Df owners - how is the low light focus capability

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Fotoloco
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Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
9 months ago

I have a D4 - LOVE IT!!! Use for business - mostly portraits, but also motocross etc. I am considering getting a Df for travel and personal use. Do not need the Df to do motocross tracking focus, but I will be using it at night on city streets, restaurants/clubs etc. I am use to the D4 focusing in near dark. I have seen the focus of the Df bashed in some reviews, but I think they are bias because same reviewers do not bash the D600/610 focus which is the same? What has your real life experience been.

Nikon D4 Nikon D600 Nikon Df
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Waynerm002
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

I find it does some hunting if it is really dark and you are using one of the outer focusing points.  As I learned in the early days, I would use the center circle to focus and recompose.  Haven't had any issues to complain about.

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Horshack
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

Fotoloco wrote:

I have a D4 - LOVE IT!!! Use for business - mostly portraits, but also motocross etc. I am considering getting a Df for travel and personal use. Do not need the Df to do motocross tracking focus, but I will be using it at night on city streets, restaurants/clubs etc. I am use to the D4 focusing in near dark. I have seen the focus of the Df bashed in some reviews, but I think they are bias because same reviewers do not bash the D600/610 focus which is the same? What has your real life experience been.

The review differences are likely because the Df doesn't have a focus assist light, whereas the D6xx do. The D4 doesn't have one either so if you're able to focus well on the center point with the D4 then the Df should be fine as well, although the Df/D6xx is spec'd for -1EV vs -2EV for the D4.

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Shotcents
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

If you use all of the AF points there is no doubt that the D4 is superior. Compared to my D800 using centerpoint, the Df is only slightly behind.

The bottom line is that the Df AF works very well, required no lens calibration (even with my 3rd party lenses) and has been the best shooting experience out-of-the-box since my D700.

Robert

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eric guzman
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

I have tried in a party that was very dark (candle illuminated) with the Sigma 35 1.4 and the Nikon 85 1.4g and it hunted in same cases (not always), I'd say in most bars or restaurants or streets at night, you would not have a problem, again, as someone else posted , using the center focus points will increase your chances of success.

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j_photo
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

I shot a rented Df next to a D800 at a 48-hour theater festival in January. Lighting conditions varied, sometimes having to shoot as high as 12800 iso. I didn't have any focus problems with the Df. I was shooting AF-C, 9 point dynamic, center focus point, and focus/recompose. Maybe it's not as good as the d4, but it certainly met my requirements.

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Murray Bowles
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to j_photo, 9 months ago

Hard to say. I find it struggling more often than my D300, but then I'm also shooting in darker places. One thing -- using the center AF point and the SB900 AF-assist, it seems to fail (either to not focus or to misfocus) more often than the D300.

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scokill
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

I haven't had any focus hunting in a variety of situations, night or day, good light or horrible.  I would discount any folks comments or theories that haven't used the camera.

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Rolf_52
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

Fotoloco wrote:

I have a D4 - LOVE IT!!! Use for business - mostly portraits, but also motocross etc. I am considering getting a Df for travel and personal use. Do not need the Df to do motocross tracking focus, but I will be using it at night on city streets, restaurants/clubs etc. I am use to the D4 focusing in near dark. I have seen the focus of the Df bashed in some reviews, but I think they are bias because same reviewers do not bash the D600/610 focus which is the same? What has your real life experience been.

I have been traveling in Thailand and Myanmar recently shooting a lot after sunset with Df + Nikon 85 f1.4G and Sigma 35 f1,4. I am very pleased with the Df except for the battery door which is flimsy. AF is excellent and high ISO rendering the best I have experienced (tried D700, D800 and D4).

/Rolf

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tkelly11
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

Fotoloco wrote:

I have a D4 - LOVE IT!!! Use for business - mostly portraits, but also motocross etc. I am considering getting a Df for travel and personal use. Do not need the Df to do motocross tracking focus, but I will be using it at night on city streets, restaurants/clubs etc. I am use to the D4 focusing in near dark. I have seen the focus of the Df bashed in some reviews, but I think they are bias because same reviewers do not bash the D600/610 focus which is the same? What has your real life experience been.

I absolutely love my Df but have found instances where the focus fails in low light. Specifically in pubs/bars and at one wedding I was at recently. But its only when there really is very little light. But 99% of the time, it works flawlessly.

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Ontario
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to tkelly11, 9 months ago

In very dark enviroment try live view. I'm serious. When you have 1.4 lens attached live view will use all the light the lens give. Phase detections sensors use only f5.6 no matter what lens you are using.

