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Nikon planning trio of fall firmware updates  
Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

Nikon is planning firmware updates for three of its digital SLRs that will bring some of the new features of the D2Xs to earlier models. The D2X, D2Hs and D200 will see their functionality grow, to varying degrees, when the new firmware is released later this year.

The D2X, says Steve Heiner of Nikon USA, will receive the lion's share of the D2Xs' enhancements, including additional increments between ISO 800 and ISO 1600 (aka H 1), autofocus algorithm changes, a FUNC button that can serve dual purposes, the ability to verify image files using Nikon's Image Authentication Software and more.

Thirteen changes in all are in the works for the D2X, nine of which will also make their way into the D2Hs. The D200 will gain one new feature: image authentication. The D200's firmware revision will also add support for the upcoming Wireless Transmitter WT-3/WT-3A.

The table below summarizes the firmware changes being developed for the D2X, D2Hs and D200. A block_10x10.jpg square indicates that the camera will gain this feature courtesy of the fall firmware injection. A block_10x10_blue.jpg square means that the camera has a similar or identical feature already.

Planned feature addition/camera model
H 0.3 (ISO 1000), H 0.5 (ISO 1100), and H 0.7 (ISO 1250) increments will be added between ISO
800 and 1600 (HI-1, or H 1 as it's called in the D2Xs)
block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
Autofocus algorithms will be modified to improve subject acquisition and tracking block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
A black-and-white mode will be added to the Color Mode options in the Shooting Menu block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
Verification of image integrity using the upcoming Nikon Image Authentication Software will be possible block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg
A Trim option will be added to the Shooting Menu to enable the cropping, downsampling and creation of a new JPEG at one of five different resolutions
The Tone Compensation custom option will be modified so that up to three user-defined curves can be stored in the camera. An update of the camera control module in Capture 4.x will enable the download of three curves to these cameras, while the upcoming Camera Control Pro will do the same with these cameras and the D2Xs as well block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg
A Save/Load Settings entry will be added to the Setup Menu block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg
The Mirror Lock-Up entry in the Setup Menu will be modified so that the mirror can be locked in the up position for sensor cleaning whether the camera is being powered by battery or the EH-6 AC adapter block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
The Focus Tracking with Lock-On entry in the Custom Setting Menu will have four increments -  Long, Normal, Short and Off - instead of two - On and Off block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
Maximum Sensitivity and Minimum Shutter Speed options will be added to the ISO Auto entry in the Custom Setting Menu block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
The Maximum Shots entry in the Custom Setting Menu will be modified to allow a maximum value of 60, up from 35 in the D2X and 50 in the D2Hs. Note that the buffer size and actual full-frame-rate burst depth hasn't increased
The FUNC button's functionality will be expanded so that it can perform one operation when pressed, and another when pressed while a Command Dial is turned block_10x10.jpg
It will be possible to clear or lock the Recent Settings menu block_10x10.jpg block_10x10.jpg block_10x10_blue.jpg
The updates are expected to be free, downloadable from a Nikon web site and user-installable. They are tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2006, says Heiner. The release of the WT-3/WT-3A for the D200 has been pushed back to the fall of 2006.
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