How to Update Nikon Z8 Firmware

Keeping your camera’s firmware up-to-date gives you the benefit of the latest bug fixes and features. Here’s how to check the firmware version and update the firmware on the Nikon Z8.

Nikon Z8 Mirrorless Camera. Photo by David Coleman " havecamerawilltravel.com
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Filed Under: Mirrorless Cameras
Topics: Nikon, Nikon Z8

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Nikon released new firmware (C:Ver.1.01) for the Nikon Z8 in August 2023. You can download it here.

Modern digital cameras are basically small computers with optics. And surprisingly powerful ones at that. And just like any computer, they need to be programming instructions in order to know what to do.

A camera’s firmware is software code that works with the camera’s hardware to control features and functions. It controls everything from the color and fonts of the menu system to the available ISO range to the responsiveness of the auto-focusing system. So it’s an essential part of the camera’s functionality—it won’t work without it.

It’s also a way for camera manufacturers to make improvements to how a camera works after the camera has already been built and is in use (at least, they’re nearly always improvements, but there are some instances where things go in the wrong direction). They typically include bug fixes and sometimes new features.

So, in nearly all cases, it’s a very good idea to be running the latest firmware that’s available. It’s the version most likely to have any bugs squashed, any security glitches addressed, performance tweaks, as well as any new features added. 1

Like most cameras, however, the Nikon Z8 doesn’t automatically update its firmware when a new version is released, even though the camera has wireless functionality built-in. And while it’s not difficult to update a Z8’s firmware, it is a process you have to run manually. And there are some things to watch out for to reduce the risk of problems.

The first step is to find out what version of the firmware your Z8 is already running. You can then compare it to the version that Nikon makes available on their download page. If you already have the latest version, you’re good to go. If not, you can proceed to the firmware update process.

How to View the Nikon Z8’s Current Firmware Version

With the camera turned on, press the MENU button.

Scroll down to the SETUP MENU. That’s the one with the wrench/spanner icon.

Scroll to the end of that section until you come to the Firmware version item.

Press the OK button to open up the page displaying the versions. You’ll notice two entries there. The “C” version is the camera’s firmware. The “LF” is the lens’s firmware version. One of the innovations with some newer lenses, including Nikon’s new Z-mount lenses, is that the lenses can have their own firmware that can tweak their performance.

How to Update the Nikon Z8’s Firmware

There are two methods for updating the firmware of the Nikon Z8:

  1. using a computer (or tablet) using the memory card
  2. wirelessly through the SnapBridge app and a mobile device

I’m focusing here on the more traditional manual method using a computer and a memory card. While it is a manual focus, I find it ultimately quicker and more reliable. It works with a computer, but it also can work with some tablets that can accept a memory card reader. And, frankly, I am just not a fan of SnapBridge. 

The wireless method using SnapBridge is a good option if you’re on the road without access to a computer or memory card reader. But one advantage of SnapBridge is that it will show you when an update becomes available on the Nikon site. If you decide to use the SnapBridge method, that app will guide you through the firmware update process. 

You can find more details on the technical requirements on Nikon’s site.

Format a Memory Card in the Camera

Format a memory card in the camera. This will wipe everything on the card, so make sure you’ve backed any photos or videos before you start. While it’s not technically a requirement, starting the process with a freshly formatted card will reduce the risk of problems in running the firmware update.

Download the Firmware File

Using a computer, you’ll need to download and unpack the firmware file.

You can download the firmware for the Nikon Z8 here. The filename will be along the lines of Z_8_0101.bin.

Copy the .bin File to the Memory Card

Copy the .bin file from your computer to your memory card.

Make sure to put it in the root directory of the card. That is, make sure it’s in the top-most level and is not inside another folder. Don’t put it inside the DCIM folder, for instance—it should alongside it. 

Load the Firmware in the Camera

Once you’ve copied the .bin firmware file onto your memory card, insert the memory card into your camera and turn the camera on. Make sure your camera battery has plenty of charge left on it; you do not want it running out of power in the middle of the firmware update operation.

Then repeat the process of looking up the firmware version from above. That is, go to Setup Menu and then Firmware version.

If the camera has correctly identified the .bin file on the memory card, you’ll now see two new options appear on that screen: Update and Delete firmware update files.

You’ll get some on-screen instructions walking you through the rest of the operation. In this example, for instance, I’m updating from firmware v.1.00 to v.1.01.

So move the cursor up to Yes and click the OK button.

Important!

It’s very important that the camera not be interrupted while it’s updating the firmware. Doing so could render the camera inoperable (in other words: it can brick it because the firmware can be corrupted). So do not use any controls or turn the power off while it’s doing this, and make sure there’s plenty of battery charge before you start. You’ll see a progress bar and this warning on the Z8’s back screen:

Updating . . . Warning! Do not turn camera off during update. Update will take several minutes.

Once the update is complete, you’ll get the instructions on the screen that:

Update completed. Turn camera off.

You can now turn the camera back and check the firmware version to confirm that the operation was successful.

