The Nikon Z8 is one of the best high-end full-frame mirrorless cameras, and Nikon has now released its first major firmware update. The company has also announced a new version of its tethering software, which transfers images to a monitor as you take them, and has removed the charge for certain features.

Version 2.00 of the firmware for the Nikon Z8 includes functions also found in the Nikon Z9 and the Nikon Zf. First up is a dedicated Birds feature, which has been added to the Z8’s AF subject-detection options. Nikon claims this boosts bird-detection performance in a variety of high-contrast backgrounds, including forests and mountains and in various states – flying or perched.

Nikon Z8 egret in flight sample image
Bird photography fans should welcome the subject detection update

Then there is boosted Auto Capture functionality which introduces automatic shooting for both still images and video by pre-configuring auto capture criteria, including motion, distance, and subject detection. These options can be used either separately or together, according to your needs.

Additionally, there is a new pixel shift shooting function, using dedicated software to merge multiple raw files. ‘This is ideal for capturing the finest details in subjects with complex designs – such as buildings and art pieces, with precise rendering of the subject’s colours, textures, and structures,’ the company claims.

Another new feature for portrait photographers is the Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control, which enhances the tones in a portrait while retaining fine details. Nikon Z8 users can now assign further functions and operations to custom control and have the option to exit zoom with a half-press release which improves the camera’s general usability.

James Bay at BST Hyde Park by Ethan Hart. Nikon Z8, 70-200mm lens
James Bay at BST Hyde Park by Ethan Hart. Nikon Z8, 70-200mm lens

To access the free firmware update and find out more about the full range of additions, click here.

New version of the NX Tether software – and it’s now totally free

Nikon NX Tether new version
The Nikon NX Tether software in use. Credit: Nikon

Version 2.0.0 of Nikon’s tethering software for MacOS and Windows now offers the following features:

· Support for still-image and video recording

· Functions that were available for a charge with Camera Control Pro 2 are now available for free

· Addition of a live view display, adding greater versatility and convenience to remote tethered shooting from a computer

· Camera operation functions for control over shooting settings that are unique to Nikon, such as Picture Control and Active D-Lighting

· Users can select the format (JPEG, RAW, HEIF) in which images are recorded. When recording to both card slots (RAW + JPEG or HEIF), the user can choose to have only the JPEG or HEIF images transferred to the computer

· Wireless control is also possible by using the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi to connect to the computer with Nikon’s free Wireless Transmitter Utility software

· Supports an efficient workflow with the switch between still-image and video shooting, and a multi-functional yet simple and easy-to-use user interface

· The application window layout can be arranged to suit the user’s preferences for flexible use in any situation.

The new versions of the software supports the Nikon D6 and D780 DSLRs, and the Z9, Z8, Z7II, Z6II, Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras.

Further reading
The best Nikon mirrorless cameras
Nikon Z8 vs Nikon Z9