Official Nikon Z9 Launch, Info, and Discussion Thread

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O

Well-known member
What it sounds like to me from what other members are saying is the default out of the box settings for the Nikon would have worked better than what he selected. To me, that is the farthest thing from needing to be a road scholar. You’re right that Jared changed the settings equally; at least in how it appears. He set them all to what is supposed to be ”stickiest” but what we don’t know is to what extent that impacts AF on each model. For example, if he had just said I’m going to set each camera to the fastest frame rate they can shoot for a particular test, they wouldn’t all have the same values/settings (or would they because they are all set to highest frame rate even though the values are significantly different). Say the test was to see if there is an impact to image quality by shooting the fastest frame rate. Well, one would be shooting RAW, one compressed RAW, one jpg. My point is saying the same doesn’t always mean the same. Maybe all three cameras were equally negatively impacted by the same unideal settings 🤷‍♂️. I am not trying to say his test was invalid or would have any different outcome if setting the cameras up for the most ideal settings for each.

i’m not sure what you are referring to when you say 3D tracking. Is this not a brand specific term referring to a specific AF mode? Do you mean subject detection/tracking or fully automated AF? I’m not understanding based on the way you’re using the term.
Thank you for your reply and comments..............and yes Jarrod's tests are not forensically done like say Thom, or with detailed, accurate field tests and solutions based with great technique advice as we have become accustomed to from Steve.

I do appreciate logical simple assessments, i believe in the 80/20 rule, don't spend 90% of your time proving the last 20% when things are clear at 80%.
The initial DP review field shoot with the Z9 was an indication of how the Z9 performed and tracked........as was proven to be close to the money, in Jarrod's case again his consistent quick and dirty tests articulate or not are proven to be also close to the money.

Jarrod did exactly the same simple logical quick and dirty test with the Z6 Z7 later to be proven to be close to the money and correct, then again the Z6II Z7II update also proven later to be correct, now the Z9 using the same procedure, and its proving to be correct, the end result was, he was absolutely correct about the Z system tracking and its weakness, improvements, and now he says hey the Z9 is awesome and very much closer to the competition than ever before, congratulations Nikon on a brilliant job.

We knew this before the Z9 shipped and that's OK we all cant be no 1..........and dose it really even matter, they are all great cameras.
Will Jarrod, Thom, Steve or others give up their A1 for a Z9...........with the A1 II and R1 still to come which will widen the gap even further from the Z9.............again using the 80/20 rule.

As a Nikon owner to be left behind for so long, promised the world and sate of the art, finally we get the Z9 with 2 years of hard work and development, we get spectacular Video capability we finally get a improved tracking system in need of still more work that well is closer to the money but not quite as good or even exceeding the current competition.

In Sony's case the A1 A9 has been out for more than 12 months, So we are here in January 2021 with the spectacular Z9 that's running 3rd in place, with the competitors ready to leap ahead again................i think Nikon needs to lift its game.............

The term 3D, sorry I mean the auto tracking eye tracking animal tracking etc etc regardless of brand, its the lock on tracking system i mean to refer to , yes you are right 3D is brand specific.

Only an opinion
 
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abc123brian

Well-known member
The term 3D, sorry I mean the auto tracking eye tracking animal tracking etc etc regardless of brand, its the lock on tracking system i mean to refer to , yes you are right 3D is brand specific.
Thanks for clarifying. As 3D tracking can have subject detection enabled or disabled and being brand specific I wanted to make sure I understood what you were referring to. This makes a lot more sense.
 

O

Well-known member
A primary reason for this product/brand specific thread is to filter out reliable material on a specific product (i.e. Z9) which is shared here because it's been judged relevant.

Once again - similarly to 2 weeks ago - a a cross camera "test" video by a utuber influencer diverts this Z9 thread, and now 3+ pages on is diagnosed as flawed. No surprises if this is also shown up as a rushed out social media post seeking an audience. There are many in this forum who refuse/cannot watch these videos, and thus we avoid the threads that share them. This unpalatble problem has been debated in this thread, so nothing more need to be said.

