Animal detection

In a major firmware update for the Lumix G9 there was this focus mode called Animal Detection. I haven’t really used it much since I don’t do much wildlife, but I’m starting to so I did some reading and tested it out today. It tracked this little chippie through branches in the side yard and stayed locked on pretty well. I was crouched in the driveway watching with the Leica 100-400mm and got this shot without refocusing. It missed a few, but it got more than it missed for sure. I came away impressed.

Has anyone played with it on the G9 or one of the other Pannys that has it? I assume other brands might have something similar. Do you get more keepers using it or do you use a single focus point and AF-continuous?

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I haven’t heard of a plain animal detection mode on the Canon and Sony lines I use, Kris. They’ve gone the route of following up on their human eye detection with animal eye detection and at least one model I’ve heard of with specific bird eye detection. My A7Riv Sony has the animal eye detection and sometimes it works on birds as well. Sometimes it can also lead you astray (a wet pebble can look a lot like an eye).

Well I don’t suppose any AI tech like this would be infallible. Animal Detection isn’t either, but it seems promising. Whether I move or the critter does, it stays locked on pretty well. Will play with it more and see. I’m such a wildlife photography noob that any edge I can get is welcome. Alas though, my photo blind still AWOL.

Processed a couple more images from that session. I didn’t refocus once the camera locked on the chipmunk. As you can see there is some intervening foliage to contend with. I did get a clean opening closest to me, but farther back there is stuff in front of the animal. According to what I read about the technology, it’s designed with that kind of thing in mind. To ‘see through’ branches and stuff and stay locked on the animal. Interesting.

This one is a big crop -

This one isn’t -

At ISO 500, 1/320 sec, f/5.8, handheld in a crouch in the driveway.

I’m chuffed that the eyes are so sharp.

It looks like a very good system, Kris. I’ll be interesting in knowing how it works if the animal is partially/mostly hidden to start with. That’s the issue I sometimes run into with birds and I happen to like images of half hidden critters.

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I’ll keep messing with it. I’ve also tweaked one of the 4 Focus Sensitivity sets to improve AF sensitivity - AF Area Switching sensitivity & Moving Object Prediction. I can also limit the focus distance in camera (Near or Far) and I can limit it on the lens itself. All those things might improve the accuracy and the keeper ratio.

Kris, what a cute subject to practice on. I just love him up on the old dead tree stump. Everything looks really good, so it sounds like it is working for you. Always nice to have the camera to help us out, as most wildlife isn’t all that patient with us to sit and pose long.

Thanks Shirley. They can be pests, but they make up for it in cuteness.

Alas, they never do. But we keep trying.

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