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How to add the latest Nikon firmware update to your camera

Watch video: How to add the latest Nikon firmware update

Just as your computer (or phone or tablet)'s functionality is governed by its operating system (OS), your camera's firmware affects how your it controls. And in the same way that updating the OS to the latest version can give your Mac or PC a new lease of life, ensuring that your camera’s firmware is up to date can endow it with powerful new functions and crucial bug fixes. 

Firmware updates 

to the Nikon Z6 / Nikon Z7 improve low-light performance, add Raw video support, enable the use of CFexpress cards, and add face- and eye-tracking autofocus tech. Recent 

Watch video: How to add the latest Nikon firmware update

Just as your computer (or phone or tablet)'s functionality is governed by its operating system (OS), your camera's firmware affects how your it controls. And in the same way that updating the OS to the latest version can give your Mac or PC a new lease of life, ensuring that your camera’s firmware is up to date can endow it with powerful new functions and crucial bug fixes. 

Firmware updates do everything from adding CFexpress compatibility and Raw video support, to improving autofocus and low light performance – as well as cleaning up bugs, incompatibilities and other foibles that slip through the cracks when a camera is released.

• Read more: What are firmware updates and do I really need them?

For this tutorial, we’ll be updating our Nikon Z7, and exploring the new features of the firmware, but the general principles are the same whatever Nikon model you have, should a new firmware update be released for it.

In fact, it makes sense to always make sure you’re up to date. Updating can not only unlock new features for your camera, but also iron out glitches in performance and can even make cameras safer – in the case of security flaws that could be exploited by hackers being fixed. Here’s how we got on updating our Z7…

Step by step: How to install a Nikon firmware update

01. Do you need to update?

The first thing to do is check your camera’s firmware version. Press the Menu button and go to the Setup Menu and select Firmware Version to display this. Go to https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.comand click through the menus for the product you want to update. We clicked Mirrorless Cameras > Z Series > Z 7 > Firmware > View Download Page.

02. Download the update

If the version number of the update supersedes the version on your camera, you can download the update. You’ll then get a choice of a Windows or Mac update – pick the option for what you use. Check the ‘Accept’ box to agree to the terms and conditions, and click Download. The file will be downloaded to your computer’s hard drive (usually the ‘Downloads’ folder).

03. Install the update

Format a memory card in your camera. Find and double-click the downloaded file (on a Mac it will be a DMG file, on a PC it’s an EXE file) to extract the firmware. Copy the .bin file into the ‘root’ folder (the topmost folder, and not a subfolder) of the freshly formatted card via a card reader, then pop it into your camera. Again, select Firmware Version from the Setup Menu, and select the Update option. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the firmware.

04. Update your manual

The downloads page highlights the differences between previous firmware updates and the extra features at your disposal. However, the printed manual that came with your camera obviously won’t have this new information. You can download a PDF version of the updated manual, but a better option is to get Nikon’s free Manual Viewer 2 app (for iOS and Android) then download the new manual.

05. Explore the features

Some features automatically upgrade the performance of your camera, but without presenting additional functions. For example, going from Z firmware version 1.0 to 2.20 dramatically increases low-light performance, AE tracking works through every shot in a burst sequence rather than just the initial frame, and enables the camera to use the long-awaited CFexpress card format, as well as XQD cards.

About N-Photo magazine

This tutorial originally appeared in N-Photo, the monthly newsstand magazine for Nikon photographers. Why not subscribe to a print edition, and have the magazine delivered direct to your door every month?

Alternatively, we have a number of different digital options available, including:

• Apple app (for iPad or iPhone)
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If you wanted a printed version of any of our most recent issues we have a selection of back issues to choose from in our online store.

Read more: 

Nikon Z7 review
Best CFexpress cards
Best Nikon cameras