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Fotoloco
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to tkelly11, 9 months ago

Thanks to all. Since this will be for personal use, it does not have to be perfect. If it fails on occasion then...oh well. There is a part of me saying just get the D800, but then it feels like I may as well just use the D4.

how is the Df received by potential subjects? Is it small enough to be non threatening or is it still in that get that thing away from me group?

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j_photo
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

Fotoloco wrote:

Thanks to all. Since this will be for personal use, it does not have to be perfect. If it fails on occasion then...oh well. There is a part of me saying just get the D800, but then it feels like I may as well just use the D4.

how is the Df received by potential subjects? Is it small enough to be non threatening or is it still in that get that thing away from me group?

F: On the "feel good" meter, the Df was for me off the charts (in a good way). I can't quite justify the cost right now, but I wish I had one. It was fun to shoot with and had fantastic IQ and I liked the less bulky form factor.

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Fotoloco
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Re live view. Can you set use center point, aim, half depress, recompose, & shoot
In reply to j_photo, 9 months ago

Just like using viewfinder except u have to fold different?  I know what live view is, just nevrefused it on D4.

in other words, how do you choose focus point in live view? My guess is since no touch screen it is same way you would choose focus point when looking three viewfinder.

this may take some getting use to, but could be a great way to go. Isn't live view very accurate too? No chance for front/back focus?

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InTheMist
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 9 months ago

Kit prime @f/1.8, 1/50th @ ISO 25600.

Focus is iffy unless it's very strong contrast in the subject.

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Gubble
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 3 weeks ago

I can't claim any professional stance, but I own the Df and shooting with Fuji X-T1 too, mostly in pubs/bars and can compare those two.

I know that the focus systems are completely different but still the results are important to me. I love my Nikon Df but was disappointed by its performance in very low light conditions. I had to switch to Live view to get the software focus for me, otherwise it was too embarrassing making people wait for you to focus... As for the Fuji, its focusing system is much faster compared to Nikon's Live view focusing.

Shooting in a normal light conditions is a bliss with the Df though...

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tkelly11
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to eric guzman, 1 week ago

eric guzman wrote:

I have tried in a party that was very dark (candle illuminated) with the Sigma 35 1.4 and the Nikon 85 1.4g and it hunted in same cases (not always), I'd say in most bars or restaurants or streets at night, you would not have a problem, again, as someone else posted , using the center focus points will increase your chances of success.

I have found af-c 9 point to be the most effective solution in very dark environments that you describe. Been far more reliable than afs centre point.

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Robert A F
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 1 week ago

Mostly I use center point with AF-On button and recompose. But another plus+ with the Df is the viewfinder is a little brighter and has more contrast  than any DSLR that I have ever used for manual focusing. I do a lot more manual focusing in bright and dim situations than I have for a long time.

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benjaminblack
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to Fotoloco, 1 week ago

I have a D4 - LOVE IT!!! Use for business - mostly portraits, but also motocross etc. I am considering getting a Df for travel and personal use. Do not need the Df to do motocross tracking focus, but I will be using it at night on city streets, restaurants/clubs etc. I am use to the D4 focusing in near dark. I have seen the focus of the Df bashed in some reviews, but I think they are bias because same reviewers do not bash the D600/610 focus which is the same? What has your real life experience been.

Nikon sent one out for me to evaluate and I shot it for two weddings. In daylight everything is fine. In the dark AF-C is nearly impossible. AF-S with an AF assist beam was the only way I could get any shots. Unfortunately the beam is limited to about 15 ft. Even so, AF was not as quick to lock. The whole experience was very disappointing. I use a D700 quite a bit on the dance floor, because of its small file size, and it focuses instantly and flawlessly in AF-S or AF-C until it goes pitch black, then it's all AF-S. But even then the D700 locks and fires instantly, I only wish the Df offered that kind of performance.
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Annom
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Re: Df owners - how is the low light focus capability
In reply to tkelly11, 1 week ago

tkelly11 wrote:

eric guzman wrote:

I have tried in a party that was very dark (candle illuminated) with the Sigma 35 1.4 and the Nikon 85 1.4g and it hunted in same cases (not always), I'd say in most bars or restaurants or streets at night, you would not have a problem, again, as someone else posted , using the center focus points will increase your chances of success.

I have found af-c 9 point to be the most effective solution in very dark environments that you describe. Been far more reliable than afs centre point.

I agree - AF-C with 9 points essentially solves any problems

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