Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

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DaveyB Senior Member • Posts: 1,046
Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
13

I’ve been thinking of changing from M4/3rds to to Nikon Z with the 300PF and 1.4 TC for birds and wildlife and BIF in particular. I asked Mathieu Gasquet at the above site to test the outfit for BIF and include it in his rankings. I’m not surprised that, with a native lens and firmware updates, it did well but am amazed by how well. The Z50 performed as well as the Sony A6500 for AF. The big surprise was that the Z6 with 2.0 TC was second only to the Sony A9 for BIF. Amazing for Nikon’s first real foray into the mirrorless market makes me think that the Z6s and Z7s will be something special for action photographers.

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Cheers
David

 DaveyB's gear list:DaveyB's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 V2 Panasonic G85 +4 more
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7 Sony a6500 Sony a9 Sony SLT-A65
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Droster Senior Member • Posts: 1,050
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
7

Give Mathieu some clicks and likes. It's up to us to support these YouTubers.

 Droster's gear list:Droster's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +6 more
beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
10

Droster wrote:

Give Mathieu some clicks and likes. It's up to us to support these YouTubers.

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."

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

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.

See my deeper explanation here:

NCB Senior Member • Posts: 1,486
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

Thanks for that. Some very useful info, especially for BIF novices like me. Bwlch Nant yr Arian is just up the road from me, so maybe I should get some practice in!

 NCB's gear list:NCB's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Nikon D3100 Nikon Df Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

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
beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

"[My] recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time?"

Where did I write that?

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.

Read what I wrote again.

I didn't say it tells the camera what to focus on.  I said it tells the camera to pick a new subject.

SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
2

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

"[My] recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time?"

Where did I write that?

It's your recommendation pretty much every time someone recommends 1 instead.

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.

Read what I wrote again.

I didn't say it tells the camera what to focus on. I said it tells the camera to pick a new subject.

It does not tell the camera to "pick a new subject". The subject is whatever is under the AF point (in auto AF the camera chooses the subject for you). This feature's intended purpose is for subjects that go through foreground obstructions, not for it to be on a high setting for all situations. If your tracking skills / steady hands are less than adequate, a 2-3 may help, otherwise 1 (or 2) would be best if you can keep up with your subject in a stable manner (or within IBIS) and are not expecting foreground obstructions. Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

This was the same experience for me with a nikon dslr, only there we had a choice of 0 (zero). I've always wondered why nikon only did a 1 as the lowest on the Z's. Seems some delay is always active, though 1 is very responsive in real time - sometimes on the f mount a 0 would make certain lenses jump around too much on my old dslr (AF motors would go crazy) so I would go between 0-1-2 depending on the lens, so no big loss here far as I can tell.

I've long suspected the default or higher settings to be part of the reason behind less than stellar AF reviews on the Z's. Once fully optimized, the AF on the Z is more than comparable to other equivalent systems in most situations ("equivalent" is the key word here, it's not a D5 or a9, so don't expect that kind of performance for fast action).

 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
beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
2

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

"[My] recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time?"

Where did I write that?

It's your recommendation pretty much every time someone recommends 1 instead.

Where did I write that?

Your exact quote was:

  • "your recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation."

So I'd like to know where I recommended it be set to 3 or higher all the time and that it does not depend on the situation.

If I didn't say it, don't put words in my mouth, don't misquote me, and don't mislead others on what I wrote with your strawman argument.

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.

Read what I wrote again.

I didn't say it tells the camera what to focus on. I said it tells the camera to pick a new subject.

It does not tell the camera to "pick a new subject". The subject is whatever is under the AF point (in auto AF the camera chooses the subject for you). This feature's intended purpose is for subjects that go through foreground obstructions, not for it to be on a high setting for all situations. If your tracking skills / steady hands are less than adequate, a 2-3 may help, otherwise 1 (or 2) would be best if you can keep up with your subject in a stable manner (or within IBIS) and are not expecting foreground obstructions. Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

This was the same experience for me with a nikon dslr, only there we had a choice of 0 (zero). I've always wondered why nikon only did a 1 as the lowest on the Z's. Seems some delay is always active, though 1 is very responsive in real time - sometimes on the f mount a 0 would make certain lenses jump around too much on my old dslr (AF motors would go crazy) so I would go between 0-1-2 depending on the lens, so no big loss here far as I can tell.

I've long suspected the default or higher settings to be part of the reason behind less than stellar AF reviews on the Z's. Once fully optimized, the AF on the Z is more than comparable to other equivalent systems in most situations ("equivalent" is the key word here, it's not a D5 or a9, so don't expect that kind of performance for fast action).

