Autofocus Guide for Z series (Z 6, Z 7 & Z 50)

Autofocus Guide for Z series (Z 6, Z 7 & Z 50)

Nikon Z series has a sophisticated Hybrid-AF system that combines phase-detection AF and contrast-detection AF.  Focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels are arranged throughout the entire image sensor to enable high-speed and high-precision AF. Nikon Z 7 comes with 493 detection focus points, while 273 points are available for Nikon Z 6 as well as 209 points for Nikon Z 50. Both Z 7 & Z 6 offer an image sensor coverage of approximately 90% both vertically and horizontally while Z 50 offer an image sensor coverage of 87% horizontal and 85% vertical.  AF shooting up to -6 EV (Z 6) or -4 EV (Z 7 & Z 50) is possible when the Low-light AF*1 feature is turned on in custom setting.  
 
User-added image
AF Coverage of approximately 90% both vertically and horizontally.
This allows flexibility in composing images as well as effectively tracking moving subjects across the image-area.
User-added image
With Eye/Face detection enabled, quickly switch between subjects.
 

Focus Modes & Options available in Z series
 
OptionNameUse forHow it works
AF-SSingle AFStationary SubjectsPress the shutter-release button halfway to focus.  If the camera is able to focus, the focus point will be displayed in green; focus will lock while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. If the
camera fails to focus, the focus point will flash red. In addition, Low-Light AF*1 can be enabled in this mode for more accurate focusing under low-light conditions (please note that focusing may
be slower when activated). In the default setting, the shutter can only be released if the camera is able to focus (focus priority).
AF-CContinuous AFMoving SubjectsThe camera focuses continuously while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway; if the subject moves, the camera will predict the final distance to the subject and adjust focus as necessary. In movie mode, it is possible to adjust the focusing speed using the AF Speed setting*2 in the MOVIE menu. Additionally in movie mode, with
AF Tracking Sensitivity*3 you can choose how quickly focus responds when your subject leaves the focus point or something passes between the subject and the camera. In the default setting, the shutter can be released whether or not the subject
is in focus (release priority).
AF-FFull-time AF
(Movie mode only)
Moving Subjects / Camera MovementThe camera adjusts focus continuously in response to subject movement or changes in composition. Focus locks when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. Just like AF-C mode, it is possible
to adjust the focusing speed during movie mode using the AF Speed setting*2. Additionally, with AF Tracking Sensitivity*3 you can choose how quickly focus responds when your subject leaves the
focus point or something passes between the subject and the camera.
MFManual FocusTaking full and
creative control of
focusing
Position the focus point over your subject and rotate the focus or control ring until the subject is in focus. For greater precision, press the button to zoom in on the view through the lens. When
the subject is in focus, the focus point will light green and the in-focus indicator (•) will appear in the display. Focus Peaking is also available for visual confirmation of sharpness using the Peaking
Highlights setting*4 in the CUSTOM SETTING MENU for Shooting/Display.
 
CUSTOM SETTING MENU SETTINGSZ 6 & Z 7Z 50
*1 Autofocus > Low-light AFa11a7
*2 Movie > AF speedg4g3
*3 Movie > AF tracking sensitivityg5g4
*4 Shooting/display > Peaking highlightsd10d9

Recommended Settings

For optimal performance in using the Z series, please refer to the chart below for recommended settings based on the type of application. These recommended settings are generic suggestions and you may find that one mode performs better than another based on the specific type of photography that you shoot.

 
ApplicationPinpoint AFSingle-Point AF(AF-S)Dynamic-Area AF (AF-C)Wide-Area (S)Wide-Area (L)Auto-Area AF
Candid Photography    *5
Portraits    *5
Weddings/Events   *5
Landscapes     
Nightscapes     
Architectures    
Concerts, live events    
Macro (food / flowers)    
Group Photos    
Trains, vehicles    
Wildlife / Birds *6     
Sports *6     
Remark:
*5 Enabling face/eye detection is recommended (Z 6 & z 7 - a4, Z 50 - a2)
*6 Shooting in Continuous L (Low) or Continuous H (High) release mode is recommended

Download a copy of the auto-focus guide for Z 7 | Z 6 in Adobe PDF format or click here to learn more about Z series.

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