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Technical Solutions | Z 9 TIPS

Focus

This section covers the focus settings used when recording videos.

Focus Mode

  • -button menu :
  • Camera controls :
  • Other menus :

Choose how the camera focuses.

Choosing a Focus Mode

Hold the focus-mode button and rotate the main command dial.

  • The option currently selected is shown in the shooting display and control panel.

Focus Mode Options

AF-S [Single AF] Use with stationary subjects.
  • The camera focuses when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway or the AF-ON button is pressed. When the subject is in focus, the focus point will turn from red to green and focus will lock.
AF-C [Continuous AF] Use for shots of athletes and other moving subjects.
  • The camera adjusts focus continuously in response to changes in the distance to the subject while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway or the AF-ON button is pressed.
AF-F [Full-time AF] The camera adjusts focus continuously in response to subject movement or changes in composition.
  • The camera focuses when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway or the AF-ON button is pressed, at which point the focus point will turn from red to green and focus will lock.
MF [Manual focus] Focus manually.
Cautions: Autofocus
  • The camera may be unable to focus under the conditions listed below. Use manual focus if the camera is unable to focus because:
    • the subject contains lines parallel to the long edge of the frame,
    • the subject lacks contrast,
    • the subject in the focus point contains areas of sharply contrasting brightness,
    • the focus point includes night-time spot lighting or a neon sign or other light source that changes in brightness,
    • flicker or banding appears under fluorescent, mercury-vapor, sodium-vapor, or similar lighting,
    • a cross (star) filter or other special filter is used,
    • the subject appears smaller than the focus point, or
    • the subject is dominated by regular geometric patterns (e.g., blinds or a row of windows in a skyscraper).
  • The display may brighten or darken while the camera focuses.
  • The focus point may sometimes be displayed in green when the camera is unable to focus.
  • The camera may take longer to focus when lighting is poor.

AF-Area Mode

  • -button menu :
  • Camera controls :
  • Other menus :

Choose how the camera selects the focus point for autofocus.

Choosing an AF-Area Mode

Hold the focus-mode button and rotate the sub-command dial.

  • The option currently selected is shown in the shooting display and control panel.

AF-Area Mode Options

[Single-point AF] The camera will focus on the subject in the selected focus point only.
[Wide-area AF (S)] As for single-point AF except that the camera focuses on a wider area. Wide-area AF can be used to smooth focus for panning or tilting shots or when filming moving subjects.
[Wide-area AF (L)]
[Wide-area AF (C1)] Choose the dimensions (measured in focus points) of the focus areas used for wide-area AF. A total of 12 options are available in video mode.
  • The AF-area size can be selected by holding the focus-mode button and pressing , , , or .
  • The size can also be selected using [AF-area mode] > [Wide-area AF (C1)] and [Wide-area AF (C2)] options in the video recording menu.
[Wide-area AF (C2)]
[Subject-tracking AF] Track focus on a selected subject.
  • Position the reticle over the target and start tracking by pressing the shutter-release button halfway or by pressing or AF-ON; the focus point will track the selected subject as it moves through the frame.
  • To end tracking and select the center focus point, press .
[Auto-area AF] The camera automatically detects the subject and selects the focus area.

Click here for the image optimized for small screens. (JPG 160KB).

Caution: Subject Tracking

The camera may be unable to track subjects that are obscured by other objects or leave the frame.

AF Subject Detection Options

  • -button menu :
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose the type of subject to which the camera gives priority when focusing using autofocus.

Choosing a Subject Detection Option

1 With the camera in video mode, press the button and then highlight [AF-area mode/subj. detection] and press .

  • Options will be displayed.
  • You can also select an option using the sub-command dial before pressing the button.

2 Press or to highlight [AF subject detection options] and then press or to highlight the desired option and press .

  • To exit to the shooting display, press the button again.
  • Subject detection is available when [Wide-area AF (S)], [Wide-area AF (L)], [Subject-tracking AF], or [Auto-area AF] is selected for [AF-area mode].

Subject Detection Options

[People] Human faces detected by the camera are identified by a border indicating the focus point. If the camera detects the subject's eyes, the focus point will instead appear over one or the other of their eyes (face/eye-detection AF). If the subject looks away after their face is detected, the focus point will move to track their motion.
[Animal] If a dog, cat, or bird is detected, the focus point will appear over the face of the animal in question (animal-detection AF). If the camera detects the subject's eyes, the focus point will instead appear over one or the other of their eyes. If the camera can detect neither face nor eyes, it will display a focus point over the detected animal.
[Vehicle] If a car, motorcycle, train, airplane, or bicycle is detected, the focus point will appear over the vehicle in question.
  • In the case of trains, the camera will detect only the front end.
  • With planes, the camera will detect the body, nose, or cockpit depending on the aircraft's size.
[Auto] The camera detects humans, animals, and vehicles and chooses a subject for focus automatically.
[Subject detection off] Subject detection disabled.

Click here for the image optimized for small screens. (JPG 187KB).

Caution: Face/Eye-Detection AF

Face/eye detection may not perform as expected 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 is wearing glasses or sunglasses,
  • the subject's face or eyes are obscured by hair or other objects, or
  • the subject moves excessively during shooting.
Cautions: Animal-Detection AF
  • Animal detection may not perform as expected 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 camera may display a border around subjects that are not dogs, cats, or birds but which resemble these animals.
  • The light from the AF-assist illuminator may adversely affect the eyes of some animals; when using animal-detection AF, select [OFF] for Custom Setting a12 [Built-in AF-assist illuminator].
Cautions: Vehicle-Detection AF
  • Vehicle detection may not perform as expected with subjects that are:
    • too large or small relative to the frame,
    • too bright or too dark,
    • partially hidden,
    • similar in color to surrounding objects, or
    • moving excessively.
  • The camera may fail to detect vehicles of some shapes and colors. Alternatively, it may display a border around subjects that are not vehicles.
Subject Detection

The performance of subject-detection may drop if either [HLG] or [N-Log] is selected for video tone mode.