There are other threads more appropriate to discuss utubers' comparisons of cameras as to whether somehow or other this is "the Best/has the Best AF/Eye AF" etc e.g. https://bcgforums.com/index.php?threads/r3-vs-a1-for-sports-autofocus.11671/
I think its highly appropriate that if something is unpalatable or not to ones liking, by all means ignore it..............pass it by
 

O

Well-known member
Thanks for clarifying. As 3D tracking can have subject detection enabled or disabled and being brand specific I wanted to make sure I understood what you were referring to. This makes a lot more sense.
Thank you, i am picking up a drivers license application and booking some driving lessons, not for a car, but how to best drive the focus system on this Z9 LOL....

Steve is working on his, cant wait, Thom is also on the bit, Brad Hill is doing his upmost, but i really am waiting for Jarrod Polan's highly accurate Tips LOL, or even Greg Granger LOL.............

There has been a real lot of excellent tips helpful information from a lot of very nice people on this forum..............

Have another great day, ............Surfs up, water is unusually really warm............cant resist that.
 

abc123brian

Well-known member
Thank you, i am picking up a drivers license application and booking some driving lessons, not for a car, but how to best drive the focus system on this Z9 LOL....

Steve is working on his, cant wait, Thom is also on the bit, Brad Hill is doing his upmost, but i really am waiting for Jarrod Polan's highly accurate Tips LOL, or even Greg Granger LOL.............

There has been a real lot of excellent tips helpful information from a lot of very nice people on this forum..............

Have another great day, ............Surfs up, water is unusually really warm............cant resist that.
LOL, the focus system isn't really any more complex than the Canon or Sony. It's winter on this side of the equator so water isn't as warm, but there was some good waves today. :LOL:
 

Whiskeyman

Well-known member
Supporting Member
True story -- At the end of a meeting on Thursday mid afternoon I said to someone in that meeting and going to be in my following meeting that I was cancelling the next meeting and to let people know. I then cancelled the meeting that was to follow that meeting. I then put on my shoes and went and picked up my Z9 :)
Good for you, Steven. I look forward to your shared images taken with the Z9.

I got to talk to the owner of the B&M camera shop I placed my order with, and he informed me that Z9 deliveries to his store are very stingy and don't seem to follow any pattern. He also said that they are still waiting for one last NPS assocoated Z9 order before they start non-NPS distribution. So it looks like it will be a while before I get my Z9, and I'll have to enjoy seeing others' Z9 photos and hearing them discuss camera settings optimization and performance.
 

O

Well-known member
LOL, the focus system isn't really any more complex than the Canon or Sony. It's winter on this side of the equator so water isn't as warm, but there was some good waves today. :LOL:
Thanks for that, i guess i would wish for any brand to be more simple, ie: focus speed 1,2,3, area 1,2,3 and that's it......now i assume its pretty much like that,..............i mean i failed 6th grade primary school and got educated growing up in the streets.

So tricky is ok, super complicated is a challenge as i have poor comprehension levels reading, hence i like the kiss principle LOL, i actually use this forum as therapy in writing and reading, my girlfriend says that my writing has improved remarkably as has my spelling...so i enjoy this forum very much, its also very informative.

I am enjoying the Z9, i have noticed that the TCs work that little bit better than on the D850, mind you nothing wrong with the D850 love it to pieces, its just a stage of new technology......

What i want to see is what the Z9 actually dose for my photography in to practice, time will tell, Looking for Steves book when ready, he must be under the pump LOL.
 

sid_19911991

Well-known member
IMPORTANT!

10-12th second (refer to the video) SHOULD NOT HAPPEN "irrespective of the AF sensitivity settings." This is where the Z9 needs firmware updates. It loses the slow hovering/gliding raptor as soon as it transitions from a space of clear background (blue sky) to an area of busy background (shrubs/grass). The bird is not too far away, the light is ok, & the bird is gliding slowly. It shouldn't have lost the focus. I think this is an excellent video for Nikon technicians to look at...


 

RoyC

Member
IMPORTANT!

