How to Update Nikon Zf 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 Zf.

Nikon Z f. Photo by David Coleman - havecamerawilltravel.com
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Filed Under: Mirrorless Cameras
Topics: Nikon, Nikon Zf

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Quick Summary

  • New firmware (C:Ver.1.10) released in November 2023.
  • Manual update needed; doesn’t update automatically.
  • Two methods: computer with memory card reader or SnapBridge app.
  • Avoid interruptions during update; make sure battery is charged.

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 Zf 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 Zf’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.

Step 1: How to Check the Nikon Zf’s Current Firmware Version

The first step is to find out what version of the firmware your Zf 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.

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.

Screenshot of Nikon Zf Menu System for Firmware version

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.

Screenshot of Nikon Zf Menu System for firmware version number

Step 2: How to Update the Nikon Zf’s Firmware

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

  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 up 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 Zf here. The filename will be along the lines of Z_f_0110_01.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 topmost level and is not inside another folder. Don’t put it inside the DCIM folder, for instance—it should be alongside it. 

Screenshot of Nikon Zf Menu System for adding bin firmware file to SD card

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.

Screenshot of Nikon Zf Menu System for update firmware version

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.

Screenshot of Nikon Zf Menu System for update current firmware

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

Warning!

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 Zf’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 Zf Firmware

Nikon released new firmware for the Nikon Zf on November 16, 2023. It added slow-motion video recording and fixed a viewfinder display issue.

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

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 Zf’s firmware.

Types of Firmware on the Nikon Zf

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. 

Nikon Zf Firmware FAQs

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

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 Zf?

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 Zf’s official downloads page on Nikon’s website from time to time or keep an eye on photography news sites.

  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

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

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