[AF When Subject Not Detected]

Choose whether the camera focuses if unable to detect a subject of the type selected for [Subject detection] when AF-F is selected for focus mode.

This setting can be adjusted using [AF subject detection options] > [AF when subject not detected] in the video recording menu.

  • [ON]: The camera will focus even if unable to detect a subject of the selected type.
  • [OFF]: The camera will not focus if unable to detect a subject of the selected type.

Focus Point Display

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose focus point display options.

Settings can be adjusted using Custom Setting a11 [Focus point display].

Manual Focus Mode

Choose whether the focus point is displayed at all times in manual focus mode.

  • [ON]: The focus point is displayed at all times in manual focus mode.
  • [OFF]: The focus point is displayed only during focus point selection.

AF-C In-Focus Display

Choose whether the focus point changes color when the subject is in focus in focus mode AF-C.

  • [ON]: The focus point is displayed in green when the camera judges that the subject is in focus. This is a good choice in cases in which it is otherwise difficult to determine whether the subject is in focus.
  • [OFF]: The active focus point is displayed in red or yellow at all times, whether or not the camera is in focus.

Focus Peaking

  • -button menu :
  • Camera controls :
  • Other menus :

When focus peaking is enabled in manual focus mode, objects that are in focus are indicated by colored outlines in the display.

Settings can be adjusted using Custom Setting a13 [Focus peaking] > [Focus peaking display].

Focus Peaking Display

Select [ON] to enable focus peaking. This helps when it comes to determining what portions of the frame are currently in focus.

Focus Peaking Display

Using Custom Setting g2 [Custom controls], you can assign [Focus peaking] to a control and then use it to turn focus peaking on or off (see this section).

Focus Peaking Sensitivity

Choose the depth that will be shown as being in focus.

  • Choose [3 (high sensitivity)] for greater depth and [1 (low sensitivity)] for reduced depth.

Focus Peaking Highlight Color

Choose the highlight color.

Focus Point Selection Speed

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose the speed at which the camera cycles through focus points while the multi selector or sub-selector is pressed.

Use Custom Setting a14 [Focus point selection speed] to choose from settings of [Low], [Normal], and [High].

Limit AF-Area Mode Selection

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose the AF-area modes that can be selected by pressing the focus-mode button and rotating the sub-command dial.

Settings can be adjusted using Custom Setting g4 [Limit AF-area mode selection].

  • Only modes marked with a check () can be selected by pressing the focus-mode button and rotating the sub-command dial.
  • The check () cannot be removed from [Single-point AF].

Focus Mode Restrictions

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Limit focus-mode selection to a single focus mode.

Settings can be adjusted using Custom Setting g5 [Focus mode restrictions].

  • If an option other than [No restrictions] is selected, the focus mode cannot be changed by holding the focus-mode button and rotating the main command dial, preventing unintended changes to focus mode.

AF Speed

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose the speed at which the camera focuses when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway or the AF-ON button is pressed in focus modes AF-F and AF-C.

Focus speed can be adjusted in the range −5 to +5 using Custom Setting g6 [AF speed].

  • Choose higher values for faster focus, lower values for slower focus.

Use [When to apply] to choose when the selected option applies.

[Always] The camera focuses at the selected speed at all times in video mode.
[Only while recording] Focus is adjusted at the selected speed only while video recording is in progress. At other times, the camera focuses as quickly as possible.
Lens Sounds

The sound produced by the lens during focus operations increases with AF speed. The effect is particularly noticeable at a setting of [+5], so choose lower values if you find the noise distracting.

"AF-ON" and "Fast AF-ON"

Among the roles that can be assigned using Custom Setting g2 [Custom controls] are [AF‑ON] and [Fast AF‑ON] (see this section).

  • To focus at the speed selected for Custom Setting g6 [AF speed], press a control that has been assigned [AF-ON] or press the shutter-release button halfway. To focus at maximum speed (equivalent to an [AF speed] setting of +5), regardless of the setting selected for Custom Setting g6, use a control that has been assigned [Fast AF-ON].
  • Assigning [AF-ON] and [Fast AF-ON] to two different controls lets you rack focus at different speeds depending on the situation. To rack focus slowly on human subjects and quickly on other subjects, for example, use the control assigned [AF-ON] for human subjects and the control assigned [Fast AF-ON] for other subjects.

AF Tracking Sensitivity

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose how quickly focus switches from one subject to another.

AF tracking sensitivity can be adjusted in the range 1 to 7 using Custom Setting g7 [AF tracking sensitivity].

  • Choose [7] (Low) to help maintain focus on your original subject.
  • If the subject leaves the selected focus area when [1] (High) is selected, the camera will respond by quickly shifting focus to a new subject in the same area.

Save Focus Position

  • -button menu : —
  • Camera controls : —
  • Other menus :

Choose whether the camera saves the current focus position when turned off and restores it when turned on.

Settings can be adjusted using [Save focus position] in the setup menu.

  • When [ON] is selected, the camera will save the current focus position when turned off.
Save Focus Position
  • Camera startup times may increase.
  • Even when [ON] is selected, changes in temperature, zoom position, or other conditions while the camera is off may result in focus resuming from a different position when the camera is turned on.
  • Similarly, note that even when [OFF] is selected, focus may resume from the previously-selected position depending on the state of the camera and lens.