Take a first look at Nikon’s upcoming Z6 & Z7 Eye AF

Mar 1, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Take a first look at Nikon’s upcoming Z6 & Z7 Eye AF

Mar 1, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Officially, the new Z6 & Z7 firmware is still under development, although it’s scheduled for release in May. Amongst various fixes, several new features are being added to both cameras, including the addition of Eye AF. The folks at Newsshooter got a chance to have a brief play with the new firmware in its current state and speak to one of the Nikon reps about the feature during CP+ 2019.

Newsshooter’s brief tests with the Eye AF don’t really look all that impressive if I’m totally honest. It seems quite slow and unresponsive to movement from the subject (we’ll get back to that) compared to Eye AF systems we’ve seen in Sony cameras.

But what is interesting is that the Nikon rep suggests that the Eye AF feature will not only be available for stills, but also for video. The firmware notes released by Nikon don’t mention continuous Eye AF for video, so we’ll have to wait and see. But, if so, this will be a huge boost to many video shoots looking to go the Nikon mirrorless route to get that 12-Bit raw video output.

Now, about that Eye AF speed. Another sample was posted to Youtube showing a much faster response from the Eye AF while tracking the head movement of the subject. While it does seem to lose the eye occasionally and bounce back and forth between the left and right eyes, it does seem to pick them back up again rather quickly – even when the shot is out of focus.

YouTube video

But, remember, this firmware is technically still in development and isn’t scheduled to be released for another couple of months. So there’s a lot of potential for improvement between now and then.

This firmware, as mentioned, also brings CFexpress support. So, we can probably expect to hear solid prices and release dates about ProGrade’s CFexpress cards around the same time.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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