HOW TO... use Nikon Eye-Detection AF on the Nikon Z7 / Z6

Eye AF has become a must-have feature for sport, wildlife and many other photographers. We explain how to use Eye-Detection AF on your Nikon camera

Nikon firmware adds Eye-Detection AF, extended low-light AF to Z6, Z7

When Nikon released its v2.0 firmware update for the Nikon Z6 and Z7  mirrorless cameras, it added a powerful new capability for Eye-detection autofocus and AE (Auto Exposure) tracking in continuous high-speed (extended) mode, as well as extending the low-light detection range of the autofocus.

It’s the Eye-detection autofocus that’s got Nikon enthusiasts excited though. In this post, we explain how to set up and shoot eye-detect autofocus on the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7.

UPDATE: since the time of writing there are now more Nikon cameras that support this new feature. Here’s our round-up of which Nikon cameras have Eye-Detection AF.

Newer Nikon Z cameras like the Z50 and Nikon Z5 were launched with this feature. If you’re a Z6 or Z7 owner, read how to update the Nikon Z6 / Z7 firmware to get the new Eye-Detection AF.

How to use Nikon Eye AF

Eye-detection autofocus works in the same way as Face-detection autofocus on the Nikon Z6 and Z7. After installing the firmware update you can use it as follows:

  1. Set the AF-area mode to Auto-area AF via the ‘i’ menu.
  2. Through the EVF (or on the LCD screen) in Auto-area AF you’ll see the red corner markings identifying it’s in auto-area AF.
  3. As soon as the camera detects a face, this switches to a large yellow autofocus box that starts tracking the subject.
  4. Now with the firmware updated, when the camera detects an eye the autofocus box switches to a smaller yellow box and tracks the eye.

Continuous and Single AF Mode

Nikon’s eye AF works in both AF-C (continuous focus) and AF-S (single focus) mode, so you chose the mode most suitable for your subject.AF-C is for moving portraits, like kids playing, while AF-S is for posed-portraits.

In AF-S mode, half-press the shutter button to focus the lens. Then, when the camera locks on, the autofocus box goes green and you can fire off a shot.

However, in AF-C mode the lens is constantly focusing, so there’s no focus confirmation and you can grab a shot at any time.

For more information on your camera’s AF system and how it works, read our in-depth guide on the Nikon Z6 and Z7 autofocus system.

You may also like our guides to setting up the Nikon D850 for the first time, setting up Nikon DSLRs for wireless flash and using your Nikon camera’s interval shooting mode to make a timelapse movie.

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