It is a big day today for Nikon Z shooters – Nikon has just released a huge firmware 3.0 update that includes a number of big upgrades and fixes, including the introduction of “Animal Detection” autofocus mode that adds dogs and cats to the subjects supported by face and eye-detection autofocus. Other firmware enhancements include improved functionality of subject-tracking autofocus, as well as support for more CFexpress Type B memory cards.
Below are all the changes from firmware version 2.20 to 3.00:
- Added support for ProGrade and Lexar CFexpress memory cards (Type B). For more information, see the Nikon website for your country or region.
- Custom Setting a4 (Auto-area AF face/eye detection) now offers an Animal detection option that adds dogs and cats to the subjects supported by face- and eye-detection autofocus. As a result, the camera can now detect and focus on the faces and eyes of dogs and cats. Animal face detection (but not eye detection) is also available in movie mode.
- Improved the functionality of subject-tracking AF (available when Auto-area AF is selected for AF-area mode) as follows:
- Subject-tracking AF can now be initiated via the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the camera or the Fn1 or Fn2 button on the lens. Subject-tracking AF must first be assigned to the control using Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU or Custom Setting g2 (Custom control assignment).
- The behavior of the camera when tracking is ended by pressing the AF-ON button or by pressing the shutter-release button halfway with AF-C (continuous-servo autofocus) and subject-tracking AF enabled in photo mode has been changed to more closely resemble that of the 3D-tracking option for digital SLR cameras.
- Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment) in Group f (Controls) of the CUSTOM SETTING MENU now offers a Lens Fn2 button option, which can be used to choose the role played by the L-Fn2 button available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
- Added support for the focus limit switch available on certain Z mount lenses (as of February 12, 2020, only the NIKKOR Z 70–200mm f/2.8 VR S).
- Optimized the responsiveness of the switch to manual focus when the focus or control ring on a Z mount lens is rotated during autofocus. Note that the control ring only functions in this capacity when assigned the Focus (M/A) role.
- Fixed the following issues:
- When Viewfinder brightness was adjusted manually, brightness would sometimes change when the standby timer was restarted.
- iOS devices running iOS 13 would sometimes display a Bluetooth pairing request when pairing was complete.
- Horizontal lines would sometimes appear in photographs.
How to Upgrade Nikon Z6 and Z7 Firmware to 3.00
First, download the Nikon Z 3.00 firmware through the following links:
After that, follow my detailed guide on How to Upgrade Firmware on Nikon cameras. The upgrade process is going to take a couple of minutes. Once it is done, turn off the camera and turned it back on.
Firmware 3.00 Testing
I have already upgraded firmware on both of my Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras, and tested it out. The animal AF feature works as expected (tested on my cats), and subject tracking can now be accessed by programming it to a function button. Here is the screenshot of it being assigned to Fn1 button:
Once assigned, pressing the function button brings up subject tracking. From there, all you have to do is set it on the subject, then press the AF-ON button (or whatever button is set to focus) to start tracking the subject.
Here is a detailed overview of the autofocus capabilities of the Nikon Z6 / Z7 with Eye and Animal Detection AF:
Kudos to Nikon for continuing to release important firmware updates. I am still hoping to see a firmware update that gets rid of all the information overlays on the camera.
Nikon, please do it sooner than later – our Nikon Z firmware update wishlist has many of the must-have improvements that should be rolled out on Nikon Z cameras, sooner than later!