Nikon Z series' promised eye-detection feature has arrived with new 2.0 firmware

Nikon Z series firmware update
Image: Nikon (Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon’s promise of improving the performance of its Z7 and Z6 full-frame mirrorless cameras has been kept. We knew what to expect from the latest firmware update and the camera manufacturer has not disappointed.

Firmware version 2.0 for the Z7 and Z6 is now available, and focuses on improving, well, autofocus (AF) functionality in both cameras.

The most anticipated upgrade is the addition of eye detection when using the Auto-area AF mode in both single shot (AF-S) and continuous shooting (AF-C) modes. According to Nikon, the cameras will now be able to lock onto subjects’ eyes even when they’re moving, or partially obscured by another object. When photographing multiple subjects, focus can be shifted from one face to another (or between eyes) by pressing the multi-selector or sub-selector to the left or right.

An example of the new Continuous Eye-Detection AF in use. (Image credit: Nikon)

An example of the new Continuous Eye-Detection AF in use. (Image credit: Nikon) (Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has also extended the AF detection range for both Z series cameras, which should also improve autofocus performance in low-light situations. The Z7 can now focus down to -2EV (from -1EV) while the Z6 will be able to lock on to subjects at -3.5EV (a jump from -2EV). The new firmware takes it up a notch with the AF performance on the Z6 in even darker scenarios, with improvements to its dedicated Low Light AF mode, which has been extended from -4EV to a significantly dim -6EV.

The last upgrade that the 2.0 firmware brings is auto-exposure (AE) tracking when using the extended burst mode. Earlier, auto exposure was locked with the first shot, but now the cameras will be able to meter the scene between frames and adjust exposure accordingly, resulting in more consistent shots through the entire burst (12fps for the Z7 and 9fps for the Z6).

The new Nikon firmware is free to download and is available from Nikon's Download Center.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.