DF - low light focusing speed?

Started Apr 2, 2014 | Discussions
vladi1234567
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DF - low light focusing speed?
Apr 2, 2014

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO.  I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all.  Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree?  What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

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Nikonparrothead
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

vladi1234567 wrote:

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO. I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all. Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree? What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

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Frim my experience it focused "easily" I never bothered timing it -- which should suggest that it's inconsequential.

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to Nikonparrothead, Apr 3, 2014

Thank you!

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Dave Thompson
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

Hi, I shot some pictures recently at a folk festival and was at 12800 ISO for a lot of the time and had no issues at all. Using a 50 1.8, 85 1.8 and 70 - 200 2.8

I was really impressed with the results considering the lighting.

Regards, Dave

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Hugo First
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

bottom line: no light or contrast, no focus.

even in low light, if you have a decently lit edge of a person, for example, it's no worse than the bigger bodies like the D800 (which i also use). in good-- but not great -- light, i've been surprised at how well the Df compares with the D800 in obtaining focus on moving subjects. not saying it's perfect, just better than you'd expect given all the negativity.

on the minus side, that cluster of AF points can seem a little constraining, if you're used to having 51 of them across the frame -- even worse if you're coming from a 51-point cam like a D300.

but given the sensitivity of the sensor, gosh, it just opens up opportunities for getting shots that you just don't have without springing for a D4(s).

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scokill
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

vladi1234567 wrote:

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO. I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all. Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree? What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

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Have had zero issues in any light.  As another poster mentioned, if there is no light or no contrast any camera will have an issue.  To claim under any reasonable circumstance that the Df takes 10 seconds to lock focus in low light is BS.

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InTheMist
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to Hugo First, Apr 3, 2014

Hugo First wrote:

bottom line: no light or contrast, no focus.

even in low light, if you have a decently lit edge of a person, for example, it's no worse than the bigger bodies like the D800 (which i also use). in good-- but not great -- light, i've been surprised at how well the Df compares with the D800 in obtaining focus on moving subjects. not saying it's perfect, just better than you'd expect given all the negativity.

on the minus side, that cluster of AF points can seem a little constraining, if you're used to having 51 of them across the frame -- even worse if you're coming from a 51-point cam like a D300.

but given the sensitivity of the sensor, gosh, it just opens up opportunities for getting shots that you just don't have without springing for a D4(s).

This is my experience too.  ISO H1, find a location with 1/50th shutter speed with kit lens, can I focus?  No.

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Felts
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

Coming recently from Fuji cameras, I am astounded there is ANY negativity surrounding the AF on the Df... Really! I'm not saying the D800 isn't better, but we surely have to be disecting pre-split hairs here.

And not even the X-Pro1 with FW 1.0 would take 10 or even 5 seconds to focus in the darkĀ 

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j_photo
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 3, 2014

vladi1234567 wrote:

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO. I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all. Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree? What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

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www.vnkphoto.com

It's nearly as good as my D800. Maybe not always as good, but close enough not to notice any meaningful difference under normal shooting.

In regular usage I've never seen it hunt anything like what you describe, except once when I deliberately aimed it at an featureless wall with no detail or contrast in extremely poor lighting. I doubt my D800 would have focused there either.

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kape06111
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to j_photo, Apr 3, 2014

Really happy and satisfied with the focus of the DF in every situation.

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to Dave Thompson, Apr 4, 2014

Dave Thompson wrote:

Hi, I shot some pictures recently at a folk festival and was at 12800 ISO for a lot of the time and had no issues at all. Using a 50 1.8, 85 1.8 and 70 - 200 2.8

I was really impressed with the results considering the lighting.

Regards, Dave

Thank you, much appreciated

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to Hugo First, Apr 4, 2014

Hugo First wrote:

bottom line: no light or contrast, no focus.

even in low light, if you have a decently lit edge of a person, for example, it's no worse than the bigger bodies like the D800 (which i also use). in good-- but not great -- light, i've been surprised at how well the Df compares with the D800 in obtaining focus on moving subjects. not saying it's perfect, just better than you'd expect given all the negativity.

on the minus side, that cluster of AF points can seem a little constraining, if you're used to having 51 of them across the frame -- even worse if you're coming from a 51-point cam like a D300.

but given the sensitivity of the sensor, gosh, it just opens up opportunities for getting shots that you just don't have without springing for a D4(s).

I had a D600 for a couple of months, but never used it in low light - but I do know what 39 focus points look like.  Appreciate your response - I'm pretty close to buying me one - just got concerned by those reports of focus troubles with the Df.

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to scokill, Apr 4, 2014

scokill wrote:

vladi1234567 wrote:

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO. I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all. Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree? What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

-- hide signature --

D700, RX100, RX1
www.vnkphoto.com

Have had zero issues in any light. As another poster mentioned, if there is no light or no contrast any camera will have an issue. To claim under any reasonable circumstance that the Df takes 10 seconds to lock focus in low light is BS.

