Nikon Z 9 Firmware 3.0 and New N-Log LUT Released

November 3rd, 2022 Jump to Comment Section 2
Nikon Z 9 Firmware 3.0 and New N-Log LUT Released

Nikon has just released firmware version 3.0 for their flagship mirrorless camera, the Z 9. On the video side, it adds a new Hi-Res Zoom function as well as the ability to wirelessly sync timecode via Bluetooth with the ATOMOS UltraSync BLUE. The N-Log to Rec.709 LUT has also been improved and is now available to download for free.

Nikon’s top-of-the-line mirrorless model, the Z 9 (our review here), keeps improving with age. Back in April, the camera received a major firmware update (v2.0) that added the ability to internally record 12-bit N-RAW at up to 8.3K60p and ProRes RAW HQ up to 4.1K60p.

Despite the on-going dispute with RED over RAW patents, with firmware 3.0 the Z 9 retains its RAW video capabilities, plus it gains several new functionalities for both stills and video. In this article we will focus on the new video-centric features, but you can find the full firmware release notes here. Let’s take a closer look!

Nikon Z 9 firmware 3.0: features

One of the most interesting additions that come with firmware 3.0 is the introduction of a new digital zoom function called “Hi-Res Zoom”. If you’re shooting for a 4K or FullHD deliverable, you can now take advantage of the high-res 8K sensor to zoom in up to 2x while recording.

Nikon Z 9 body. Source: Nikon

This operation can be performed in several different ways, such as using the camera’s multi-selector or front Fn1/Fn2 buttons, or even the Control or Fn rings found on selected NIKKOR zoom lenses. 3 different speed settings are available in-camera to adjust zoom speed.

Nikon Z 9’s Hi-Res Zoom function. Source: Nikon Z 9 Reference Guide

This new function seems pretty convenient as it can effectively turn prime lenses into parfocal zooms. Moreover, Nikon claims that the Hi-Res Zoom tool does not impact image quality.

Timecode sync via Bluetooth

Apparently, with firmware 3.0 Nikon wants to turn the Z 9 into a production powerhouse even for multi-camera scenarios. Indeed, this software update also brings new timecode options that can come in handy to sync multiple Z 9 units together or even create communication with other timecode-enabled devices.

Nikon Z 9’s Connect to ATOMOS AirGlu BT menu. Source: Nikon Z 9 Reference Guide

To start off, users can now reset the camera’s timecode remotely using the WR-R10 trigger. Moreover, wireless timecode sync with the ATOMOS UltraSync BLUE is now enabled over Bluetooth.


Better AF, precise shutter speed, and more

Other noteworthy enhancements include improved autofocus performance, especially when working with low-light and low-contrast scenes. Furthermore, a High-frequency Flicker Reduction option, which was first introduced to stills mode with firmware v2.1, is now joining the Video Recording Menu.

Lastly, users can now dial in their shutter speed with a precision of 1/196th of a stop. This should help avoid flickering when shooting with challenging light sources.

Improved N-Log LUT

Along with this Z 9 camera firmware update, Nikon also released a new version (1.04) of their N-Log to Rec.709 LUT. As my colleague Gunther pointed out in our Lab Test, the existing LUT produces results that are way too saturated. My recent personal experience with footage shot on the Z 9 confirms his position.

Fortunately, we should now have a fix. Indeed, according to Nikon, color reproduction, shadows, and highlights have been revised for the new LUT. I’m curious to try it out on my own footage to see if the new LUT actually provides more pleasant, natural results.

Price and availability

The latest Z 9 3.0 firmware is now available to download free of charge from this page on Nikon’s website. The new N-Log 3D LUT can also be found in their Download Center and is free to download and use. Lastly, the Nikon Z 9 body is currently listed on B&H for $5,496.95.

For more information about firmware 3.0, check out this Nikon Z 9 Reference Guide.

Have you ever shot on the Nikon Z 9? What do you think about the new additions that come with firmware 3.0? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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