Next, it’s good practice to remove the firmware file from the memory card. You could do that in a computer with a card reader, of course, but the two safest options are to format the card in the camera or use the built-in “Delete firmware update files” function by going to Setup Menu > Firmware > Delete firmware update files.

Where to Find the Latest Nikon Z8 Firmware

You can find the latest Nikon Z8 firmware directly from Nikon’s download page for the Z8.

On that page, click on the firmware tab for a listing of the available downloads. That will give you a link to the specific page for downloading that firmware version, as well as the detailed changelog and instructions on how to update the Z8’s firmware.

Types of Firmware on the Nikon Z8

It’s not just the camera body that has firmware. These days, accessories such as lenses, flashes, teleconverters, electronic remotes, and even grips can come with firmware. 

This guide has been focusing on the C firmware, which is the code for the camera firmware. But there are several other types that you might see. You’ll only see these on the camera’s menu system if you have the relevant accessory attached. 

  • C – Camera firmware
  • LF – Lens firmware
  • MA – Mount adapter firmware
  • S – Speedlight / flash firmware
  • W – Wireless remote controller firmware
  • TC – Teleconverter firmware
  • RG – Remote grip firmware

If you need to update the firmware of one of these other types, you will have the option to select which firmware to update in the menu system. 

FAQs

Is it hard to update the firmware of a Nikon Z8?

No, it’s not difficult. There is a specific sequence of steps, but they’re straightforward and spelled out above. There is the potential for problems, but that’s really only if the process is interrupted midway through. So just be sure not to mess with the camera while it’s doing the update.

How often should you update the firmware of a Nikon Z8?

There’s no specific schedule for when manufacturers put out firmware updates. They put them out when they feel there’s something worth updating and when they think it’s ready. So it’s just a good idea to check in with the Z8’s official downloads page on Nikon’s website from time to time or keep an eye on photography news sites.

Nikon Z8 Manual & Firmware Updates

  • You can find the Nikon Z8 manual here [PDF]. There’s also an online reference guide.
  • You can find the latest Nikon Z8 firmware and related software updates here. Nikon released an updated version (C:Ver.1.01) on August 23, 2023.

Nikon Z8 Price & Availability

The Nikon Z8 was released in May 2023. For good reason, it has been highly sought after, so it might be worth getting on a waitlist sooner rather than later. 

The Z8 It packs many of the features of the flagship Z9 into a smaller form factor and is touted by Nikon as the true successor to the Nikon D850 DSLR (and also as “the ultimate hybrid camera”). 

It’s sold in various configurations, including:

Check the current availability and price at:

Nikon Z8 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera / Body Only
  • 45.7MP FX-Format Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • 8.3K 60p N-RAW, 4.1K 60p ProRes RAW
  • Lightweight Design, 30% Smaller than Z9
  • Up to 20 fps Raw, 30 fps JPEG Shooting
  • 493-Point AF, AI-Based Subject Detection
Nikon Z8 with NIKKOR Z 24-120mm ƒ/4 S Zoom Lens
  • with NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S Zoom Lens
  • 45.7MP FX-Format Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • 8.3K 60p N-RAW, 4.1K 60p ProRes RAW
  • Lightweight Design, 30% Smaller than Z9
  • Up to 20 fps Raw, 30 fps JPEG Shooting
  • 493-Point AF, AI-Based Subject Detection

Essential Accessories for the Nikon Z8

Some accessories are optional, but these are pretty much essential. And they don’t come with the camera as standard.

FTZ II Lens Mount Adapter

If you’re upgrading from a Nikon DSLR and have F-mount lenses you want to use on the Z8, don’t forget to pick up an FTZ II lens mount adapter. This lets you use Nikon / NIKKOR F-mount lenses on Nikon Z mirrorless camera bodies while retaining autofocus, stabilization, and other features. And because there’s no glass, there’s no impact on image quality or light loss.

Nikon FTZ II Mount Adapter
Allows use of Nikon F-mount lenses on Nikon Z mirrorless cameras with no loss of image quality.

Memory Cards for the Nikon Z8

The Nikon Z8 has two memory card slots. One takes CFexpress Type B or XQD memory cards. The other takes SD cards. I’ve put together a more detailed post on Nikon Z8 memory card recommendations, but here are some quick recommendations. 

Slot 1: CFexpress Type B 
SanDisk Extreme Pro (SDCFE) CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1200 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
ProGrade Digital Cobalt CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
Lexar Professional Gold Series CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1750 MB/s
Nikon 660 GB MC‑CF660G CFexpress Type B
  • Type: CFexpress Type B
  • Write Speed: 1500 MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
Slot 2: SDXC UHS-II V90
ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Write Speed: Up to 250 MB/s
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Write Speed: Up to 260 MB/s
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
Lexar Professional 2000x Gold V90 UHS-II SDXC
  • Type: SDXC UHS-II V90
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
  1. There are some exceptions, such as when firmware introduces compatibility issues or introduces manufacturer-instigated limitations such as not working with third-party batteries. But, as a general rule, it’s usually a good idea to keep the firmware up to date.[]

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David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

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