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Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II

  
 
bs kite
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


OwlsEyes wrote:
For a stills photographer who prefers natural light to flash or studio lighting, I think these pro cameras (A1 and Z9) are beginning to reach and end point where most upgrades will be more about gimmicks and unused features than anything else. I'm not sure what Nikon could add to the Z9 that would transform it into a viable upgrade that would generate profits that return the R&D that was invested in its development. While I know some sports photographers would like to see 30fps RAW capture, the need for this speed is very limited by the general public and
...Show more

I think this is well-said and very likely to be true.




Feb 20, 2024 at 09:51 AM
RoamingScott
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


I've mentioned before that there are very few things that I feel the Z9 is missing.

I'd like to see all Z8/ZF features that are missing from the Z9 to make it over, and I think they will in time.

In terms of net-new features, I'd love to see the ability to completely disable the vertical controls. I'm forever accidentally unlocking the vertical shutter lock and taking shots with the palm of my hand.

Zebras in stills would be clutch.

Fixing the lag in magnification mode would also be huge. Nikon would have to develop a new output for this mode though, so I'm not hopeful it comes to this generation of cameras. Perhaps with the Z9ii.

If Nikon could figure out 5 axis IBIS for chipped lenses like Voigtlander that would be fantastic. E mount versions of CV lenses get 5 axis where the exact same lens in Z mount only gets 3 axis. Annoying.

There are some improvements that could be made to the focus bracketing mode as well in terms of usability.

These are all VERY minor complaints about one of the finest cameras I've ever used.



Feb 20, 2024 at 10:18 AM
OwlsEyes
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


RoamingScott wrote:
I've mentioned before that there are very few things that I feel the Z9 is missing.

I'd like to see all Z8/ZF features that are missing from the Z9 to make it over, and I think they will in time.

In terms of net-new features, I'd love to see the ability to completely disable the vertical controls. I'm forever accidentally unlocking the vertical shutter lock and taking shots with the palm of my hand.

Zebras in stills would be clutch.

Fixing the lag in magnification mode would also be huge. Nikon would have to develop a new output for this mode though, so I'm
...Show more

While being useful, none of those would be enough to make me want to spend $5400 on another Nikon Pro MILC. RE firmware, I'll take pixel shift and the ability to quickly cycle through AF patches (two useful features in Z8 Firmware 2.0).

bruce




Feb 20, 2024 at 10:27 AM
RoamingScott
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


OwlsEyes wrote:
While being useful, none of those would be enough to make me want to spend $5400 on another Nikon Pro MILC. RE firmware, I'll take pixel shift and the ability to quickly cycle through AF patches (two useful features in Z8 Firmware 2.0).

bruce



These are suggestions for 5.0, not a Z9ii.

The Z9ii will need a global shutter to make it interesting. There is precious little the Z9 cannot currently do.



Feb 20, 2024 at 10:28 AM
dcisive
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


All I'm hoping for with the Z9 update would be a faster more reliable to acquire and stickier focus capability. Currently I can have some days where it's struggles. A Sony body I'm working with as well that uses their AI chip for this seems to excel a bit more in this area. I'm fairly confident the engineers at Nikon will propel the focus system yet another notch.


Feb 20, 2024 at 10:53 AM
ilkka_nissila
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


In my opinion mirrorless camera development just started (well that's not really true as non-interchangeable cameras have been mirrorless for several decades) and there are plenty of hardware and software features that they should and are likely to add.

The subject detection obviously still fails in many situations, or does something irrational even though it has been greatly improved for birds specifically and was always good for humans. But there are no doubt many subjects which the camera doesn't identify correctly, and subject postures can throw it off.

The Nikons don't do astro tracking which they could to a limited extent with the in-camera VR.

There is no cross-type sensors which is painfully obvious in the tendency to focus on verticals in case it can't detect a subject and sometimes even when it does. Cross-type sensors would make the AF neutral to detail orientation.

Split-image display zoom should allow free movement of the two areas rather than always picking them from the same rows.

There could be much more advanced wireless functionality, faster, more reliable, and compatible with more devices and apps.

For the Z7 line, there could be 100 MP or 200 MP sensors.




Feb 20, 2024 at 12:20 PM
1bwana1
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


ilkka_nissila wrote:
In my opinion mirrorless camera development just started (well that's not really true as non-interchangeable cameras have been mirrorless for several decades) and there are plenty of hardware and software features that they should and are likely to add.

The subject detection obviously still fails in many situations, or does something irrational even though it has been greatly improved for birds specifically and was always good for humans. But there are no doubt many subjects which the camera doesn't identify correctly, and subject postures can throw it off.

The Nikons don't do astro tracking which they could to a limited extent with
...Show more


All of the above and a bunch more. One example a dual stacked sensor that adds a couple more stops of Dynamic Range and less noise at high ISO. These are already in the R&D labs.