It does tell the camera to pick a new subject. Read what I wrote again (and in context).

If the subject under the AF point is different, it is a different subject. If the subject under the AF point is the same subject, it is the same subject. In both cases, it re-initiates tracking of a subject. In context, I also phrased this as various iterations of "how fast to forget the subject it was previously tracking but lost." ie. "Pick a new subject." You are (again) misleading or misinterpreting that this means "scan the frame for a different subject." But that's clearly not what I wrote, particularly in context.

beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
2

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

In general / default, 1 (or 2) is better than 3 or higher. You just refuse to believe it. Increase the number if foreground obstructions are expected, which is exactly what it was intended for, otherwise keep it low / off.

 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
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

"[My] recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time?"

Where did I write that?

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.

Read what I wrote again.

I didn't say it tells the camera what to focus on. I said it tells the camera to pick a new subject.

It tells the camera to wait before it moves from current subject to a new one, if you move the AF point to something else (it also makes the AF feel sluggish sometimes). This can work for you or against you, depending on the situation and expectations.

 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
beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
3

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

In general / default, 1 (or 2) is better than 3 or higher. Increase the number if foreground obstructions are expected, which is exactly what it was intended for.

Again: not just foreground, but also background.  For example, if you have tight framing on an erratic subject and your subject will leave the frame entirely for a split-second, setting this too low can tell the camera to refocus on the background (during the period the subject is temporarily out of frame), where the AF will stay from that point onward.

And again: it depends on the situation.  I don't know why you keep saying it should only ever be set to 1 and that you think Nikon should have removed this setting entirely from the menus.  Why do you keep saying that?  Why do you keep insisting that this setting influences the speed of initial AF acquisition?

beatboxa Senior Member • Posts: 7,300
Blocked Response
1

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

"[My] recommendation of having it set to 3 or higher all the time?"

Where did I write that?

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.

Read what I wrote again.

I didn't say it tells the camera what to focus on. I said it tells the camera to pick a new subject.

It tells the camera to wait before it moves from current subject to a new one, if you move the AF point to something else (it also makes the AF feel sluggish sometimes). This can work for you or against you, depending on the situation and expectations.

"From current subject to a new one?" But when I said something similar, you just argued: "This setting doesn't tell the camera what to focus on. Nothing to do with subject selection." Bold & underlined above.  Hmm...

What you just parroted back to me is what I said here and what I said originally, even in the previous linked post for the old firmware. You are engaging in a strawman argument.

Here is what I wrote on this subject:

  • Remember, this is AF-C, so this setting does not affect how quickly the focus keeps up with your subject. Instead, setting a3 tells the camera how quickly to forget your subject.
  • 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."Setting 1 tells the camera to immediately forget the subject and refocus on something new (like the tree).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.

And what you said was that you should always set a3 to 1 in all circumstances, that setting it to 1 increases the speed of initial AF acquisition, and that Nikon should have removed this from the menu. And also, that while a3 does not affect subject selection, a3 does affect subject selection.

But here: I've got my own a3 "blocked response" for you:

Enjoy, salty.

briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,039
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

In general / default, 1 (or 2) is better than 3 or higher. You just refuse to believe it.

Add me to the list of those who don't believe that is valid as a general rule.

It all depends on the types of subject, how they are moving, and how you want the camera to respond.  Higher values are entirely appropriate in some situations, just as lower values are in other circumstances.  Some people (including me) will find that 1 suits the majority of their photography, but others may find that 5 works best - and some will be in between.

Increase the number if foreground obstructions are expected, which is exactly what it was intended for, otherwise keep it low / off.

 briantilley's gear list:briantilley's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D +20 more
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

In general / default, 1 (or 2) is better than 3 or higher. Increase the number if foreground obstructions are expected, which is exactly what it was intended for.

Again: not just foreground, but also background. For example, if you have tight framing on an erratic subject and your subject will leave the frame entirely for a split-second, setting this too low can tell the camera to refocus on the background (during the period the subject is temporarily out of frame), where the AF will stay from that point onward.

The AF will not stay (in the background) from that point forward, only until you manage to aim the AF back onto the subject, at which point it will re-focus back on the subject immediately. This case is exactly why I don't use it - because at 3 or higher it WILL stay in the background (honoring the delay of the setting) and not refocus on my subject in real time.

