Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

beatboxa wrote:

One disappointing note is at 7:30, regarding the Z6's setting a3.

  • "Choose 1 for quick, to make sure the camera tracks autofocus as fast as possible."

NOOO! The camera will always track as fast as possible. There is no point to the camera tracking slower than it can.

This setting actually tells the camera what to do when it loses the subject it is tracking (for example, as you are panning, a tree shows up between you and the subject. That's why it says "blocked shot AF response" and not "AF tracking speed."

Bingo, which is why your recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

Setting 1 tells the camera to immediately forget the subject and refocus on something new (like the tree).

This setting doesn't tell the camera what to focus on. Nothing to do with subject selection.

Setting 5 tells the camera to wait a second or two to see if the original subject comes back into the frame (or gets unblocked) before deciding to pick a new subject.

Settings higher than 1 are just a delay for the AF to react to the subject under the AF point. That's all this is, nothing more. This is only truly useful when you are shooting something that can be obstructed by a foreground object, such as birds through trees, cars through a fence or light poles, or similar, so the camera stays in the same focus plane for x amount of time before adjusting to a new plane. This option is a choice that needs to be made by the photographer depending on the situation. The default of 3 is a good general start, but not optimal for all situations, such as when you might want or need the AF to be as reactive as possible in real time with no delay, or may need a longer delay through foreground obstructions.

The reason why a 3 or 5 gives worse results if left there all the time, is because, generally speaking, many situations don't have foreground obstructions to worry about, and in cases where camera auto selects a background object or user moves the AF point out of subject long enough for it to focus on that background (eventually it will), it takes x amount of time for it then to recoup onto the subject (because in essence you have set a delay for it to do that). Sure, you can re-press the AF-ON button to re-acquire, but this is distracting while you're focused on tracking the subject to begin with, while also shooting, and assumes you have the AF point over the subject at the exact moment you press the AF-ON again (you might still be trailing it). It sometimes turns into a frenzy of AF-ON clicks none of it sure of whether or not you nailed focus. Also in cases where you want to focus on a different subject in a continuous shot sequence without taking your eye off the EVF, you need to re-acquire with AF-ON, where if left at 1 you simply move the AF point to the new subject and start shooting again - the camera is focusing in real time so no need to try and re-do focus, comes in handy if shooting shallow dof and 2nd subject is at a diff distance (would be OOF in the frame otherwise). Many cases where 1 is better than a higher setting. Really depends on what the needs are.

With a grain of salt - I'm not sure yet if it delays subject tracking itself on a fast erratic moving subject, but it does feel like it - doesn't change the tracking speed as you say but does feel like it makes the AF delay before changing, and this may impact tracking certain subjects, esp if you lose subject while trying to keep up with it. It just makes it feel sluggish vs a setting of 1.

I've tried both methods and in my experience, leaving it on 1 yields better results and I never have to worry about multiple presses of AF-ON, all I need to worry about is putting the AF point over my subject. If I or camera looses it for a sec it doesn't matter, because it goes right back to it in real time the moment I get the AF point back on track. This works better for me. The other method may work better for you, but it's not right to say it's better all the time because it just isn't. Lots of people have experienced this which is why you see people recommending a setting of 1 over 3-5 in many situations. YMMV.

 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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