NIKON Z9 3D tracking

Surnatural Orchestra « PIC » – Festival CiRCA 2022

My Z9 arrived in time for me to start using it for the Festival CiRCa this year. My work with ‘cirque’ was the principal reason I purchased this camera body, and so I was keen to see how the much vaunted « 3D Tracking » actually worked in a real life situation.

It works

The photo above has taken at the end of sequence of dance by the artist, and as she lay on the rope, the auto-focus was glued to her face and the shot is sharp – can’t ask for more.

The up-side is that with a number of artists moving rapidly across the fiels of vision, once a single artist has been ‘chosen’ by pressing the AF-ON buttton, the camera happily follows like Super-Glue.

The down-side, and the only thing I have found from personal use, is that with circus companies insisting on less and less lighting for their spectacles, the auto-focus sometimes has a job to follow and loses the plot. For this I can’t blame the camera as the few situations where this has happened were in almost complete darkness. The shot above was lit by only two lights, with an exposure of 1/125s f/2.8 at 6400 ISO. Given the distance from the lens, the depth of field can’t have been more than a couple of centimetres.

In a well-lit environment I’m pretty confident that the camera would nail it more often than not, so for this at least, I’m not complaining!