Z6ii and Z7ii autofocus vs D850

I currently use D850 (and sometimes D500). I am looking at Z6ii or Z7ii mainly for the new 100-400 lens. For people who have used both, is the AF-C autofocus tracking on the new mirrorless as good? (I do NOT want/need a Z9 so please don't suggest that). I don't do much fast action like birds in flight, mainly just animals walking or occasionally jumping (wild bobcats and coyotes and occasionally zoo animals).

For years I used Canon 5D series and their focus tracking mode was unuseable. I mean even just a big cat walking towards me in a zoo and it would invariably lag behind with focus on the shoulders and the head out of focus. When I switched to Nikon D850 that problem went away instantly. So if I switch to Z6ii or Z7ii will I still get the heads in focus as I am accustomed with my D850 and D500?

Comments

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,670Member
    I own both and can say that they are both good. I have Thom's book for both and have read both cover to cover with special emphasis on the autofocus sections. I don't think you will have any complaints going with the Z7ii. I am quite curious what the firmware update will bring to the table.
  • MrFotoFoolMrFotoFool Posts: 276Member
    Thanks for reply. Looking at reviews I see conflicting opinions, though most seem favorable. Since you use both I would tend to trust your opinion.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,475Member
    edited December 2021
    The best aspect of the Z bodies focusing is the freedom to focus anywhere, rather than being stuck in the middle. Whenever I'm shooting people I pick up the Z6, face tracking is just that much nicer to use than having to hunt for the right focus point. Those features are really nice to have. Nikon improved AF with recent updates to the original Z bodies (I have Z6), so I assume Nikon will do the same with the Z6II and Z7II soon as well. It's more than up to the task of tracking regular wildlife I think. If I had a Z7II not sure I'd keep the D850, if it wasn't for the resolution difference vs my Z6.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MrFotoFoolMrFotoFool Posts: 276Member
    Thanks @PB_PM , very helpful.
  • photobunnyphotobunny Posts: 517Member
    I have something in the region of 30,000 tack sharp images of various wildlife subjects from the Z6 with the 500 PF, 180-400, and 70-200 S with the TCs. I have only had a few hundred where focus was missed. The Z6 is a really fantastic wildlife camera for most subjects and I’ll still use it for years to come with my Z9. I don’t see any reason not to keep the 500 PF on it just incase a subject comes that is a wee bit to far away for whatever main lens I am using at that moment.

    I can provide sample images or go through any part of the system and where it does well and where it falls over. I did have a D500 to compare and before that I had a Canon 1Dx and 5D2.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,462Moderator
    Sharpness is so much is talked about with the Z series, but when I look at my old D850's results with my small selection of lenses, I can't say that they lack sharpness. I think in line with a lot of posts on this forum that 24mp is enough for 95% of the shooters and probably 95% of the work that the 5% do too. I fall in the 95% in reality.

    When I got the D850 I was staggered to go from selecting a sharp action shots from a string where most were soft to selecting the best composed from a string of sharp shots. Apparently all that loveliness is now as nothing with the arrival of mirrorless.

    I guess I will have to try a Z one of these days, but not yet as my bitcoin has a way to go yet! ;)

    I just tried Zeiss lenses in my glasses and found them to be crap. Maybe it is a case of 'the emperors new clothes' with them? I think they just put a really high contrast coating on the glass which fools people into thinking they are sharper. Personally I found them to be optically inferior and the coating to be tiring to my eyes.
    Always learning.
  • MrFotoFoolMrFotoFool Posts: 276Member
    Yes I agree about D850 (and even D500). After being on the fence and watching several reviews, I made the decision yesterday to stick with my current gear at least until the rumored Z8 comes out. The Z6ii and Z7ii are no better than D850 and several reviewers say they are a notch below (especially in terms of focus tracking). There is no point spending more money for a system that is likely not better.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,670Member

    Yes I agree about D850 (and even D500). After being on the fence and watching several reviews, I made the decision yesterday to stick with my current gear at least until the rumored Z8 comes out. The Z6ii and Z7ii are no better than D850 and several reviewers say they are a notch below (especially in terms of focus tracking). There is no point spending more money for a system that is likely not better.

    To me how good the camera is represents a secondary consideration. Remember, I regard cameras as mere photon detectors, which is a little dramatic but I think the point is valid. Were my Z7ii bodies better than my D850? In some ways yes. But I really moved to the Z-mount to benefit from the glass. I figured that any deficiencies represented by my Z7ii bodies would be addressed in the next generation and voila, the Z9 is out - issues addressed - especially the lack of an integrated grip. Those two Z7ii bodies will make fantastic infrared cameras and a Z7iii when it comes out will be good with an FTZii and my AIS/D lenses.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,475Member

    Yes I agree about D850 (and even D500). After being on the fence and watching several reviews, I made the decision yesterday to stick with my current gear at least until the rumored Z8 comes out. The Z6ii and Z7ii are no better than D850 and several reviewers say they are a notch below (especially in terms of focus tracking). There is no point spending more money for a system that is likely not better.

    Not a bad choice to make. Personally I don't think one is better than the other, just different ways of doing the same things. Once you get your head around that, you realize it best to work with what works for you and not worry about the rest.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,462Moderator

    Yes I agree about D850 (and even D500). After being on the fence and watching several reviews, I made the decision yesterday to stick with my current gear at least until the rumored Z8 comes out. The Z6ii and Z7ii are no better than D850 and several reviewers say they are a notch below (especially in terms of focus tracking). There is no point spending more money for a system that is likely not better.

    To me how good the camera is represents a secondary consideration. Remember, I regard cameras as mere photon detectors, which is a little dramatic but I think the point is valid. Were my Z7ii bodies better than my D850? In some ways yes. But I really moved to the Z-mount to benefit from the glass. I figured that any deficiencies represented by my Z7ii bodies would be addressed in the next generation and voila, the Z9 is out - issues addressed - especially the lack of an integrated grip. Those two Z7ii bodies will make fantastic infrared cameras and a Z7iii when it comes out will be good with an FTZii and my AIS/D lenses.
    That works in most ways, but if the photons aren't in focus, they aren't much good I think.
    Always learning.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,670Member
    Thanks for your answer Spraynpray. I am not saying that af is irrelevant. But I will say that for alot of photography, perhaps most, af requirements are not beyond most cameras. And if AF is that critical, there is now a solution from all three majors. And if one manufacturer has an “edge”, then you can wait a generation and the other two will close that gap.

    My poont is that chasing these edges is a waste of time. Buy good glass and you will be good. Which is why I regard cameras as “mere photon detectors” which I acknowledge is a dramatization.
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