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Technical Solutions | Z 7/Z 6 TIPS

Animal Face/Eye-Detection AF

From "C" firmware version 3.00, the camera can detect and focus on the faces and eyes of dogs and cats (animal face/eye-detection AF).

Basic Settings for Animal Portraits

The following are the recommended settings for portraits of dogs and cats:

Photo shooting menu
Focus mode Continuous AF
AF-area mode Auto-area AF
Silent photography Off
Custom Settings menu
a4 Auto-area AF face/eye detection Animal detection
a12 Built-in AF-assist illuminator Off
d5 Shutter type Auto
Assigning Animal Portrait Settings to the Mode Dial

The combination of settings listed above can be assigned to any of the mode-dial positions U1, U2, and U3 and instantly recalled just by rotating the dial. For more information, see "Recalling Saved Settings via the Mode Dial".

Enabling Animal Face/Eye-Detection AF

Animal face/eye-detection AF is available only when Animal detection is selected for Custom Setting a4 (Auto-area AF face/eye detection) and auto-area AF is selected for AF-area mode.

Notes on Animal Detection AF

Animal face- and eye-detection may not perform as expected with some breeds or if:

  • the subject's face is too large or small relative to the frame,
  • the subject's face is too brightly or dimly lit,
  • the subject's face or eyes are obscured by fur or the like,
  • the subject's face and eyes are of similar colors, or
  • the subject moves excessively during shooting.

The eyes of some animals may be adversely affected by the light of the AF-assist illuminator. Choose Off for Custom Setting a12 (Built-in AF-assist illuminator).

Quick Access to "Auto-Area AF Face/Eye Detection"

For quick access to face/eye detection AF options, first position Custom Setting a4 (Auto-area AF face/eye detection) as the top item in "My Menu" and then assign Access top item in MY MENU to a control using Custom Setting f2 (Custom control assignment).

Simplifying Exposure for Active Dogs or Cats

We recommend that you make the following additions to the settings listed on this page when photographing active dogs or cats:

  • Mode: A (aperture-priority auto)
  • Auto ISO sensitivity control: On
  • Minimum shutter speed: 1/500 s

In mode A, the camera automatically adjusts shutter speed for optimal exposure. The camera automatically raises ISO sensitivity if it determines that shutter speed will fall below the minimum, ensuring that shutter speed is never slower than 1/500 s and allowing the camera to adapt to changes in lighting while minimizing blur due to subject motion. Note that pictures taken at higher ISO sensitivities are prone to "noise" in the form of randomly-spaced bright pixels, fog, or lines.