D600: A gazillion EV of dynamic range isn't worth squat if your camera won't focus or meter properly Locked

Started Jan 3, 2013 | Discussions
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Daniel Lauring
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D600: A gazillion EV of dynamic range isn't worth squat if your camera won't focus or meter properly
Jan 3, 2013

Final straw last weekend with D600.  I had been struggling with strange metering issues.  For example a group shot where the metering jumped 2EV just by the subjects rearranging themselves in the picture.  Or a bright light in the corner of the frame causing the entire scene to be underexposed.

Last weekend I decided to bring the D600 along to some post New Year get-togethers to see if I could get a handle on the metering.  The metering still reared it's ugly head but worse, the thing gave me fits focussing.  It either didn't focus or grabbed focus on something that was completely unexpected.  Just like with smart metering, focussing has got smarter with cameras over the last century.  A century ago I'd expect to battle with a strong vertical line in the background and have to spot focus but now that rarely happens...except with the D600 it happened all the time.

I can't post lots of other examples because the parents prefer not to have their children posted on the web but this one came out so bad it's unrecognizable so it's OK to post.  Ignore the fact that some bonehead forgot to take off the lens hood which cast a shadow with the onboard flash.  The camera refused to focus on the boy in this shot...even though he's perfectly framed and within the focus range of the lens (I checked afterwards because at first I thought that might have been what happened.)

Shot out of focus and blown out (obviously because flash is trying to light background.)

I switched back and forth between LV view and using the viewfinder hoping to have better luck with the camera if it used the actual sensor, but that often just made matters worse (hunted for focus worse in LV mode.)

In another example the subjects were at two different distances against a busy background.  I expected the camera to grab one face or the other (like my other cameras do) but in this case, instead of capturing either subject, or the busy background, it focussed on the forward subjects elbow at the bottom right corner of the screen.

I've come to the conclusion this camera might be great for landscapers or studio portrait photography or any photography where you have plenty of time to monkey with the focus and metering, but for on the fly people captures/snapshots (ie. event/wedding photography), it is a poor choice.  If I didn't mind carrying around the added weight, I'd keep the D600 around just for it's strengths (resolution and dynamic range) but the years of hauling around 30 pounds of camera equipment are in my past.

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Yves P.
Forum ProPosts: 18,623
lollll
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Final straw last weekend with D600. I had been struggling with strange metering issues. For example a group shot where the metering jumped 2EV just by the subjects rearranging themselves in the picture. Or a bright light in the corner of the frame causing the entire scene to be underexposed.

Last weekend I decided to bring the D600 along to some post New Year get-togethers to see if I could get a handle on the metering. The metering still reared it's ugly head but worse, the thing gave me fits focussing. It either didn't focus or grabbed focus on something that was completely unexpected. Just like with smart metering, focussing has got smarter with cameras over the last century. A century ago I'd expect to battle with a strong vertical line in the background and have to spot focus but now that rarely happens...except with the D600 it happened all the time.

I can't post lots of other examples because the parents prefer not to have their children posted on the web but this one came out so bad it's unrecognizable so it's OK to post. Ignore the fact that some bonehead forgot to take off the lens hood which cast a shadow with the onboard flash. The camera refused to focus on the boy in this shot...even though he's perfectly framed and within the focus range of the lens (I checked afterwards because at first I thought that might have been what happened.)

Shot out of focus and blown out (obviously because flash is trying to light background.)

I switched back and forth between LV view and using the viewfinder hoping to have better luck with the camera if it used the actual sensor, but that often just made matters worse (hunted for focus worse in LV mode.)

In another example the subjects were at two different distances against a busy background. I expected the camera to grab one face or the other (like my other cameras do) but in this case, instead of capturing either subject, or the busy background, it focussed on the forward subjects elbow at the bottom right corner of the screen.

I've come to the conclusion this camera might be great for landscapers or studio portrait photography or any photography where you have plenty of time to monkey with the focus and metering, but for on the fly people captures/snapshots (ie. event/wedding photography), it is a poor choice. If I didn't mind carrying around the added weight, I'd keep the D600 around just for it's strengths (resolution and dynamic range) but the years of hauling around 30 pounds of camera equipment are in my past.

Sorry, this is a classic user error ...  Even the shadow lower part center ...  please ...

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: lollll
In reply to Yves P., Jan 3, 2013

Yves P. wrote:

Sorry, this is a classic user error ... Even the shadow lower part center ... please ...

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Explain how is the camera, failing to focus on the subject, in the middle of the frame, classic user error?

