Home · Register · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Nikon Forum | Join Upload & Sell

       2       3              5       6       end
  

For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds

  
 
f_a_98
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Came across this article where the author claims, and supported by a few comments too, that Z9 AF is not able to recognize white birds and it's a huge struggle.
Does anyone here shoot white/light birds and can confirm?
Article here: https://shuttermuse.com/the-nikon-z9-problem-for-bird-photographers/



May 16, 2023 at 09:02 AM
Gordon Lyons
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I'm not having problem with white birds.











Edited on May 18, 2023 at 07:28 AM · View previous versions



May 16, 2023 at 10:36 AM
RoamingScott
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Can't confirm. I've had BETTER luck with birds the whiter/lighter they are.

I think it's impossible to gain meaningful data from one shooter operating their camera in a somewhat unknown manner.



May 16, 2023 at 10:40 AM
CanadaMark
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Lots of us here shoot birds/BIF, some exclusively. The Z9 is one of the best cameras available for that subject matter and white birds are absolutely no problem for it. We have tons of white or predominantly white birds where I live (to the point that I am tired of them), and I have never once seen the Z9 fail to lock onto one as long as I was doing my job behind the camera. It will even grab white birds flying low over the water with harsh noon sunlight reflecting off the water/waves - something that I have seen confuse other cameras including the A7R5 I was testing this weekend.





























































Thought not a bird of course, will even focus on white snow without any problems:







Regarding the article, it looks like clickbait to me. He starts off with a giant photo that says "FAIL" and does not mention contacting Nikon support, nor does he mention trying another Z9, controlled testing, or doing any troubleshooting whatsoever. He's quick to mention other brands (another red flag). He goes on to say some situations give him "ZERO" in focus images, and "thousands of examples" which is either hyperbole or very hard to believe unless his camera is defective (why would you continue shooting thousands of images if your AF isn't working?). I wouldn't be surprised if he forgot to set the camera to animal detection (something he does not mention either) - that's the only reason I can think of as to why his hit rate is so bad, assuming he knows what he's doing otherwise.

I always advise caution when reading articles like this that look like someone might be trying to generate controversy or validate a certain purchase decision (not saying he is necessarily). A sample size of one from someone with unknown credentials and motivation that defies common sense should give anyone pause. It's also in stark contrast to the broad experience of the community over the last year - if the Z9 couldn't focus on white subjects, don't you think we would have found out sooner than 18 months?



May 16, 2023 at 10:59 AM
f_a_98
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Yes it seems strange that the AF would miss it that badly. We would have heard more about it. Perhaps it is the white ocean waves that that are confusing the AF system. In any case, glad to hear that you all are not seeing it.



May 16, 2023 at 11:26 AM
RoamingScott
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


If you ever get bored, I would love to read how you have your auto focus set up with granular detail. Iím sure your keeper rate is higher than mine, Iím always looking for a better way to do things.

CanadaMark wrote:
Lots of us here shoot birds/BIF, some exclusively. The Z9 is one of the best cameras available for that subject matter and white birds are absolutely no problem for it. We have tons of white or predominantly white birds where I live (to the point that I am tired of them), and I have never once seen the Z9 fail to lock onto one as long as I was doing my job behind the camera. It will even grab white birds flying low over the water with harsh noon sunlight reflecting off the water/waves - something that I have seen
...Show more



May 16, 2023 at 11:27 AM
groob
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Iím not going to read the article, but if youíre curious how the Z9 fares with birds in all sorts of situations, peruse Ray Hennessyís website and/or Instagram feed.


May 16, 2023 at 11:50 AM
CanadaMark
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


RoamingScott wrote:
If you ever get bored, I would love to read how you have your auto focus set up with granular detail. Iím sure your keeper rate is higher than mine, Iím always looking for a better way to do things.



What works for me is actually fairly simple, so hopefully that isn't disappointing for you! This is what I do:

- Custom wide area on the half-press shutter (slightly larger than default wide area, but same rectangle shape)
- 3D AF on back button AF-ON
- Pinpoint "dumb" AF on the front Fn3 button (also easily accessed in portrait orientation) - almost never use this but it's there if I ever need to override subject detection, for example if a non-animal subject appears that I want to quickly grab
- Subject motion "Steady" (default). Sometimes I'll change this to Erratic for subject matter like Swallows but I haven't noticed a major difference.
- Blocked shot response 3 (default)
- Subject detection matching the subject, obviously
- I disable the legacy DSLR AF modes just so there is less for me to scroll through if I ever change anything. Also note that disabling subject detection in Wide Area AF makes the camera behave like Group AF on DSLRs (closest subject priority).
- Viewfinder set to 120hz refresh rate for a buttery smooth experience

I've experimented with custom area AF modes of a singular point as well as the entire frame, and they have their place, but for general shooting I prefer the above setup. If you have two identical looking subjects very close together (or something like a group of people), using a smaller area AF or an area AF reduced to the smallest square allows you to force the camera to only look at one subject and ignore the others while maintaining the benefits of subject/eye detection. I am not often in those situations, but if I was, I would use a smaller AF area a lot more.

Probably 70% of the time I am just using the wide area on the shutter button for my photos, but for birds that don't have a predictable flight pattern or birds that might take off from a perch in an unknown direction, I think 3D works better than me always trying to react - it just helps remove the 'human' variable in some instances. For perched birds or other mostly stationary subjects, it doesn't really matter, both AF modes work perfectly. I like the area box because it gives me something to "aim" with when tracking.

Because Nikon still has no way to map an Auto ISO minimum shutter speed directly to a Fn button (a sore spot for me), I shoot in Manual mode with Auto ISO (usually ISO 6400 upper limit) and just roll the rear command dial to switch between appropriate shutter speeds for perched birds vs BIF. When the lighting allows for it, I like 1/640-1/800 for perched and 1/2500-1/3200 for most BIF (when in doubt, go faster).

