HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem

Started 1 month ago | Discussions
Verkku Regular Member • Posts: 161
HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem
16

Hogan has a very good article about Z -af tracking. And as he puts it:

" It’s not a performance problem—the 3D Tracking Nikon provides in mirrorless is very similar to Sony’s capability when used for focus-and-reframe use—it’s solely an implementation problem on the Nikon: too klutzy and step driven when it doesn’t need to be. "

The problem is that the activation of tracting is too complicated. The tracking itself is on par with Sony. So let's hope it will be corrected very soon.

http://www.sansmirror.com/newsviews/2019-mirrorless-camera/october-december-2019-newsv/are-you-tracking-tracking.html

 Verkku's gear list:Verkku's gear list
Fujifilm X100S Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Nikon D810 Nikon D750 +30 more
Geomaticsman Senior Member • Posts: 2,643
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem
6

Verkku wrote:

Hogan has a very good article about Z -af tracking. And as he puts it:

" It’s not a performance problem—the 3D Tracking Nikon provides in mirrorless is very similar to Sony’s capability when used for focus-and-reframe use—it’s solely an implementation problem on the Nikon: too klutzy and step driven when it doesn’t need to be. "

The problem is that the activation of tracting is too complicated. The tracking itself is on par with Sony. So let's hope it will be corrected very soon.

http://www.sansmirror.com/newsviews/2019-mirrorless-camera/october-december-2019-newsv/are-you-tracking-tracking.html

Although all we're getting from Nikon is silence as far as upcoming firmware updates, I'd like to think that Nikon is working overtime testing and retesting new C-AF algorithms. I was hoping the Z50 might show some indications as to where Nikon is heading in that regard, but the fact that it's no different that the Z6/Z7 might simply mean that Nikon doesn't want to tip their hand and they want to release updates for all three cameras simultaneously. Do I dare hope? 

-- hide signature --

Garfield

 Geomaticsman's gear list:Geomaticsman's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm F4E FL ED VR Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +5 more
Tomx72 Senior Member • Posts: 1,525
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem

Let's hope the better AF-implementation is not retained to the mkII z generation or the paid video FW upgrade.

 Tomx72's gear list:Tomx72's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Nikon Z6 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art +3 more
JacquesC
JacquesC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,911
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem
4

Verkku wrote:

it’s solely an implementation problem on the Nikon: too klutzy and step driven when it doesn’t need to be. "

I agree with Thom, it is a very klutzy, cumbersome, and ridiculous implementation - I cannot believe that Nikon went this way, their ergonomics are usually much better thought out.

Let's hope they change this not only on newer bodies but also on the existing ones.

-- hide signature --

Jacques
apple-and-eve.com

Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 25,202
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem
5

they had the same clunky tracking implementation with the Nikon 1, they didn't learn from the comments about it then so i doubt they'll change it

-- hide signature --

"My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive."

 Wu Jiaqiu's gear list:Wu Jiaqiu's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Nikon D2Xs Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II +1 more
Matsu Senior Member • Posts: 2,330
Second last camera syndrome
9

I think Thom is one of the best reviewers out there. I certainly have never found the continuous AF of any mirrorless to match a good (not even best in class) DSLR. (albeit I have not used the A9/A7R4). Single focus "Accuracy" on static subjects can be better with some MILCs. However, really understanding the subtlety of what's going on with different camera AF systems (single, continuous, and tracking), while not besides the point, involves a bit more discussion.  If you want a camera to continuously AF over a selected point, nothing beats D4/5/D850 series bodies, and few things beat D3/3s/700/8xx

I think something else is going on with Nikon and Canon - which is, that their mirrorless bodies' AF perform as EXACTLY as intended for a reason.

I'll call it second last camera syndrome.  They could make their MILC AF sensor perform as well as their top DLSR, but they didn't.  They will, but if they do, that just puts them back into "last camera syndrome" problem they're already in when they really want to milk the transition while simultaneously managing contraction.  It's pessimistic, but not out of character for a companies with huge installed base of users to pick from.  Thom says it more diplomatically when he indicates they aimed "just under" their own comparable DSLRs...  You buy a Z7 but it's not clearly better than a D850.  So, when a Z7mk2 arrives, you might get upgrade pangs that you wouldn't if the Z7 was what you wanted from the start.

I've been using a D800 going back 7 years now.  I added a D810 when I wanted a second full frame body and that was new to the market.  I sometimes hire D3/4/5 bodies if needed, but basically I'm not longer on a upgrade cycle for my own generalist purposes.  Things get replaced when they break/wear out.  I haven't bought a D850 or a Z7.  We did add a Z6 for video because we can use most of our existing lenses.  I'm a last camera syndrome guy then...

New systems are a convenient way to try to entice me to buy a bunch of stuff to do exactly the same thing my old stuff does.  Note 1 - we Z6 added for video, something the old stuff didn't really do for us...  Note 2 - the FTZ works really really well.  This is a convenient way to have users on two different platforms (F and Z) and tap the large installed base of pro users at the same time.  They'd obviously want us to re-buy the newest native lenses for each mount, but that's a bit too cynical, and since lens investments last for years if not decades, another avenue is to try to get users to ante- up for every camera body iteration between now and system maturity.

