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Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews

  
 
ilkka_nissila
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Alistair1 wrote:
Interesting. Which ML cameras have cross type sensors?


Olympus (Or OM Digital) OM-1 has cross-type sensors based on a quad-pixel design. Also their earlier models E-M5 Mark III and E-M1 Mark II have cross-type sensors. I was assuming there were other manufacturers but on a quick look I didn't find them.

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/om-system-om-1-review





Jun 23, 2022 at 05:54 AM
suteetat
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


ilkka_nissila wrote:
This is because all the phase-detect sensors are linear in the Z9. They mainly detect vertical lines. The grass is bright and has sharp vertical detail. The animal is dark for the most part and has mixed texture. Cross-type sensors in future models hopefully become more common.

In a similar situation, I used the Z6 II to photograph backlit deer with the sun lighting the grass from behind. I got maybe 5% in focus with the Z6 II and 70% in focus with the D850. The D850 has cross-type sensors (not all of them, some are linear).

A few manufacturers have already
...Show more

Z9 is actually quite a bit better than Z6 ii in this respect. Single focus point works very well at acquiring the face initially. If there are lots of grass in front of the face, using wide area-L with animal face/eye detection also works if focus point is behind the animal.
In this case. AF will almost always move forward toward the grass in front but as soon as AF passes the animal face, face/eye detection would pick up the animal I would say 80% of the time. The frustrating thing is that it would not stay on the animal for more than a few seconds before it moves forward to grass. So I can take a few sharp shots then grass then start all over again.
Certainly I don't remember having this problem when I had D850 with me in Kenya 4 years ago but my memory might not be accurate.




Jun 23, 2022 at 06:06 AM
CKrueger
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


arbitrage wrote:
I wouldn't go for the 400Z if you are trying to hit that 700-800mm mark. I really hate relying on 2xTCs for anything these days even though I used to use them a lot but mostly on lower MP FF bodies. Like you the last time I had a 2xTC make me happy was on my 300 f/2.8 IS II. But even that was on a 18-20MP FF and I doubt I'd love it on these high MP cameras.

I'll caveat that with the fact that I've never used the Z 2.0TC. I have used and owned all the Nikon F
...Show more

You just described the exact soundtrack playing in my head since the 800PF’s announcement!

500PF: I wish it had a control ring and I would love to eliminate my last FTZ lens.

400/4.5: A 2x on a high-res body? Nikon’s TCs get high marks but…. I’m nervous.

800PF: I spend a nice vacation for the privilege of carrying 2lbs more camera in a dedicated lens bag, and my 500PF is doing a really pretty job already.

I guess I should reframe how I look at this “problem”. We are absolutely spoiled for long telephoto options on Z cameras, and the 200-600 isn’t even out yet! There really isn’t a “bad” option.



Jun 23, 2022 at 06:58 AM
CanadaMark
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


ilkka_nissila wrote:
This is because all the phase-detect sensors are linear in the Z9. They mainly detect vertical lines. The grass is bright and has sharp vertical detail. The animal is dark for the most part and has mixed texture. Cross-type sensors in future models hopefully become more common.

In a similar situation, I used the Z6 II to photograph backlit deer with the sun lighting the grass from behind. I got maybe 5% in focus with the Z6 II and 70% in focus with the D850. The D850 has cross-type sensors (not all of them, some are linear).

A few manufacturers have already
...Show more

It's correct that the Z9 does not have cross type sensors, but I don't think that's why his photo was OOF - I have dozens of pictures where the Z9 stayed locked on a subject's eye through vertical tall grass / reeds, so the camera is clearly capable of distinguishing. Those photos usually don't end up being 'keepers' anyway because obviously the subject is obstructed, but I've witnessed the Z9 handle these situations without issue time and time again.

Also in his example, the grass is very thin and not very contrasty - it could have been a lot worse. The Jackal has a lot more contrast on it. 3D tracking also works really well in these scenarios I've found.

The other area I've been particularly impressed with regarding BIF is that the Z9 doesn't grab the wing, which is often closer to the camera and more contrasty than the eye/head. On top of that the wing tip feathers usually are pointing upward which in theory should make it easier to trick the Z9 but I haven't found that to be the case. Here is a quick example of what I mean - the Z9 will stay glued to the eye:







Edited on Jun 23, 2022 at 10:35 AM · View previous versions



Jun 23, 2022 at 10:22 AM
leewoolery
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Off topic but the AF on the Z9 is so much more responsive than the D6 or any other DSLR I have used in the past.

