My take on the Z6/Z7 focusing issues

Started Dec 27, 2019 | Discussions thread
beatboxa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,539
Custom Setting A3

Diswantsho wrote:

I am no sports photographer. My previous Nikon was (is - still have it) a D800E. I usually shoot macro, landscapes, portraits and travel. Hardly anything requiring ultra fast focus, and the 800E did well, even for an odd air show, bird in flight, or rugby game.

I purchased the Z7 with the same use in mind: manual or AF-S mostly, with occasional AF-C use. The test below was no scientific test. More like: the dog seems full of adrenalin, let's try and see what the guys are complaining about.

1. As a decades-long Nikon user, I had to swallow my pride and go back to the manual. I was unable to figure out focus tracking with previous Nikon experience. Intuitively, I switched to AF-C, and pressed the back button to focus. None of the focus areas tracked as I expected, until I read the manual.

2. The next day, with the dog willing to run again, and with the Auto area enabled, and using the OK button to lock on the subject, the focus performed as well as or perhaps a little better than the D800.

3. The OK button slowed me down. I missed several times where I saw the dog taking off, but by the time my finger located the OK, got the frame on the dog, and press the focus button, the dog's run had already ended and I missed the entire action. It is my greatest gripe with the implementation of the focus.

4. It is a pity I could only use tracking with the auto-area AF. The square sometimes locked onto an object in the background, or halfway in the doggie's run, it would decide the dog is no longer the subject, and start jumping elsewhere in the frame. Then focus was lost. I tried, but could not get tracking with the wide-area, dynamic area or single-point AF. With these, my first two photos were in focus, and as the dog comes closer, it goes more and more out of focus.

Here's one of the best series I could manage with Dynamic Area and tracking:

M mode, ISO200, 1/1600, f8. AF-C [Dynamic] 70-200G + ftz + 1.4 III.

Below is a series of the unprocessed raw files.

Below the same series, 100% crops from Capture 1.

Image 450 is part of the ear - face was completely blurred. Focus shifted to the body, and DOF could no longer keep the entire dog sharp. All in all, I think the D800E would have battled to get so many right, as well.

What value did you have for Custom Setting A3?

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