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My Nikon Z6 Eye AF Review


markst33 10 66 1 Ireland
25 Jun 2019 10:55AM
Before Christmas we had a professional sports photographer in with us at our camera club give a talk and showing us his (superb) images. He had recently changed to Sony mirrorless and was being sponsored by Sony and one of the large camera shops so everyone knew that he was there to plug Sony cameras.

Up to that point I didn't know a whole lot about mirrorless cameras apart from the basics but he showed a particular image which really blew my mind and got me thinking about upgrading.

The image in question was shot using Sonys Eye AF and it was taken a an English Premier league match featuring Liverpool FC. It was a series of pictures of Sadio Mane in full flight shot through one of the many holes in a Goal net and every single one of them was Pin sharp due to the use of the eye AF. This was a professional footballer running at full speed and yet the eye AF ensured that it was able to AF fast enough and track the movements of the athlete running towards you and continually shoot perfectly in-focus images.

These images were one of the reasons I saved up and invested in the Nikon Z6 (which I love) as I had heard that although at the time of purchase there was no eye AF, there would be a firmware upgrade coming along which introduced this in a couple of months.

My 14 year old son plays Gaelic football and hurling and I have become the unofficial team photographer for the parents over the last number of years so I was looking forward to trying out the eye AF in these situations.

I upgraded the firmware last week and last Sunday I went along and shot the entire match with the Auto eye AF on.

I have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed. There were quite a number of shots OOF although when it did lock on it worked fine. But overall I found that it had difficulty tracking fast moving targets and in some cases could did not switch from eye to face detect fast enough and subsequently I was missing the shot.

I get better results from using Small area AF for shooting these matches.

So in closing I would say that its probably great for model shoots or situations where the subject is not moving quickly but it will need a lot of improvement for sports photography.

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altitude50 15 15.4k United Kingdom
25 Jun 2019 5:22PM
You say that the professional was using a Sony camera but you do not say which one, then you bought a Nikon Z6. Do you think that you might have obtained better results with a Sony at the same price range ?
(This is not a knock at Nikon, nor trying to be controversial but the Sony might have been a top of the range a7?) Grin
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
25 Jun 2019 5:33PM
The Sony in question is the A9.... A bit of a different animal to the Nikon Z6.
LenShepherd 11 3.9k United Kingdom
25 Jun 2019 6:24PM

Quote:
I have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed. There were quite a number of shots OOF although when it did lock on it worked fine. But overall I found that it had difficulty tracking fast moving targets and in some cases could did not switch from eye to face detect fast enough and subsequently I was missing the shot.

I get better results from using Small area AF for shooting these matches.



You seem to have posted elsewhere, implying this was your first test of eye AF.

Feedback seems to have been it would be extremely unusual to photograph an entire match using eye AF and that it can be unwise to try to take critical photos without getting used to new equipment/technology first.

In the absence of any photos, and ignoring the ones the pro discarded, perhaps you need more practice before you reach a professional standard.

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