Nikon has released a trio of firmware updates for its Z6, Z7 and Z50 mirrorless cameras. Aside from the Z50, the Z6 and Z7 updates bring a number of major new and improved features, including improved usability of the cameras' subject tracking mode, animal-detection autofocus (AF), expanded CFexpress and more.

Firmware version 3.00 for both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 are identical across the board in the new features and functionality they bring to the camera systems. First, Nikon has added support for ProGrade and Lexar CFexpress (Type B) memory cards. Nikon has also added a new animal-detection AF, meaning the Z6 and Z7 ‘can now detect and focus on the faces and eyes of dogs and cats,’ even in movie capture mode.

Perhaps the biggest improvement is in the subject-tracking AF mode, the usability of which has never been as simple or as robust as the signature '3D-tracking' mode found on the company's DSLRs. First, you can activate and deactivate subject tracking using the Fn1 or Fn2 buttons on the camera body or barrel of the lens when using compatible Z-mount lenses. More importantly, Nikon has changed the behavior of the camera when in subject-tracking AF mode to make it more resemble the experience of 3D-tracking on Nikon DSLRs. In Nikon’s own words:

‘Subject tracking for still shooting in AF-C mode has been modified to provide a more familiar operational feel similar to that of 3D-tracking feature built into Nikon DSLR cameras. To enable the feature, users can hold the AF-ON button or half-press the shutter-release button to initiate. Subject tracking disengages when users take their finger off the button, causing the camera to switch back to the original focus point before subject tracking began. Additionally, the transition from the Auto-area AF display to the subject selection display can be assigned to a custom control button, allowing for a more customized user-experience.’

Subject-tracking AF is still not its own AF area mode as 3D-tracking is on Nikon DSLRs (you have to toggle in and out of it from within Auto-area mode), and face and eye detection do not work when using subject-tracking mode. The latter was our major complaint as we tested the major firmware update that brought eye detection to the Z-series, and it's unfortunate this limitation still persists, especially when you consider that face detection works well in conjunction with 3D-tracking on the company's recent DSLRs.

Other changes include a new custom settings, support for the focus limit switch on select Z-mount lenses (only the Nikkor Z 70–200mm F2.8 VR S offers it at this time), and improved responsiveness when switching to manual focus ‘when the focus or control ring on a Z mount lens is rotated during autofocus.’ Fixes have also been made for viewfinder brightness issues, Bluetooth connection issues on iOS and a rare phenomenon wherein horizontal lines could appear across photographs captured with the device.

Moving onto firmware version 1.10 for the Z50 mirrorless camera, Nikon has added the same focus limit switch option as it did on the Z6 and Z7, and movies shot in self-portrait mode are now filmed using full-time autofocus (AF-F), regardless of what option is selected for the current autofocus mode.

You can download the latest firmware updates for the Z6, Z7 and Z50 on Nikon’s website.