Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ? Locked

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,779
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Geomaticsman wrote:

I'm sure the updated firmware will provide some welcome improvements in AF-C performance, but I just don't see how a simple firmware update can magically close the AF performance gap between the Z and A cameras. That will require hardware/design changes.

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

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incoherent1 Regular Member • Posts: 451
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

<snip>

Marianne Oelund wrote:

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

"Stacked sensor"?

I don't know; it's a genuine question, not a snide  (or not snide) question.

I have seen the term applied to the A9 and don't  know what it means.

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,779
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

incoherent1 wrote:

<snip>

Marianne Oelund wrote:

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

"Stacked sensor"?

I don't know; it's a genuine question, not a snide (or not snide) question.

I have seen the term applied to the A9 and don't know what it means.

We're comparing to the A7 rather than A9.  We all accept the latter is in a different league.

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,779
Video shows Sony AF tracking failure

JPD2 wrote:

I read quite a bit, and this video seems to show quite some difference between the 2 cameras autofocus abilities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD6uvvXzUT0

At 6:55 the video demonstrates the Z6 continuous focus tracking the moving watch as it changes distance.

At 7:10 the same demonstration with the Sony doesn't show it tracking at all; it lets the watch go out of focus and doesn't try to refocus until the watch has stopped moving for about 1 second.

Do you understand how tracking is supposed to work?

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Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 32,142
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

commiebiker wrote:

JPD2 wrote:

I like the Z6 a lot, but the Sony A7m3 has considerably better autofocus in lower light. I don't know much really about mirrorless cameras, and I am wondering if the firmware upgrade coming on May 18th will allow the Nikon Z6 to match the low light autofocus abilities of the Sony ?

No offence, but if by your own admission you "don't know much about mirrorless cameras" you should be careful making any assumptions about either system.

I've been using the Z cameras since day one and don't have any issues focusing in challenging light. I used the Sony A7 system (Mark ii) extensively before that. Nikon is already ahead of the Sony generation 1 and 2. I won't speak to the latest versions because I don't have personal knowledge.

Here is my point though. Go to my web site and tell me if you can see the difference between shots taken with the Nikon Z6 /7, the Sony A7s/Rii, or the Nikon D4 / 700 /3s.

All these cameras are highly capable if people take the time to learn how to use them. All these people niggling about features like eye AF make me want to laugh..or maybe cry

Couldn't agree more. I have had the Z7 since day one and I have had zero issue with the AF for all but the most demanding action shots of birds in flight. I do shoot landscapes but I am also an avid bird photographer and have basically not used my D850 since getting the Z7 and have not regretted the fact one bit.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,974
Re: It doesn't really matter...

JPD2 wrote:

It does matter.

I want a new camera, and I prefer Nikon in general to Sony.

But I won't buy the Z6 unless they can improve it's autofocus up to the level of the Sony a7 iii.

It may matter to you - but unless you do a lot of sports type photography should it matter?

Your comment is comparable to saying you will not buy Nikon/Canon/Sony/Panasonic until they introduce a 100 MP sensor because some medium format cameras have this

The evidence is not yet in court as to whether the new subject tracking system Sony has is equal to or better than the D5/D850/D500, or if the likely soon to arrive D6 will be even better.

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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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chambeshi Senior Member • Posts: 2,180
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

The short answer is no one (except Nikon engineers) knows the explicit answer to your question. Longer answer is such cross-camera comparisons of AF faces the age old challenge of too many variables to compare reliably. This is not only between different subjects and situations, but also between individual photographers. Ideally, it needs a randomized experimental design to get anywhere close to truth. Using multiple testers with repeated target and combinations of different cameras (and lenses).

Ability of the User is probably the Big No 1 variable. Add in pro vs learner on the camera, and # years of experience shooting action. This is assuming that standardized tests are even made.

https://www.sansmirror.com/articles/choosing-a-mirrorless-camer/why-autofocus-is-contentiou.html

In practice, there are those of us who rely on reliable reviewers, and the reliable posters on forums, allied with examples of captures.

My 6+ months experience of the Z system concurs with Lance B. To add my $0.02, it will be great if Nikon can improve the Z AF in Key areas to get its Action-Capabilities closer to a D850, D5 or D500. As others point out, the major upgrade probably demands new core code for the AFC engine wrt how the AF works "outwards" from the Z sensor(s). There are a few tweaks in the Custom Options in the Z Menus. These are overdue priorities that updated FW will really improve. Fix gaps in key settings and the clumsy interface (eg controlling AF Tracking)

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BGD300V1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,745
Is there actually an objective test for AF performance?

There are a lot of different metrics for testing things and relatively robust processes to do the measuring.

What is the metric for AF performance?

Do we have a lens chart on a metronome and a track to move to and from a camera on a bench?

how do we determine uniform levels of sobriety for cyclists?

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OP JPD2 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: It doesn't really matter...