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frank-in-toronto
Contributing MemberPosts: 960
Re: lollll
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

since there's no exif, i need to ask..what af mode was the camera in? looks like it got good focus on something in the background. and, just for interest, what was the camera to subject distance? the child doesn't look too close, but a featureless face and an incorrect-for-the-situation af mode would produce this effect.

Epic Light
Regular MemberPosts: 231
Re: D600: A gazillion EV of dynamic range isn't worth squat if your came meter properly
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Filed complaint for trolling.

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Final straw last weekend with D600. I had been struggling with strange metering issues. For example a group shot where the metering jumped 2EV just by the subjects rearranging themselves in the picture. Or a bright light in the corner of the frame causing the entire scene to be underexposed.

Last weekend I decided to bring the D600 along to some post New Year get-togethers to see if I could get a handle on the metering. The metering still reared it's ugly head but worse, the thing gave me fits focussing. It either didn't focus or grabbed focus on something that was completely unexpected. Just like with smart metering, focussing has got smarter with cameras over the last century. A century ago I'd expect to battle with a strong vertical line in the background and have to spot focus but now that rarely happens...except with the D600 it happened all the time.

I can't post lots of other examples because the parents prefer not to have their children posted on the web but this one came out so bad it's unrecognizable so it's OK to post. Ignore the fact that some bonehead forgot to take off the lens hood which cast a shadow with the onboard flash. The camera refused to focus on the boy in this shot...even though he's perfectly framed and within the focus range of the lens (I checked afterwards because at first I thought that might have been what happened.)

Shot out of focus and blown out (obviously because flash is trying to light background.)

I switched back and forth between LV view and using the viewfinder hoping to have better luck with the camera if it used the actual sensor, but that often just made matters worse (hunted for focus worse in LV mode.)

Daniel Lauring
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,330Gear list
Re: lollll
In reply to frank-in-toronto, Jan 3, 2013

frank-in-toronto wrote:

since there's no exif, i need to ask..what af mode was the camera in? looks like it got good focus on something in the background. and, just for interest, what was the camera to subject distance? the child doesn't look too close, but a featureless face and an incorrect-for-the-situation af mode would produce this effect.

This was definitely the most frustrating shot as I fumbled with the camera trying to get something to work while the 2 year old posed with the hat...until he finally said enough is enough and ran off.  It was in whatever is the default AF mode in aperture priority mode, and green mode, and green LV mode.  The camera is set to only go off in focus so there was a lot of non-shots on the way to this really bad one.  It is the 24-85 kit lens at 42mm.  I recall having it at a longer focal length but it refused to grab focus so I had zoomed out thinking maybe I was too close at that focal length (turned out not to be the case.)  The lighting in the room was really bad and what little overhead lighting there was, was further compromised by the shading of the hat on the boys face. I switched to an OMD EM5 and after much cajoling, got the boy to pose again, in the same spot, with zero issues (perfect focus and exposure...no exposure hunting.)

Matrix metering.

Kit lens, F4.2 (wide open)

42mm focal length.

Auto ISO (800 chosen)

1/60 exposure

In EXIF, it says sensing method, "One-chip color area" whatever that means.

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Yves P.
Forum ProPosts: 18,623
Re: lollll
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

frank-in-toronto wrote:

since there's no exif, i need to ask..what af mode was the camera in? looks like it got good focus on something in the background. and, just for interest, what was the camera to subject distance? the child doesn't look too close, but a featureless face and an incorrect-for-the-situation af mode would produce this effect.

This was definitely the most frustrating shot as I fumbled with the camera trying to get something to work while the 2 year old posed with the hat...until he finally said enough is enough and ran off. It was in whatever is the default AF mode in aperture priority mode, and green mode, and green LV mode. The camera is set to only go off in focus so there was a lot of non-shots on the way to this really bad one. It is the 24-85 kit lens at 42mm. I recall having it at a longer focal length but it refused to grab focus so I had zoomed out thinking maybe I was too close at that focal length (turned out not to be the case.) The lighting in the room was really bad and what little overhead lighting there was, was further compromised by the shading of the hat on the boys face. I switched to an OMD EM5 and after much cajoling, got the boy to pose again, in the same spot, with zero issues (perfect focus and exposure...no exposure hunting.)

Matrix metering.

Kit lens, F4.2 (wide open)

42mm focal length.

Auto ISO (800 chosen)

1/60 exposure

In EXIF, it says sensing method, "One-chip color area" whatever that means.

Did you take this picture in LV ???