Now, you can argue that well, it would've stuck to the subject to start off with, and yes you are correct; however this depends on the AF point being over the subject most of the time, or at least within the delay time of the setting - once over that it will acquire on the background and now the situation is reversed, and the setting is working against you by sticking to the background with the delay. There is a balance and a cross-over point here where one setting or the other is best, and this will vary with each user and situation (subject).

This is exactly why in one of my comments above I mention a setting higher than 1 may benefit those with unrefined tracking skills or a difficult subject. Because if I can't track the darn thing - meaning the AF point is not over the subject most of the time, but rather over the background - then it will stick to the background and never refocus on the subject. If I barely go off subject than a 2-3 can work good, but me personally I still rather keep it at 1 knowing most will be keepers (all the ones where I am over my subject), because it's easier to just keep AF-ON pressed and keep shooting, instead of worrying about AF-ON presses to re-acquire as needed, if all of a sudden it starts sticking to the background. If I have a subject that is hard to track, then I might try a higher setting, but even here it completely depends on initial focus acquisition to begin with, and you know this. A really good situation for this setting to be used at a higher number would be tracking a bird taking off, where you know you can acquire initial focus while it's sitting, then sticking to it with the delay during and after take off, against background / foreground.

I never said a 1 was best all the time either (just a better default setting than 3), I said it depends on the situation - yes I focused on foreground obstructions, so glad you mentioned tracking / off subject into backgrounds.

And again: it depends on the situation. I don't know why you keep saying it should only ever be set to 1 and that you think Nikon should have removed this setting entirely from the menus. Why do you keep saying that? Why do you keep insisting that this setting influences the speed of initial AF acquisition?

I never mentioned initial acquisition. The issue for me has always been re-acquiring a subject after it locks on something else, which drives me nuts. I simply rather refine my tracking skills and take my chances in real time in most situations (no one size hat fits all).

 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
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

briantilley wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

beatboxa wrote:

SaltyPeanut wrote:

Best for each one of us to test this out, see what fits best. Many have, and recommend a 1.

Your recommendation of having it set to only 1 all the time is not exactly correct. It all depends on the situation.

In general / default, 1 (or 2) is better than 3 or higher. You just refuse to believe it.

Add me to the list of those who don't believe that is valid as a general rule.

It all depends on the types of subject, how they are moving, and how you want the camera to respond. Higher values are entirely appropriate in some situations, just as lower values are in other circumstances. Some people (including me) will find that 1 suits the majority of their photography, but others may find that 5 works best - and some will be in between.

Pretty much what I've been saying...

Increase the number if foreground obstructions are expected, which is exactly what it was intended for, otherwise keep it low / off.

 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
SaltyPeanut
SaltyPeanut Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

One last interesting insight from Thom on this setting compared to the dslr's:

"In general I find that I’m using slightly faster (e.g. one lower number) values here for the same situation as compared to my D850, particularly for Single-point and Dynamic-area Autofocus Area modes."

 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
Ernie Misner
Ernie Misner Veteran Member • Posts: 6,704
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

Are you using Dynamic AF setting, Auto, or Wide Small, etc.?  I am sorry if I missed that.

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.

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Ernie Misner
http://www.flickr.com/photos/erniemisner/
The first digital image was made in the late '60's for NASA, as a way to record images of Mars. Each "square" was represented by three numbers, corresponding to the red, green, and blue hue on a scale of 0 to 255. This eliminated the need to ship film back to Earth.

 Ernie Misner's gear list:Ernie Misner's gear list
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OP DaveyB Senior Member • Posts: 1,046
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
1

Is no one on here surprised at how well both cameras did in comparison with the much vaunted Sonys ? From following the past  threads on here, I’d come away with the impression that both Z50 and Z6 were both poor choices for BIF, hence asking for the test and comparison.

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Cheers
David

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pe1125 Regular Member • Posts: 142
Re: Z50 and Z6 BIF review at Mirrorless Comparisons
2

DaveyB wrote:

Is no one on here surprised at how well both cameras did in comparison with the much vaunted Sonys ? From following the past threads on here, I’d come away with the impression that both Z50 and Z6 were both poor choices for BIF, hence asking for the test and comparison.

I'm surprised.  I have no experience with Sony, but I am quite frustrated by the poor AF of my Z7 on BIF, usually with the 500PF.  A big part of my experience compared to the video is (1) my competence and (2) the subject bird and lighting.  Worst case for me is cormorants (black and often just horizontal features) and birds that are just too far away against a busy background. I'm sure I'd do better with the Z7 on a nice, well lit, contrasty bird against sky or distant background. Meanwhile I'll just go back to the D500 and get the shot.

Peter

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