Keeping my Df, ditching my D3S

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brianric
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Keeping my Df, ditching my D3S
4 months ago

Little background, I'm a 64 year old male, with an artificial left shoulder, and an arthritic left knee. I do nothing but volunteer photography, shooting mainly for the American Cancer Society of south New Jersey and Philadelphia. I also shoot for March of Dimes New Jersey, MS Delaware, baby showers at McGuire AFB/Ft Dix in New Jersey, sports photographer for Ambassador Christian Academy in Glassboro New Jersey, plus for the Church that owns the school. I'm not a fancy photographer, most of what you call of my pictures are snap shot quality, but my clients are very happy with my work.

Last Sunday I was one of three photographers for the American Cancer Society Philadelphia Bike-a-thon. My main assignment was covering the finish line, trying to get as many bicycle riders as possible coming in from the bike-a-thon. I was debating whether to use my Df or D3S. I had the D3S ready with the 70-200/2.8 VR2, and the Df with the 70-200/4.0 VR at the finish line. I had three batteries, three 64 GB sd cards, and four 32 GB sd cards. My main concern was running out of battery power.

I also covered the Cherry Hill and Indian Mills stops in New Jersey using the Df and the 24-120/4.0.

I shot about 700 pictures with the 24-120, mix of static shots and people riding their bikes. The 24-120/4.0 at times could not keep up with the bicycle riders. I would estimate I was 80% successful for in focus shots of someone on their bicycles.

Finish line was different. I used the D3S for the first two riders until I could have my Df set up for auto ISO, 6400 ISO max, 1/1000 minimum shutter speed, camera set to aperture preferred, f/4.0, 5.5 FPS, 9 point AFC with central point selected. I shot an additional 6,000 plus shots, only loss 5% due to Df not acquiring focus in time. I lost more shots when a bicyclist crossed in front of the one I intended to shot. Battery life was great, 4,500 shots with 1/3 estimate life on battery one until I swapped batteries. I went through two 64 GB cards and some on the third card. Towards the end of my shot I only shot one or two frames per rider because the focus indication in the viewfinder is better than my D3S. Before that I was shooting four to five frames per rider. I managed to get the 6,700 shots down to 2,182 shots to deliver to the American Cancer Society. I shot in raw, processed first in Bridge, then import into Lightroom.

I choose the Df over the D3S for several reasons. Main reason it is lighter, buffer is about the same but clears faster, and IMHO, better DR. I'm not into a critique that my pictures are over saturated, as that's what I like and my clients love my work. I don't make money on this, it's just an expensive hobby.

I was getting to the point either to go lighter on the camera and lens, or consider micro four-thirds camera. IMHO, the micro four-thirds cannot compare to FF at high ISO. I don't know if micro four-thirds can cover a bicycle rider coming in at 10 to 20 mph. I will be unloading my D3S and one or both D800 (D800 & D800E). If I get rid of both D800s I will get another Df. The Df has a lot of warts, but it rapidly becoming my favorite camera to take on a shoot. I do not need 36 MP. It is nice to keep the D800E for cropping purposes, but not a necessity for my line of shooting.

My 2013 & 2014 bike-a-thon pictures are at http://www.brianric.com/Philly-ACS-Bikeathon-Events. The finish line pictures in 2013 were with the D3S and 70-200/2.8 VR2.

 brianric's gear list:brianric's gear list
Sony RX100 Nikon D700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Nikon Df Nikon D810 +10 more
Nikon D3S Nikon D800 Nikon D800E Nikon Df
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