10-12th second (refer to the video) SHOULD NOT HAPPEN "irrespective of the AF sensitivity settings." This is where the Z9 needs firmware updates. It loses the slow hovering/gliding raptor as soon as it transitions from a space of clear background (blue sky) to an area of busy background (shrubs/grass). The bird is not too far away, the light is ok, & the bird is gliding slowly. It shouldn't have lost the focus. I think this is an excellent video for Nikon technicians to look at...


A dark backlit detail less bird drops down in front dark foliage and camera AF lost it for a few seconds. Am I overlooking something?
 

sid_19911991

Well-known member
A dark backlit detail less bird drops down in front dark foliage and camera AF lost it for a few seconds. Am I overlooking something?
I expect the camera to hold the focus. It was a routine scenario. The AI needs a tweak I would imagine. Perhaps, Nikon needs to figure out another way to identify patterns. R3 & A1 seems to be ahead, although I can't say for sure as I haven't used it. It is not the hardware surely...

I am not sure if it is backlit, seems like harsh afternoon light from the right of the screen or high above. The histogram indicated that it was underexposed. If it was perfectly backlit, the raptor would appear perfectly black. It doesn't.


Anyway, it doesn't matter as the Z9 has a tendency to lose focus in similar situations in good light too.

I recently lost focus of a shikra swooping to the ground...

Here are the missed shots...


DSC_3706.jpg



DSC_3709.jpg



DSC_3710.jpg



Finally gets it....but loses it again...


DSC_3712.jpg
 

abc123brian

Well-known member
@sid_19911991 curious to know what AF mode you’re using and what you’re setting was for tracking lock on? There looks to be enough contrast in your samples. What do the photos just before it lost focus look like it? In the ones you posted it is clearly locked on the background ignoring the bird.

Ive been using wide area L with subject detection, 3, erratic, and haven’t haven’t had this happen yet, but the scenario is going to happen more with diving Osprey than other birds here and I have had many opportunities with them.
 

sid_19911991

Well-known member
@sid_19911991 curious to know what AF mode you’re using and what you’re setting was for tracking lock on? There looks to be enough contrast in your samples. What do the photos just before it lost focus look like it? In the ones you posted it is clearly locked on the background ignoring the bird.

Ive been using wide area L with subject detection, 3, erratic, and haven’t haven’t had this happen yet, but the scenario is going to happen more with diving Osprey than other birds here and I have had many opportunities with them.

I used af sensitivity 2, steady, & wide-area large.

I understand if the bird is not in the box & the af sensitivity comes into play....but at the beginning I had the bird within the box, it simply couldn't detect the bird, it would either focus on the grass strands in front or the shrubs at the back...

Think about it... the subject is in the box; animal detection is switched on...
If can't see the eye/head then torso or wings it should be... There isn't any need for it to focus or delay its focus...

Sensitivity/lock-on AG is not the issue here, IMO.

It is the ability to recognise the pattern. If it did, it wouldn't have mattered whether one was in 1 or 5 so long as one keeps it within the box.
AF sensitivity should matter only when the box is not encompassing the subject. That's when it should come into play...not otherwise...

I understand these things can't be 100%, but I felt it should have done better in this scenario.

Hope the updates get it better by about 20-30%.
 

BillW

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I expect the camera to hold the focus. It was a routine scenario. The AI needs a tweak I would imagine. Perhaps, Nikon needs to figure out another way to identify patterns. R3 & A1 seems to be ahead, although I can't say for sure as I haven't used it. It is not the hardware surely...

I am not sure if it is backlit, seems like harsh afternoon light from the right of the screen or high above. The histogram indicated that it was underexposed. If it was perfectly backlit, the raptor would appear perfectly black. It doesn't.


Anyway, it doesn't matter as the Z9 has a tendency to lose focus in similar situations in good light too.

I recently lost focus of a shikra swooping to the ground...

Here are the missed shots...]
What did you have A3, focus tracking with lock-on, set to? [Added: I see now you had A3 set to 2.]

I had a similar problem last month in Bosque Del Apache. We were photographing northern harriers hunting over a grassy field with trees along the edges. I was using a Z7II and 500 mm PF, with Wide Area Small. I would get the bird in focus and as it got closer, it would pass in front of trees that were of simliar color to the bird. The camera would often lose focus and jump to the trees. And it was very hard to get focus back on the hawk quickly.

