Nikon has some much-anticipated news for Z-series videographers: starting today, Z6 and Z7 owners can send their cameras to a Nikon Service Center for a paid upgrade to add Raw video output. The company has also released firmware v.2.20 for the Z6/Z7 today, adding support for CFexpress memory cards.

First announced earlier this year, the paid upgrade brings 12-bit 4K or Full HD ProRes Raw video recording with the Atomos Ninja V recorder to both the Z6 and Z7, which were previously limited to 10-bit Log over HDMI. While 12 months is a fairly long time to wait, it's probably no coincidence that this announcement comes after the recent settling of a long-running dispute between Apple and RED over the patent to Raw video. This may also explain why the update is paid, rather than available for free.

However, those who purchased the Z6 as part of the Filmmaker's kit can receive the update at no charge; all other Z6 and Z7 owners must pay $200 for the service. Nikon USA has published a dedicated Raw video page explaining the requirements and instructions for obtaining the upgrade.

Nikon Z6 Filmmaker kit

Additionally, firmware v.2.20 for the Z6 and Z7 arrives today, enabling use of the faster CFexpress memory cards. Since the cards are physically the same dimensions as XQD, there's no need to modify the cameras to make them compatible with the new format. The company also says it will add CFexpress support to the Nikon D5 (XQD-type), D850 and D500 at a later date.

Nikon Z6 and Z7 firmware version 2.20 is available starting today free of charge – visit Nikon's firmware page to learn more.

NIKON Z SERIES EVOLVES TO BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL: FIRMWARE VER. 2.20 RELEASED, ADDS SUPPORT FOR CFexpress MEMORY CARDS;
PAID SERVICE TO INSTALL RAW VIDEO OUTPUT FUNCTION ALSO BEGINS

MELVILLE, NY (December 16, 2019 at 11:00 P.M. EST) – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of firmware Ver. 2.20 for the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 full-frame mirrorless cameras. This firmware update offers several improvements that make these cameras even more powerful, including the addition of support for the next generation memory card, CFexpress. Additionally, Nikon has announced that beginning today, service to install RAW video output functionality will be available for those wishing to add enhanced professional video capabilities.

Support for CFexpress, the New Standard for Speed and Durability
Updating Z 7 and Z 6 firmware to Ver. 2.20 enables the use*1 of CFexpress*2 cards. CFexpress cards are robust and reliable, and support even faster data transfer than XQD cards for a smoother and more efficient photographic workflow.

CFexpress cards use a similar form factor to XQD, eliminating the need to physically modify the camera's memory card slot. After upgrading, users will be able to use CFexpress as well as XQD cards in their camera interchangeably. In addition to the Z 7 and Z 6, CFexpress memory card support will be added to the Nikon D5 (XQD-Type), Nikon D850 and Nikon D500 digital SLR cameras in the future.

Initially, only limited CFexpress card types are fully supported and the number of supported cards will continue to expand as additional cards are tested and certified (Type B CFexpress cards manufactured only by Sony Corp. Availability date for the cards may vary by market).

RAW video output function (4K UHD and Full HD)
Developed in conjunction with Atomos, this capability enables recording of RAW video, which has greater flexibility for color grading compared to other video formats.

With this upgrade, 12-bit 4K UHD or full-HD RAW video can be recorded*3 to select models of Atomos video recorders*4 connected to a Z 7 or Z 6 camera via a HDMI connector. As RAW video is not subjected to in-camera processing, all information that is outputted from the image sensor is preserved. This abundance of information can later be used in post-production.

The RAW video output capability upgrade can be installed at a Nikon service center and will incur a fee but will be included free of charge as part of Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s kit bundles. Those customers in the United States who have already purchased a Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s kit (Product #13545) will be eligible to have the fee waived (proof of purchase required). For more details about the Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s kit, please visit here.

For additional technical information, equipment requirements and instructions on requesting the RAW video output upgrade, please visit: www.nikonusa.com/RAWvideo.

Price and Availability
The firmware update Ver. 2.20 which enables CFexpress functionality is available now, free of charge. Please visit The Nikon Z series Firmware update page to download and find more information.

The RAW video output upgrade is available starting today and will require installation by a Nikon Service Center. A $199.95* fee will apply.

For more information on the latest Nikon products, including the Nikon Z mount system, please visit www.nikonusa.com. 

*1 Type B CFexpress cards manufactured by Sony Corp. only. Operation is not guaranteed with cards from other manufacturers (as of December 2019).
*2 CFexpress is a trademark of the CompactFlash Association.
*3 With the Z 7, full-HD RAW video can be recorded using the FX-based movie format, and 4K UHD RAW video can be recorded using the DX-based movie format.
When the Z 6 is used, recording of either 4K UHD or full-HD RAW video is possible with both FX- and DX-based movie formats.
See the cameras' Technical Guide, available from the Download Center, for details on differences between Z 7 and Z 6 specifications.
Nikon Download Center (https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/index.html)
*4 The Atomos Ninja V supports Nikon RAW video output, and records videos in ProRes RAW format. Operation is not guaranteed with recorders other than the Ninja V (as of December 2019). RAW video output from a Nikon camera is supported by Ninja V firmware Ver. 10.2 and later.
See the Ninja V firmware download site (https://www.atomos.com/firmware/ninja-v).
*5 See our website for instructions on requesting the RAW output options activation service (www.nikonusa.com/RAWvideo).
*Pricing and availability of the service will vary by region