Feb 20, 2024 at 01:24 PM
groob
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


dcisive wrote:
All I'm hoping for with the Z9 update would be a faster more reliable to acquire and stickier focus capability. Currently I can have some days where it's struggles. A Sony body I'm working with as well that uses their AI chip for this seems to excel a bit more in this area. I'm fairly confident the engineers at Nikon will propel the focus system yet another notch.


You've mentioned this before, but I have no idea what situations you could be referencing. Again today, my Z9 grabbed a wren's eye at ~30 yards and through some vines. But even more impressively, yesterday, I had two chances at green-winged teal coming in to land. Out of 98 frames, 4 were out of focus. And all 4 were the first shots I took as the initial group of teal approached, so I must've started shooting before they were in focus. The way the Z9 found and grabbed those teal was the most impressive AF feat I have ever personally witnessed from a camera.

In case anyone is unfamiliar, green-winged teal are only about 13 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 8 inches. But they can fly up to 50 mph and change direction on a dime. These teal flew in below the tree line, just above the water. Not only were the teal tiny in the viewfinder when I picked them up, but they were also the same color as the background. Yet, the Z9 locked on and held them all the way to splashdown--just remarkable. If the Z9 can do that, I'd love to hear about scenarios in which it struggles.

Edited on Feb 20, 2024 at 04:20 PM · View previous versions



Feb 20, 2024 at 01:53 PM
groob
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


OwlsEyes wrote:
For a stills photographer who prefers natural light to flash or studio lighting, I think these pro cameras (A1 and Z9) are beginning to reach and end point where most upgrades will be more about gimmicks and unused features than anything else. I'm not sure what Nikon could add to the Z9 that would transform it into a viable upgrade that would generate profits that return the R&D that was invested in its development. While I know some sports photographers would like to see 30fps RAW capture, the need for this speed is very limited by the general public and
...Show more

Totally agree. I've said the same thing for a while now. Given the current level of AF performance, I just cannot see where there's a lot of runway left to improve. Unless my focus is racked all the way out, there is basically no situation in which my Z9 does not grab a bird immediately.



Feb 20, 2024 at 01:57 PM
bernardl
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


Eric214 wrote:
The delay for the Expeed 7 wasn't COVID. The Z9 just want ready to be released at that time and the insane 2.0 FW update proven that.


I didn't mean to say that the delay of the Exceed 7 was covid related. On the contrary, I believe that the Exceed 7 was not delayed and has been available for at least 3 years which means that the availability of a successor is likely based on all the things we know about chip development.

But of course even if it does exist, whether Nikon would want to use such a processor in 2024, whether they would have the R&D bandwidth to develop firmware able to tap into its compute potential, whether it would make sense economically considering the volume of Exceed 7 they committed to buy from their supplier, whether it would make sense within the strategic line up of cameras they have planned,... is anybody's guess.

The point being that a successor to the Z9, be it a Z9s, would only make sense to me if there were a significantly faster Expeed available with a power consumption same of lower than Excpeed 7. Which can only happen on a smaller process node.

As I said, I am not sure there is going to be a Z9s in 2024 but it seems possible. And for what it's worth Nikon rumors has never said there would be a Z9 iteration this year. Please only blame me for envisioning this possibility.

Finally, I totally agree that the level of AF performance of the Z8/Z9 is already incredibly good, best in class in many scenarios vs Sony (even vs the a9III)/Canon, but I don't think that this is going to stop "progress". Not as long as competitors exist that continue to push the envelope and to cultivate an active eco-system of web trolls who keep conveying the misleading impression that Nikon is still far behind.

Nikon wants to be recognized as the undisputed leader in the 35mm high end camera equipment market and their R&D plan is designed to support that objective. There is going to be a Z9s if they think it is required to achieve that goal.

Cheers,
Bernard



Feb 20, 2024 at 04:15 PM
 


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groob
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


bernardl wrote:
I didn't mean to say that the delay of the Exceed 7 was covid related. On the contrary, I believe that the Exceed 7 was not delayed and has been available for at least 3 years which means that the availability of a successor is likely based on all the things we know about chip development.

But of course even if it does exist, whether Nikon would want to use such a processor in 2024, whether they would have the R&D bandwidth to develop firmware able to tap into its compute potential and whether it would make sense economically considering
...Show more

I agree that the camera companies will continue to make improvements. But I would bet that the improvements will be pretty small and iterative, and therefore, selling cameras based on AF improvements as the lead differentiator will be difficult. I just don't see where there is a lot of ground left to cover with re: to AF functionality. That said, I'd love to be wrong. I'm only 39--I'd be happy to spend on future cameras!