Your comment is comparable to saying you will not buy Nikon/Canon/Sony/Panasonic until they introduce a 100 MP sensor because some medium format cameras have this

No, it is not. I won't buy a Nikon Z6 until it matches the Sony a7 iii autofocus because I deem what I have seen from the a7 iii autofocus system as at a level that will suit what I want to do. I would much prefer to wait until Nikon can do this rather than switch to Sony.

Geomaticsman Senior Member • Posts: 2,533
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Geomaticsman wrote:

I'm sure the updated firmware will provide some welcome improvements in AF-C performance, but I just don't see how a simple firmware update can magically close the AF performance gap between the Z and A cameras. That will require hardware/design changes.

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

Z7 vs A7RIII? Off the top of my head...

- smaller buffer

- 3x longer shutter lag

- lower FPS (8@14bit, 9@12 bit vs 10@14bit)

No firmware tweaks are going to help these metrics.

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Gary prefers Nikon

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tommiejeep
tommiejeep Veteran Member • Posts: 6,899
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Gary, we are talking Z6 vs a7iii. Both are faster in some respects than their siblings.

I am not going to talk down the a7iii to sell a Z6 because my Z6 is still a couple of weeks away.

This was of interest to me:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62076245

He is also shooting Sony a9

I have proven to myself that I can shoot Kingfishers passing by at speed with a7iii but do not try and track, just short hi speed bursts. I will see how the Z6 fares with the Nikon long glass on the adapter.   I can also shoot fast , small birds with the D500 and 300 f2.8 w/tc with higher hit rate

The OP has yet to say what he shoots an what gear he is using. I could care less if he buys a Sony a7iii or Nikon Z6 but he should not base his decision on a youtube vid.

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 13,439
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Gabriele Sartori wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

No. It won’t.

but I don’t care about low light AF. What it won’t have is a revamped AF-C tracking system.

Mike, why are you so sure about that?

The sensor is virtually the same, the rest is all math.

What I posted is simply my opinion.  While I'm fairly sure of my opinion, it's based on "feeling" from being a Nikon customer for 25 years.  So, could Nikon actually put out a firmware update that fixes all the Z autofocus shortcomings and puts on a level playing field with all the other mirrorless cameras out there?  Sure, anything is possible.

The middle of May will be here soon.  We'll see what Nikon puts out in the firmware update.  I wouldn't mind being completely surprised by Nikon.  But I don't expect much more than the addition of eye-AF.  We could likely see some general AF tweaks as well.  But again, I doubt it will raise the Z to the level of the others.

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 26,739
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

commiebiker wrote:

All these cameras are highly capable if people take the time to learn how to use them. All these people niggling about features like eye AF make me want to laugh..or maybe cry

+1

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Geomaticsman Senior Member • Posts: 2,533
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

tommiejeep wrote:

Gary, we are talking Z6 vs a7iii. Both are faster in some respects than their siblings.

I am not going to talk down the a7iii to sell a Z6 because my Z6 is still a couple of weeks away.

This was of interest to me:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62076245

He is also shooting Sony a9

I have proven to myself that I can shoot Kingfishers passing by at speed with a7iii but do not try and track, just short hi speed bursts. I will see how the Z6 fares with the Nikon long glass on the adapter. I can also shoot fast , small birds with the D500 and 300 f2.8 w/tc with higher hit rate

The OP has yet to say what he shoots an what gear he is using. I could care less if he buys a Sony a7iii or Nikon Z6 but he should not base his decision on a youtube vid.

Point taken Tommie. Of course we don't know how much AF performance will improve on the Z's until the firmware is released. Personally I'm REALLY really hoping for some significant improvements in low contrast situations where my Z7s AF tends to struggle, as well as dynamic AF. (Don't need eye-AF). Dare I hope for a group AF mode to be added? I'd just like to be able to leave my D850 behind on more shoots than I can at the moment. But I'm trying to temper my expectations as my experience is most firmware updates are more marginally incremental in nature rather than substantive in nature. Hopefully I'm wrong this time.

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Gary prefers Nikon

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commiebiker Senior Member • Posts: 2,302
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

JPD2 wrote:

commiebiker wrote:

JPD2 wrote:

I like the Z6 a lot, but the Sony A7m3 has considerably better autofocus in lower light. I don't know much really about mirrorless cameras, and I am wondering if the firmware upgrade coming on May 18th will allow the Nikon Z6 to match the low light autofocus abilities of the Sony ?

No offence, but if by your own admission you "don't know much about mirrorless cameras" you should be careful making any assumptions about either system.

I've been using the Z cameras since day one and don't have any issues focusing in challenging light. I used the Sony A7 system (Mark ii) extensively before that. Nikon is already ahead of the Sony generation 1 and 2. I won't speak to the latest versions because I don't have personal knowledge.

Here is my point though. Go to my web site and tell me if you can see the difference between shots taken with the Nikon Z6 /7, the Sony A7s/Rii, or the Nikon D4 / 700 /3s.