 Matsu's gear list:Matsu's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +9 more
copyfall Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem
1

UI is just one of the problem. Classifying it as UI problem, underestimates the work required to implement good tracking system. I do not think solution is as easy as changing UI.  I have played a lot with AUTO-AF to make tracking work. It does not work consistently.  I have activated AF tracking when the af-reticule is on the subject. Results were too unreliable to take it seriously. I agree Face/Eye detect works.

 copyfall's gear list:copyfall's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z 24-70mm F4
beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 6,449
Old news
6

Verkku wrote:

Hogan has a very good article about Z -af tracking. And as he puts it:

" It’s not a performance problem—the 3D Tracking Nikon provides in mirrorless is very similar to Sony’s capability when used for focus-and-reframe use—it’s solely an implementation problem on the Nikon: too klutzy and step driven when it doesn’t need to be. "

The problem is that the activation of tracting is too complicated. The tracking itself is on par with Sony. So let's hope it will be corrected very soon.

http://www.sansmirror.com/newsviews/2019-mirrorless-camera/october-december-2019-newsv/are-you-tracking-tracking.html

This is the same thing I've been saying for the past year. I've called this problem the tracking interface, as opposed to the tracking itself.

On the Z's, tracking & autofocus are decoupled as separate steps. And people often conflate the two because they're used to it being one step.

Tracking = the subject moving around the 2D frame (x-y axes). Telling where to autofocus. The navigator.
Autofocus = the subject distance (= 3rd dimension / z-axis). Autofocusing where tracked. The driver.

Nikon's 3D tracking (DSLRs) is an interface that couples the two together in one fluid step. The Z's do not have this. These are separate steps on the Z's.

There's an irony that you'd want a better interface especially if the performance is bad (though the Z's are generally good at tracking).

Bad tracking performance doesn't mean autofocus misses--it means the yellow box starts following the wrong thing. When this happens (and it also happens on DSLRs), the solution is simple: let the user:

  1. stop tracking
  2. recompose / realign the subject to the box
  3. start tracking again

In Nikon 3D tracking, the steps are:

  1. Let go of AF-On
  2. Recompose
  3. Press & hold AF-On

Simple, fast, & intuitive. But on the Z's, the steps are:

  1. Let go of AF-On (presumably you're autofocusing)
  2. Press OK
  3. Recompose
  4. Press & hold AF-On (or press ok, then press & hold AF-On)

The Z's Step 2 is the main problem. That one added step of pressing OK in-between is a deal-breaker. And this should be a simple firmware fix.

Even if tracking performance was bad (and it's not), the operator's skill in framing can make up for it if they are enabled with a good interface. And obviously, autofocus performance during tracking is a different beast.

Horshack provided a great theory on why the interface may be bad in one of my threads on this subject here:

I suspect it started with Nikon reusing the tracking interface of their Coolpix cameras:

Then not being satisfied with the performance; and finally, deciding not to put in effort to update either the performance or the interface. I think that's reasonable at launch (though I would have at least updated the interface).

But a year later of having this same issue and not addressing it is not reasonable.

Tomx72 Senior Member • Posts: 1,525
Re: Old news
1

And all this needs to be implemented is video...

 Tomx72's gear list:Tomx72's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Nikon Z6 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art +3 more
thomas2279f
thomas2279f Veteran Member • Posts: 3,297
Re: Old news
2

agree why can't / won't Nikon make the change....

-- hide signature --

David Thomas

 thomas2279f's gear list:thomas2279f's gear list
Nikon D800 Sony a5000 Nikon D7200 Nikon D850 Sony a6400 +24 more
rokoko
rokoko Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Second last camera syndrome
3

Matsu wrote:

I'll call it second last camera syndrome. They could make their MILC AF sensor perform as well as their top DLSR, but they didn't.

Unfortunately, it might be true.

 rokoko's gear list:rokoko's gear list
Nikon D850 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7
rokoko
rokoko Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: HOGAN: Z-AF tracking is on par with Sony, only one problem

I didn't buy the Z7 after reading whatever whoever said online 13 months ago.

 rokoko's gear list:rokoko's gear list
Nikon D850 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7
ltcdata Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: Old news
4

What i like from thom, is that he has a LOT of experience in sports-wildlife, and it shows if you look at the images he produces. even with "budget" bodies squeezed to maximum.

He reviews bodies as a long time nikon user, so he expects a lot in the usability aspect of them.

And reviews lenses not by MTF graphs like dxo... he uses them in low light, in africa, in galapagos, and tests resolution, coma, astigmatism, flare, etc all in real life conditions, and that's a big plus.

Also he talks a lot about the character of the lens. Check his 58mm/1.4G review: not everything is about corner-to-corner sharpness.

When i read anything he writes, i know its a good and honest.

Lloyd Chambers, for example, wants to extract every little speck of detail and dynamic range from a correctly exposed and calibrated image from a perfect apochromatic lens. If you do a lot of landscape, architecture, etc, his site is the place to go to read reviews and select your ideal GEAR.

 ltcdata's gear list:ltcdata's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D7100 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G +4 more
rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,962
Re: Second last camera syndrome
1

Good post. I add they’ll actually have better ML af when they get also a global shutter system, as then it’ll be better almost by default, wo any blackening interval.

-- hide signature --

Renato.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhlpedrosa/
OnExposure member
http://www.onexposure.net/
Good shooting and good luck
(after Ed Murrow)

 rhlpetrus's gear list:rhlpetrus's gear list
Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Nikon D7000 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D +4 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads