Today, Nikon announced firmware update 2.0 for the flagship Z9 mirrorless camera. We’ll unpack what’s been announced, what we like, and what improvements we’d still like to see in the Nikon Z9. The new firmware will be available on April 20th, and has lots of major improvements for both still and video capture.
The complete settings guide to bird and wildlife photography with the Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera
I’m pleased to announce the official release of my newest PDF eBook, Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9. This comprehensive guide has all of the settings and customizations I use for bird and wildlife photography with the Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera. But this book is more than just a list of settings. I will walk you through not just which settings I recommend, but why I recommend them.
Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9 offers an in-depth look at the inner workings of the Nikon Z9 autofocus system, with detailed descriptions of all of its customizations. You’ll also learn how to optimize the buttons and controls on the Nikon Z9 for bird and wildlife photography, plus everyday settings. I’ve included sample configurations for both regular (shutter) and back button focusing setups, too. You’ll get shooting settings for exposure, frame rate, and metering for all types of bird photography scenarios, including birds in flight.
Beyond the camera settings, you’ll also get my tips and tricks for capturing dynamic bird photos with the Nikon Z9, and ways to improve your photography.
Includes a custom Nikon Z9 camera settings file, Adobe Lightroom develop presets, and a structured keyword list of over 10,000 bird species
Is 20+ frames per second really necessary in wildlife photography?
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Wildlife photographers love mirrorless cameras because many of them offer incredibly fast frame capture rates. I recently got the new Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, and one of its best features is its ability to shoot RAW at up to 20 frames per second (fps) with no viewfinder blackout. Other mirrorless cameras, like the Sony A1 and Canon R3 offer frame rates as high as 30 fps. The appeal of such fast burst rates for still photography is that these speeds increase the probability that you’ll capture a moment of peak action, or a dynamic animal pose.
The downside to capturing images at these high frame rates is the sheer volume of images you’ll end up with. Not only will you fill your memory cards faster, but you’ll also have to slog through hundreds or even thousands of shots in your triage/culling workflow. Another challenge with setting your camera to high-speed frame advance is that it becomes nearly impossible to fire off a single shot. Even with practice and good shutter release technique, once the camera is set to capture images at greater than 12 fps, shooting individual images is really difficult.
Obviously, there are certain subjects and situations that call for fast burst rates, and for most wildlife photographers, flying birds are most frequently that subject. In most wildlife photography scenarios, super-fast frame rates just lead to lots of redundant images. But when you’re trying to capture flying birds, high frame rates do offer an advantage.