What is wrong with AF Area?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
What is wrong with AF Area?

Hi,

I noticed some strange focus behaviour on the last few pictures taken by someone else with my Z50. It seems like the camera focuses on a different area that is selected for the focus. Please see two below examples.

AF-C priority is set on the focus (not on release) and AF-S priority is not in the menu of Z50.

Any ideas what could cause such focus problems?

Af area mark over the middle person

and actual focus on the trees behind

Af area marks over the trees

And the actual focus is luckily not that far from the face

 Qbalion's gear list:Qbalion's gear list
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justcrusin Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

To get more accurate results use subject tracking in Auto AF mode, Small or large wide area AF with face tracking or Dynamic AF.

By the way, in the second pic the boy is in focus.

mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Qbalion wrote:

Hi,

I noticed some strange focus behaviour on the last few pictures taken by someone else with my Z50. It seems like the camera focuses on a different area that is selected for the focus. Please see two below examples.

AF-C priority is set on the focus (not on release) and AF-S priority is not in the menu of Z50.

Any ideas what could cause such focus problems?

Af area mark over the middle person

and actual focus on the trees behind

Af area marks over the trees

And the actual focus is luckily not that far from the face

Hi,

I don't own a Z50 and I am not certain which AF settings you used for these pictures. I am not a big fan of the AF auto settings, I would use AF-S single point focus mode for such pictures. AF-C Af auto area with face/eye detection is another option.

Best IMO is to take some time to experiment with the different AF possibilities and to study the Z50 user manual in detail if you did not do that yet.

If you want to study all the possibilities of the Z50 in detail ( much more information then is presented in the nikon user manual ) , Thom Hogan's Z50 e-guide may be a solution (Complete Guide to the Nikon Z50 | Thom Hogan (zsystemuser.com)

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Greetings,
Marc

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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?
1

justcrusin wrote:

To get more accurate results use subject tracking in Auto AF mode, Small or large wide area AF with face tracking ...

I don't think the Z50 has this option , see Focus (nikonimglib.com)

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Greetings,
Marc

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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: nikon Z50 digitutor
2

See also Nikon | Imaging Products | Digitutor | Z 50

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Greetings,
Marc

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OP Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
Re: nikon Z50 digitutor

Thank you for the links to tutorials. I went thru some of them already - also vide ones. My concern is not that I do not know which mode to use when.

But rather why the camera showed af area in different spots that it actually focused? I could explain it with priority set on release and not on focus but that was not the case unless this setting can be overwritten by SCN presets...

I did not shoot those pictures and I am not sure which settings were selected. Probably some SCN presets.

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Joacim Schwartz
Joacim Schwartz Junior Member • Posts: 27
Re: nikon Z50 digitutor

Qbalion wrote:

Thank you for the links to tutorials. I went thru some of them already - also vide ones. My concern is not that I do not know which mode to use when.

But rather why the camera showed af area in different spots that it actually focused? I could explain it with priority set on release and not on focus but that was not the case unless this setting can be overwritten by SCN presets...

I did not shoot those pictures and I am not sure which settings were selected. Probably some SCN presets.

Could it be that you have set the AF priority to release on focus or button press? I would think if set to shutter release, the camera "finds" a focus point in the viewfinder, but does not move the focus fast enough since Release Priority is set.

See the settings here:
https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/z50/en/09_menu_guide_05_a01.html

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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: nikon Z50 digitutor

Qbalion wrote:

Thank you for the links to tutorials. I went thru some of them already - also vide ones. My concern is not that I do not know which mode to use when.

See for a quick tour : (267) Z 7/Z 6/Z 5 - AF-Area Mode: Choosing a Mode to Suit the Scene | Nikon Z Series | Digitutor - YouTube

But rather why the camera showed af area in different spots that it actually focused? I could explain it with priority set on release and not on focus but that was not the case unless this setting can be overwritten by SCN presets...

I did not shoot those pictures and I am not sure which settings were selected. Probably some SCN presets.

I cannot answer this question.

As I said , I am not a big fan of the full auto AF modes ... the camera does not read the mind of the person using the camera and when taking pictures of busy scenes it can make wrong decisions.

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Greetings,
Marc

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Stinson
Stinson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,837
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

I have a Z5 not a Z50 so I can only guess that you have some setting that is creating a focus lock.  I do agree with the suggestion to use AF-S for people.  You should review your settings and try some shots outside your home.  There are many options.  On the Z5 there is an option to take off the button press focus and use a back button.  I am experimenting with that and enjoy it so far.

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Michael

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,890
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?
9

It's too bad people don't actually read the post before responding.  I think you clearly said that the photos were taken by someone else.  Although we have to assume that you mean that you handed your camera to someone else to take the photo.  Putting the camera into AF-S single point mode and then handing it to someone not experienced with the camera is not a recipe for a good photo.

The only thing I can think of is that someone did a half-press of the shutter and then re-composed.  However, you also say that the camera was in AF-C mode so that would sort of rule that out too.

Bottom line, given that someone else took the photos I don't know that it's really going to be possible to know what went wrong in these examples.

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Mike Dawson

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Varuas Contributing Member • Posts: 727
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Nikon Z (at least first gens) LOVE tree branches over people's faces. I can imagine it to be a useful feature for botanists and tree photographers. There should be a setting to "deprioritize" tree branches for others.

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OP Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?
2

Qbalion wrote:

Hi,

I noticed some strange focus behaviour on the last few pictures taken by someone else with my Z50. It seems like the camera focuses on a different area that is selected for the focus. Please see two below examples.

AF-C priority is set on the focus (not on release) and AF-S priority is not in the menu of Z50.

