Nikon Z8's first MAJOR firmware update gives big performance boost

Nikon Z8
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has released the first major firmware update for the Nikon Z8 since its release back in May 2023, adding an array of features to boost both performance and functionality. 

The Nikon Z8 is listed among the best Nikon cameras and for good reason, as it is essentially Nikon's flagship Z9 in a smaller more compact (and affordable) body. The major firmware update released by Nikon will add further improvements that will delight existing users but also turn the heads of thoses searching for their first mirrorless camera. 

Nikon states, that the update "realizes significant enhancements with the addition of cutting-edge still-image and video functions found in the latest Nikon cameras, including the mirrorless flagship Nikon Z9, and the Nikon Zf".

Nikon Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control (Image credit: Nikon)

The update is so significant that there is too much to fit within this article, so I have highlighted a few standout features:

Nikon Z8 (Ver.2.00.)

Bird Detect AF

AF enhancements are always among the most welcomed in firmware updates, especially with the rocky start the Z series had with AF. It appears for the most part Nikon has more than made up for it, and the new addition of a bird option to the Z8's AF subject-detection options will delight birders and wildlife photographers. Nikon states that the new update will increase detection, tracking, and AF performance even against the most complicated background.

Auto Capture Function

This is an additional shooting mode 'enabling the automatic shooting of stills and video when the subject meets one or more pre-configured criteria'. The three criteria that can be configured are Motion - detecting subjects that move in a determined direction, Distance - the option to start shooting when a subject comes within a set distance(s), and Subject Detection - triggering when a certain subject such as animal, human or vehicle comes into the frame.

Rich Tone Portrait Picture Control

This option increases the richness of color tones while retaining natural skin tones when shooting portraits. Nikon states that this is "ideal for the creation of a base image in scenes where retouching is presumed, such as at weddings and for studio photography". Nikon also added that this mode is enhanced further when used in conjunction with the best Nikon portrait lenses such as the Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S and the signature Nikon Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena.

Other Notable Features

Several other updates improve operability and functionality. An increase in the number of functions that can be assigned to the customization control, an option to increase and decrease the width of focus-point borders, and an option that allows users to choose not to record shooting orientation information in image EXIF data has been added. These are just a few with the full list available to view on the download page.

Overall this is a major firmware update for the Nikon Z8 and I haven't even touched on the improved video recording, playback, display, and app-related changes. I would highly recommend that Z8 users go through the quick operation of updating to this firmware. For those who are unsure about how to do so, Nikon has a great step-by-step guide that is easy to follow, found on the download page.

For more information regarding Nikon equipment, you might be interested in our guides for the best cheap Nikon deals, the best Nikon wide-angle zoom lenses, and the best Nikon lenses for portraits

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.