Rufous Hummingbird captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5

Nikon’s brilliant firmware 4.0 for the Z 9 brought a treasure chest of truly cool tools for our photography! One new addition that captured lots of folks attention in the new Auto Capture (check out the IB For the 4.0 Firmware). In a nutshell, Auto Capture can make remote photography possible in its simplest form. Those old folks like myself, remember the days of camera traps, infrared beams with tons of gear to haul around working with remote photography. With 4.0 in the Z 9, you basically set it and leave it. I’ve spent a whole bunch of time with the Auto Capture now, or I should say, the camera has spent a whole bunch of time set up with Auto Capture active and this is what I’ve learned. It works, works really well but is not the end all for critters, yet.

Rufous Hummingbird captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5

I want to start by saying the majority of the issues in the beginning were user caused. I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around the set up process. Once it got through my thick skull, I was up and running. Keep in mind that I’m taking Auto Capture to the extreme using it to photograph hummers in mid air, couldn’t find a smaller target. That’s the first thing one needs to remember, the size of the subject and KNOWING where it’s going to be, predictably (essential for all remote photograph)! Nothing, nothing replaces an eye at the viewfinder and finger on the trigger. When there is just one of you and you need two camera coverage, you are simply wanting to see if there is activity somewhere, your presence scares off the critter, this is a killer system! If you think you can sit back with a beer and let the camera capture that award winning shot, yeah, it’s not there yet.

The Z 9 fires, that’s not the issue. But it doesn’t know anything about color, gesture or light. There were times the hummingbird feeder, what was bringing the hummers in, would sway into the frame. A hummer was there so it shot capturing the feeder. A lot of shots, a lot were of the back of the hummer as males came in to defend their feeder. And there were a lot of nothing frames, same thing I get when I’m pressing the button.

Remote photography has always been an important tool but challenging. Auto Capture has taken much of the guess work out of it and is a great tool to have in the quiver. I look forward to how Nikon evolves it along with the rest of the great tools in the Z 9, my favorite camera of all time!

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