Canon's new 61 pt AF system (1DX, 5D3) smokes Nikon

Started Aug 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Regular MemberPosts: 180
Re: Yawn - maybe some perspective is needed here
In reply to SubPrime, Aug 13, 2012

I essentially agree with what you say here, except that I don't believe they're is a campaign to bury the D800. There are a few people here getting worked up and playing the age old game of who can urinate highest against the kindergarten playground wall, on both sides, but this is taking place in a microcosm. in the recent weeks, I've talked to three professional photographers, each working in different realms. None had any idea whatsoever about the finer differences and advantages between these cameras.

As for the rest of your post, as I said I can only agree with you. cameras are compromises, but in the broader scope of things, the compromises we have to live with today are a hell of a lot more satisfying than what we had to settle for even 5 or 10 years ago.

Just for the fun of it, I ran the same test as you, with 5DIII + 24/1.4 L. My hit rate in bright light at 1.4 on either outer or center AF points is practically 100%. Now if I had to run this test now, it is because I had never shot my 24/1.4 at full aperture in bright light (1/8000 !). In other words, this particular strength of the 5DIII will only come in handy in a handful of situations. In the real world, had we been shooting side by side, we would have been at a much smaller aperture, and there would have been no visible difference in our result.

SubPrime wrote:

trueview wrote:

Of course, when Subprime calls the 5DIII DR mediocre, as he does in a post above, he might be betraying a dearth of perspective himself I find the DR of the camera to be excellent across the ISO range, although the D800 certainly has an advantage at 100iso.

I was of course being sarcastic when I made that comment. The fact is that all cameras are a compromise in one way or another and we all learn to live with them. There is a concerted effort on the part of some to come up with a fatal flaw in the D800 that they hope will render it useless, but the reality is that photographers use their cameras in so many different ways that what may matter to some will be of no significance to others.

When these cameras were first announced, there was the assumption that the 5D3 would trump the D800 for high ISO. That didn't pan out, so the campaign is on to bury the D800 for having an inferior AF module that of the 5D3. This is futile because even assuming this is true, the fact that the 5D3 has better AF does not automatically mean the D800 AF is has to be useless - as much as the usual suspects want that to be true.

This latest episode is probably the most pathetic because the hard core fans are seizing on the findings from one specific and unlikely shooting scenario and extrapolating that to mean the D800 AF is fatallly flawed.

Interestingly, I tested this case myself this afternoon. I took my D800 mounted wth the 851.4g with me when I took the kids out. I concentrated on shooting beteen f1.4 and f2 at moderate to large distances. Mine were all hend held, whcih didn't matter given how bright it was.

What I found was that:

1. 70- 80% of my shots were in focus
2. The softness of the lens at f1.4 is more of an issue than focus accuracy.

3. The biggest issue by far that I came across was chromatic aberration - it was a sunny afternoon, so this was all the more obvious.

4. At 80mm, focusing on objects at 80 feet or more (other than large objects like trees) is a challenge because the actual size of the focus points in the viewfinder dwarves facial features like eyes - yet, f1.4 to f2 remains suffifciently shallow to demand that focus be accurate.

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