Nikon Firmware Update Enables Raw Video, Eye AF And CF Express Cards On Z7 And Z6

Nikon has announced a firmware update that will enable raw video output to an external recorder, Eye AF and CF Express card compatibility. 

Apple ProsRes RAW Output

On the second day of the CES 2019, Atomos’ CEO Jeromy Young announced that the new Atomos Ninja V is compatible to record ProRes RAW with the new Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7.

“Atomos is excited to work with Nikon on the development of ProRes RAW recording from Nikon’s Z series. This expands ProRes RAW to Ninja V and is the world’s first true full frame mirrorless to give raw video output. The combination will enhance content creation at all levels, from Social, through Pro Video and into Entertainment.”

-  Atomos Global

According to Atomos, the Nikon Z6 and the Nikon Z7 output a stream of RAW data via a HDMi cable to the Ninja V. Capturing Apple ProsRes RAW with the Ninja V will unlock wider and complete control of the video image at highest quality possible.

Some believe that Atomos is using a closed loop protocol with-in the HDMi, which basically means that they are taking all the pixels and rearranging them.

Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7 will be more than capable of outputting a RAW signal to the Atomos Ninja V, it’s not unrealistic to expect that more cameras will be capable of doing this in the near future. We wouldn’t expect that we are likely to see either Canon or Sony enable a RAW output to be recorded from their cameras.


Eye AF

With this new firmware update Nikon intends to announce its long awaited Eye auto-focus feature in their mirrorless cameras like the Z6 and the Z7. The Eye AF is a very good helping-hand when it comes to taking pictures such as portraits, event or street photography scenario.


“Our much-anticipated Eye AF function that is currently in development for the Z7 and Z6 can effectively detect your subject’s eyes, making focusing so much easier! You’ll capture stunning shots where focus has been clearly acquired on the subject's eyes - good news for portrait and streetphotographers!”

-Nikon Global


According to Nikon, the technology/feature is in its last and final implementation phase. In the demonstration video below, you can see it acquires the eye as fast as a Sony/Fujifilm has been able to do with their mirrorless technology. The only difference being that the area of the box seems to be much larger than that of Sony’s or Fujifilm’s Eye AF.

Source: Nikon Europe YouTube Channel

It will be possible to select which eye to focus on if there are multiple subjects in the frame, in which case, this makes it easier for the shooter to prioritise the particular subject.

We expect the Nikon’s Eye AF to be as efficient as Sony’s or Fujifilm’s.

As of now, Nikon has not released an official date about when we can expect this new firmware upgrade, but we believe it will be soon.

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CF Express Card

Nikon has also announced that their new mirrorless cameras will be compatible with the new CF express cards after the firmware update. These cards use the same form-factors as the XQD cards which are the only data transfer interface used in the Z6 and Z7.

What’s really surprising is that Sony was the first one to introduce XQD cards and yet they have not incorporated the technology to any of their camera devices.

In a recent statement given by Pro Grade Digital states that they will be introducing a 1 terabyte CF Express card demonstrated 1,400 MB/s read speed and over 700 MB/s burst write speed.

ProGrade 1TB CFExpress Card

Source: ProGrade Digital Website

“ProGrade Digital is delighted to be participating in this exciting technology demonstration highlighting the speed of the ProGrade Digital 1TB CFexpress card and Thunderbolt™ 3.0 in the digital workflow,”

-Wes Brewer, founder and CEO of ProGrade Digital.

“With read speeds up to 1400MB/s, this technology provides peak performance for offloading cinema-quality, video and still image files at speeds that are at least three times faster than ever before.”

- ProGrade Digital Global

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