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

  
 
RoamingScott
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p.6 #1 · p.6 #1 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I’ll change my report when I try a supertele…for my 100-400 (and sometimes 1.4x), the center is far better.

arbitrage wrote:
I'd certainly disagree...I've had Sony Wide catch birds at edge of frame in the best wing position of the sequence or darting to catch the bug and cropping in, adding canvas in PS if needed results in a tack sharp image. No big issue with edge sharpness on a 600GM or 400GM....not enough to ruin a shoot anyways.




May 19, 2023 at 03:13 PM
CanadaMark
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p.6 #2 · p.6 #2 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


One thing I find interesting is how some people manage to gain credibility by starting a YouTube channel or maybe being a long-term forum member or something along those lines. Not that there's anything wrong with that whatsoever, but they are the same people they always were despite that fact.

The two people whose opinions I probably care the most about are actually just local shooters who I often see when I am out & about. They don't have YouTube channels, they don't have accounts on forums, but they have an incredible amount of real world experience, are as unbiased as they come, and spend what seems like every waking moment out shooting. Perhaps most importantly, they have nothing to gain by sharing their experience/opinions. Both of them shoot exclusively birds, and both of them have moved from an A1 to a Z9. Does anyone care? Nope, but they don't have an audience I find people have a tendency to prefer 'influencers' who share their opinions. That way, they can point to them and say - "well so & so thinks this, and so do I" to try and add weight to their opinions. I'm sure I'm guilty of it to some degree too, but I'll admit it bothers me when people try to pass off their opinions as facts about something they can't possibly prove or something that is hotly debated, such as autofocus between cameras in extreme niche cases. What I find is some people have a tendency to think that "while if I can't get a camera to do what I want, then nobody can" and then they blame the hardware. In my experience, the camera is almost never the weakest link, especially when we're talking about the current crop of mirrorless flagships. At the end of the day, who gives a sh*t, use what works for you, but I feel sorry for newer or less experienced members who might make purchase decisions based on the BS you see repeated around here sometimes.



May 19, 2023 at 03:14 PM
cvrle59
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p.6 #3 · p.6 #3 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds



lukemeup wrote:
Now imagine a bunch of Nikon users sitting in the Sony forum and ad nauseum repeating the statements like 'Great for Sony! You'll need to buy a new camera to get iso64 or pre-capture or dual axis lcd or lit-up buttons etc. Don't count on many firmware updates either. I'm very happy that Sony is doing great though.'

Reworded over and over again in every thread. That would be mildly annoying, right?

Back to topic at hand - Z9 doesn't have AF issues with white birds.


You need to buy new camera to have 3.2" display.
You need to buy new camera to have 400f4.5, 800pf, 400/600f4/TC
You need to buy new camera to have in camera time-lapse movie
You need to buy new camera to have 45mp stacked sensor for $4k.
And so on ..


Edited on May 19, 2023 at 04:15 PM · View previous versions



May 19, 2023 at 03:18 PM
arbitrage
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p.6 #4 · p.6 #4 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


sum1sgrampa wrote:
I understand that completely and your response is exactly what I was expecting. I don't take this all quite so seriously as some here. Most of what I posted I would have been able to get with my D500. But the Merganser and the landing Peregrine, those were pretty much point and shoot scenarios. In other words, no time to react, just point the camera and fire away. Wide Area box with eye detection and I'm finding the Z9 is somehow doing all the work in these situations and giving me keepers I would never expect. I'm also fully aware
...Show more

Not even something like this gets you excited? I can't see how these are featureless birds? They are gorgeous.
That's okay though...we all have are preferred subjects. I love a good duck or raptor but they are so easy and I've shot them in every pose imaginable that I've become bored overtime so seek out more difficult things or trying to catch some unique behaviour.

















May 19, 2023 at 03:20 PM
RoamingScott
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p.6 #5 · p.6 #5 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I wish our swallows here had some color like that white and green one. The ruddy/blueish ones require the best light to get any detail out of them, times of the day I'm otherwise preoccupied


May 19, 2023 at 04:08 PM
arbitrage
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p.6 #6 · p.6 #6 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


RoamingScott wrote:
I wish our swallows here had some color like that white and green one. The ruddy/blueish ones require the best light to get any detail out of them, times of the day I'm otherwise preoccupied


Violet-green swallow....my favourite of the 6 species we have on Vancouver Island.




  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens    400mm    f/4.5    1/6400s    1000 ISO    0.0 EV  














May 19, 2023 at 05:45 PM
 


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arbitrage
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p.6 #7 · p.6 #7 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


CanadaMark wrote:
I don't know what the internet's obsession is with comparing a camera's ability to shoot swallows is (just in general, I'm not calling anyone out), but personally I think it's because the human variable is the highest (keeping them in frame), which makes it easier for people to blame the camera when things don't go the way they want. It's also something that's impossible to ever measure in an objective or controlled manner, so it's easy for people to claim camera A is better than camera B or vise versa.

