Nikon Introduces Firmware 2.20 for Z6/Z7 with CFx Compatibility

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ShunCheung, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. Also, why just a firmware update for the Z's and not all of the XQD cameras? Maybe the faster read /write speeds will only benefit video.
  2. About in-game enhancements: Nikon D1X had buffer memory upgrade available in early 2000's. I did not have D1X but D1H, so that was not for me.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Actually Nikon has announced that they will also update the firmware for the D5, D500, and D850 for CFx compatibility. Those are the cameras that are still "current." (Of course the D5 will soon be replaced by the D6.) They are probably still waiting a bit for all the CFx dust to settle, as there are like 10 or so different CFx suppliers and there are going to be various issues.

    However, Nikon has not indicated that they will also update the firmware for the D4 and D4s. Those are the only other Nikon bodies that can use XQD/CFx cards.

    I doubt that CFx will speed up any one of the current bodies. The up-coming D6 could be a different story. The main advantage is that hopefully CFx prices will come down so that we can use some less-expensive cards.
    pcassity likes this.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    That option was also available for the initial D3. One could double the memory buffer for something like $500 in an aftermarket upgrade a year later.
  5. Memory upgrade is a physical thing and, yes, I'd expect to have to pay for that.

    As it's a tie-in with another manufacturer to purchase a license, I can understand why it needs to be bought, but it seems a bit steep.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Just performed the firmware version 2.20 upgrade on my Z6. At least there doesn't seem to be any negative effects, but (fortunately) I have no CFexpress cards to test with. I'll wait for more manufacturers to come on line so that competition will drive down the prices.
  7. At this point I'm afraid to run any update on my D4s (and D800/750) . The last one , from may 2018 (or 2017 ?) just make my Sigma 35/1,4 to focus erratically.
    It seems Nikon lately make lots of PR errors regarding their marketing and business.They're(Nikon) not doing well at all.
    Last Friday I receive A phone call from our local/country NPS manager . They offer a D5 body at aprox 3200$ + buyback D3,D4 or D4s, only to NPS members.
    Having the D4s I decline the offer ...
  8. I have never had a problem with a Nikon firmware update. I suppose Sigma can issue a user-upgradeable firmware patch to most of their lenses if a Nikon firmware upgrade breaks compatibility.
  9. Sigma has a "USB Dock" for the purpose of firmware update. However, it's only for their "global vision lenses".
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I haven’t had any issue with Nikon firmware upgrades either, but I don’t use non-Nikon OEM batteries and have exactly one third-party lens, a Sigma 35mm Art.

    Years ago when we first had user-upgradable firmware, Canon once issued a new firmware that would lock up like 2% of the cameras during the upgrade process. If your camera gets into that state, you need to ship it back to Canon to reset. Of course Canon discontinued that firmware version within a couple of days and issued a newer version with a fix, but some of the unlucky customers were pissed off. That was like 15 years ago, and hence I usually wait a few days before I upgrade.
  11. In this video, the Sandisk CFexpress card is claimed to give the same burst performance as XQD:

    so it seems that the problem that was described in a dpreview forum post where the burst length was substantially reduced by the use of Sandisk CFexpress card (compared to XQD) may not be everyone's experience. I suppose it could have been a glitch in the card or camera sample, or there could be a settings-related issue.

    Anyway, XQD cards are already very fast and it looks like performance improvements can only be expected in the next-generation cameras.

    Ironically the only one that has been (pre)announced is the D6 and the D5 already can consistently do very long bursts. If the D6 has much higher resolution then the situation changes and faster cards could be useful.

    Since raw video recording in the Z6 and Z7 is only to an external recorder, CFexpress cannot help there, either. 10 bit log is also to external recorder only. I suppose the problem with internal recording of these formats is heat generation; even XQD cards run pretty hot after intensive shooting.