Thank you for the response - glad to hear it.

As far as 10 seconds to lock focus, here's the review I'm referring to:

"I do have one gripe, though. I kept pushing the camera to tricky low light situations.. but the lower the light, the harder it was for the Df to focus. In almost all of the portraits, it took around 10 to 12 seconds for the camera to hunt and nail the focus.. it can be quite awkward for the stranger to look at the lens that long. On normal lighting situations, the camera usually gets the focus in a second, and I get all the frames I need well within 10."

http://www.dannyst.com/shooting-low-light-portraits-with-the-nikon-df/

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to InTheMist, Apr 4, 2014

InTheMist wrote:

Hugo First wrote:

bottom line: no light or contrast, no focus.

even in low light, if you have a decently lit edge of a person, for example, it's no worse than the bigger bodies like the D800 (which i also use). in good-- but not great -- light, i've been surprised at how well the Df compares with the D800 in obtaining focus on moving subjects. not saying it's perfect, just better than you'd expect given all the negativity.

on the minus side, that cluster of AF points can seem a little constraining, if you're used to having 51 of them across the frame -- even worse if you're coming from a 51-point cam like a D300.

but given the sensitivity of the sensor, gosh, it just opens up opportunities for getting shots that you just don't have without springing for a D4(s).

This is my experience too. ISO H1, find a location with 1/50th shutter speed with kit lens, can I focus? No.

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By kit lens - do you mean 50 1.8G?  The Df wouldn't lock focus in H1 and 1/50th?

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to Felts, Apr 4, 2014

Felts wrote:

Coming recently from Fuji cameras, I am astounded there is ANY negativity surrounding the AF on the Df... Really! I'm not saying the D800 isn't better, but we surely have to be disecting pre-split hairs here.

And not even the X-Pro1 with FW 1.0 would take 10 or even 5 seconds to focus in the dark

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Hi, yes - being the Sony RX1 owner - I'm aware of what the slow focus in low light works like with mirrorless cameras The RX1's PQ is pretty phenomenal in low light, by the way - but I just don't want another camera that would be as slow to focus as my RX1 in low light, what's the point then.

Here's another Df auto focus observation - this one from Amazon, verified purchase:

"the focus at low light sucks, real bad. I wanted to do a high ISO group shots but couldn't because my camera couldn't focus. This being the strongest feature of NIXON is now a disappointment on the Df. The light was low, but not that low. I think not having an assistant light is the biggest mistake they made. MY SOLUTION: I programmed the fn button to "no flash" so I put on the flash on the camera, used the strobe's assistant focus (red light) and shoot while pressing the fn button to avoid actually triggering the flash when I shoot. Way to loose your vintage look"

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to j_photo, Apr 4, 2014

j_photo wrote:

vladi1234567 wrote:

I was just wondering if the owners could share their experiences with how fast the Df can lock the focus in the low light situations - something that would require 1/100s shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 6400-12800 ISO. I've found a couple of reviews today that claim it takes up to 10 seconds to lock focus, and sometimes it wouldn't lock at all. Would those who use the Df in low light agree or disagree? What are your personal findings in that regard?

Thanks and regards

-- hide signature --

D700, RX100, RX1
www.vnkphoto.com

It's nearly as good as my D800. Maybe not always as good, but close enough not to notice any meaningful difference under normal shooting.

In regular usage I've never seen it hunt anything like what you describe, except once when I deliberately aimed it at an featureless wall with no detail or contrast in extremely poor lighting. I doubt my D800 would have focused there either.

Thank you, much appreciated!

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vladi1234567
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to kape06111, Apr 4, 2014

kape06111 wrote:

Really happy and satisfied with the focus of the DF in every situation.

Thank you!

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Shotcents
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 4, 2014

Compared to my D800, my Df nails focus as fast.

The only time I was able to make the D800 "better" than the Df was in marginal situations where I looked to make both cameras miss. Most of the time BOTH would have trouble locking focus and these were silly lighting situations where I was lighting a room with a single bulb in a corner!

My Df has REPLACED my D800 90% of the time. I only grab the D800 when I need the 36mp. Other than that, the Df is a better camera for me, smaller, lighter and more fun to use with superior low light results right out of the camera.

Cheers,

Robert

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Cliff Fujii
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 4, 2014

I have a Df that was purchased especially for it's low light abilities. I take photos at EV2 and the Df locks in as if it was taking images in broad day light. In fact, I have been in situations where the D800 would roam a bit before locking in but not the Df (using the same lens, of course). The ability to capture good images at ISO 12800 is priceless.  The AF was working very well.  I could just see the sign when I took the photo at 1/10sec with VR on.

Disneyland restroom taken at night at EV2

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Cliff Fujii
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Re: DF - low light focusing speed?
In reply to vladi1234567, Apr 4, 2014

That statement is irrelevant unless it's justified by contextual information.  What was the EV that the photo was taken at?

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Cliff

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