dynamic AF vs Wide Area Subject Tracking

Started 3 months ago | Questions
Boudewijn van der Drift Contributing Member • Posts: 521
dynamic AF vs Wide Area Subject Tracking

I use subject tracking alot, and appreciate it. Especially with the 70-200, using the front lens button to "stick" the square on the subject. And it is easy to switch between Pinpoint AF, eye AF and tracking with the frontwheel while looking into the EVF. With dynamic AF you also need to check whether you are in AF-C or AF-S.

I see in Ricci's AF video at 12' how dynamic AF technically works. Great because the other sources I found do not explain much more than that it exists and where you could use it. And there is lots of overlap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWIoYOv9kRg

I never used it except for abit of testing. Does it use less CPU because I do more of the tracking work and is the AF therefore quicker?

I have Z's but is a Z *II then much better in subject tracking? Not that I am complaining.

And above all, am I missing out on not using dynamic AF? There is plenty in the menu's that I do not use anyway (yet?).

 Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list:Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 70-200 F2.8 VR +2 more
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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,412
Re: dynamic AF vs Subject Tracking

Boudewijn van der Drift wrote:

I use subject tracking alot, and appreciate it. Especially with the 70-200, using the front lens button to "stick" the square on the subject. And it is easy to switch between Pinpoint AF, eye AF and tracking with the frontwheel while looking into the EVF. With dynamic AF you also need to check whether you are in AF-C or AF-S.

Dynamic area AF isn't available in AF-S .

And above all, am I missing out on not using dynamic AF?

Maybe only use dynamic area AF for a time and you might be able to answer that question for yourself.

FYI - in your title: "Wide Area Subject Tracking." There is only "Subject Tracking (in Auto Area AF) and Wide Area AF (Small and Large).

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,466
Re: dynamic AF vs Wide Area Subject Tracking
2

In my limited testing with a gen1 z6, I find it's a tossup between wide small and dynamic (manually tracking a subject), with subject tracking (auto AF) just a hair behind, in terms of shots in focus. With human subjects though, I now use eye AF 99% of the time, as the performance is good enough and the freedom behind the lens is unbeatable (no more moving AF points around with a tiny joystick like a madman).

j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,274
Re: dynamic AF vs Wide Area Subject Tracking

Boudewijn van der Drift wrote:

I use subject tracking alot, and appreciate it. Especially with the 70-200, using the front lens button to "stick" the square on the subject. And it is easy to switch between Pinpoint AF, eye AF and tracking with the frontwheel while looking into the EVF. With dynamic AF you also need to check whether you are in AF-C or AF-S.

I see in Ricci's AF video at 12' how dynamic AF technically works. Great because the other sources I found do not explain much more than that it exists and where you could use it. And there is lots of overlap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWIoYOv9kRg

I never used it except for abit of testing. Does it use less CPU because I do more of the tracking work and is the AF therefore quicker?

I have Z's but is a Z *II then much better in subject tracking? Not that I am complaining.

And above all, am I missing out on not using dynamic AF? There is plenty in the menu's that I do not use anyway (yet?).

In my DSLR days, I relied on dynamic area for 80 percent or more of my shooting. And I agree, Ricci does a good job explaining it.

I've never seen a comparison of the speed of focus acquisition between subject tracking and other modes. It would be interesting to see if there were one.

The Monochrome Memoirs did a review of the Z6 II a few months back and claimed that subject tracking was significantly improved from the Z6. I haven't had a chance yet to compare this mode on my Z6 II to my previous Z6. Monochrome Memoirs also says that the Z6 II focus is much less prone to jumping to a contrasty background compared to the Z6.

If the situation I was shooting was suited to closest subject priority, I might try one of the wide area modes. Or if it was more important to me to keep close control over where the focus point was on the subject, I would use dynamic area. In very low light, I think I trust dynamic area more than wide area.

Hope that helps.

 j_photo's gear list:j_photo's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 II
OP Boudewijn van der Drift Contributing Member • Posts: 521
Re: dynamic AF vs Subject Tracking

Wahrsager wrote:

Boudewijn van der Drift wrote:

I use subject tracking alot, and appreciate it. Especially with the 70-200, using the front lens button to "stick" the square on the subject. And it is easy to switch between Pinpoint AF, eye AF and tracking with the frontwheel while looking into the EVF. With dynamic AF you also need to check whether you are in AF-C or AF-S.

Dynamic area AF isn't available in AF-S .

Yes, that is why I need to check, right?

And above all, am I missing out on not using dynamic AF?

Maybe only use dynamic area AF for a time and you might be able to answer that question for yourself.

FYI - in your title: "Wide Area Subject Tracking." There is only "Subject Tracking (in Auto Area AF) and Wide Area AF (Small and Large).

Well, that is what Nikon calls it in the manual

 Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list:Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 70-200 F2.8 VR +2 more
OP Boudewijn van der Drift Contributing Member • Posts: 521
Re: dynamic AF vs Wide Area Subject Tracking
1

j_photo wrote:

Boudewijn van der Drift wrote:

I use subject tracking alot, and appreciate it. Especially with the 70-200, using the front lens button to "stick" the square on the subject. And it is easy to switch between Pinpoint AF, eye AF and tracking with the frontwheel while looking into the EVF. With dynamic AF you also need to check whether you are in AF-C or AF-S.

I see in Ricci's AF video at 12' how dynamic AF technically works. Great because the other sources I found do not explain much more than that it exists and where you could use it. And there is lots of overlap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWIoYOv9kRg

I never used it except for abit of testing. Does it use less CPU because I do more of the tracking work and is the AF therefore quicker?

I have Z's but is a Z *II then much better in subject tracking? Not that I am complaining.

And above all, am I missing out on not using dynamic AF? There is plenty in the menu's that I do not use anyway (yet?).

In my DSLR days, I relied on dynamic area for 80 percent or more of my shooting. And I agree, Ricci does a good job explaining it.

I've never seen a comparison of the speed of focus acquisition between subject tracking and other modes. It would be interesting to see if there were one.

Yes, not exactly, but there is this Belgian working at a "red kite feeding station" in Whales who has tested and ranked (as a % keepers number and explaining the settings he thought best on each camera) dozens of ML camera's for BIF shooting. For the Z7 he found dynamic AF was better than subject tracking.

The Z7 was not doing too bad by the way, but that was like sept 2020. There is fast development here.

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/best/mirrorless-cameras-for-birds-in-flight/

P.S. these tests are now redone with 70-200 mm and TC1.4! and subject tracking is preferred.

The Monochrome Memoirs did a review of the Z6 II a few months back and claimed that subject tracking was significantly improved from the Z6. I haven't had a chance yet to compare this mode on my Z6 II to my previous Z6. Monochrome Memoirs also says that the Z6 II focus is much less prone to jumping to a contrasty background compared to the Z6.

If the situation I was shooting was suited to closest subject priority, I might try one of the wide area modes. Or if it was more important to me to keep close control over where the focus point was on the subject, I would use dynamic area. In very low light, I think I trust dynamic area more than wide area.

Hope that helps.

 Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list:Boudewijn van der Drift's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 70-200 F2.8 VR +2 more
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