My take on the Z6/Z7 focusing issues

Started Dec 27, 2019 | Discussions thread
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,428
Re: Set A3 to Delay, not Quick

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Diswantsho wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

Diswantsho wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

What value did you have for Custom Setting A3?

I shot that on 3, in the middle. I have since changed it to 1, Quick.

You should set A3 to more Delay, not quicker. This value tells the camera how quickly to pick a new subject. And what you wrote above was:

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.

This is textbook symptoms of a3 being set too fast.

It's unfortunate that so many set (& suggest setting) this to quicker, which is usually the wrong value for what one is trying to achieve. I suspect people see the word "Quick" and think "This will make my focus quicker." But that is not the case.

Setting A3 just makes your camera's subject tracking more erratic. This setting means: "How quickly do you want the camera to forget your subject?"

As I wrote in that link and above, set it to 4 or 5. Delayed keeps your intended subject in focus longer. This is even specified in the manual:

Thanks, I get you now. Yes even at 3 it was a bit erratic. The delayed setting makes sense now.

I've had more success with a3 set to 1 (quick). YMMV. Note I follow the subject with one of the wide mode boxes, I'm not using subject tracking. In my last post I did say try both ways (a3 set to fast and slow).

The issue I've had with a3 set to slow is when it chooses the background by mistake, it doesn't want to re-acquire (naturally, it's set to slow). This drives me nuts. I also use AF-C to track (not subject tracking in AF-C) and like to be able to choose where I want to focus in real time by putting the AF box where I want to, so a3 set to 1 allows for real time AF adjust this way (I just keep AF-ON held down and go about my way). That's just how I do it. Use the settings best suited for your approach.

A3 set to slow is more to avoid change in AF due to foreground objects that may come into view as you pan, not to make it focus on the subject any better/sharper.

I haven't.

Because if the camera chooses the background by mistake, it will NEVER re-acquire focus by itself if it is working correctly and there is any background anywhere in the AF area. The best way to re-acquire focus is to let go of AF-On, put the box over the subject, and press AF-On again, which takes a split-second and ensures that the camera is tracking the correct subject.

Pressing AF-ON again doesn’t always make it choose a new subject. For me, moving the AF box out and back on the subject works better, with a3 set to 1 so that it re-focuses in real time. Clearly YMMV.

It does for me.

A3 also does not affect the speed at which the camera acquires focus;

It affects the speed at which the camera BEGINS to acquire focus (it’s a delay timer basically). Same difference.

No, it doesn't. It has no bearing on the speed at which the camera begins to acquire focus. It affects only the speed at which the camera changes subjects.

You're misinterpreting what I’m trying to say.

Try this - set a3 to 1 and 5. Then while holding down AF-ON change focus from something close to something further away, but everything within the frame. You’ll see a3 delays the focus, as it’s supposed to.

In stills mode, the camera always begins to acquire focus as fast as it can. It is only in movie mode that the user can control the speed at which the camera acquires focus--and this is because the timing & speed is actually seen & recorded in the movie. There is no purpose in slowing down initial focus acquisition for stills.

Read the manual.

nor does it affect the speed at which the camera tracks focus over the subject. Setting a3 to 5 also allows for real-time AF while holding down AF-On. (That's what AF-C does).

The only thing A3 does is that it slows down the camera from picking a new subject after it has lost the original subject.

Bingo. This slow down also happens when you decide to choose a new subject while holding AF-ON down to keep focusing on real time. Annoying and can cause a missed shot. Pressing AF-ON again isn’t as good as simply moving the AF box around while holding AF-ON down to begin with.

You just agreed with me, but this contradicts your previous statement. See the word "only."

Also, moving the AF box around is more button presses.

No dude, moving the box around by moving the camera a snitch to the left/right/up/down. Sorry I wasn’t clear about that.

And you having to move the AF box defeats the purpose of tracking areas. To do what you are describing, you might as well use AF-C with single point.

The single difference between single-point and dynamic area is that dynamic area will track the subject around the 9-point area.

A3 does not affect how fast the camera focuses on a subject or how fast it tracks a subject that it already has.

It’s about how fast you can make it recover manually after it screws up, not the other way around. I like it better this way vs pressing AF-ON repeatedly to try to force it to re-acquire, which doesn’t always work. Again, there is no one right answer for all, it all depends how you like to use the camera. Try both ways and see which you prefer.

AF-On is the quickest way to recover manually after it screws up. In dynamic area, it always resets & focuses on the center box when you hit AF-On before tracking it around the greater 9-point area. A3 affects only tracking after it has already acquired focus.

I mainly use my method with the wide modes. Dynamic jumps around too much.

 SaltyPeanut's gear list:SaltyPeanut's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G
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