All these cameras are highly capable if people take the time to learn how to use them. All these people niggling about features like eye AF make me want to laugh..or maybe cry

I read quite a bit, and this video seems to show quite some difference between the 2 cameras autofocus abilities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD6uvvXzUT0

Well, I've got thousands of clicks on my Z bodies, and well over 100,000 on the Sonys.  But hey, that youtube guys sounded pretty knowledgeable.

If you have a specific specialized use in mind for the new camera, by all means shop around and define which features are must haves in a new system.  If you just want to update to mirrorless and newer technology, either system is lovely.  And both will run circles around your current D90.

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 22,667
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

commiebiker wrote:

JPD2 wrote:

I like the Z6 a lot, but the Sony A7m3 has considerably better autofocus in lower light. I don't know much really about mirrorless cameras, and I am wondering if the firmware upgrade coming on May 18th will allow the Nikon Z6 to match the low light autofocus abilities of the Sony ?

No offence, but if by your own admission you "don't know much about mirrorless cameras" you should be careful making any assumptions about either system.

I've been using the Z cameras since day one and don't have any issues focusing in challenging light. I used the Sony A7 system (Mark ii) extensively before that. Nikon is already ahead of the Sony generation 1 and 2. I won't speak to the latest versions because I don't have personal knowledge.

Here is my point though. Go to my web site and tell me if you can see the difference between shots taken with the Nikon Z6 /7, the Sony A7s/Rii, or the Nikon D4 / 700 /3s.

All these cameras are highly capable if people take the time to learn how to use them. All these people niggling about features like eye AF make me want to laugh..or maybe cry

The way some Sony users have been going on about how they now need eye AF and animal eye AF...you'd think they could never focus a camera before.

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SrMi
SrMi Contributing Member • Posts: 910
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Geomaticsman wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Geomaticsman wrote:

I'm sure the updated firmware will provide some welcome improvements in AF-C performance, but I just don't see how a simple firmware update can magically close the AF performance gap between the Z and A cameras. That will require hardware/design changes.

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

Z7 vs A7RIII? Off the top of my head...

- smaller buffer

- 3x longer shutter lag

Never heard of 3x longer shutter lag? Sources? I have not noticed any difference in shutter lag between a7rIII and z 7.

Z 7 turns on faster than a7rIII and is generally quicker in operation than a7rIII.

In my experience, neither a7rIII nor Z 7 is the first choice for shooting action, but both have adequate buffer and fps in their intended use. The difference is more of an issue if you compare them on paper.

Off to shoot with my Sony (really curious how the new firmware works out),

- lower FPS (8@14bit, 9@12 bit vs 10@14bit)

No firmware tweaks are going to help these metrics.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,974
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

The Davinator wrote:

The way some Sony users have been going on about how they now need eye AF and animal eye AF...you'd think they could never focus a camera before.

+1

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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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Alex Permit
Alex Permit Senior Member • Posts: 2,338
Re: Can the Z6 autofocus become as good as the A7m3 autofocus with the upcoming firmware update ?

Geomaticsman wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Geomaticsman wrote:

I'm sure the updated firmware will provide some welcome improvements in AF-C performance, but I just don't see how a simple firmware update can magically close the AF performance gap between the Z and A cameras. That will require hardware/design changes.

How is the Z camera hardware inferior to the A camera hardware?

Z7 vs A7RIII? Off the top of my head...

- smaller buffer

- 3x longer shutter lag

- lower FPS (8@14bit, 9@12 bit vs 10@14bit)

No firmware tweaks are going to help these metrics.

How does a smaller buffer, longer shutter lag, or lower fps effect AF performance?

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,779
First try with skaters: I'm impressed

Matsu wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Gabriele Sartori wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

No. It won’t.

but I don’t care about low light AF. What it won’t have is a revamped AF-C tracking system.

Mike, why are you so sure about that?

The sensor is virtually the same, the rest is all math.

Mike isn't confident that Nikon engineers do math as well as Sony engineers - or that they have as much budget.

Hi Marianne, I’m curious if you’ve been using a z camera, and if so, how you’re making out with it, particularly in the case continuous AF and perhaps as compared to Nikon’s 51 pt PDAF DSLRs in that regard.

I was photographing a skating competition today, so I brought the Z7 along, with a 70-200/2.8 VR II mounted, to try out during the warmup periods.

I started off with AF-C single point, and I have to say it was just a joke.  Couldn't stay with my subject and I was spending more time fighting to keep my subject in focus, than watching for moments to photograph.

But then I switched to Dynamic Area, and that made all the difference.  Snappy acquisition and no problems tracking skaters without jumping off to the background.  I was frankly surprised at how well it worked, and I would rate it good enough to use for customers' photos.  It's still not quite a D5, but it could certainly compete with a D3.

I was going to try the AF wide area modes also, but it was a short competition and I ran out of opportunities.  In the second half of May I have several major competitions to photograph, so I'll bring the Z7 along again for more practice.

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