G9 animal & people detect and tracking

WT21

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I still new to trying to use something other than center point AF. I have a G9 (along with a Nikon Z5) and trying to compare animal tracking.

What I just figured out is "tracking" is different than "focus."

I thought going into this they were one in the same. But from what I can tell -- tracking is putting the green box on your target and following it around. It's so you don't have to manually adjust the AF point. The camera does it for you. The camera has to be smart enough and able to tell what you are tracking from the scenery around it. The more fine point the tracking, the better. So, a camera smart enough to recognize a person's shape, and then their face, and then their eye, is sequentially more powerful/intelligent and (assuming you'd prefer their eye in face vs. say their hips) gets you a better shot.

BUT you also need a camera that can AF quickly to that very AF point. My G85 could track, albeit not well and always a bit behind, but it could track. It could NEVER AF and snap the picture fast enough before the subject moved.

For this reason, the G85 was OK at taking pictures of people facing the camera up close. It could find the eye, and if the person is held still, take a good picture. If they moved, forget about it.

The G9 with the new firmware can solidly lock on (at least to my dogs, which is all I've tested so far). Not only can it lock and track the dog pretty well, it's AF speed is pretty quick and it's shutter lag low, so that I can use burst shooting and AF-C and get some keepers. The below is not at ALL a dynamic test, but Sherman was looking around and moving a bit, and this is something my G85 could never do. I took 4 quick bursts, and these were the best shots from each burst. I would say I had a 50% keeper rate. I want to continue to test it from here. Pretty happy to far.

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I have to test the Z5 again. I tried it over the weekend, and it tracked pretty well, but the AF and shutter lag was a bit worse than the G9 IIRC, and also, the shallower DOF might have contributed to more perception of "misses." I'll need to run some side-by-side.
 
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Brownie

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WT21

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Another session in the backyard in very overcast light. I hope I don't scare anyone away, lol, as they are not super great, but my G85 would not be able to handle anything like this. I think I need a higher shutter speed, better understanding of how/when to pan to track, and probably better light or a brighter lens, but this is a good start for someone just moving off center point only AF, lol

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Brownie

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My experience is for an item moving fast and expected to leave the frame, panning will always be the winner. Tracking is for a bird flitting about in the frame, a kid running toward you, dogs trotting, etc. Of course you can pan and let the camera track within the frame, but you still have to pan.
 

The Squirrel Mafia

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Interesting comparison.

Is the G9's AF more accurate & reliable than the AF in the Z5 as well?

Or does the Z5 give the G9 a run for it's money when it comes to AF accuracy & reliability?
 

WT21

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Interesting comparison.

Is the G9's AF more accurate & reliable than the AF in the Z5 as well?

Or does the Z5 give the G9 a run for it's money when it comes to AF accuracy & reliability?
I am no pro, so it's just a newbie trying both out. Keep that in mind!

The Z5 did not predictably track in darker situations. When the light was good, it had good tracking. But the button setup was a bit exotic for my experience as an m43 shooter. The biggest issue, IMO, was the lens. I did some research and the 24-200 AF speed is not great, having only a single AF motor (??). So, the Z5 tracked ok in good light, but missed focus a bit due to the lens.

The G9 controls make more sense to me as a Panasonic shooter. The tracking is excellent - better than any of the other Panny bodies I've used. And the AF with my better lenses seems spot on.

  • Z5 with 24-200 - not great. Probably a LOT better with better lenses
  • G9 with PL12-60, Sigma 56 and P100-300II - excellent
  • G9 with 45-150 -- more like the Z5, and I think that is based on the lens, not the body
 
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The Squirrel Mafia

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^ Sounds good. From all the reading I've done & YouTube videos I've seen, the general consensus is that the AF in the Z5 sucks in low light. You might nail a still object with AFS, but there's no hope for moving subjects & AFC in low light is practically useless.

I almost bought one a while ago, but the low light AF accuracy kind of killed it for me. Seems like mighty fine camera otherwise.

But yeah! I might be getting a G9 soon. Seems like it will work quite well for me.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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As I use the G9 with the 2.4 firmware more, I do notice a more aggressive animal tracking setup. It's near instantaneous. I still don't use it as much since I'm not shooting moving subjects, and I prefer to direct the focus myself. It does feel like the 2.4 firmware speeds things up though.
 

WT21

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Asking @WT21 how he's getting on with his new camera.
G9 is killer. I am sure Sony and Canon can outperform it's AF (at least with their better kit), but this is such a huge step up from the G85. Also, the camera body is just one of the best I've ever used. The controls are so well laid out, and the menus are great. But, it's done nothing but rain here (which I am grateful for compared to e.g. California or the easy-bake-oven that Oregon and Washington were last week). So, lots of pics of dogs in the backyard in between floods (it's night-dark out now at 630pm, with thunder and lightning).
 
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WT21

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Not exactly BIF, lol

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Brownie

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It's about the most comfortable camera I've ever held. Also, don't discount the 50-200. They're an excellent combo.
 

ralf-11

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Is there any sort of instruction sheet or owners manual appendix for the upgrade?
 

Brownie

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Is there any sort of instruction sheet or owners manual appendix for the upgrade?
I've not been able to find one. Once you update the firmware, the choice for detect/tracking in the One Area focus option just shows up. It's activated via touch-screen.
 

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