The D6 served me well but the Z9 is world's ahead.



Jun 23, 2022 at 10:34 AM
Eric214
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


leewoolery wrote:
Off topic but the AF on the Z9 is so much more responsive than the D6 or any other DSLR I have used in the past.

The D6 served me well but the Z9 is world's ahead.


I would say that the AF is better on the Z9 for everything over a DSLR but initial AF acquisition. My D500 was without question faster with initial AF focus.



Jun 23, 2022 at 10:39 AM
leewoolery
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews




Eric214 wrote:
I would say that the AF is better on the Z9 for everything over a DSLR but initial AF acquisition. My D500 was without question faster with initial AF focus.


I must respectfully disagree...in my experience the D6 is the best focusing Nikon DSLR I have used but the Z9 grabs and holds like nothing I have seen.

Going from batter in box to infielder is instant and same goes for quarterback to wide receiver down field makes my job so much easier.

I know the camera will find the eyes of subjects without question.

The D6 was much slower to react.



Jun 23, 2022 at 11:04 AM
ilkka_nissila
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


CanadaMark wrote:
It's correct that the Z9 does not have cross type sensors, but I don't think that's why his photo was OOF - I have dozens of pictures where the Z9 stayed locked on a subject's eye through vertical tall grass / reeds, so the camera is clearly capable of distinguishing. Those photos usually don't end up being 'keepers' anyway because obviously the subject is obstructed, but I've witnessed the Z9 handle these situations without issue time and time again.

Also in his example, the grass is very thin and not very contrasty - it could have been a lot worse. The
...Show more

The grass is lit by the sun behind the subject and certainly is a lot brighter than the animal's shadow side which is where the eye to be focused on is. The main part of the contrast comes from the lighting and is why the focusing system struggles: the distraction is several stops brighter than the subject's eye (typically sun vs. shade is about three stops and the fur/eye is further naturally darker than the grass which adds to the total contrast) and the grass has fine detail emphasized by the hard light and in preferred orientation to the PDAF (not exactly vertical but still predominantly grass tends to have more vertical detail.

If you do the same shoot in front lighting, the AF system is much more likely to hold onto the desired subject but then one doesn't get the contrasty backlit fur. You can also try to increase the probability of success by turning the orientation of the camera so that the phase-detect sensors do not favour the grass as much.



Edited on Jun 23, 2022 at 11:27 AM · View previous versions



Jun 23, 2022 at 11:26 AM
Creative Edge
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


leewoolery wrote:
I must respectfully disagree...in my experience the D6 is the best focusing Nikon DSLR I have used but the Z9 grabs and holds like nothing I have seen.

Going from batter in box to infielder is instant and same goes for quarterback to wide receiver down field makes my job so much easier.

I know the camera will find the eyes of subjects without question.

The D6 was much slower to react.


I completely agree wholeheartedly with Lee, that is my exact experience with the Z9




Jun 23, 2022 at 11:26 AM
CanadaMark
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


ilkka_nissila wrote:
The grass is lit by the sun behind the subject and certainly is a lot brighter than the animal's shadow side which is where the eye to be focused on is. The main part of the contrast comes from the lighting and is why the focusing system struggles: the distraction is several stops brighter than the subject's eye (typically sun vs. shade is about three stops and the fur/eye is further naturally darker than the grass which adds to the total contrast) and the grass has fine detail emphasized by the hard light and in preferred orientation to the PDAF
...Show more

Well all I can say for sure is that my Z9 does not behave like that - it will hold a subject behind tall vertical detail even with similar contrast to the subject. It will do the same thing through foliage. But like I said, most of these images don't end up as keepers anyway because they're obstructed, so it's kind of a moot point, but the Z9 has no trouble in those scenarios in my experience.

According to NR, FW 2.1 will be out within 2 weeks and will come with even more AF improvements so I'm curious to see what they've done this time.



Jun 23, 2022 at 11:37 AM
 


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Eric214
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


leewoolery wrote:
I must respectfully disagree...in my experience the D6 is the best focusing Nikon DSLR I have used but the Z9 grabs and holds like nothing I have seen.