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: D600: A gazillion EV of dynamic range isn't worth squat if your came meter properly
In reply to Epic Light, Jan 3, 2013

Epic Light wrote:

Filed complaint for trolling.

Seriously dude?  Because you don't like that I posted something negative?  Did you even look at my profile?  I've owned cameras from just about every manufacturer, been taking pictures for over 30 years and a dpreview member for over 10.  I bought the D600 seriously wanting to like it...and I do like the output...when it works.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: lollll
In reply to Yves P., Jan 3, 2013

Yves P. wrote:

Did you take this picture in LV ???

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I think this one, which actually went off, as opposed to the ones that didn't because it didn't find focus, was in LV mode.  I had been leaning toward using LV mode more because I was getting better metering results with it.

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Manny82
Contributing MemberPosts: 571
Re:
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Judging from the pic, looks like natural light was low and your camera focussed on the background. In doing so, the flash TTL system will use the distance data from the focus system to calculate flash output and therefore increase the output of the flash to expose for what it has focussed for.

Obviously anything right in front of the camera will get blown out by the flash. It can't expose for something 1 meter away and then something 5 meters away.

Looks like it's working fine to me.

frank-in-toronto
Contributing MemberPosts: 960
Re: lollll
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Yves P. wrote:


Did you take this picture in LV ???

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I think this one, which actually went off, as opposed to the ones that didn't because it didn't find focus, was in LV mode. I had been leaning toward using LV mode more because I was getting better metering results with it.

live view in dim light is hit-or-miss.  first, it's dead slow on the nikon. so you need to wait a second or perhaps a bit more for focus lock.  and if the subject moves, you're back at the start.

anyway, there is no "default" focus mode when you're in aperture setting.  probably the camera was set to "matrix" AF and it found something with more contrast in the background.  nothing unusual in that.  in this situation, i would be using spot metering and spot focus. otherwise, i would accept the misses.  if i was giving my camera to somebody else to use, i would be using matrix everything just so they could get something in focus and take pictures.  again, i would accept less than perfect results.

so this pic becomes one of the culls.  nothing unusual there.

Daniel Lauring
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,330Gear list
Re:
In reply to Manny82, Jan 3, 2013

Manny82 wrote:

Judging from the pic, looks like natural light was low and your camera focussed on the background. In doing so, the flash TTL system will use the distance data from the focus system to calculate flash output and therefore increase the output of the flash to expose for what it has focussed for.

Obviously anything right in front of the camera will get blown out by the flash. It can't expose for something 1 meter away and then something 5 meters away.

Looks like it's working fine to me.

Yes, that is obviously what happened.  But, how is that "working fine?"  It didn't focus.  IMHO, not focussing is not working.  It is especially disconcerting because the other two cameras I used, an OMD EM5 and an LX7, did not have focus issues in the same scenarios.  Which was the point of my post.  And this wasn't just one incident.  I chose to post this one example because the face is unrecognizable and because the shot is not recoverable (as opposed to some of the mis-metered shots.)

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GregF
Senior MemberPosts: 1,912
Re: D600
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

The metering system works well if you learn that the focus point puts some weight on the exposure, even in matrix metering.  Try it: focus on a the same scene, in matrix, but put the focus point on something dark.  Then something light.  Without too much recomposition, the same scene will change exposure a bit due to the focus point placement.

Try using AF-S on center point only, turn auto focus point off, for static posed subjects.

As far as why the flash shot is overexposed and out of focus, make sure the AF assist light is on.  The AF system needs the assist light in low light or it will hunt or get it wrong.  If the assist light is on, I'm not sure why that happened.

D200_4me
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,347Gear list
Re: lollll
In reply to frank-in-toronto, Jan 3, 2013

I would agree that using live view mode in dim light or when you need fast focusing is not the best idea.  The camera uses a different method for focusing in LV mode than it does when not in LV....and it's always going to be more reliable and faster when not in LV mode.  So far I've not had any bad experiences in dim light (but I rarely use LV).

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Yves P.
Forum ProPosts: 18,623
Re: D600
In reply to GregF, Jan 3, 2013

GregF wrote:

The metering system works well if you learn that the focus point puts some weight on the exposure, even in matrix metering. Try it: focus on a the same scene, in matrix, but put the focus point on something dark. Then something light. Without too much recomposition, the same scene will change exposure a bit due to the focus point placement.

Try using AF-S on center point only, turn auto focus point off, for static posed subjects.

As far as why the flash shot is overexposed and out of focus, make sure the AF assist light is on. The AF system needs the assist light in low light or it will hunt or get it wrong. If the assist light is on, I'm not sure why that happened.

