameras use to be smooth then late 2018 they updated it and now it’s too sticky for the nice handheld video with any lens longer than a 35mm. Am I the only one that has noticed this?
- More Digital IS Options – The Digital IS with IBIS is insane. Basically it turns your camera into a tripod. Some options here to turn down the effect would be nice. It would go well with the above option.
Nikon Z System-Wide Wishlist
- Third-Party Lens Support – Because Sony keeps their mount open for third-party AF support as is Canon it seems, Nikon will likely be left behind by the younger generation seeking cheaper lenses that are good enough. Nikon must hurry up and get some cheaper lenses available if it’s going to compete with this. Fujifilm gets away with it because their APS-C bodies are so far ahead of the competition, you can’t quite say the same thing about Nikon. Having the option to buy a Tamron or Sigma, is still a very appealing option for the Sony system. That alone keeps me holding onto my Sony A7rIII. If Nikon announced tomorrow it would open up to Samyang, Sigma, and Tamron, I would sell my Canon and Sony gear and go all in. Well, maybe not my Canon gear.
- Make some f2 zoom lenses – I have this same issue with Fujifilm. They need f2 zooms lenses under $2,000 and good f1.2 primes for under $1,000. Nikon needs some f2 zooms to compete with Canon and some f1.2 or f1.4 lenses pronto. Then do sports lenses. Although, what do I know, I’m just a blogger that has no access to your sales data or marketing material. 🙂 The f1.8 I think are amazing and perfect for the system right now, but the influences don’t think so. I’m just a lowly little blogger in my little corner of the Internet and this article will probably only get 5,000-10,000 views.
That’s it. Those are my only issues with the Z6 and Z7.