Autofocus is quickly advancing right now. Cameras have been incorporating predictive autofocus systems for awhile like Nikon’s 3D Focus Tracking in many of their DSLRs, and now face/eye and animal tracking in their latest mirrorless cameras. One of my favorite features in the the Z6II is face/eye autofocus, it works like a charm. If you shoot portraits wide open at F1.4, you are going to love this focus mode. But there is another mode in the Z6II that also works great at tracking any subject, and that is Subject Tracking. In order to make it easy to use without going to your menu, you just have to set it up for one of your front buttons on the Z6II.
This is very easy to do. In you camera menu, go to Custom Settings, then to Controls (F), then to Custom Controls (F2). Navigate to the F1 button, and toggle until you see Subject Tracking (see photo at top). Click OK on this button, and you have now set your front F1 button to turn on Subject Tracking.
This is how it works. First, you need to be in Auto-AF or a face or animal detect autofocus mode. Now aim at your subject, and hit the F1 button. You will see a white square with arrows pop up in the viewfinder. Place this on your subject, and start pressing your back button focus (or shutter halfway down if you focus using your shutter button) and the square will turn yellow meaning it is now tracking the subject. If your subject moves, the square will stick on the subject. This feature is much improved in the Z6II with the second processor. The focus will just stick on your subject no matter where they go in the frame.
Predictive autofocus modes work well with fast moving subjects. Predictive autofocus modes help photographers stay focused on the subject if it moves off your focus points during a sequence. But you can also do just fine using a larger area focus mode like Group-Area Autofocus as you pan with your subject. The bottom line is you have to keep your subject in the viewfinder, cameras don’t move themselves yet! Practice your panning with fast moving subjects, and use the best autofocus capability your camera offers. Photography will always be a blend of technique, technology and creative vision.