Any ideas what could cause such focus problems?

Af area mark over the middle person

and actual focus on the trees behind

Af area marks over the trees

And the actual focus is luckily not that far from the face

for 1st picture (3 guys) the modes are SCN Autumn with its default AF-A and Auto AF area.

Capture NX info of the first case

For the 2nd it was portrait Scene also with default AF-A and Auto AF

because AF-A is not the same as AF-C I'd suppose that the shoots were re-composed after af focused... or...

there is a bug with showing the selected af area in playback mode of Z50

 Qbalion's gear list:Qbalion's gear list
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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Qbalion wrote:

Qbalion wrote:

Hi,

I noticed some strange focus behaviour on the last few pictures taken by someone else with my Z50. It seems like the camera focuses on a different area that is selected for the focus. Please see two below examples.

AF-C priority is set on the focus (not on release) and AF-S priority is not in the menu of Z50.

Any ideas what could cause such focus problems?

Af area mark over the middle person

and actual focus on the trees behind

Af area marks over the trees

And the actual focus is luckily not that far from the face

for 1st picture (3 guys) the modes are SCN Autumn with its default AF-A and Auto AF area.

Capture NX info of the first case

For the 2nd it was portrait Scene also with default AF-A and Auto AF

because AF-A is not the same as AF-C I'd suppose that the shoots were re-composed after af focused... or...

there is a bug with showing the selected af area in playback mode of Z50

Hi,

To find out , maybe experiment a bit and try to reproduce the problem with the settings mentioned above ?

-- hide signature --

Greetings,
Marc

 mrbr's gear list:mrbr's gear list
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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,105
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Qbalion wrote:

there is a bug with showing the selected af area in playback mode of Z50

Usually when users have trouble with this, it's due to misunderstanding the camera settings. I don't have a z50, but on the z6 and 7 first you must check the focus point option in the playback display options menu. Then when reviewing images, you must cycle through the various image review screens to find the one that includes the focus point display.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,105
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?
2

Qbalion wrote:

Qbalion wrote:

Hi,

I noticed some strange focus behaviour on the last few pictures taken by someone else with my Z50. It seems like the camera focuses on a different area that is selected for the focus. Please see two below examples.

AF-C priority is set on the focus (not on release) and AF-S priority is not in the menu of Z50.

Any ideas what could cause such focus problems?

Af area mark over the middle person

and actual focus on the trees behind

Af area marks over the trees

And the actual focus is luckily not that far from the face

for 1st picture (3 guys) the modes are SCN Autumn with its default AF-A and Auto AF area.

Capture NX info of the first case

For the 2nd it was portrait Scene also with default AF-A and Auto AF

because AF-A is not the same as AF-C I'd suppose that the shoots were re-composed after af focused... or...

there is a bug with showing the selected af area in playback mode of Z50

In general, Nikon focus has a bit of a reputation for grabbing onto contrasty backgrounds too readily. That might be what happened in your second photo.

The AF-A and Auto area modes leave a lot to the camera. If you are going to shoot with these settings, you need to keep an eye on where the focus point is landing while shooting. If you find focus is not where you want it, then you have to change out of portrait scene mode and learn to take more control over the focus with other settings.

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OP Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Hi,

To find out , maybe experiment a bit and try to reproduce the problem with the settings mentioned above ?

I'll let you know guys I reproduce such behavior myself. I wondered if anyone else observed similar stuff as well. It seems that not... Interesting.

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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?
2

Qbalion wrote:

Hi,

To find out , maybe experiment a bit and try to reproduce the problem with the settings mentioned above ?

I'll let you know guys I reproduce such behavior myself. I wondered if anyone else observed similar stuff as well. It seems that not... Interesting.

Hi,

IMO most readers of this forum are not interested in using the SCENE modes. Most people on this forum take control over the camera, certainly regarding focus settings.

See also Thom Hogan's opinion about the Z50 scene modes in his review Nikon Z50 Camera Review | Thom Hogan (zsystemuser.com) :

QUOTE

There’s a full range of Scene and Effects modes in the Z50, plus the new Creative Picture Controls. Nikon seems to still insist on the former in their consumer cameras, but frankly, I only see those adding confusion to the user base. That’s because the Scene and Effects modes are nannies: they only let you change some things, and they don’t actually do as much to get their mission accomplished as they should.

UNQUOTE

My suggestion to you would be to save time and put your effort in settings for focus , and picture control yourself.

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Greetings,
Marc

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OP Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

I hear you and I usually shoot with A or with S. Also I am experimenting with customized user settings for portraits, landscapes...

I'd like to replace SCN on the dial with U3 and even add U4!

But that day I wanted to be in some pictures and I passed the camera to my wife. She is more comfortable with SCN ad I do not want to force here to anything else for now

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OP Qbalion Contributing Member • Posts: 518
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

That is exactly what I did. I think that I need to explain it in original post

Thanks

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mrbr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Re: What is wrong with AF Area?

Qbalion wrote:

I hear you and I usually shoot with A or with S. Also I am experimenting with customized user settings for portraits, landscapes...

I'd like to replace SCN on the dial with U3 and even add U4!

But that day I wanted to be in some pictures and I passed the camera to my wife. She is more comfortable with SCN ad I do not want to force here to anything else for now

I understand your problem !

I set the camera myself and learned my wife ( she is not very technical ) to zoom to the desired focal length and set focus with the focuspoint ( AF-S single point ) in base position and then to recompose before taking a picture.

Maybe best thing to do is not to pixelpeep to check focus on the photo's taken in scene mode. When viewed on normal size the results are probably acceptable.

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Greetings,
Marc

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