I had focus lock-on, A3, on the Z7II set to 2 with the hope that it would give me faster focus acquisition. But it also meant that the camera will shift to a new subject more quickly. So if I did not keep the bird in the Wide Area Small focus box (or close), it would more quickly jump to the background. Not sure if it may have lost focus when I still had the bird in the focus box?

I changed the A3 setting to 3 or 4 (can’t remember exactly which one now) and the problem mostly went away and I got some nice harrier shots.

Looking back, I think it might also have helped to use Wide Area Large, as I would probably have been better able to keep the hawk in the focus box. (I was using Wide Area Small generally to have more control over where the camera focused with sandhill cranes.)

I got a Z9 earlier this month.

I photographed bald eagles over the Mississippi River recently using Auto Area AF and Wide Area Large with my new Z9, in each case with subject detection set to animal and A3 set to 3 and erratic. I found if I had the eagle in focus before it crossed a busy tree background, the camera generally stayed on the eagle as it crossed the tree background. The eagles may have been farther from the tree background than your examples which may have helped. I think it will take me more time and practice to learn the Z9 AF system better.
 
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sid_19911991

Well-known member
What did you have A3, focus tracking with lock-on, set to? [Added: I see now you had A3 set to 2.]

I had a similar problem last month in Bosque Del Apache. We were photographing northern harriers hunting over a grassy field with trees along the edges. I was using a Z7II and 500 mm PF, with Wide Area Small. I would get the bird in focus and as it got closer, it would pass in front of trees that were of simliar color to the bird. The camera would often lose focus and jump to the trees. And it was very hard to get focus back on the hawk quickly.

I had focus lock-on, A3, on the Z7II set to 2 with the hope that it would give me faster focus acquisition. But it also meant that the camera will shift to a new subject more quickly. So if I did not keep the bird in the Wide Area Small focus box (or close), it would more quickly jump to the background. Not sure if it may have lost focus when I still had the bird in the focus box?

I changed the A3 setting to 3 or 4 (can’t remember exactly which one now) and the problem mostly went away and I got some nice harrier shots.

Looking back, I think it might also have helped to use Wide Area Large, as I would probably have been better able to keep the hawk in the focus box. (I was using Wide Area Small generally to have more control over where the camera focused with sandhill cranes.)

I got a Z9 earlier this month.

I photographed bald eagles over the Mississippi River recently using Auto Area AF and Wide Area Large with my new Z9, in each case with subject detection set to animal and A3 set to 3 and erratic. I found if I had the eagle in focus before it crossed a busy tree background, the camera generally stayed on the eagle as it crossed the tree background. The eagles may have been farther from the tree background than your examples which may have helped. I think it will take me more time and practice to learn the Z9 AF system better.

From the comments that I have been reading here, it is clear that everyone plays around with the AF/lock-on settings in different situations to get a better hit rate. I do that too & I have had the same experience as you had with your Z7 ii.

From all the posts that I have read here, most seem to be focussing on the proximate causation which is AF sensitivity, but I think the ultimate causality is actually pattern recognition. Just as Nikon put in all the work in AI to improve its pattern recognition from what it was in Z6/Z7, they should improve upon what they have done with the Z9. It is pretty good & yes there will always be room for our skills to get better, but surely the AF can get better...
 

BillW

Well-known member
Supporting Member
From the comments that I have been reading here, it is clear that everyone plays around with the AF/lock-on settings in different situations to get a better hit rate. I do that too & I have had the same experience as you had with your Z7 ii.

From all the posts that I have read here, most seem to be focussing on the proximate causation which is AF sensitivity, but I think the ultimate causality is actually pattern recognition. Just as Nikon put in all the work in AI to improve its pattern recognition from what it was in Z6/Z7, they should improve upon what they have done with the Z9. It is pretty good & yes there will always be room for our skills to get better, but surely the AF can get better...
When I was photographing bald eagles recently, I found the Z9 did well staying on focus if I had the eagle in focus before it flew in front of the tree background. Perhaps that is a persistence/sensitivity question. If I did not have the eagle in focus first and tried to pick it up in front of the tree background, the camera often had trouble getting focus on the eagle quickly, although it usually got there. Especially with immature bald eagles which were very similar in color to the tree background. This may be more a pattern recognition issue than a persistence/sensitivity issue. I did find that the Z9 found initial focus on eagles against the tree background faster in Wide Area Large then it did in Auto Area AF, in each case with only animal detect on. I think acquiring initial focus was harder when the eagles were closer to the background, which is not surprising.

