Nikon Z8 2.0 Firmware!

Nikon has just released firmware 2.0 for the Z8! Below is the press release for this highly anticipated update but to make things easier I’ve listed the main features, update link, and a firmware install video below. Also, note that I didn’t have early access to this one, so the features below are as new to me as they are to you. And yes, expect an update to the Z8 & Z9 Wildlife Setup Guide for the relevant new features soon!

What’s New?

Dedicated Bird Subject Detection Mode
Auto Capture
Pixel Shift Shooting, allows 180MP capture
Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control
More customizable buttons
Cancel zoom with a half-press of the shutter release
New shutter sounds
Adjustable focus point border widths
Option to omit shooting orientation in EXIF
Prefer Focus Point Face Priority (centers on the face when scrolling through images)

Installing

To install the firmware, head to this link and click Firmware:
https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/616/Z_8.html

Below is a video that demonstrates general firmware installation for Nikon cameras.

Note that at 6:09 in the video I demonstrate opening the archive to get to the .BIN file. Nikon did not put this update in an archive and instead we just download the .BIN file itself. So, you DO NOT need to do the step of expanding the compressed archive, just drop the .BIN file directly to your card, as shown at 6:48.

Also, my total time to install on my Z8 was about 5 minutes.

Press Release
(Note, Nikon also released NX Tether 2.0, so although it’s not something a nature photographer would typically use, I’ve included that portion of the release as well)

NIKON RELEASES FIRST MAJOR FIRMWARE UPGRADE VER. 2.0 FOR THE NIKON Z 8

Nikon Also Releases Updated Free NX Tether Ver. 2.0 Utility Software to Seamlessly Support Professional Photographer and Videographer Workflow

MELVILLE, NY (February 6, 2024) The critically acclaimed, editorially celebrated and award-winning Nikon Z 8 is getting even better. Today, Nikon announced the availability of the first major firmware update for the Z 8, Firmware Ver. 2.0. This free update adds multiple features and enhancements for still-image, video capture and improved workflow. Additionally, Nikon has also announced availability of the latest version of NX Tether, Nikon’s free tethering software for still and video professionals. 

“The Nikon Z 8 already offered best-in-class features; with this latest update, we are once again proving that we are always listening to our customers and will work to surpass their expectations,” said Naoki Onozato, President and CEO of Nikon Inc. “We also realize that our users’ workflow is an important part of the job, and NX Tether Ver 2.0 is an example of the software ecosystem we can provide that integrates seamlessly to enhance the capture experience.”   

Z 8 Firmware Ver. 2.0

Similar to the feature previously added to the Nikon Z 9, a dedicated option for birds has been added to the AF subject-detection options, increasing bird-detection performance in a variety of situations and providing greater support for bird photographers. Additionally, support for the Auto Capture function enables automatic shooting when the subject meets one or more pre-configured criteria, providing users with new options for both stills and video shooting. 

The update also adds Pixel Shift shooting, which enables the creation of super high-resolution photos by using dedicated software to merge multiple NEF (RAW) files captured with the function. With the Z 8’s high-resolution sensor, images can be captured with an astonishing 180 megapixels. Pixel Shift shooting is ideal for capturing the finest details in subjects with intricate designs, such as buildings and art pieces, while providing precise rendering of the subject’s colors, textures, and structures.

There’s more to love with the update, as Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control is added to enable the rendering of rich tones while retaining skin details for portrait photography. In combination with other functions such as Skin softening and Portrait impression balance, portrait photographers have more control than ever. More functions and operations can now be assigned to custom controls, and users now have access to new shutter volume and sound options. 