Going from batter in box to infielder is instant and same goes for quarterback to wide receiver down field makes my job so much easier.

I know the camera will find the eyes of subjects without question.

The D6 was much slower to react.


Agree to disagree, I know over more than a dozen people who say the same and some coming from the D6. Switching focus is not the same as initial focus. My Z9 switches very fast but if you are a little OOF and it has to grab focus initially, my D500 was no doubt faster.



Jun 23, 2022 at 01:31 PM
CanadaMark
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Eric214 wrote:
Agree to disagree, I know over more than a dozen people who say the same and some coming from the D6. Switching focus is not the same as initial focus. My Z9 switches very fast but if you are a little OOF and it has to grab focus initially, my D500 was no doubt faster.


FWIW the Z9 definitely acquires faster than a D5 or D850 in my experience (both have essentially the same AF system as D500), but I don't have enough time behind a D6 to confidently say one way or another with that particular camera. I would assume it's not massively different from a D5 in that respect. it could also be lens dependent, which is probably why people are having different experiences. As for tracking once acquired, it's obviously no contest. Whatever is working for you though, stick with it - nothing wrong with that.



Jun 23, 2022 at 02:24 PM
Eric214
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


CanadaMark wrote:
FWIW the Z9 definitely acquires faster than a D5 or D850 in my experience (both have essentially the same AF system as D500), but I don't have enough time behind a D6 to confidently say one way or another with that particular camera. I would assume it's not massively different from a D5 in that respect. it could also be lens dependent, which is probably why people are having different experiences. As for tracking once acquired, it's obviously no contest. Whatever is working for you though, stick with it - nothing wrong with that.


No doubt, once it has the lock on the subject the Z9 tracks much better. But with the D500 i could hit the AF ON with group AF and virtually instantly hit the shutter button and the first shot was virtually always in focus with the D500+500PF. The Z9+500PF you have to give .5 to 1 full second before you have focus and start shooting.

My Canon friend day the same thing. The R6 and R5 is slower then even the 1DX II and III. So it's likely a mirrorless thing



Jun 23, 2022 at 03:08 PM
CanadaMark
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Eric214 wrote:
No doubt, once it has the lock on the subject the Z9 tracks much better. But with the D500 i could hit the AF ON with group AF and virtually instantly hit the shutter button and the first shot was virtually always in focus with the D500+500PF. The Z9+500PF you have to give .5 to 1 full second before you have focus and start shooting.

My Canon friend day the same thing. The R6 and R5 is slower then even the 1DX II and III. So it's likely a mirrorless thing


Interesting. Maybe it's because of the adapted lens, but who knows. 0.5-1 second is a long time if you're waiting for AF to respond, and I have never noticed any kind of delay anywhere near that bad. Maybe certain scenarios make it more obvious though.

One thing you could try is turn off subject detection on the Z9 and use small or wide area - that essentially makes it closest subject priority (group) AF. Obviously you probably want to be using subject detection as that's the whole point of the Z9 AF system but I wonder if that makes any difference to the delay you're seeing.



Jun 23, 2022 at 03:20 PM
Eric214
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


CanadaMark wrote:
Interesting. Maybe it's because of the adapted lens, but who knows. 0.5-1 second is a long time if you're waiting for AF to respond, and I have never noticed any kind of delay anywhere near that bad. Maybe certain scenarios make it more obvious though.

One thing you could try is turn off subject detection on the Z9 and use small or wide area - that essentially makes it closest subject priority (group) AF. Obviously you probably want to be using subject detection as that's the whole point of the Z9 AF system but I wonder if that makes any difference
...Show more

It's definitely about .5 seconds



Jun 23, 2022 at 03:21 PM
bs kite
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Interesting discussion between Mark and Eric. A thought: I would like to see DGettisNC's Input here.

At this time (with those swallow images and more) Dan probably has had as much experience with Z9 acquisition as anyone.... on fast subjects I mean.

Just suggesting

Robert



Jun 23, 2022 at 03:48 PM
leewoolery
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews




CanadaMark wrote:
Interesting. Maybe it's because of the adapted lens, but who knows. 0.5-1 second is a long time if you're waiting for AF to respond, and I have never noticed any kind of delay anywhere near that bad. Maybe certain scenarios make it more obvious though.