Were some of the birds you were focusing on in the photos above, northern harriers? Perhaps male?
 

fcotterill

Well-known member
fyi


" NPS has created a program to help current & prospective Z9 owners take the first steps to learn the camera, & get the maximum benefits from the Z9. It's called "Z9: Out of the Box", and we've partnered with them to bring it to our Nikon customers. Molly Riley from NPS will make the presentation at 7pm EST on Wednesday 1/26. If you'd like to join:
 

BillW

Well-known member
Supporting Member
fyi


" NPS has created a program to help current & prospective Z9 owners take the first steps to learn the camera, & get the maximum benefits from the Z9. It's called "Z9: Out of the Box", and we've partnered with them to bring it to our Nikon customers. Molly Riley from NPS will make the presentation at 7pm EST on Wednesday 1/26. If you'd like to join:
I'm not NPS, but was able to sign up for this through my Eventbrite account that I have from other events. I'm enjoying my Z9 so far. But miuch to learn.
 

John Navitsky

Well-known member
Brad Hill on NikonTV:
I'll be appearing on NikonTV this Wednesday evening and I've been told I'll be chatting with Nikon's Chris Ogonek about the Nikon Z 9 and the two new lenses that were announced at the same time - the Nikkor 100-400mm f4.5-5.6S and the Nikkor 24-120mm f4S. Most viewers will probably know that I've been shooting with a Z 9 and 100-400 since late November, and got my own copy of the 24-120 just before Christmas. And I'll be sharing how all of these new Z series products have performed for me in mid-winter in Canada! ;-)

Here's the deets:

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan 26 at 7 PM EST
WHERE: On NikonTV - on both YouTube and Facebook
 

Wes Peterson

Well-known member
I used af sensitivity 2, steady, & wide-area large.

I understand if the bird is not in the box & the af sensitivity comes into play....but at the beginning I had the bird within the box, it simply couldn't detect the bird, it would either focus on the grass strands in front or the shrubs at the back...

Think about it... the subject is in the box; animal detection is switched on...
If can't see the eye/head then torso or wings it should be... There isn't any need for it to focus or delay its focus...

Sensitivity/lock-on AG is not the issue here, IMO.

It is the ability to recognise the pattern. If it did, it wouldn't have mattered whether one was in 1 or 5 so long as one keeps it within the box.
AF sensitivity should matter only when the box is not encompassing the subject. That's when it should come into play...not otherwise...

I understand these things can't be 100%, but I felt it should have done better in this scenario.

Hope the updates get it better by about 20-30%.
The Z9 is quite fond of backgrounds, that being said I for sure would have been in the "wide small" mode. With the Z9 you cant give it too much to look at. Also.... honestly.... what kind of photo would those shots have made if they had been in focus? Maybe the first couple could have made a decent photo but the bird seems rather small in frame. I see lots of "testing" and displaying missed shots of things that people normally wouldnt be shooting anyway.

Where was your focus before trying to acquire the bird? I've found the Z9 likes to "look back" when looking for a subject. If youre focused closer than the subject it seems to do much better.
 

SRLNY

Member
Reading so many of the entries in this thread, one would think the only possible thing that matters for photographers are the gradations as to how the Z9 compares to Canon and Sony in autofocusing in specific contexts of bird shots. This review captures the primary reason I, for one, tried and rejected switching to Canon and Sony: the ergonomic sense and feel of the camera. Maybe because I'm coming from D850 but I tried an R5 (not an R3, admittedly) and the AI and they just didn't feel as good in the hand and provide me with the same shooting experience that I got from the D850. So I waited for the Z9 (and am still waiting). Anyway, this is one review that differs from most of the others I have seen in terms of what it highlights.
 
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