Firmware Version 2.0 for the Z8

Nikon have just announced firmware version 2 for the Z8 which brings some highly anticipated features from the Z9 and Zf. There is one I’m particularly excited to try out.

The biggest updates included in this firmware release are a dedicated AF subject detection mode for birds, pixel shift shooting, and the one I’m really excited about, auto capture.

Bird Subject Detection

The Z8 already has a number of AF subject detection settings including people, vehicles and airplanes. This update adds a dedicated bird subject detection option. This is the same option that was added to the Z9 in firmware version 4.10 that was released in October 2023.

I’ve only had chance to test it briefly in my garden, but so far I’m impressed. The hit rate seems to have increased substantially and it also seems to lock on a lot quicker. Below are a couple of images I captured.

Auto Capture

As I said earlier, this is the new feature I’m most excited about that’s coming in firmware version 2. I do a fair bit of wildlife photography and practice in my garden.

Early on in my photography journey, I tried multiple different ways to set up a camera trap. I couldn’t afford the longer range zoom lenses required to fill the frame with small garden birds and they’re too nervous to let you get any close. My solution was to try and place my camera close to a perch and then either trigger it remotely, or automatically with a beam sensor. I met with limited success.

I have high hopes for auto capture, but I’m under no illusion it probably going to take a fair bit of trial and error to get decent results. I’m hoping to try it out this weekend, weather permitting.

Pixel Shift Shooting

This feature is one that’s highly anticipated, but which I know very little about. A brief search gave me the following explanation.

Pixel shift is a method in digital cameras for producing a super resolution image. The method works by taking several images, after each such capture moving (“shifting”) the sensor to a new position. In digital colour cameras that employ pixel shift, this avoids a major limitation inherent in using Bayer pattern for obtaining colour, and instead produces an image with increased colour resolution and, assuming a static subject or additional computational steps, an image free of colour moiré.

I won’t go into any more technical detail here. If you want to know more about pixel shift shooting, you can go down that rabbit hole on your own. You can start with the Wikipedia article I grabbed the above information from.

This does sound like something that would be useful in my landscape photography. Judging by the excitement about the update online, there are a lot of people that have been waiting for it. I’ll get round to trying it out eventually but I’m not sure when my next landscape outing will be.

Upgrading to Firmware Version 2

It you want to download the Z8 firmware version 2, it’s available from Nikon’s website. The upgrade process is no different to any other Nikon upgrade. The download contains a step by step guide.

There is also.a full list of all the changes included with this update and there’s a lot more than I’ve gone through in this post. I’ve really just talked about the headline makers and the ones that are of interest to me.

Take a look for yourself and let me know what the biggest updates are for you down in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, have a good one.

Andy Signature