Eye AF

Joined
Jan 22, 2019
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Andy
Having experimented a bit now, I’m not that impressed with Eye AF on the Z6. Perhaps old habits die hard, and admittedly, I seldom used face detect in the past, either on the Z6 or other bodies. Bottom line is that I think I’m better off with manually controlling a single AF point than counting on the Z6 Eye AF.

This feature, as offered by another manufacturer who shall remain nameless, but rhymes with “Pony” seems to be very effective. Even when the subject is fairly small in the frame and/or moving towards or away from camera, locking in an eye is achieved and maintained quite accurately. A good friend has two such bodies and his results are very compelling. By contrast, the Z6 is much less capable in this regard.

Thoughts?
 
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Joined
Feb 1, 2005
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Tennessee
I have played with this twice. Once when I first did the update and that was just of my wife turning her head.

The second time I used it was in the studio and I couldn’t even remember how to turn it on, thank you Google. This was of a model doing a lot of side to side and a little back and forth movement. I think the eye AF did an outstanding job.

But I don’t think it is a feature I will be using often. I’m sure I will be going back to Google to remember how to turn it on again
 
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Terri has repeatedly explained that she is getting far more keepers of the young children in her extended family thanks to the Eye AF in her Z6.
With her grandkids, I think @Terri French is having great success with Eye AF because her working distance is just right for it. I have found it to be much less usable when farther from the subject. This is in part because when distance is increased, Auto Area AF is vulnerable to choosing the "wrong" AF target, and frequently fails to find faces, which means, in turn, it doesn't find the eyes. By comparison, the A7III seems to be able to find and track an eye on a person in an environmental shot quite reliably.
 
Joined
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This review states exactly what I have found regarding working distance (better than I did above): that the eye detection only works at working distances typical for a portrait.
I think you are probably correct in that assumption. I'm not having as much luck when further away from the people in the shots.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
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St Paul, MN
I guess the question I have is, how is eye AF even useful when the subject is far away in the first place? And why should it be? The focal plane should be deep enough at that point where the entire face is in focus, even when shooting wide open. I am not a people photographer but that just seems to be the nature of optics. In the DPR review, it seemed to toggle back and forth between eye and face based on distance.
 
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Jan 22, 2019
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St. Charles, IL
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Andy
For sports, it can be quite handy to track an eye or at least a face. I have covered some events with a friend who shoots with the A7III. The Sony AF does a tremendous job of keeping the target on an eye (or at least the face), even when the athlete is fairly distant. This yields nicely focused and sharp results, obviously.

In the Nikon world, single or group target placement on the torso is what seems to work best for me. I'm simply not skilled enough to keep the target on a moving athlete's head with any reliability. The face is not always within the DOF of an in-focus torso or shoulder. And certainly not an outstretched hand or foot.

Secondly, the A7III does such a good job of following an eye that once you achieve the lock on the desired subject, you don't really have to concern yourself with the target slipping off to focus on a background element or another player.

I'm not saying Sony Eye AF Tracking is perfect - it certainly misses at times - just that they've demonstrated that greater capability exists than Nikon has achieved thus far.

I'm also not claiming that Nikon's implementation of Eye AF is not useful - I find it very effective for candids and portraits at close working distances. But it would be nice if it could be enabled from user-selectable AF target areas (e.g., Pinpoint, Single-Point, Dynamic Area) rather than just Auto Area.
 
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Pittsburgh, PA
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Ian
I've had very good success with the Face/Eye AF on my Z6 with both native and adapted AF-S glass. I've seen the videos, and Sony cameras can pick up the eye at a further distance, but I'm not sure how practical that is given the DoF when the subject is a sufficient distance away.
 
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