Atomos has been working hard on its Christmas gifts this year by updating Ninja V for RAW recording on both the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. This is now by far the most afforable way to obtain full-frame raw recording.
This is, as the Atomos press release rightly states, the first time that raw recording has been available on a full-frame camera with full IBIS stabilisation. ProRes RAW is quickly becoming established as a highly practical way of shooting due to the efficient and speedy way in which it can be edited. Something unheard of for more traditional raw formats.
The update allows the Z 6 to record 4Kp24/25/30 UHD or up to 60p at 1080p resolution in both FX and DX formats. The Z 7 is slightly more limited, with full frame recording available at up to 1080p60, while 4K24/25/30 is restricted to DX (cropped) format.
The AtomOS 10.2 firmware update for the Ninja V to enable this capability is available now. Updating the cameras themselves is a bit more involved with a trip to a service centre required after having updated to the V2.20 firmware. If you are in the Americas or Europe and have already purchased the Z 6 Filmmakers Kit or Essential Movie Kit, the camera update is free with proof of purchase. Other users will need to purchase the update at $199.95 (£179) plus shipping. Nikon are stating a turnaround of three business days once the upgrade has been performed.
That the update has been released in 2019 makes this year rather exceptional in terms of the choices offered for users. Some form of raw recording is now becoming almost a required standard, so it will be interesting to see how other manufacturers respond, especially given that the capability has also been enabled on the much less video focussed Z 7.
Currently the Nikon Z 6 can be purchased with s 24-70mm lens for $2296, or in the UK for around £1850, with the body only available for $1696 (£1510). Even with the firmware upgrade price, this makes it by far the least expensive way, and at the moment the only budget way, to record full-frame raw video. This fact will not be lost on potential purchasers who are weighing up the pros and cons of each system out there, not least because of the adaptability of the Z Mount to both current modern lenses and a whole back catalogue of vintage Nikon glass.
At present the update is only available on the Ninja V with no word on other recorders in the range. However the Ninja V is understandably the most practical monitor/recorder to be using with a mirrorless camera of the size of the Z 6.
To see how the new update performs, watch the videos below showing how to set up the Z 6 properly for ProRes RAW shooting, as well as some results, albeit with YouTube compression applied. However the difficult lighting hue used in the video shows how the camera is coping with what is a very tricky type of lighting for any camera to record. Meanwhile, if you're a Ninja V/Z 6 user, the Ninja update can be downloaded from the company's website here.