The claims that on-sensor phase-detection autofocus sensors in Nikon’s Z7 does away with autofocus fine-tuning are wrong. I had to use AF Fine Tuning to get my lenses to focus properly.
When I first started using my Nikon Z7 for wildlife photography I got some very nice and sharp images, along with other photos where the focus was not perfect. I assumed vibration or wrong sensor group choice were the cause. However, when I tried longer distance shots I found my images were consistently not sharp.
Even though I initially believed web articles stating that with the phase detection AF sensors on the sensor plane AF-fine tuning is unnecessary, further research told me that there are other aspects of phase-sensitive focusing that still require calibration. An excellent post by Roger Cicala about how autofocus works shows for example how different sectors of the image are optically split and how the separation is used for autofocus. Here is the link for this post:
After reading Roger’s post I understood why cameras like the Olympus OM-D EM-I mark II have an AF Fine-Tune setting, and why it was also included in the menus of the Nikon’s Z7 camera.
The Nikon Z7, just like other Nikon DSLR cameras in Live View, uses Contrast Detection Autofocus when in AF S mode but seems to use it only as a fine adjustment to the main Contrast Detection AF. This is why AF Fine Tuning is important in both AF C and AF S modes.
Have you had to fine tune the focus for your lenses too?