Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Bird Photography with Nikon Z mirrorless cameras

Autofocus settings for birds in flight with Nikon Z cameras

Brown pelican in flight, captured with a Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera and 200-500mm f/5.6E VR zoom Nikkor lens.

I’m back from my third annual San Diego Birding & Wildlife photo workshop, and this year I decided to use the workshop as a testing ground for the Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. Ever since the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras were released, the general consensus seems to be that their hybrid phase/contrast autofocus system was great for everything except fast moving subjects, like flying birds. I decided to test the Z6 myself and see how well it could perform in the field in real-world conditions.

For four days I put the Z6 through its paces, and came away with the conclusion that by tweaking the autofocus settings, you can nail BIFs with this camera almost as well as I could with my tried and true Nikon D850 DSLR. The trick is to customize your autofocus settings to something other than the defaults, and the settings I chose will actually seem counter-intuitive. More on that in a moment.

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Nikon Z6 & Z7 Firmware Updates

How to update the firmware in a Nikon Z mirrorless camera

Nikon has released updated firmware version C 2.10 for the Z6 and Z7 mirrorless digital cameras. In addition to bug fixes, this firmware update also adds support for the two new DX format Z-mount lenses, the 16-50mm and 50-250mm zooms released with the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera.

Updating the firmware on a Nikon Z mirrorless camera is fairly straightforward. To do so, you’ll need:

  • A formatted XQD memory card
  • An XQD card reader for your computer
  • A fully charged EN-EL15 battery
  • Nikon firmware update file

After downloading the firmware update, copy the binary (.bin) file to the ROOT (main) directory of the XQD card. Put the card in your camera and navigate to the Firmware Version option in the Z6 or Z7’s SETUP (wrench icon) menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to update your firmware to the current version (currently 2.10).

Updating the firmware in the Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras

Get more of Jason’s Nikon tips and tricks here

Reminder: Set your Camera Clocks back for Standard Time

It’s quick and easy if your camera offers a DST function

Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended in North America on Sunday, November 3rd. That means, we’re back on Standard Time until March 8th, 2020. You probably forgot to change the clock on your camera, though!

Having the correct date and time set in your camera is important because the time stamp that’s embedded in your digital images can be used for record-keeping, and to sync up with GPS track logs.

Most cameras today offer an easy way to set the clock for Daylight Savings Time

Changing your camera’s clock is easy if it has a Daylight Savings Time function (Nikon Z7 shown)

First, find the “Time and Date” menu item in your camera’s settings. Next, see if there is a Daylight Savings or “DST” option. If so, simply set it to OFF and your camera’s clock will “fall back” one hour. If it was already set to OFF, then you’ll need to manually adjust the camera clock. In spring, when DST returns, change the DST setting to ON.

In the fall, set DST to OFF. Change it to ON in the spring!

Easy-peasy!

Tips for the Traveling Photographer

These little tidbits will save a lot of headaches if you travel with your camera

In October 2010, I made the decision to pursue my photography career full-time. Since then, travel has become an important component of my business. As you might imagine, traveling with your camera gear adds a layer of complexity to any plans you may have. Whether its dealing with airport security or just figuring out how to pack everything so it is safe, there are lots of little things that can make your travel experience easier. Here are some of my favorite travel tips.

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