It took me years to improve my own tracking ability to
...Show more

The only reason I harp on swallows so much is it is one of the more challenging subjects I have readily available from late-March till October to test out gear on. If I aim any of these top end MILCs at BIF like ducks, eagles or owls, none of them have any issues, they all perform as good as anyone could want/need.

And yes, technique is very important, but I'm the one using all the gear so my technique is a constant and therefore does not factor into the comparison.

What did factor into my comparisons is learning the AF system nuances for the different systems. I've had lots of experience shooting most systems but it always takes me a few sessions to dial each system in. Z9 certainly has the steepest learning curve. Canon and Sony are much simpler to just get shooting and get results. But I was quite happy with the Z9 once I figured out what worked the best for my location.

You mention in your post "the hit rate is very high"....yes the hit rate is very high on the Z9, as high as the A1 or R5....WHEN it acquires properly and doesn't get distracted....the Z9 is let down by initial acquisition in certain situations and getting distracted by things even if it does get initial acquisition. But if it acquires and if it holds, then the hit rate is as good as anything else out there.



May 19, 2023 at 06:07 PM
duncang
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p.6 #8 · p.6 #8 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


arbitrage wrote:
....WHEN it acquires properly and doesn't get distracted....the Z9 is let down by initial acquisition in certain situations and getting distracted by things even if it does get initial acquisition. But if it acquires and if it holds, then the hit rate is as good as anything else out there.


I like this logic, my a6400 and R7 are both feeling invigorated again !!




May 20, 2023 at 12:00 AM
NissanPatrol
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p.6 #9 · p.6 #9 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


arbitrage wrote:


Violet-green swallow....my favourite of the 6 species we have on Vancouver Island.


Amazing photos

Are we saying the Z9 can not take such photos?

I know any camera can eventually take such photo if you have infinite time.

Are the Z9s keep rate for such photos in the non-practical range?

Even if I have A1, I don't think I have the skills to shoot one of those now you see it now you don't




May 20, 2023 at 12:33 AM
sum1sgrampa
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p.6 #10 · p.6 #10 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


arbitrage wrote:
Not even something like this gets you excited? I can't see how these are featureless birds? They are gorgeous.
That's okay though...we all have are preferred subjects. I love a good duck or raptor but they are so easy and I've shot them in every pose imaginable that I've become bored overtime so seek out more difficult things or trying to catch some unique behaviour.


Aww man, now I've offended the Swallow shooters Does this mean I'm gonna start finding little tiny bugs in my soup ? If anyone can build their case with one image, that would be you. I agree, that first shot pretty much blows up my argument. Let's be clear, if I can find beauty in a jumping spider I can certainly see the beauty in a swallow. But they kinda remind me of the airplanes I used to draw as a kid. That little bullet body with pointy wings. You've presented a great case but I'll stick with my fascination with raptors and big, slow, waders
Gary



May 20, 2023 at 08:01 AM
duncang
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p.6 #11 · p.6 #11 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


arbitrage wrote:
I'd certainly disagree...I've had Sony Wide catch birds at edge of frame in the best wing position of the sequence or darting to catch the bug and cropping in, adding canvas in PS if needed results in a tack sharp image. No big issue with edge sharpness on a 600GM or 400GM....not enough to ruin a shoot anyways.


Those swallows spend 80% of the time on the edge of the frame in virtually every sequence, and some times out of the frame, if I was using Zone it would take 10x longer - no make that 100x longer to get a decent image - I would loose most if not all of them before they are close enough.

Z9 Auto Area works just find in the same way - definitely the best option for swallows - acquisition requires a little more precision but just lend me a Z100-400 and I'll show you .




May 20, 2023 at 09:14 PM
Sbatley
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p.6 #12 · p.6 #12 · For those with Z9 +Birding. AF Issues with white birds


I am glad I found this thread… in the last 6 months or so I have mostly been shooting images of waders, gulls and estuary birds, living on the coast with several major nature reserves within a few miles of me.
I too have noticed my Z9 can struggle with focussing on white or predominately white gulls or egrets in flight.
If the bird is static or I have lock on dark eyes I have more success, but often in flight, unless there is a strong contrast with the background, I find the success rate drops noticeably. I haven’t noticed this for darker birds.
I have discussed with other relatively local z9 users and others seem to have noticed this too.
My work around is to pump the back focus button repeatedly until it locks on light birds, and then anticipate it losing lock. On darker birds it locks almost instantly and usually tracks.
I have tried changing the track and locking settings, but they don’t really address the issue.

I use 800mm f/6.3 PF and 400mm f/4.5 with and without 1.4 TC

I think I have found that the issue becomes more amplified if I am shooting through a hint of heat haze shimmer where AF algorithms have to work harder.

To put in context, I do have many successes with white birds… but there is definitely in my experience a difference in AF performance on my z9 between shooting light and dark birds in flight…. however the z9 is my first Nikon camera of the many I have owned over the years that allows me to capture this sort of photography at all… and I really enjoy it. It may just be a technical limitation of the camera, issue with my and others’ technique , or possibly, hopefully, something that could be mitigated in a software update.



May 21, 2023 at 04:22 AM
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