Primary Updates: Z 8 Firmware ver. 2.0

• A dedicated [Birds] option has been added to the Z 8’s AF subject-detection options. In addition to increased detection, tracking and AF performance with complicated and high-contrast backgrounds such as forests and mountains, this option better enables the detection of birds in various circumstances, including flying, perched and even those with unique-looking appearances.
• The Auto Capture function has been added, enabling the automatic shooting of stills and video when the subject meets one or more pre-configured criteria. The three criteria that can be configured are a [Motion] option that detects subjects that move in a designated direction, a [Distance]1 option which begins shooting when a subject is within a certain range of distances, and a [Subject detection] option that detects people, animals, vehicles, or airplanes within the frame.
• Firmware version 2.0 adds Pixel Shift shooting, allowing users to create high-resolution photos by using dedicated software to merge multiple NEF (RAW) files recorded with the camera mounted on a tripod or otherwise stabilized.
• For portrait photographers, the addition of the Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control increases options for portraiture by realizing the rendering of portraits with rich tones while retaining skin details. This Picture Control is ideal for the creation of a base image in scenes where retouching is presumed, such as at weddings and for studio photography. In combination with the variety of other functions offered by Nikon for portrait photography, such as Portrait impression balance and Skin softening.
• Other functions, and additional enhancements to operability and functionality:
1. The number of functions and operations that can be assigned to custom control has increased.
2. A function has been added that enables users to exit zoom with a half press of the shutter-release button when focus mode is set to manual focus.
3. New shutter sound and volume options.
4. An option that allows users to choose the width of focus-point borders has been added.
5. An option that allows users to choose not to record shooting orientation information in image EXIF data has been added.
6. A new [Prefer focus point (face priority)] option that centers the display on a face when one is detected while scrolling through photos during playback zoom has been added.

NX Tether Ver 2.0

Nikon is pleased to announce the release of Nikon Tether Ver. 2.0, a computer software application that enhances functionality for tethered shooting2 with a Nikon digital camera, available free of charge.

Ver. 2.0 adds support for popular functions that were part of the Camera Control Pro 23 program, such as the configuration of a wide variety of camera settings, live view display during remote tethered shooting and support for video recording. This software helps increase efficiency for solo photographers working unassisted in a studio setting with hand-held shooting or commercial products. This software enables the output to be confirmed with the client on a large monitor as the shoot progresses. The variety of camera settings that can be configured remotely from the computer have also been increased to provide professional photographers the powerful support they need for effective still image and video recording in a wide variety of situations.

The user interface has been designed for ease of use and offers an organized layout of various functions employed with tethered shooting, enabling users to freely adjust the layout of the live view and control displays to better suit their workflow. The simple, yet multi-functional design enables intuitive operation without hesitation for increased work efficiency. Expect an update to the Z8/9 Setup Guide soon

Primary Features: NX Tether Ver 2.0 

Primary Features: NX Tether Ver 2.0
• Support provided for still image and video recording.
• Full-coverage live view display that allows photographers and clients to check that the desired results are being achieved on a large monitor, even when they are away from the computer.
• Camera operation functions that offer control over shooting settings unique to Nikon, such as Picture Control and Active D-Lighting.
• Users can select the format (JPEG, RAW, HEIF) in which images are recorded. What’s more, when recording to both card slots (RAW + JPEG or HEIF), the user can choose to have only the JPEG or HEIF images transferred to the computer.
• Wireless control is also possible by utilizing the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi to connect to the computer with Nikon’s free Wireless Transmitter Utility software. (supported cameras: Z 9, Z 8)
• Supports an efficient workflow when switching between still image and video recording, and a multi-functional yet simple and easy-to-use user interface.
• The application window layout can be arranged to suit each user’s preferences and workflow, providing flexible operation in any situation.

Supported OS
• Windows Version:
o Microsoft Windows 11
o Microsoft Windows 10
• Mac Version:
o macOS Sonoma 14
o macOS Ventura 13
o macOS Monterey 12
• Cameras supported with Ver. 2.0.04
o D-SLR Cameras: D6, D780
o Mirrorless Cameras: Z 9, Z 8, Z 7II, Z 6II, Z 7, Z 6

Supported OS

Price and Availability

Both the Nikon Z 8 Firmware Ver. 2.0 and NX Tether Ver. 2.0 are available for free on the Nikon website. For more information and to download, please visit the below links. 

Z 8 Firmware Ver. 2.0 download

NX Tether Ver. 2.0 download

For more information about the latest Nikon products, including the vast collection of NIKKOR Z lenses and the entire line of Z series cameras, please visit Nikonusa.com.

About Nikon  

Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and technologies for photo and video capture; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enables visual storytelling and content creation. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional Z Series mirrorless cameras, digital SLR cameras, a vast array of NIKKOR and NIKKOR Z lenses, Speedlights and system accessories, Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras and Nikon software products. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers and visual storytellers to the Web’s most comprehensive learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon on FacebookXYouTubeInstagramTikTok,Vimeo and Flickr.