    According to the above video, 1.5min video recording in raw format resulted in 6-7GB of data. So the bit rate would be around 600 megabits per second. 1TB of storage could hold about 4 hours of raw footage, if I am calculating correctly. Additionally, Adobe Premiere doesn't currently support the format, so a license to another software is needed. To me the amount of data generated makes it bewildering to consider using.

    When thinking about the cost of the FW upgrade to implement the raw video recording, it is good to keep in mind the (1) cost of the external recorder that supports it, (2) the cost of the software, and (3) the cost of the storage media for use as a long term solution for those raw videos. Before someone says that raw is only a capture medium and one would then process it to a compressed format which is then backed up. Sure, but if one doesn't store (and back up) the raw data, then one loses the option of making another interpretation of the raw data which we often do with stills as our vision and style may change. Now, let's see one shoots 100 hours of video in a year and uses the Z6 for three years. 300 hours of raw video is 75TB of storage and then another 75TB to store the backup. I think one can basically include at least 0.5 PB of storage in the budget if one wants to become a raw video shooter. So $200 for FW update, $695 for the Atomos Ninja V, $300 for Final Cut Pro, and then something around $30000+ for a storage solution. It seems the price Nikon are asking for their part is quite trivial in comparison with the other costs. (I am not including the cost of the computer itself but that too can be substantial.)

    In the above video, it is noted that only the Z6 can do full-frame 4K raw video, whereas with the Z7 you get a cropped image.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  12. Right, but the 35/1.4 is one of the supported lenses.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  13. I was upset because I did the firmware upgrade of my D4s just before a wedding assignement, hoping to improve camera performance. Instead I get half of my pictures taken with Sigma 35/1,4, out of focus. With my other Nikon cameras the lens still work flawlessly.
  14. Probably the same as with the D200 and D300 that couldn't make use of faster CF cards once they became available - write speed clearly limited by the hardware of each camera. Or with UHS-II SD cards - they work in cameras with UHS-I slots but for obvious reasons can't provide any speed increase. Once cameras have CFx-specific hardware installed, write speeds should exceed that of current XQD cards.
  15. Mmm does not look like there will be CF-Express updates for these, i think..
  16. Well, since the Z6/Z7 support for CFexpress has only been partial (some brands of cards are certified to work, with some others there are user-reported problems and no official compatibility yet), it doesn't seem the right time to launch updates for more cameras until all the commonly-available CFexpress cards are successfully made compatible with the Z6 and Z7. I wouldn't want a series of updates for the DSLRs that each add one or two CFexpress cards, I'd prefer one update that supports all the cards.

    Furthermore, there is no performance benefit from using Z6 and Z7 with CFexpress cards over XQD (on the contrary, performance is reported to be not quite as good) so the value of the update in the first place is somewhat questionable at this time. Later when we get cameras that can fully take advantage of the increased speed of CFexpress cards the card format is likely to become more common and meaningful. I have all the XQD cards I could ever need so I won't be buying CFexpress cards in the foreseeable future. If I had to buy additional cards, they would still be XQD because I know they work; I don't want to be a beta-tester for memory.

    The D6 seems to be the first Nikon camera that supports CFexpress from day 1 so it will be interesting to see how they work on that camera and whether Sandisk CFexpress is also supported. Once all the major manufacturers' CFexpress cards are working with the Nikon firmware in one camera, it should be straightforward to transfer the compatibility to the D5/D850/D500.
    c.p.m._van_het_kaar likes this.
  17. Agree to that,a lot off logic in your reply, but also it seems to become a chicken - egg chalenge :
    - Little camera's to support CFexpress ==> no development , prices stay high ==> High prices little sales ==> Slow development.

    In addition I do not expect (history supports this) Nikon to spend huhge ammount of software development for older camera types.
    I think they will concentrate on the "Z-series" and will bother less with older models so i expect new "Z-seris"models and lenses to be developed over support for the stuff they allraedy sold and made money on..

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