D610 and real world AF feedback for low light

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
spineguy
Junior MemberPosts: 44
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D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
9 months ago

Hello all...

I am just a soccer dad that likes to take high quality shots of my kids during their activities... I have been fortunate enough to have gotten a D3s with the 70-200 VRII for my dance and concert photography.

I have had some complaints of the sound of the d3s so I am looking to get a D610 to supplement. Plus might be a little easier to carry than the D3s.

I have read about the AF accuracy in low light being a concern for the D610. I would like to keep the FPS up and the D610 has that capability.

Anyone have any real world experience shooting the D610 in low light tracking situations? Concerts, Dance or wedding reception where you need to track a subject?

Again, I have read all the forums and understand the focus mechanics would lead someone to deduct that it would have trouble tracking subjects in low light, but I am wondering if anyone has experience?

Thanks in advance

Nikon D3S Nikon D610
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EYeye
Regular MemberPosts: 205Gear list
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

My D600 (pretty much the same camera) hunts with telephoto in low light (above ISO 3200 and wide open to keep shutter speed above 1/640) with moving targets. However this is not true in stage lighting (which is not low light on the target in the true sense). I do not have this issue with the 24-85mm VR "kit" lens, or primes. I do not use the focus assist light, as it distracts the subject.

So, I pay attention to the "focus" dot and arrows and manually focus. This seems to work OK.

Hope this is a help.

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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR Nikon D80 +6 more
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tissunique
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53337066

Above is a contribution I made to another thread. I used a D610 for these shots in really bad concert lighting and with a lowly 70-300mm VR! I was impressed. I used af-on back button/continous focus (C), 2500 iso, single shot, spot meter, centre focus point and was impressed. The other body I used was a D3s...

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spineguy
Junior MemberPosts: 44
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to tissunique, 9 months ago

yes, it is always a help hearing from people with the actual camera...I could rent one but if it can't focus, I lose all my shots for that dance competition...

Been searching on the D800 as they can be bought for a little more but doesn't sound like it will solve my issue with being a bit more stealthy...

any more feedback on the D610 or D800 in these situations would really help me break the tie...

help!

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frank-in-toronto
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

low light is as much technique as camera capability. use af-on, shoot burst and let the subject move thru your point of focus. if the subject isn't moving, you can sway back and forth a little. look for areas of contrast, focus and adjust your position a few inches to bring the desired area of the subject into focus. toronto kensington market winter solstice parade. lanterns lit by candles inside. here's one:

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clarnibass
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

In contrast to the post above mine, I often take photos in concerts and performances where it's impossible to use a burst, actually I use the Q mode often. I consider that I get very good focus with the D600. It's not 100% accurate but I don't think any camera is in these conditions.

It is most common for me to use ISO 1600-6400, shutter speeds 1/30-1/250 and apertures f/2.2 or larger. This is approxiamte, I occasionally have better stage lights so can get much faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO, but sometimes it is even worse. For example f/2, 1/100, ISO 6400 is very common.

In these conditions, it is most of the time relatively easy to get good focused photos. I use mostly three AF methods.
1) AFS for non-moving people/subjects or when a person doesn't move enough to affect the DOF significantly.
2) AFC for moving people.
3) AFS for moving people, then wait until I see the person is where it is focused and take the photo. I use this method sometimes instead of AFC if I want to recompose after focusing and/or use a better crosstype AF point, etc.

The photos by the previous poster, where he used ISO 2500 with a lens with max aperture of f/4 (or is it f/4.5?) and 1/160 shutter speed don't have very low light. I'd say that is very decent light for a concert actually.

Actually, IME the D600 would focus fine even at worse conditions than I mentioned if there is a part contrasty enough to focus on. You might have very good contrast but in a way that doesn't contribute to the exposure much at all, so you have very extreme low light but good AF.

Here is one example where it was borderline but managed to get some of the photos in focus (not all). ISO 12800, 1/30, f/2, then brightened 1/3 of a stop in LR. The only light was a regular room bulb from a different room through a dark corridor. It was so low I could barely see them in the room. They were constantly moving and stopping between synth and mixer, guitar, etc. I had to time my "clicks" to disturb as little as possible. No AF assist light. Usually when the camera just can't focus at all I also get too slow shutter speeds anyway.

As far as being stealthy, I don't think the difference betwee nthe D600 and D800 really makes any difference. The D800 is a little bigger. Unless you compare something like a D3200 with a D4, there isn't a huge difference between any DSLR, when using the same lens, IMO.

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spineguy
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to clarnibass, 9 months ago

thank you very much for your feedback on your experience with the D600/D610.

Your settings seem to be much darker than I have experienced with my daughters dance.  The worst settings I have used have been 1/400 f2.8 with ISO jacked to 12000.  I try to never shoot below 400 as the blur would be too much.

I also only use spot metering as the lights are usually on my subject.  I use center focus with AF-C.

Sounds like the D610 is capable of handling those lighting situations.

The stealth mode I referred to was regarding shutter sounds.  My D3s was quite loud during some of the slower song solos and dramatic dances.  Even when I timed my shots and was not machine gun shooting..

thanks again!

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clarnibass
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

spineguy wrote:

Your settings seem to be much darker than I have experienced with my daughters dance. The worst settings I have used have been 1/400 f2.8 with ISO jacked to 12000. I try to never shoot below 400 as the blur would be too much.

That was a pretty extreme example just to show it focused even then. I do occasionally get misses even with more light, but generally consider it is very good, it really depends on the target. As long as you have enough contrast on your target you should really not have any problems in these conditions. I almost always use f/2 and not f/2.8 but I don't know if the camera has better focus with a "faster" than f/2.8 lens... I think not?

The stealth mode I referred to was regarding shutter sounds. My D3s was quite loud during some of the slower song solos and dramatic dances. Even when I timed my shots and was not machine gun shooting..

Yes, the shutter noise is IMO better on the D600/D610 than other models, and I take photos in places that are extremely quiet. You need the music/noise to be pretty loud for someone close to you to not hear it, even with the D600. You can use Q mode and release the button (for the second part of the click) when there is more sound convering it.

The only thing to be careful of, if using Q mode, is that it's possible to accidentally move the finger slightly, and instead of keeping it on the shutter button, you release and re-press it (without noticing), so you suddenly get two clicks. It only happens rarely but still worth keeping in mind.

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wasserball
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

I have the D3s and the D600. The D600 is too slow to capture fast actions at ISO 6400. You might be lucky to capture a few keepers and post them here, but if you are a serious sports photographer, the D600 can be a frustration if you are shooting all night long. The D3s is an amazing camera for low light sports action. Nough said.

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Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF 1.4x Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II +3 more
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clarnibass
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Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light
In reply to spineguy, 9 months ago

This review might be relevant http://youtu.be/D2FGu2WDvJY

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