# # #

Specifications, equipment, and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

Trade names (companies, products, services, etc.) are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

1. [Distance] 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.

2. The process of connecting a camera to a computer or tablet and confirming images and video real-time on-screen as they are shot.

3. New functions and support for new cameras via Camera Control Pro 2 are not planned in the future. Current users of Camera Control Pro 2 are recommended to use NX Tether.

4. Only some basic tethered shooting functions are available for use when using the following cameras: Z f, Z 5, Z fc, Z 50, Z 30

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Stefan Cruysberghs
3 months ago

Hey Steve, can you set the near distance limit correctly in auto-capture with the lenses you are using? With my Z 180-600mm lens the limit is 10.4m at 600mm, while the lens itself can focus sharp at 4,5m. I also tried to lower the limit in auto-capture to 3.5m by setting my lens at 200mm. But if I go to 600mm afterwards, the software automatically changes the distance limit to 12m. Any idea if this is an issue with the v2.0 firmware? Or should my lens get a firmware update?

Last edited 3 months ago by Stefan Cruysberghs
Mark Schuver
Mark Schuver
3 months ago

Steve:
Any thoughts on whether the Z9 will get pixel shift shooting too?

Peter Monson
Peter Monson
3 months ago

Install went great. Only problem was when I went outside to test bird focus, there were literally no birds around, LOL.

Andreas
Andreas
3 months ago

Sali Steve
Found your newsletter in the morning, made the update and went out for BIF. “Bird Subject Detection Mode” works as good as with Nikon Z9 – it is an great firmware update!
Thank you Steve – I love your tutorials and especially our outstanding books!
Best wishes from Switzerland:
Andreas

Tim
Tim
3 months ago

Does the “Dedicated Bird Subject Detection Mode” include eye tracking? If not, do we know if that is still planned for H1 2024?

Lee Lindquist
Lee Lindquist
3 months ago

Looks to me like a Z8 owner has to have a “spare” Express card to do the firmware update, rather than an SD? Can I use my express card, format, do the update, reformat and the put same card in Z8 and resume taking pictures? Do I need to reload my “settings card” or am I could to go? OR do I reformat my “settings “ card and do a save/update? Apologize. As I am new to this and don’t want to get myself into trouble!

Debbie Howard
Debbie Howard
3 months ago
Reply to  Lee Lindquist

I pulled my cf card out, leaving only the ss card occupied. Did the update using that card. I totally ignore “use slot 1” for update. Succesful update that way, no issues

Pete
Pete
3 months ago

The only hitch in my install was user error. Slot 1 is the CFExpress card, duh! I thought the nikon instructions were perfectly clear and easy to follow. I checked out the basic operations of the camera and everything seems to work. I’ll test it in the field for a couple hours later today.

Ido
Ido
3 months ago

Hi. When I use the auto recognition options (birds/animals/vehicles etc.) does it work as well as picking each option manually via the menu? Thanks 

Ido
Ido
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Thanks. However – In “auto mode” the camera select it for me. Is ur reliable ?

Ido
Ido
3 months ago
Reply to  Ido

ur=it sorry…

Max McDowell
Max McDowell
3 months ago

My Z8 keeps failing to update. It starts to install, then it eventually just goes back to the setup menu as if nothing has happened. I’ve done firmware updates literally hundreds of times, and the process for this one is extra simple, so I’m not sure what’s wrong. Any suggestions, please? Thanks!

Roger Nichols
Roger Nichols
3 months ago
Reply to  Max McDowell

Wild guess. Was the card formatted in the camera, as per the instructions? No idea if it’s necessary.

Brian Langdeau
Brian Langdeau
3 months ago
Reply to  Roger Nichols

Some thoughts.Full power reboot, (pull battery)Change battery (if the other is registering as low/old in the Battery menu area)Plug it into USB powerBackup your settings then do a full reset in the menuRe-flash with 1.01 and then see if you can flash to 2.0Flash with just the body, no lensDownload a new .bin file as this one is coming down without being zipped. As a computer tech for 30 years this is very odd as it leaves files vulnerable for corruption during the download process.

Last edited 3 months ago by Brian Langdeau
Peter Looper
Peter Looper
3 months ago
Reply to  Roger Nichols

I used a 2gb SD card, formatted in camera, and when I tried to update it came back with card error. I tried again with an older 512mb card and it worked fine.