You want to be using Sport VR where available for any kind of continuous shooting / tracking / panning. Normal VR is intended for stationary subjects like landscapes where you have a moment to let the VR settle into place.

I shoot everything in HE* now that DXO supports it, and usually between 12fps and 20fps depending on the situation, short bursts.

Anyway, hope that helps - I suspect there isn't much there that you aren't already doing, and not all of that affects AF performance, but that's what works for me. By far the biggest factor is your own ability to keep the subject in the frame and at least touching the AF area box (it doesn't have to be inside it, if any part of the box touches your subject, it works as you'd expect). These cameras are so ridiculously good at tracking that the human variable is far larger than any brand differences or minor spec differences, at least in my experience. I'll stop there before I go off on another tangent



May 16, 2023 at 12:38 PM
RoamingScott
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


CanadaMark wrote:
What works for me is actually fairly simple, so hopefully that isn't disappointing for you! This is what I do:

- Custom wide area on the half-press shutter (slightly larger than default wide area, but same rectangle shape)
- 3D AF on back button AF-ON
- Pinpoint "dumb" AF on the front Fn3 button (also easily accessed in portrait orientation) - almost never use this but it's there if I ever need to override subject detection, for example if a non-animal subject appears that I want to quickly grab
- Subject motion "Steady" (default). Sometimes I'll change this to Erratic for subject matter like
...Show more

Thanks very much, a few points in there for my own consideration, and was doing about 80% of this myself after trial and error with the various AF modes. I will say I tend to leave my VR in Sport mode, not sure that's detrimental to perched type shots.



May 16, 2023 at 01:05 PM
CanadaMark
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


RoamingScott wrote:
Thanks very much, a few points in there for my own consideration, and was doing about 80% of this myself after trial and error with the various AF modes. I will say I tend to leave my VR in Sport mode, not sure that's detrimental to perched type shots.


I leave my VR in Sport mode also, it's not detrimental for something like a perched bird as I like to keep my shutter speeds on the higher side anyway, but if you wanted to use the slowest possible shutter speed for a stationary subject (maybe a waterfall shot without a tripod), Normal VR will give you better results - I am just rarely in those situations personally.



May 16, 2023 at 01:13 PM
 


Search in Used Dept. 

PIOK
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


f_a_98 wrote:
Came across this article where the author claims, and supported by a few comments too, that Z9 AF is not able to recognize white birds and it's a huge struggle.
Does anyone here shoot white/light birds and can confirm?
Article here: https://shuttermuse.com/the-nikon-z9-problem-for-bird-photographers/


Maybe this guy bought Jared Polin's Z9 Auto - Focus Ebook



May 16, 2023 at 01:43 PM
suteetat
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds














These 2 above with 100-400






with 400/2.8S.



May 16, 2023 at 04:56 PM
AcuteShadows
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


There is some further discussion on the potential issue in the comment section of the article. Given the experience of the author, I would discount the possibility of user error such as, for example, not setting animal recognition.

In particular, the combination of white birds of a particular shape plus busy background may be what causes the problems.

However, I can't further contribute to this debate because I don't have a Z 9.



May 16, 2023 at 06:20 PM
RoamingScott
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Nikon struggling with bird shapes over a busy background isn't limited to white birds.


May 16, 2023 at 06:24 PM
arbitrage
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I didn't have any issue with white birds (although all I shot were gulls as no other white birds around).

That said, I'd agree with the final conclusion of that article when it comes to comparing the two competitors. But let's not get into that....we've beat that horse enough.



May 16, 2023 at 06:35 PM
AcuteShadows
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


RoamingScott wrote:
Nikon struggling with bird shapes over a busy background isn't limited to white birds.


So maybe the issue is not due to white birds being white but due to them often being weirdly shaped.



May 16, 2023 at 08:42 PM
Alistair1
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I agree with his summarizing paragraph too:
"Since owning the Z9, I have still chosen to use it more often than my Sony a1 because a) I love the image quality, b) itís a much nicer camera ergonomically, and c) the Z9 AF system is still about 85% as good as the Sony a1. In most situations, it gets the job done."
But I don't agree with the white bird issue. It's backgrounds that the Z9 struggles with more than Canon and Sony.



May 17, 2023 at 04:00 AM
sum1sgrampa
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


No problems with the slow ones




  NIKON Z 9    VR 150-600mm f/5-6.3G lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/5000s    800 ISO    -1.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    VR 150-600mm f/5-6.3G lens    550mm    f/6.3    1/4000s    1250 ISO    -1.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    VR 150-600mm f/5-6.3G lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/5000s    400 ISO    -1.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    VR 150-600mm f/5-6.3G lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/5000s    400 ISO    -1.0 EV  




May 17, 2023 at 07:12 AM
f_a_98
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


Some amazing pictures posted!


May 17, 2023 at 10:15 AM
Eric214
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


RoamingScott wrote:
Thanks very much, a few points in there for my own consideration, and was doing about 80% of this myself after trial and error with the various AF modes. I will say I tend to leave my VR in Sport mode, not sure that's detrimental to perched type shots.


Scott, since my D500 days till now, I never shoot an anything but VR sport for still perched birds to flying large Eagles/Osprey or small birds (Terns/Kingfishers) and no matter the SS, be it 1/250 or 1/5000. I never have any detrimental issues with images being tack sharp. The only time I ever use VR normal is when shooting video hand held whether is was with my Z9+500PF or now currently with my 800PF and I never turn off my VR, ever.



May 17, 2023 at 10:18 AM
       2       3              5       6       end






FM Forums | Nikon Forum | Join Upload & Sell

       2       3              5       6       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username       Or Reset password



This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.