Professional videographers and filmmakers might just be cheering if they intend to capture in RAW, as Nikon adds a feature, if you don’t mind paying extra.
Today’s still cameras are also video cameras, as the two categories come together. You know that, and probably rely on your phone camera to capture your regular assortment of images and video, but it’s often the same for pros.
In fact, unless they’re using broadcast-style cameras used for TV and large filmmaking, videographers and filmmakers are possibly using digital SLR and mirrorless cameras to make their productions, and those are made for both.
You can snap away as a photographer would, and you can film with lens control, essentially giving you the best of both worlds.
But one thing pro-grade cameras tend to have over the mirrorless ilk is support for RAW video. Even though big mirrorless cameras get RAW photo support for the most amount of image flexibility, RAW video is generally lacking.
For folks who don’t know, “RAW” is the term photographers and videographers use when a camera captures more information than just the scene as it is.
RAW imagery typically provides not so much a detailed shot, but a shot with more information captured from the digital sensor, allowing you to change the amount of light exposure and shadows without as easily blowing out the scene. It’s what professional photographers typically rely on because it gives them more control, and that’s what it can do in the video space as well. However, it’s something not many mirrorless cameras arrive with, forcing filmmakers to jump to the more expensive cameras by Blackmagic and RED, which can handle that natively and are pitched more for filmmakers.
Nikon looks to be providing another option, however, updating its Z6 and Z7 mirrorless camera models to support the technology thanks to a firmware update and a catch.
The 2.20 firmware update released this week for the Z6 and Z7 enables faster CFexpress cards, and also brings with it a paid upgrade if you’re willing to fork out for it.
If you’re happy to pay $319, you can send that Z6 or Z7 to Nikon’s office in Sydney, and Nikon will activate the Full HD RAW and 4K RAW video functionality for your camera. You won’t be able to capture the RAW video data to a card, though, and will need an external device, the Atomos Ninja V, a screen with solid-state storage inside.
As to why the upgrade is one that costs money as opposed to just a standard release, it’s likely this is a hardware service job, so someone needs to install something to make the Nikon cameras work with RAW video, which in this case is the Apple ProRes RAW video codec, something Nikon advises only presently works with Final Cut Pro, which also only works on Macs.
However if you’ve been looking for a way to capture and cut RAW video, this could just be a way to get into that system, especially now that the Z6 body can be found for under $3000 locally.