And, ...
Forget about LIVE VIEW for accurate precision. LV should only be used in great lighting and for Video purposes.

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Peter Jonas
Senior MemberPosts: 1,593
Re: D600: A gazillion EV of dynamic range isn't worth squat if your came meter properly
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Epic Light wrote:

Filed complaint for trolling.

Seriously dude? Because you don't like that I posted something negative? Did you even look at my profile? I've owned cameras from just about every manufacturer, been taking pictures for over 30 years and a dpreview member for over 10. I bought the D600 seriously wanting to like it...and I do like the output...when it works.

Daniel,

Please look around on these forums and elsewhere to find what sort of results people using the D600 are getting. I think most of them would find it very very difficult to reproduce the kind of rubbish you seem to be getting regularly.

I have a sneaky suspicion that you either don't want to or are unable to succeed with this camera.

You surely are not seriously suggesting that you think that this is the best the camera can offer. You know very well it is not true. But the camera will not produce any better results until you change your attitude and WANT to succeed.

The improvement must come from you. You must seek to understand how to to make it work, and not how to make it NOT work. If you have been doing photography for the past 30 years it should not really be a problem for you.

Understand the abilities of your camere and think about how you could use those abilities to make a satisfying image. Right now I have the feeling you are trying to find situations where you can make the D600 not work well, then say: "Hey this is a piece of cr*p, it can't do a thing I want it to".

As a craftsman you must use your tools in an optimal way to help you achieve your best. You are not doing that at the moment.

I do not know if you are genuine about these problems or not. Your overly dramatic subject lines don't help you either. But surely many people think you are not as they simply cannot believe you are having these problems with metering, Af and flash noone else has encountered, and they simply call you a troll. I do not.

I am very confident this camera can give you satisfying results in most situations. It is up to you now to use it in a way to bring the best out of it. It should not be hard at all.

Good luck with that.

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Cheers,
Peter Jonas

xrdbear
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,656
Re: lollll
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013
 

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Yves P. wrote:


Did you take this picture in LV ???

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I think this one, which actually went off, as opposed to the ones that didn't because it didn't find focus, was in LV mode. I had been leaning toward using LV mode more because I was getting better metering results with it.

Daniel, I would switch the camera to centre weighted metering, AF single with the centre AF point chosen, focus priority and choose your iso manually and sensibly. Forget LV for the moment.

If the camera doesn't then get nearly every shot close to right then either the camera or you have big problems. If it all works then try just switching to matrix metering. If everything then goes crazy, again I think it likely the camera is faulty. It could even be the lens or lens coupling that's causing the problem.

Huge numbers of this camera have been sold and though it has issues (dust for example) I don't recall reading of anybody with such comprehensive problems as you seem to have with yours. If you can't get yours to work satisfactorily then it's time to go back to the shop.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: lollll
In reply to frank-in-toronto, Jan 3, 2013

frank-in-toronto wrote:

so this pic becomes one of the culls. nothing unusual there.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of "culls" with the D600...and a lot of missed moments.  You are right though, if I had gone back to spot metering and focus and using metering and focus lock I would have had a much higher hit rate.  I used to use cameras in those modes almost exclusively, because they were the only modes that worked reliably.  However, in recent years I haven't had to do that very often because cameras have gotten so smart.  I still do, occasionally, find cases where manual focus or metering is a necessity.  For example, at weddings, where black and white clothing plays havoc with auto metering I will switch to manual metering, or when birding, when refining the focus point is usually required.  But, with the brunt of my photography today, I pick an aperture or shutter speed and let the camera handle the rest.  The D600 isn't good with that in these low light snapshot conditions.  That isn't to say it is a bad camera...just not good for the on-the-fly photography I've enjoy.

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D200_4me
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Also....
In reply to D200_4me, Jan 3, 2013

I almost never use auto area mode for focusing.  I always pick the focus point myself.

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Manny82
Contributing MemberPosts: 571
Re:
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Jan 3, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Yes, that is obviously what happened. But, how is that "working fine?" It didn't focus. IMHO, not focussing is not working. It is especially disconcerting because the other two cameras I used, an OMD EM5 and an LX7, did not have focus issues in the same scenarios. Which was the point of my post. And this wasn't just one incident. I chose to post this one example because the face is unrecognizable and because the shot is not recoverable (as opposed to some of the mis-metered shots.)

Oh right, well you stated that your camera wouldn't meter properly and i was just explaining that the metering system looks to be working perfectly. It is only the focus that appears to be off.

Did you try a different lens? As you may just have a defective lens.

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