D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,634
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Spare-time photog wrote:

So in theory the camera should focus better on eyes in portrait mode, because the eyebrows, the eye lids etc. are then not parallel to the long edge.

After this shoot I would say the opposite is true.

Forget about theory - as in DSLR phase detect AF.

Nikon has disclosed very little little about how Z AF works.

What seems clear is there are no relatively long rows of AF detectors able, unlike a DSLR, to cover the depth of an eye.

A single AF point may be too small to cover the depth of an eye dependant on how big an eye is in the viewfinder.

In theory a single AF point on a Z6 is a different size to that in an AF point in a Z7.

Nikon has not clarified and I do not own both bodies to do side by side comparisons.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

I should have tried both: using the 1:1 magnification and trying to focus manually. But in the heat of the shoot I didn't want to fiddle around more than needed.

This is perhaps why most camera makers advise getting familiar with equipment before an important shoot.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

And that is the crux:


I need to "effectively shout" because some are reluctant in the ballyhoo that ML is best for everything and to accept that Mirrorless AF works different to a DSLR.

I pointed the AF field directly over the eye, partly also covering the eyebrows, eye lashes, etc. What I did is the same which the new eye AF update should do automatically, but if this target is not suited for the AF to work properly... hm, then we are in trouble until the model has clown type make up.

Seriously, I am quite clueless why the Z had so many difficulties to focus properly.

All you can do is learn when current ML AF is not as able as current DSLR AF.

Nikon has been developing a form of AF for about 30 years - which cannot be fitted in a ML body.

Nikon has part resolved one ML weakness with Wide Area AF (L) whereby the AF can recognise some subjects from information based on several AF points and can even follow their movement across the frame.

Sony are currently introducing AF to some Sony DSLR's which goes further using colour etc under a group of AF points.

Sony has been developing ML AF for 5 years - and has only just got to this stage.

Nikon right now are behind, but will move forward with the AF upgrade due this month.

A little of topic, Fuji medium format has an option to display what is within the depth of field, in a manner similar to focus peaking.

With 100mm f2 medium format "razor thin" dof at f2 it can be an excellent feature for portrait photography.

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Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

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