Feb 20, 2024 at 04:27 PM
Eric214
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


arbitrage wrote:
They were doing a flagship every 2 years for a while with the "s" models. Only the D5 to D6 broke that trend. But D6 to Z9 was 2 years also. Although maybe we can't count that one as the switch to MILC flagship was a different situation.

If we look at the past 15 years there is way more data supporting a 2 year release and only a single data point for a 4 year release.


2 years is for a refresh, not the next camera as in a D3 D4, D5 and everyone know the D6 was really a D5s and not a true update. Those were more like mid cycle releases

The odds of a Z9h is less likely than a major FW update. The Z9h is a made up rumor that someone threw against the wall to see what stuck. There's been nothing else about it since

Edited on Feb 20, 2024 at 06:32 PM · View previous versions



Feb 20, 2024 at 05:00 PM
dcisive
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


groob wrote:
You've mentioned this before, but I have no idea what situations you could be referencing. Again today, my Z9 grabbed a wren's eye at ~30 yards and through some vines. But even more impressively, yesterday, I had two chances at green-winged teal coming in to land. Out of 98 frames, 4 were out of focus. And all 4 were the first shots I took as the initial group of teal approached, so I must've started shooting before they were in focus. The way the Z9 found and grabbed those teal was the most impressive AF feat I have ever personally
...Show more

I've been going out a lot lately shooting Blue Heron's who are nesting at this time nearby where I live. I use the Z9 and 100-400S sometimes with and without a 1.4xtc. I've used the large wide box, small box, full screen auto you name it. When they are either leaving the nest, approaching the nest and even flying away, the Z9 isn't grabbing them all the time let alone staying stuck on them. It's been very disappointing at times. When it does capture a frame it's wonderful, just not the majority of the times.

I began playing with a A6700 Sony and their 200-600G lens. Aside from it's astounding sharpness that setup seems to see, grab onto and STAY onto pelicans, cormorants and Heron's like nobody's business. Over a 90% keeper rate to where I have to choose what I want to keep. I haven't given up yet on the Nikon. I'll be working later this week using the 3D method as well just to see if I can nail and STAY on a subject.



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:06 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


Nikon isn't going to announce a Z9II anytime soon, and especially not if the FW rumors are true with RAW pre-capture and 30fps RAW potentially coming at some point. There is still zero competition for it in the current market with regards to the combination of form factor and feature set. On top of that, I imagine Nikon wants to keep production capacity available for the Z6III and whatever other camera(s) are coming this year. Z8's are still selling out regularly, at least in my area, so I would guess Nikon is still producing those at a decent rate too.

The market for a Z9h would be incredibly small, unless Nikon could somehow find a way to overcome all the current drawbacks of a global shutter, which is unlikely, it would be an extreme niche camera and I would be shocked if they put resources into a body like that before we even have a Z6III/Z7III/Z900. The cheaper, high volume cameras are the moneymakers. Back in the DSLR days, over 80% of Nikon's Imaging revenue came from entry level DX cameras. I am not sure what that distribution looks like with the Z cameras, but it's probably shifted slightly upmarket.

As for a Z9II, I think it would be a tough sell without a major headline feature such as a zero-compromise global shutter with the same or higher resolution, especially if they keep releasing such feature-rich FW updates for the existing cameras. I don't think the FW updates would be as good as they are if there was a new flagship on the horizon.

It's hard for me to think of things I need the Z9 to do that it can't already in terms of a FW 5.0 wish list, but RAW pre-capture would be nice even if its HE RAW only. I don't need more than 20FPS for any subject I shoot. I would like to be able to change my auto ISO minimum shutter speed with a Fn button but there are easy enough workarounds that I don't really need to complain about that anymore. Honestly at this point, whatever features they add probably won't apply to my use case unless they are game changing.



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:22 PM
Eric214
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


dcisive wrote:
I've been going out a lot lately shooting Blue Heron's who are nesting at this time nearby where I live. I use the Z9 and 100-400S sometimes with and without a 1.4xtc. I've used the large wide box, small box, full screen auto you name it. When they are either leaving the nest, approaching the nest and even flying away, the Z9 isn't grabbing them all the time let alone staying stuck on them. It's been very disappointing at times. When it does capture a frame it's wonderful, just not the majority of the times.

I began playing with a A6700
...Show more

I haven't had any issues with Pelicans, Cormorants. Easily well above 90% hit rate with Auto Area AF mode and Bid SD with Herons and Egrets, I only have an issue with it in AA AF mode and Bird SD when they extend the neck when standing, it likes to grab the body. If the neck is recoiled and S-shaped, I have zero issues with it grabbing the eye and 100% staying sticky. So for when they are flying, no issues either with AA AF mode and Bird SD

This is why I have my RSF (Hold) set to only change my AF area mode to Wide C1 and SD from bird to Animal. So I can use my old Hybrid Handoff method if need be with the old Animal SD for when Long neck wading birds have their necks extended. That is literally the only I've ever had a need to switch (unless there are mammals like foxes around).

