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Technical Solutions | Z 9 TIPS

Sports AF: Custom Settings

a1: AF‑C Priority Selection

Custom Setting a1 [AF-C priority selection] controls whether the camera gives priority to focus or shutter release.

  • Shutter-release button pressed all the way down
  • Subject not in focus
  • Subject in focus
  • Photo taken (frame number shown in top left corner)
Release:

Pictures can be taken whether or not the camera is in focus. Frame rates do not slow during burst photography.

Focus + release:

In burst mode, priority is given to focus for the first frame and to release for later frames, ensuring that the first frame is in focus and that no subsequent frames are missed. Frame rates do not slow.

Focus:

Pictures can only be taken when the camera is in focus.

Note: Release timing not exactly as shown.

a3: Focus Tracking with Lock-On

This menu contains two options: [Blocked shot AF response] and [Subject motion].

Blocked Shot AF Response

If AF‑C is selected for focus mode, focus tracking with lock-on will prevent the camera refocusing when your subject is briefly obscured by another object, ensuring that it will continue to track the main subject once the obstacle has moved away. Choose the length of time before the camera refocuses from [1 (Quick)], [2], [3], [4], and [5 (Delayed)]. Lock-on applies only while the camera is focusing; to focus at a new distance without waiting for lock-on to end, re-initiate autofocus.

The camera will track and focus on objects at the same distance as the main subject. High values (slow response) make the camera slow to refocus on obstacles when the shot is blocked. Select low values (quick response) to quickly refocus on subjects passing in front of the camera and for improved response when switching rapidly from one subject to another.

Subject Motion

Choose how the camera tracks subjects in motion. Choose [Steady] for subjects approaching the camera at a steady pace, like sprinters or race cars on a track, [Erratic] for long or triple jumpers and other subjects prone to sudden stops and starts.

a4:Focus Points Used

Choose number of focus points available for manual focus-point selection.

  • Choosing [Alternating points] reduces the number of focus points to roughly a quarter of total available, speeding focus-point selection. The number of points available for the pinpoint AF AF-area mode is not affected.
  • Manual focus-point selection is available in all AF-area modes except auto-area AF.

a5:Store Points by Orientation

This option lets you concentrate on shooting without having to worry about focus-point selection. Choose whether the camera uses the same focus point and AF-area mode in all orientations, or stores separate focus points and/or AF-area modes for use in "wide" (landscape) orientation, "tall" (portrait) orientation with the camera rotated 90° clockwise, or "tall" orientation with the camera rotated 90° counterclockwise. The options are [Focus point], [Focus point and AF-area mode], and [Off].

[Focus point]: Rotating the camera restores the focus point last selected in the chosen orientation. If you select [Off] after choosing this option, the camera will select the center focus point for all orientations.

Camera rotated 90°
counterclockwise
Landscape (wide)
orientation
Camera rotated 90°
clockwise

[Focus point and AF-area mode]: Rotating the camera restores the focus point and AF-area mode last selected in the chosen orientation. In the example shown here, dynamic-area AF (S) is selected when the camera is in landscape orientation, 3D-tracking when it is rotated 90° counterclockwise, and wide-area AF (L) when it is rotated 90° clockwise.

Camera rotated 90°
counterclockwise
Landscape (wide)
orientation
Camera rotated 90°
clockwise

[Off]: The same focus point and AF-area mode will be used regardless of camera orientation.

Camera rotated 90°
counterclockwise
Landscape (wide)
orientation
Camera rotated 90°
clockwise

a6:AF Activation

Choose [AF‑ON only] to split the functions of the AF‑ON button (or the control to which [AF-ON] has been assigned using Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls (shooting)]) and the shutter-release button so that the former is used for focus while the latter is used only to release the shutter. Lift your thumb from the AF‑ON button to lock focus and take more shots at the current focus distance or prevent the camera refocusing when an object passes between you and your subject.

Highlighting [AF‑ON only] and pressing displays an [Out-of-focus release] option; for sports photography, confirm that [Enable] is selected.

Focusing with Lens Function Buttons

To focus using the L‑Fn or L‑Fn2 buttons found on certain lenses, select [AF-ON] for Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls (shooting)] > [ Lens Fn button] or [ Lens Fn2 button] (see this section).

F Mount Lenses with Focus Function Selectors

If an F mount lens with a focus function selector is mounted on the camera via a mount adapter, the focus function buttons on the lens will perform the same role as the camera AF‑ON button when the focus function selector is in the AF-ON position. As of November, 2021, the list of lenses featuring focus function selectors is as follows:

  • AF‑S NIKKOR 800 mm f/5.6E FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 600 mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 600 mm f/4E FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 500 mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 500 mm f/4E FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 500 mm f/5.6E PF ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8G ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 300 mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 200 mm f/2G ED VR II
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 70–200 mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 120–300 mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 180–400 mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR
  • AF‑S NIKKOR 200–400 mm f/4G ED VR II

a7: Focus Point Persistence

If you have assigned [AF-area mode] or [AF-area mode + AF‑ON] to a control using Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls (shooting)], you can hold the control to switch temporarily from the current AF-area mode to a second, pre-selected mode. Selecting [Auto] for Custom Setting a7 [Focus point persistence] lets you do so without changing focus points.

Using Focus-Point Persistence: An Example

In this example, we will assign [AF-area mode] to the Fn1 button and hold it to switch temporarily from the current AF-area mode (auto-area AF in this case) to a second, pre-selected mode (here dynamic-area AF (S)).

1 Enable focus-point persistence.

Select [Auto] for Custom Setting a7 [Focus point persistence].

2 Select the default AF‑area mode.

For this example we will choose [Auto-area AF] and a focus mode of AF‑C.

3 Assign [AF-area mode] or [AF-area mode + AF-ON] to a control.

Select Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls (shooting)] and choose the desired control and role (in this case, the Fn1 button and [AF-area mode]). To choose the AF-area mode activated while the button is pressed, highlight [AF-area mode] and press . This example assumes that [Dynamic-area AF (S)] is selected.

4 Focus using the default AF-area mode.

Press the shutter-release button halfway or press the AF‑ON button to focus using the default AF-area mode. In the case of auto-area AF, the camera will automatically detect the subject and choose the focus area.

At the settings selected in this example, focus will track subject motion while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway or the AF‑ON button is pressed.

5 Switch AF-area modes.

Hold the selected control (the Fn1 button) to switch to the AF-area mode selected in Step 3 (dynamic-area AF (S)). Because we selected [Auto] for Custom Setting a7 [Focus point persistence] in Step 1, the camera will focus on the subject in the current focus point using dynamic-area AF (S).

Had we selected [Off], the camera would not have maintained focus on the subject in the point chosen by auto-area AF but would have instead switched to a different focus point.

a8: Limit AF-Area Mode Selection

Limiting the choice of AF-area modes speeds AF-area mode selection and prevents your accidentally selecting an undesired option. For example, you can limit the choice of AF-area modes to dynamic-area AF (S) and wide-area AF (S) by selecting only these options in the AF-area mode list. Note that [Single-point AF] cannot be deselected.

a9: Focus Mode Restrictions

Limiting the choice of available focus modes prevents accidental selection of an undesired option. For sports photography, you may find it convenient to choose [Continuous AF] to stop you accidentally selecting AF‑S or MF.

a10: Focus Point Wrap-Around

Select [ON] if you frequently switch between widely-separated focus points. Focus-point selection will "wrap around" from top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right, and right to left so that, for example, pressing when a focus point on the right edge of the display is highlighted () selects the corresponding focus point on the left edge of the display ().