tutorial

Nikon Firmware Patch Guide

This guide shows how to unlock higher performance and disable/extend timeouts on Nikon cameras.

Nikon Firmware Patch Guide

The official firmware for some Nikon cameras can be modified to give higher quality video, longer timeouts for Live View, and other features/improvements. This is made possible with Simeon Pilgrim’s “Nikon Patch” tool. This guide will show the steps involved for the whole process of getting the patched firmware running on your camera.

Choose a firmware version

You can see the list of cameras at Nikon Patch tool. If your camera is supported, it will have patchable features listed against one or more firmware versions.

Nikon Patch mirror at AmazingGoose

Nikon Patch mirror at Cloudfront

Example: D5200 firmware/features
Example: D5200 firmware/features

Download the original firmware

You need the original firmware in order to modify it with the Nikon Patch Tool. Often, this means that you will need an older version than the current one, and the Nikon site only seems to show the latest firmware version in the downloads for each camera. This makes sense normally, but if you want the old firmware it is probably still hosted by Nikon (on the download servers), you just have to do a bit of leg-work to find it.

Here are original Nikon firmware downloads, still (as at the time of writing) hosted on the Nikon download servers. Download the specific firmware version for your camera that has the patchable features you want.

D3100

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D3100-V101M.dmgF-D3100-V101W.exe
1.02F-D3100-V102M.dmgF-D3100-V102W.exe

D3200

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D3200-V101M.dmgF-D3200-V101W.exe
1.02F-D3200-V102M.dmgF-D3200-V102W.exe
1.03F-D3200-V103M.dmgF-D3200-V103W.exe

D3300

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.02F-D3300-V102M.dmgF-D3300-V102W.exe

D5100

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D5100-V101M.dmgF-D5100-V101W.exe
1.02F-D5100-V102M.dmgF-D5100-V102W.exe

D5200

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D5200-V101M.dmgF-D5200-V101W.exe
1.02F-D5200-V102M.dmgF-D5200-V102W.exe

D5300

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.02F-D5300-V102M.dmgF-D5300-V102W.exe
1.03F-D5300-V103M.dmgF-D5300-V103W.exe

D7000

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.03F-D7000-V103M.dmgF-D7000-V103W.exe
1.04F-D7000-V104M.dmgF-D7000-V104W.exe
1.05F-D7000-V105M.dmgF-D7000-V105W.exe

D300s

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.02F-D300S-V102M.dmgF-D300S-V102W.exe

D300

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.11 B FileF-D300-V111M.dmgF-D300-V111W.exe

D600

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D600-V101M.dmgF-D600-V101W.exe

D610

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.01F-D610-V101M.dmgF-D610-V101W.exe

D800

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.02F-D800-V102M.dmgF-D800-V102W.exe
1.10F-D800-V110M.dmgF-D800-V110W.exe
1.11F-D800-V111M.dmgF-D800-V111W.exe

D800E

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.02F-D800E-V102M.dmgF-D800E-V102W.exe
1.10F-D800E-V110M.dmgF-D800E-V110W.exe

D4

Firmware versionMacWindows
1.05F-D4-V105M.dmgF-D4-V105W.exe

Extract the firmware file

The downloaded firmware package is either a .dmg (Mac) or .exe (Windows). If you double-click the downloaded firmware package, it will mount/decompress it to show you the actual firmware file inside, e.g. for the D5200 1.02 firmware download, the mounted contents are:

/Volumes/F-D5200-V102M
└── D5200Update
    └── D5200_0102.bin

In this example, that D5200_0102.bin is the firmware file.

Use the Nikon Patch tool

Open up the Nikon Patch tool page and click the Browse... button to open the firmware file (ending in .bin)

Nikon Patch mirror at AmazingGoose

Nikon Patch mirror at Cloudfront

Nikon Patch - open firmware file
Nikon Patch - open firmware file

Click the buttons next to the features you want to patch. Underscore [_] is unselected, and asterisk [*] is selected.

Nikon Patch - select patch features
Nikon Patch - select patch features

Then click the Save Patched Firmware File button to download the modified (patched) firmware file.

Nikon Patch - download patched firmware
Nikon Patch - download patched firmware

Note that the filename is prefixed with patched_ which makes it easy to distinguish from the original (unpatched) firmware.

Update the camera with patched firmware

This is the same process as updating your camera with the standard firmware. You just need to rename the patched firmware file first, e.g.

  • Rename the patched firmware file

    patched_D5200_0102.bin --> D5200_0102.bin
  • Using a card slot or card reader, copy the renamed patched firmware file, e.g. D5200_0102.bin to a memory card that has been formatted in the camera.
  • Insert the memory card into the camera and turn the camera on.
  • Select Firmware version in the setup menu and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the firmware update.
  • Once the update is complete, turn the camera off and remove the memory card.
  • Confirm that the firmware has been updated to the new version (if the patcher version number is the same as the previous standard firmware version, you’ll have to try out the patched features to confirm the patched firmware was loaded).

Enjoy your new patched features!

I did this firmware patching to my D5200 camera to bypass the Live View timeout setting. I think the standard maximum is 20 or 30 minutes, so this meant my video would turn off during longer video calls (I use my D5200 as a webcam via the HDMI output and an Elgato Camlink 4K capture device). The patched Live View timeout setting is essentially disabled when you select the 15 minute setting, but only for this Live View timeout option, so make sure to read the patch features for your camera for details like this.

Another thing I noticed is that when enabling one of the high bitrate video settings, the duration per video recording to memory card is quite a lot shorter. This is due to the 4GB file size limit, as the higher bitrate reaches the maximum file size faster than standard. It’s a trade-off of higher video quality at the cost of shorter duration video recordings. I got around this by using Live View and recording via HDMI capture to a computer instead, but it’s something to bear in mind depending on what/where you are recording.

Many people find the Nikon Patch tool useful as it gives their Nikon dSLR a few extra abilities which means they don’t have to buy a new camera. I hope you find this tool useful too!