If you used Wide small or a Wide C1 with a small 9x7 or 5x3 box, and put it on the head of a Heron, it will only ever grab the eye, so not sure what possible issue you had with that.

Edit:
I still think that even with the new Bird SD with FW 4.10, there are still people that just don't jive with certain cameras or systems. Some do better with Sony or Canon or Nikon. Not that there is a problem with that. But even with the Bird SD, it's not just a point and shoot for some like others systems is for some. Same with Nikon, some just take to the Z9 or Z8 much easier then Canon or Sony. It's just the way it is


Edited on Feb 20, 2024 at 06:50 PM · View previous versions



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:43 PM
George DeCamp
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


Eric I've found, in the situation you speak about, to switch to 3D! Used it again today and it jumped right on the eye each time. Not saying it will do it every time but so far so good for me anyway!


Feb 20, 2024 at 06:48 PM
Eric214
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


George DeCamp wrote:
Eric I've found, in the situation you speak about, to switch to 3D! Used it again today and it jumped right on the eye each time. Not saying it will do it every time but so far so good for me anyway!


I did have 3D work for me once a couple weeks ago with some sea ducks (Harlequin and Long-tailed) on the water in an inlet. Auto Area wanted to grab the head where 3D went instantly to the eye. So that day I used 3D (on my DISP button) and Auto Area for the flying ducks. With Long necked wading birds I have seen 3D work a little better but can be spotty in consistency.

That has literally been the only time that has happened since FW 4.10. Even in freshwater pools in Bombay Hook NWR the AA AF mode was far superior in this situation. Just an odd "duck" day I guess lol This is why even though I use AA AF mode 99% of the time and the only AF mode, I still keep 3D on my DISP button and Single Point on my Sub Selector center press. I put AA AF mode on BOTH my AF ON button and shutter half press.

But in 99% of the time, AA AF mode is far superior then 3D with Bird SD. I think that 3D and the wading long necked bird recognition will be the next tweaks/improvements to the AF and SD, or at least they should be with obvious need for improvement

Edited on Feb 20, 2024 at 07:35 PM · View previous versions



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:56 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


ilkka_nissila wrote:
There is no cross-type sensors which is painfully obvious in the tendency to focus on verticals in case it can't detect a subject and sometimes even when it does. Cross-type sensors would make the AF neutral to detail orientation.



Give the camera a slight tilt if you feel you're in a situation where you might be having an issue with this. Nikon's AF in particular is extremely sensitive to very slight changes in angle and it barely requires any tilt. I can't find the interview at the moment but they stated at one point that was why they didn't feel the need to pursue cross type AF at this juncture. Other cameras require a much more aggressive tilt to get them to pick up fine horizontal detail in a worst-case scenario. All mainstream MILCs other than Olympus have horizontal AF sensors. The main reason they run them horizontally is because the sensor readout is done line-by-line in the same direction, and also because there is typically more detail available in the vertical orientation. Maybe in the next gen they will find a better way to implement cross type AF, and I think they can also do it more easily with a Quad Bayer sensor, but none of the major players have solved that problem yet.

I often shoot birds in front of tall reeds and the camera never seems to get confused, but if you set up a specific situation like horizontal window blinds and if your camera is 100% level with them you can get it to struggle. Tilt it just a tiny bit and it will lock on right away.



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:59 PM
groob
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


Yeah, Iíve had the same experience as Eric with a GBH. And I also had better luck with 3D.


Feb 20, 2024 at 07:14 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Z9 Upcoming 4.2 or 5.0 firmware possibilities..OR Z9II


Eric214 wrote:
I haven't had any issues with Pelicans, Cormorants. Easily well above 90% hit rate with Auto Area AF mode and Bid SD with Herons and Egrets, I only have an issue with it in AA AF mode and Bird SD when they extend the neck when standing, it likes to grab the body. If the neck is recoiled and S-shaped, I have zero issues with it grabbing the eye and 100% staying sticky. So for when they are flying, no issues either with AA AF mode and Bird SD



This matches my experience - I have Pelicans, Cormorants, and Blue/Night Herons in my area, the Z9 is glued to their eye/head 90%+ of the time, flying or perched. I'm almost always in Auto Area as well, and usually quite far away. I don't think we get any Egrets where I live. With the long necks, they have quite a distinct shape where I imagine is fairly easy for the AI subject detection to find the head.

The beauty of the custom area boxes is if for some reason you find yourself in an one-off scenario where Auto isn't working as well, you can just restrict the AF to an area such that there is almost no room for failure.



Feb 20, 2024 at 07:18 PM
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