One thing you could try is turn off subject detection on the Z9 and use small or wide area - that essentially makes it closest subject priority (group) AF. Obviously you probably want to be using subject detection as that's the whole point of the Z9 AF system but I wonder if that makes any difference
...Show more

My adapted F Mount 400 f/2.8 and 200 f/2 grab focus and lock on noticeably faster in bright sunshine and poorly-lit indoor facilities or under the lights with the Z9.

As nice as the D6 is as an action camera, I won't even use it anymore at the bowling alley and gymnastics facility.

The AF on the D6 stammers and stutters at both of those places but the Z9 is right now.

I really notice it at the hockey rink and on the football field when the Z9 will grab and go with no hesitation.

It is a major leap in AF technology over the D6.



Jun 23, 2022 at 03:55 PM
DGettisNC
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


bs kite wrote:
Interesting discussion between Mark and Eric. A thought: I would like to see DGettisNC's Input here.

At this time (with those swallow images and more) Dan probably has had as much experience with Z9 acquisition as anyone.... on fast subjects I mean.

Just suggesting

Robert


I appreciate that but I'm not sure how helpful I will be, as I have a problem making definitive statements lol

I probably need to take my D850 out with me next time and do some side-by-side with the Z9 as I have not done that yet.

All I can really say right now is that I feel like the Z9 HAS helped me get better pics. I think it definitely DOES track better once you have focus. There have been some instances lately where I feel like the camera should have grabbed focus but didnt, however I have also been focusing on swallows lately which I never did prior to getting the Z9, and a lot of those swallow pics arent from birds that I am able to track from 40yds out. When I first see them they are maybe 20-25ft away.


I agree with the poster that said it does a great job of not grabbing the wings, I dont think I have seen it grab the wings a single time yet, always the eye.

When I was shooting harriers and kestrels one weekend back in Feb, it definitely felt like it picked up focus faster than the D500/D850, but with the swallows I am not 100% confident in saying that yet until I try them with the D850 again.

And I'm not sure if people are relying solely on the AF or not. I think some definitely are, but I ride the manual focus a TON. No matter what situation I am in, 100% of the time I will rotate the focus ring myself until I see the subject at least somewhat in focus, and then I let AF take over.

So, re-reading that I guess I think it does pick up AF quicker than the D500/D850 in most instances. Especially if its actually a pic that would be good (not talking about situations where the bird is 1/50th of the frame and so far away the background is in focus as well. It seems like maybe 25% of the complaints I see about AF for the camera are for shots that I wonder why they are even attempting them anyway, not here as much, but definitely FB)




Jun 23, 2022 at 04:15 PM
CanadaMark
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


leewoolery wrote:
My adapted F Mount 400 f/2.8 and 200 f/2 grab focus and lock on noticeably faster in bright sunshine and poorly-lit indoor facilities or under the lights with the Z9.

As nice as the D6 is as an action camera, I won't even use it anymore at the bowling alley and gymnastics facility.

The AF on the D6 stammers and stutters at both of those places but the Z9 is right now.

I really notice it at the hockey rink and on the football field when the Z9 will grab and go with no hesitation.

It is a major leap in AF technology over
...Show more

Compared to the D850 / D5 I agree with everything you wrote as that seems to match my experience so far. I'll take your word for it with the D6 as I don't have enough time behind that camera to share an honest experience specifically regarding acquisition time.



Jun 23, 2022 at 04:16 PM
suteetat
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Nikon 400mm 4.5Z - Previews


Personally, beside this whole issue with grass in front of the animal which my only other experience was 4 years ago in Kenya with D850 which I don't remember anything much except that A7r iii struggled more than D850 in the same situation, I have not shot anything in this same situation until last week. Never tried my D6 under the same condition either. Otherwise my general impression is that Z9 could easily if not better matched group focus on D6 for bif. (both are very fast, fast enough that if there is any difference, it does not matter. This is true with 600/4e FL with FTZ adapter, 400/2.8s with the new motor is another story but that is probably because of the new motor as well). Focus acquisition is at least as fast if not faster except if focus point way is behind the subject In that case, D6 has better chance of locking in on a bird rather than locking on the foliage behind. This is where focus recall button on the lens becomes quite essential for Z9.



Jun 23, 2022 at 06:16 PM
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